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Games Journalism! Wainwright/Florence/Tomb Raider/Eurogamer/Libel Threats/Doritos

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MaxwellGT2000

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Giant bomb are sort of misrepresenting this thread. Making fun of us for focussing on press hand outs like, "free t-shirts and the stupid assassin's creed 3 flag." The reason why that was an issue is that the press kit was on sale for $3000. For most of us $3000 in hard cash does not qualify as useless shit that you throw on the big pile of useless shit.
 

pa22word

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Oct 24, 2010
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Eh, that's not the reason why it's censored.
Yes, inherently it is. Even if the numbers themselves are made up and even if it did derail some conversations when brought up, censoring the links and banning people for linking there isn't right, imo. Instead of self-moderation in the form of education through discussion (eg, "[bannedsite] makes shit up, don't take them seriously") they are in essence eliminating all discussion on the topic via censorship.

It just isn't right, imo.
 

Heart Attack

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Oct 10, 2010
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Indeed, the reason is the numbers and the constant links to the sites numbers for discussion here. There was a huge falling out between both parties. Also I bet not supporting someone who has been banned here a number of times is probably a good reason to censor the site, which is why I refuse to directly reference it, given yes there still are rules to follow and I actually do like the community here, so why fuck up a good thing eh?
lol, i remember the times were you shit talked gaf @ that banned site. Glad you changed your mind, like superchunk, soriku, Djmeister, and the list goes on. Also, the review that you linked was scrutinized because you were known to not be in favor of sony IPs, and that you hated the GoW franchise, yet you still reviewed it and gave it an average score.
 

Victrix

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Sep 1, 2005
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Speaking of reviews, something else that bothers me - does anyone know if the review copies that press play have all the preorder/dlc/random bullshit unlocked by default?
 

PaulLFC

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Good to see Dave Cook responding in the comments on the VG247 article too - he was one of the names originally mentioned in Rob's article for tweeting about the PS3, from his comments and subsequent reaction it seems he's learned from what happened and understands why it was wrong:

Dave Cook said:
You have to be careful with blanket statements like that [response to "the industry is corrupt"], seriously. Most journalists we know aren't corrupt, but they just see the meals, flights and freebies as part of the process – and don’t let it sway their opinion of games at all.

The problem is, that they should see it as an attempt to curry favour.

---

@22 exactly, and this has been a real eye-opener for me. I never saw retweeting the hashtag as a bad move until the fall-out from ‘Doritos-gate’. It was wrong, and it has caused me to see this side of things in a new light. it’s time for others to question it too.
 

Shurs

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Speaking of reviews, something else that bothers me - does anyone know if the review copies that press play have all the preorder/dlc/random bullshit unlocked by default?
They are most often regular retail copies.

Sometimes they'll send Special Editions that have DLC codes inside -- I know some people have gotten the SE of Halo 4, for example.
 

JebusF

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Speaking of reviews, something else that bothers me - does anyone know if the review copies that press play have all the preorder/dlc/random bullshit unlocked by default?
Rarely. Until recently you had to ask for an online code to play the multiplayer with some publishers.

Some publishers send special editions, but not too many...I can think of...2 off hand (UK Here) that do it regularly. Of course, debug code is just a disc usually.
 

Shurs

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Giant bomb are sort of misrepresenting this thread. Making fun of us for focussing on press hand outs like, "free t-shirts and the stupid assassin's creed 3 flag." The reason why that was an issue is that the press kit was on sale for $3000. For most of us $3000 in hard cash does not qualify as useless shit that you throw on the big pile of useless shit.
Most people feel it's unethical to sell press kit materials, review copies, etc, so they don't look at it like they've been handed $3000.
 

Dennis

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Jul 7, 2009
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Giant bomb are sort of misrepresenting this thread. Making fun of us for focussing on press hand outs like, "free t-shirts and the stupid assassin's creed 3 flag." The reason why that was an issue is that the press kit was on sale for $3000. For most of us $3000 in hard cash does not qualify as useless shit that you throw on the big pile of useless shit.
We're just jealous I guess. That seems to be a recurring theme from the press.
 
Feb 22, 2009
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Most people feel it's unethical to sell press kit materials, review copies, etc, so they don't look at it like they've been handed $3000.
That's fine, but Giant Bomb make out like we are attacking them specifically for receiving that PR kit when we are pointing out that, apparently, Hardcore Gamer are selling them on ebay.
 

xenist

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Good to see Dave Cook responding in the comments on the VG247 article too - he was one of the names originally mentioned in Rob's article for tweeting about the PS3, from his comments and subsequent reaction it seems he's learned from what happened and understands why it was wrong:
Here we go again with the "these things don't work on me" argument.
 

shintoki

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I never really cared for the No Flights or Hotels. As long as its not like the COD shit posted back a few pages, Capcom in Rome, or any of that bullshit. But more of a general, "We want some Journals to come to our offices for some previews". Fine.

