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Bethesda Holding Back Review Copies

A post on Bethesda.net explains that the company values media reviews, before going on to explain their new policy that will make it more difficult for the media to review games in a timely manner. Though companies refusing to send out early review copies of games is often considered a sign of low confidence, they say from now on they will send out review copies one day before games are released, leaving no time for practical prerelease reviews. They note such concerns about the recent DOOM release proved unfounded, but do not explain the reasons for the new policy except to say "we want everyone, including those in the media, to experience our games at the same time." For those reliant on reviews for purchase decisions, they say: "We also understand that some of you want to read reviews before you make your decision, and if that’s the case we encourage you to wait for your favorite reviewers to share their thoughts." This makes us hope they take the accompanying logic step and stop offering preorder bonuses, but so far that is not the case. Here's their explanation of the change:

At Bethesda, we value media reviews.

We read them. We watch them. We try to learn from them when they offer critique. And we understand their value to our players.

Earlier this year we released DOOM. We sent review copies to arrive the day before launch, which led to speculation about the quality of the game. Since then DOOM has emerged as a critical and commercial hit, and is now one of the highest-rated shooters of the past few years.

With the upcoming launches of Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2, we will continue our policy of sending media review copies one day before release. While we will continue to work with media, streamers, and YouTubers to support their coverage – both before and after release – we want everyone, including those in the media, to experience our games at the same time.

We also understand that some of you want to read reviews before you make your decision, and if that’s the case we encourage you to wait for your favorite reviewers to share their thoughts.

Skyrim Special Edition releases globally on October 28 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Dishonored 2 releases globally on November 11 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

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43 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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43. Re: Bethesda Holding Back Review Copies Oct 31, 2016, 08:15 Quinn
 
The game is having the weirdest glitches I've ever seen in a game. The special edition doesn't handle 144hz well, sadly.

Also, sound is acting up like a motherfucker. The quality isn't only lower than before, it's like it doesn't know how to produce proper surround sound. The sound stutters and my rear speakers are acting up more often than not. No issues with other games. Messed up.
 
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"F!#& YOU, MISSILE!"
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42. Re: On Sale Oct 30, 2016, 16:39 Ant
 
Pr()ZaC wrote on Oct 26, 2016, 09:54:
Back in the day, you could be the judge of the product value by playing a sample.
What was it called?
A demo... Right?
Yep, remember when we had full episode sharewares? I miss those days.
 
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Ant's Quality Foraged Links (http://aqfl.net) & The Ant Farm (http://antfarm.ma.cx / http://antfarm.home.dhs.org).
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41. Re: On Sale Oct 26, 2016, 15:37 Armengar
 
Bethesda usually make good games but they also make buggy games. This isnt really a secret so just wait for the first 'service pack' patch.  
Its not the cough that carries you off but the coffin they carry you off in.
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40. Re: On Sale Oct 26, 2016, 12:15 Beamer
 
Wallshadows wrote on Oct 26, 2016, 11:45:
Beamer wrote on Oct 26, 2016, 11:06:
But has anyone bought a game they expected to love and found it to be terrible? I don't think that happens often at all these days. It's really, really hard to have that happen, especially if you're willing to wait even a week before buying.

I think anyone who bought Colonial Marines still feel the sting, myself included. I was at least expecting something which I could enjoy while being an okay game like AvP 2010 but it turned in to... well, Colonial Marines.

I definitely put on the blinders and fell in to fanboy mode for that one and changed my entire perspective when it comes to pre-ordering. I still pre-order from time to time but I do so without a heap of denial and being willfully ignorant to facts.

That one had far fewer warning signs, but is a bit of an anomaly.
Also, had you waited a week, it would have been avoided, haha. I feel like the bad word started a few days before launch.
 
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39. Re: On Sale Oct 26, 2016, 11:45 Wallshadows
 
Beamer wrote on Oct 26, 2016, 11:06:
But has anyone bought a game they expected to love and found it to be terrible? I don't think that happens often at all these days. It's really, really hard to have that happen, especially if you're willing to wait even a week before buying.

I think anyone who bought Colonial Marines still feel the sting, myself included. I was at least expecting something which I could enjoy while being an okay game like AvP 2010 but it turned in to... well, Colonial Marines.

