Bethesda has recently taken an unexpected decision. They will no longer send review copies of their games in advance. In a blog post from yesterday, Bethesda wrote that they actually “value reviews”. But the problem is that they have proven otherwise by taking this decision. This will not only affect them as a video game publisher, but it will affect their relationship with the media, with the consumers and with all the other members of the gaming industry.
What made them take this decision?
Bethesda has two upcoming video games this year, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2. And if you, as a gamer, would like to know what critics are saying about these games before spending a good amount of money on them, you won’t be able to. Because Bethesda will no longer send early review copies. Ok, we agree that this is what a publisher does. It sells as many copies of the game as possible.
The idea behind Bethesda’s action is quite simple actually. People are curious, so when a new game gets released they want to try it no matter what. Not having any reviews to guide themselves after, they will all spend money on a copy. And this is how the company gets more amount of money than it was needed to make the game in the first place.
The reasoning behind
So Bethesda is ditching early reviews. And it does not matter if they are positive or negative. They will no longer exist. Their reasoning behind this was that their DOOM game, which was released earlier this year, was critically acclaimed and had good sales. And they applied the same strategy. No early review copies sent. Ok, but this does not prove anything. The game could have been a mess. It does not make any difference.
Another reasoning would be the fact that Bethesda wants everyone (media, consumers, critics) to enjoy the game at the same time. But this seems like a cover-up reason to be honest. Why does it matter when certain categories of people are playing the game? Some will love it, some will hate it. It does not make any difference whatsoever.
Not the smartest move
Bottom line is that they want to make more money. Period. But this is not in the best interest of anyone. On the contrary, some reviewers might rush through the game just to finish it and to write a review that’s quicker than the neighbor’s review. Who is helped by this? Other than Bethesda, of course.
Their main goal is to stop any information they cannot control from spreading. It is, let’s say, a safety measure. If the game is bad, may people will be fooled and left with empty pockets. If the game is great, everybody is happy. This is the main idea. We agree, from the point of view of a business-oriented company, the idea is great for them. From the point of view of everybody else, the idea is horrible and absurd. But it is what it is. We’ll see if it will actually work the way they want it to.
Image source: here