But most of that just seems to be pretty logical.
 

JebusF

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Jan 24, 2008
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I never really cared for the No Flights or Hotels. As long as its not like the COD shit posted back a few pages, Capcom in Rome, or any of that bullshit. But more of a general, "We want some Journals to come to our offices for some previews". Fine.

But most of that just seems to be pretty logical.
Review events are horrible. HORRIBLE.
 

Cyrano

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I never really cared for the No Flights or Hotels. As long as its not like the COD shit posted back a few pages, Capcom in Rome, or any of that bullshit. But more of a general, "We want some Journals to come to our offices for some previews". Fine.

But most of that just seems to be pretty logical.
You can't have legitimacy if the ones who are giving you coverage are also offering what amounts to thousands of dollars to see that coverage. Especially when a lot of that coverage is probably being livestreamed in some form or fashion. You can't even have journalism if you start on a foundation built with an inherent conflict of interest.
 

Brashnir

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Giant bomb are sort of misrepresenting this thread. Making fun of us for focussing on press hand outs like, "free t-shirts and the stupid assassin's creed 3 flag." The reason why that was an issue is that the press kit was on sale for $3000. For most of us $3000 in hard cash does not qualify as useless shit that you throw on the big pile of useless shit.
$3000? I thought it was listed at $2000 and nobody had actually bid on it. Did it get bids and is now at 3 grand? Do you have a link to the auction?

Just because someone tries to sell something for 2 grand doesn't mean anyone is willing to pay it.
 

Brashnir

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Also, here's a transcript of the AC3 Flag discussion for those who don't feel like listening to a 3 and a half hour podcast:


Jeff - Yeah. As people kind of - as this outrage builds around this stuff, and more different aspects of our line of work get roped into it, you see people saying like, "oh, they sent t-shirts to this guy, so obviously..." or what is it? It's the stupid fucking flag that came with Assassins Creed 3, which when it showed up at our office, we made fun of it for being kind of fucked up to modify the American flag.

Brad - Here's what happened with the flag. It showed up in the mail. We thought it was fucking stupid. You proposed the idea of burning it on video. While that had a certain appeal to it, I don't know about the rest of you guys, I am not comfortable of any imagery of burning the American flag, even if it's this crass, corporate perversion of it.
jeff - yeah

Brad - the symbolism is still there. So ultimately, we sneered at the thing for five minutes and then shoved it under a desk and I totally forgot we had it until all this stuff came back up. So that is the amount of influence that something like that has. It's a waste of their marketing budget and our time.

Jeff - Stupid shit shows up at this office all the time.

Ryan - Constantly

Brad - Usually not of that caliber, where there's a marketing executive on the letterhead, going "Thanks!"

Jeff - Yeah. Jesus. "Thanks for your coverage." I mean what the fuck is that about?

Patrick - Assassin's Creed three, last week showed up. The limited edition in the giant-ass box. Ryan comes in at the end of the day, rips it open, grabs the copy of the game and throws the rest of the box into a corner with the stack of shit we have and then just left, so he could finish reviewing it. How else are we supposed to handle that?

Vinny - not that there's not people out there - I mean, I don't want it to sound callous, like "nobody wants this stuff," but you want to do you job, you want the game so you can review the product.

Ryan - I think we have a certain level of cynicism and it's a certain level that's earned. We've been around long enough that we've seen, "oh, they're sending us the big crazy edition," well, I don't need any more statues for my desk so here, Sara, you take that, I don't care. I just want the game part out of this giant box. Hey belt buckle! anyone want a belt buckle? no? throwing it in the box, putting it in the corner. There is this constant.... we are this membrane through which all videogames pass. Along with those games is usually some dumb - some bauble, some trinket, some something that

Jeff - For Bejewled they send a big plastic fake diamond!

Ryan - yeah remember that? That was dumb. What are you gonna do with that?

Jeff - Put it in a drawer somewhere and then 8 months later find it and be like, "why the fuck do I still have this thing?"

[discussion snipped of all the junk that was left at the old office]

Brad - The time I feel better about that stuff showing is up is the times when we can turn it into some dumb video. Like the time that the 3DS showed up, and we were like, let's invite everybody else into this bizarre world and see exactly what's going on here.

Jeff - Let's be straight-up with it. This life is, it's fucking weird. This line of work is fucking. weird. Videogames are not becoming a smaller business, but in a lot of ways, they're beoming a slightly more desperate, hit-driven, business. As a result, you have people pulling out all the stops and and going like, with the 3DS - Let's get this train of girls to show up.

