Dear EuroGamer, this is how you do it.

In a shocking development, a game reviewer tries to pass off a half-assed review of a smaller title and slams it for lulz, only to have that niche community call him out on it. The true shocker here of course is that the parent company actually listened to the facts and did the right thing, pulling the review rather than leaving it up to generate more traffic (money).

Nice recovery GameSpot, and way to man up to a mistake.

16 Responses to Dear EuroGamer, this is how you do it.

  1. Ikz says:

    EuroGamer is not dead yet ? O___O

    • Wilhelm2451 says:

      In the grand scheme, the DarkFall/ Ed “Oswald” Zitron episode at EuroGamer didn’t touch 99% of their readers, so didn’t change a thing.

      They would have to piss off somebody with lots of ad dollars to spend for a difference to be made.

      • Ikz says:

        Rly ? …
        What I meant is that EG is a weak gaming website compared to other.

        • Petter says:

          Still, it’s incredibly popular here in Europe. It’s not weak at all, some of the best games journos in the business freelance for Eurogamer from time to time. Yes, Zitron screwed up, but Eurogamer standing by their reviewer…that’s how a lot of publications do it. It’s time to leave that whole debacle behind – stop reading EG if you don’t like them, but bringing this up over and over again just makes it old.

        • Zensun says:

          I tend to agree with you, but in this instance, I think it’s perfectly understandable. When I read about this on Massively yesterday, I wanted to comment on the similarities between it and the Eurogamer fiasco – but I couldn’t remember the Eurogamer, so didn’t bother! :D

        • Petter says:

          Well, yes. Syncaine’s reference to Zitrongate (I love that expression) was understandable – it was more Ikz’s “are they still around”-quip that felt misplaced and uncalled for.

  2. Ravious says:

    I dunno, man. I wouldn’t congratulate them at the outset for not even properly reviewing the game according to their own guidelines. (MMOs get 30 hours, but then does GA really warrant 30 hours for a review? Doubtful…) Feels like you are giving them a free pass to try again, and if they get caught and man up, then they’re okay?

    • SynCaine says:

      Well GS has a policy for reviewing, which they are at least honest about (30hrs). The hired reviewer screwed up and pulled a Zitron, which looks bad for GS, but you can only do so much to control your employees and set guidelines. The difference between GS and EG is that EG backed Zitron, while GS backed the facts and pulled the review. For that I give them credit.

  3. Wilhelm2451 says:

    Well, I suppose that is the way you recover. The way you ought to do it is make sure the reviewer knows the policy (30 hours in the case of GS) and actually adheres to that before you post the review.

    But hey, this happens to the New York Times as well.

    • SynCaine says:

      I would assume the reviewer knew the policy and that GS assumed he had actually done his job as required, but with his boss having no real way to check if he played 6 or 30, he thought we could get away with a fast one. Too bad the player base played boss again and called the guy out.

  4. xXJayeDuBXx says:

    I don’t think it will matter if the review put 6 or 30 hours into the game, it’s going to be the same either way.

  5. Brian Inman says:

    Who is going to believe the next review of GA they put up anyways. You know they will give it good ratings now to save face. It is the whole reason I don’t believe any of the reviews out there.

    they are either too scared to tell the truth, and lose a company, or they just kiss up, and make the review glowing.

  6. Zapatero says:

    The irony is in the GS case that the reviewer was honest about the time he spent in-game. If memory serves, he said a dozen hours was spent in-game (I think) and was called out by the community for only having 6 hrs on his stats page.

    The problem is that the stats page seems to only track time spent in combat instances, not time spent in Dome City, socialising, VR arena or running around trying out armour etc.

    My stats page says I’ve played GA for 5 hours, while Steam says 11.

    Is that enough time to review the game – yes, it absolutely is in this case.

    Gamespot saying they have a policy that reviewers spend 30 hours playing a game is just insurance for them; small print on the commission, probably buried under the rights ownership legal mumbo jumobo. If it’s a guideline, I can’t imagine it’s one that is pressed upon by the commissioning editor and if it’s a rule, it simply can’t be enforced anyway.

    I would happily review a game for GS if they asked me, but if they insisted I play a game for 30 hours, they would have to pay me a for a full week of my time, not the going rate of $100 per review.

    In some respects the reviewer is a victim of a system that demands in-depth reviews and pays peanuts for the rime spent in researching those reviews. For staffers, time is the precious resource.

    As a freelancer in 1997 I would be paid up to three times more for a review that I get in 2010. I would have to do three times more work for the same money. Thankfully I don’t have to.

    It’s the same problem with news in the mainstream media – journalists have to write more stories for less money and accuracy suffers as a result (read Flat Earth News for evidence).

    I’m of the opinion in this case that GS are more to blame than the reviewer. It’s the system, and unless it changes, with devs able to spy on what reviewers get up to, the reviewers will continue to be screwed over.

    Rant over :)

    • SynCaine says:

      Regardless of pay, the ‘rules’ to do a GS review are clear, spend 30 hours. Whether the 6hr mark is dead accurate or not, it’s clear the reviewer falls short of the 30 needed.

      As for the pay itself, it is what it is. If you don’t like playing a videogame for 30 hours and getting $100 to write about it, get another job.

      • Zapatero says:

        I agree with you to a point because I would never accept a commission under such terms, but I seriously doubt the rule exists, let alone is clear beyond a thinly-veiled press statement saying it is.

        I’ve written hundreds of reviews for various magazines and websites, but none of my commissions have insisted spending any more time than necessary at the keyboard/console to provide a fair review.

        If GSpot insist that 30 hours is the rule observed by all, I’m surprised they have any writers working for them at all because $100 for a working week is not a restriction anyone I know would ever accept – apart from staffers, who I’m sure would be happy to spend their entire working week reviewing one game. Would their employers be as happy – NO WAY!

        Of course if someone can show me a stack of commissions telling me the rule exists, and a happy brigade of freelance writers complying with the rule (and publishing directors happy that their in-house staff play a single game 4 days a week, and write it up on the fifth) I’ll eat my hat and review the experience afterwards.

        • Zapatero says:

          GSpot’s response states that they “generally expect” reviewers spend 30 hours playing an MMOG. A reasonable expectation for readers, and perhaps a reasonable demand on some writers – but hardly a rule.

          The writer said he spent 12 hours playing the game, which I’m sure he more or less did. Having spent as much time playing the game myself, I would have to say I have some sympathy for him. Not loads, but some. If he never works in games writing again it’s rather harsh for the minor crime of cutting corners, since there was no intent to mislead or deceive and he was paid to give an opinion based on experiences he clearly had.

          He might even have grounds to sue, but that’s a whole other kettle of bricks :)

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