I definitely put on the blinders and fell in to fanboy mode for that one and changed my entire perspective when it comes to pre-ordering. I still pre-order from time to time but I do so without a heap of denial and being willfully ignorant to facts.
 
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38. Re: On Sale Oct 26, 2016, 11:06 Beamer
 
I find user reviews on video games, and much media, utterly pointless.

"THIS ISN'T THE EXACT THING I WANT AND THEREFORE IT'S A 0 OUT OF 10!"

"THIS DEVELOPER ONCE SKIPPED THE PC FOR A RELEASE, THEREFORE THIS IS A 0 OUT OF 10!"

"THE LAST GAME IN THIS SERIES WASN'T AS GOOD AS THE FIRST, SO THIS ONE IS A 0 OUT OF 10!"

The amount of superiority, entitlement, and unreasonable expectations just get amplified, along with the massive grudges.

I also don't do Let's Play, because I have no interest in watching someone else fumble through a game for 20 minutes. I can spend that time actually playing a game. Not to mention, some games are boring as hell to watch but great to play, and vice versa.

I know how professional reviewers write and find it very easy to read between the lines and tell if I'd like a game they're reviewing. Plus, I will take reviews from people I trust, like some here.

Bottom line, though, and I ask this frequently: when's the last time you bought a game and were completely shocked by the level of quality? I know some here got blindsided by NMS, but it's safe to say they knew they were taking a risk, right? And, frankly, anyone blindsided preordered. But has anyone bought a game they expected to love and found it to be terrible? I don't think that happens often at all these days. It's really, really hard to have that happen, especially if you're willing to wait even a week before buying.
 
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http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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37. Re: Bethesda Holding Back Review Copies Oct 26, 2016, 11:05 wtf_man
 
Well... this pretty much doesn't affect me. I stopped doing pre-orders or day 1 purchases a long time ago. I actually prefer mini reviews after a patch or two, although I still read the release reviews. That gives me a great perspective on whether to purchase a full price for a job well done, wait for a good sale and more patches, or pass on the game entirely.

I guess the bright side to this is that nobody can accuse Bethesda of bribing a journalist with an extra early copy if everyone can only get it 1 day in advance.

/shrug
 
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36. Re: On Sale Oct 26, 2016, 10:44 Suppa7
 
gilly775 wrote on Oct 26, 2016, 09:29:
People read read and trust media reviews? I take them them with a grain of salt. I prefer to read user reviews and watch user videos instead. And I'm not talking about the big You Tubers....more of the "little people" and make a decision for myself. Besides, with Steam's refund policy, at least I can make an educated decision trying it out myself, deciding if I want to refund the purchase.

THe best thing to do is always look for average to below average scores, people who don't rate games highly are people who are honest, people who rate games highly are either 1) young/inexperienced or 2) stupid/oblivious/fanboys.

I think most intelligent people almost exclusively read negative reviews to see if there are major problems with the game. Positive reviews are little more than "yeah I agree its great" which isn't helpful.

This is why negative reviews have effect on sales, aka when there are genuine issues with the game you want to avoid it.
 
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35. Re: On Sale Oct 26, 2016, 10:18 Beamer
 
I was going to point out what loomy said - Bethesda doesn't really make bad games. They've published a few, but they don't really make them. The ES/FO games have given us exactly what we all expect, exactly how we expect, since Oblivion. Doom was infinitely better than expectations. I'll go out on a limb and say no way is Dishonored 2 a bad game. Maybe worse than Dishonored, maybe a disappointment, but not a bad game.

So I don't think this is about avoiding bad reviews. This isn't a company really used to those and feeling the need to avoid.

I'd wager it's more about two things:
1) Being able to tweak to the moment of release, since "going gold" months in advance is far less necessary. If you're shipping discs that just download the full version, or final version, you can print them long before the game is done
2) Multiplayer, though Bethesda games don't focus on it

Just buys them more time. And, keep in mind, for larger releases or multiplayer releases sites often reserve a week post-release to give a score, anyway, giving daily "updates" before a full review hits.
 
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34. Re: On Sale Oct 26, 2016, 09:56 Wallshadows
 
Pr()ZaC wrote on Oct 26, 2016, 09:54:
Back in the day, you could be the judge of the product value by playing a sample.
What was it called?
A demo... Right?

They died with Electronic Gaming Monthly.
 