Patrick - You also have to take into account the way - this doesn't apply to us, but applies to the way that a lot of other game sites cover things - every time they pull a gimmick, you see these threads of people posting press kits, and all this weird swag. That's potentially a blog post, or a twitter mention. A lot of that marketing material is going into, "If we can get one more hit about this game with these people that are influential to consumers." We just throw that aside, because that's not what - we don't really do unboxings and things like that unless it's like

Jeff - obviously we occasionally do, but they're few and far between, but it's gotta be interesting.

Partick - It has to make sense for us. It's not going to be a regular piece of coverage, whereas, that is a regular piece of coverage for sites like the Kotakus of the world that need to have posts like every 20 minutes and this stuff fills it.

Ryan - We don't do unboxing of limited editions of games

Jeff - We do unboxings of things that users send us. Like flashlight tasers. We didn't even do an unboxing of that, and it had a Commodore 64 in that box and - DJ, thank you for sending that box!

Brad - How did we not record the stun gun?

Jeff - because I opened it after you guys were already gone.

Brad - We have been doing this website so raw for so long, that I would like to think that people are confident that we are not feeding them a line of bullshit about anything.

Jeff - To be straight up about it, if you feel like you can't trust us, go out and find another website. You should be asking these questions of people. We try to be transparent. It's weird. This is something I've spent a whole fucking lot of time thinking about. you know - are we crossing the line? how do people view the site, because we're trying to do more personal coverage. We're trying to talk to people that make the games. We're trying to do interviews that are more than just "so what platform is your game coming out on and when is it out?" As a result, we have cultivated this crew of people that you see on the site on a fairly regular basis.
 

JebusF

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Yeah, that sums it up pretty nicely imho.

The stuff gathers dust, you find it once in a while and go "huh, I remember that".
 

Shurs

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$3000? I thought it was listed at $2000 and nobody had actually bid on it. Did it get bids and is now at 3 grand? Do you have a link to the auction?

Just because someone tries to sell something for 2 grand doesn't mean anyone is willing to pay it.
I just checked on eBay and the highest price people are trying to get for the flag is $350.

This doesn't make people selling PR materials any less wrong, mind you, but I thought some people would want to know what is actually going on.
 

Brashnir

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Dec 31, 2005
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I just checked on eBay and the highest price people are trying to get for the flag is $350.

This doesn't make people selling PR materials any less wrong, mind you, but I thought some people would want to know what is actually going on.
Thanks. Did you happen to notice what was the highest amount anyone had actually bid on one?
 
Feb 22, 2009
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Also, here's a transcript of the AC3 Flag discussion for those who don't feel like listening to a 3 and a half hour podcast:


Brad - Here's what happened with the flag. It showed up in the mail. We thought it was fucking stupid. You proposed the idea of burning it on video. While that had a certain appeal to it, I don't know about the rest of you guys, I am not comfortable of any imagery of burning the American flag, even if it's this crass, corporate perversion of it.
jeff - yeah

Brad - the symbolism is still there. So ultimately, we sneered at the thing for five minutes and then shoved it under a desk and I totally forgot we had it until all this stuff came back up. So that is the amount of influence that something like that has. It's a waste of their marketing budget and our time.

Jeff - Stupid shit shows up at this office all the time.

Ryan - Constantly

Brad - Usually not of that caliber, where there's a marketing executive on the letterhead, going "Thanks!"

Jeff - Yeah. Jesus. "Thanks for your coverage." I mean what the fuck is that about?

Patrick - Assassin's Creed three, last week showed up. The limited edition in the giant-ass box. Ryan comes in at the end of the day, rips it open, grabs the copy of the game and throws the rest of the box into a corner with the stack of shit we have and then just left, so he could finish reviewing it. How else are we supposed to handle that?

Vinny - not that there's not people out there - I mean, I don't want it to sound callous, like "nobody wants this stuff," but you want to do you job, you want the game so you can review the product.

Ryan - I think we have a certain level of cynicism and it's a certain level that's earned. We've been around long enough that we've seen, "oh, they're sending us the big crazy edition," well, I don't need any more statues for my desk so here, Sara, you take that, I don't care. I just want the game part out of this giant box. Hey belt buckle! anyone want a belt buckle? no? throwing it in the box, putting it in the corner. There is this constant.... we are this membrane through which all videogames pass. Along with those games is usually some dumb - some bauble, some trinket, some something that

Jeff - For Bejewled they send a big plastic fake diamond!

Ryan - yeah remember that? That was dumb. What are you gonna do with that?

Jeff - Put it in a drawer somewhere and then 8 months later find it and be like, "why the fuck do I still have this thing?"