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33. Re: On Sale Oct 26, 2016, 09:54 Pr()ZaC
 
Back in the day, you could be the judge of the product value by playing a sample.
What was it called?
A demo... Right?
 
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32. Re: On Sale Oct 26, 2016, 09:29 gilly775
 
People read read and trust media reviews? I take them them with a grain of salt. I prefer to read user reviews and watch user videos instead. And I'm not talking about the big You Tubers....more of the "little people" and make a decision for myself. Besides, with Steam's refund policy, at least I can make an educated decision trying it out myself, deciding if I want to refund the purchase.  
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31. Re: Bethesda Holding Back Review Copies Oct 26, 2016, 09:08 Wallshadows
 
Vio wrote on Oct 26, 2016, 00:26:
Instead of waiting for the review, rather wait for the 75% off discount.

The thing is you can buy the Legendary Edition for 10 - $15 depending on region if you're on PC so nobody on PC should be paying full price. If you know someone who does, tell them to refund ASAP and smack them on the head.
 
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30. Re: Bethesda Holding Back Review Copies Oct 26, 2016, 08:56 JTW
 
For those who don't follow the industry, it has been show pretty definitively that bad or mediocre reviews hurt sales, while good reviews don't benefit sales. It may affect your decision, but the customer base, as a whole, doesn't buy more games when they are reviewed well. They make their decision to buy a game before the reviews, then back out of reviews are bad.

Thus is makes absolutely no business sense for a company to release games early. There is almost zero potential benefit, while there is great potential harm.
 
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29. Re: Bethesda Holding Back Review Copies Oct 26, 2016, 07:41 rjdriver
 
Many review sites tear through games in record time, so there will be something to read a few days after release. This will make it a little tougher for magazines, like PC Gamer, to be up to date in their published reviews, but for the average gamer, I don't think it's a big loss.

I stopped pre-ordering games when they stopped giving you something for it. I still have that Deus Ex T-shirt that came in the empty pre-order box at Best Buy :-)

 
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28. Re: Bethesda Holding Back Review Copies Oct 26, 2016, 06:58 Rhett
 
Wonder if this has anything to do with piracy, not so much holding for sales?

Also, never trust any major review sites.
 
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27. Re: Bethesda Holding Back Review Copies Oct 26, 2016, 05:38 Pr()ZaC
 
Kxmode wrote on Oct 26, 2016, 00:58:
Edit: I posted an irrelevant reply that I would like to take back.
Be a man and undo the editing!
The Delete button would be a welcome change...

Anyway, I worry not about pre-orders (boo!) or the game being crap. We can "take it back" and get a refund.
 
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26. Re: Bethesda Holding Back Review Copies Oct 26, 2016, 05:34 Jackplug
 
I almost pre-ordered Doom, but thankfully held back for a review and after playing the open beta multi-player, i realised my dream wasn't to be. I played on a friends pc and I hated it. It was lousy map design and just more of the same old same old. Very bad layout from id, just shows that they can't make a good game if they tried.

If anyone pre-orders a game without prior researching, they will get what they deserve. I find nothing these days that surprises me, just lame excuses for gameplay.

FO4 was bugged and crappy, but still good game.

 
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25. Re: Bethesda Holding Back Review Copies Oct 26, 2016, 05:26 NKD
 
Gamers will never stop pre-ordering en masse. Publishers have gamers figured out and the way they market games exploits fundamental human psychological flaws.  
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Welcome to the Retirement Home for Old People Terrified Of Change
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24. Re: Bethesda Holding Back Review Copies Oct 26, 2016, 04:34 Mac
 
There is an easy answer to all of this - just stop pre-ordering games and wait for the reviews. That way you will hopefully avoid a lot of the dross which is thrown out of the door these days.

It is always worth waiting in any case, as it's more likely that patches will be released to fix the stuff they were unable to complete before the Publisher forced them to to gold.

I used to buy 2-3 new releases every month, accepting that some will be a bit crap, but then they started to hike the prices to console prices and ship more and more unfinished games, along with the DLC crap. I now just wait and probably buy 7 or so new release games a year - but I really enjoy them. I then catch up on the other stuff when it is sub £10 in the sales.

Win Win - I get to play all of the games, and pay what I believe to be a reasonable price given the quality of some of the releases. My backlog ensures i'm never short of something to play.
 
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