[discussion snipped of all the junk that was left at the old office]

Brad - The time I feel better about that stuff showing is up is the times when we can turn it into some dumb video. Like the time that the 3DS showed up, and we were like, let's invite everybody else into this bizarre world and see exactly what's going on here.

Jeff - Let's be straight-up with it. This life is, it's fucking weird. This line of work is fucking. weird. Videogames are not becoming a smaller business, but in a lot of ways, they're beoming a slightly more desperate, hit-driven, business. As a result, you have people pulling out all the stops and and going like, with the 3DS - Let's get this train of girls to show up.

Patrick - You also have to take into account the way - this doesn't apply to us, but applies to the way that a lot of other game sites cover things - every time they pull a gimmick, you see these threads of people posting press kits, and all this weird swag. That's potentially a blog post, or a twitter mention. A lot of that marketing material is going into, "If we can get one more hit about this game with these people that are influential to consumers." We just throw that aside, because that's not what - we don't really do unboxings and things like that unless it's like

Jeff - obviously we occasionally do, but they're few and far between, but it's gotta be interesting.

Partick - It has to make sense for us. It's not going to be a regular piece of coverage, whereas, that is a regular piece of coverage for sites like the Kotakus of the world that need to have posts like every 20 minutes and this stuff fills it.

Ryan - We don't do unboxing of limited editions of games

Jeff - We do unboxings of things that users send us. Like flashlight tasers. We didn't even do an unboxing of that, and it had a Commodore 64 in that box and - DJ, thank you for sending that box!

Brad - How did we not record the stun gun?

Jeff - because I opened it after you guys were already gone.

Brad - We have been doing this website so raw for so long, that I would like to think that people are confident that we are not feeding them a line of bullshit about anything.

Jeff - To be straight up about it, if you feel like you can't trust us, go out and find another website. You should be asking these questions of people. We try to be transparent. It's weird. This is something I've spent a whole fucking lot of time thinking about. you know - are we crossing the line? how do people view the site, because we're trying to do more personal coverage. We're trying to talk to people that make the games. We're trying to do interviews that are more than just "so what platform is your game coming out on and when is it out?" As a result, we have cultivated this crew of people that you see on the site on a fairly regular basis.
You missed the line before that which characterised the internet criticism.

As the outrage builds around this stuff and more different aspects around our line of work get roped into it you see people just saying stuff like, "oh, they sent t-shirts to this guy so obviously," you know. It's the stupid fucking flag that came with assasin's creed. Which when it came up in our office we made fun of it.
That's just a straw man, which obviously they do a really great and classy job of attacking. Because it's a straw man. Are many people really saying that Giant Bomb are all on the take because they get free t-shirts?

Other people didn't make fun of that flag when they got it, they tried to sell it for a fair amount of money. Or at least they tried to sell it after making fun of it.
 

Gowans

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I was serious about my last post.

GAF should have a updated shit list thread for writers and sites where we can attach the crap they do so we know not to trust them.

Wonder if Dectecive GAF can match eBay seller IDs and outlets.
 

Brashnir

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You missed the line before that which characterised the internet criticism.
right you are, I didn't scroll up par enough before hitting copy. Added the preceeding line.

That's just a straw man, which obviously they do a really great and classy job of attacking. Because it's a straw man. Are many people really saying that Giant Bomb are all on the take because they get free t-shirts?

Other people didn't make fun of that flag when they got it, they tried to sell it for a fair amount of money. Or at they tried to sell it after making fun of it.
And what is that fair amount of money? You quoted $3000, which is an increase for the inflated (and as far as I know, un-bid-upon) $2000 that someone was asking. Has anyone actually been able to sell one of these things? I'm sure there's somebody out there willing to buy them, but I'm really curious what the real value is. To me personally, it's worth less than nothing. If someone gave it to me, I'd have to go to the trouble of throwing it out, so I can't really put a value on it.
 

Margalis

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Aug 7, 2008
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So what would publicists do, then?

Sorry, maybe everyone says it, but I believe most people mean it.
Most people mean it when they say advertising has no effect on them either.

I'm sure few people are outright thinking "man I'll bump up the score because of this toy I got!" But I'm sure quite a large number soften a harsh review a little.
 

MaxwellGT2000

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lol, i remember the times were you shit talked gaf @ that banned site. Glad you changed your mind, like superchunk, soriku, Djmeister, and the list goes on. Also, the review that you linked was scrutinized because you were known to not be in favor of sony IPs, and that you hated the GoW franchise, yet you still reviewed it and gave it an average score.
To be fair, I only had one side of the story, and banning an entire site through censorship seemed rather drastic to me. But in my stay here I respect whatever rules that are in place cause I know what it's like when people don't respect the rules, even if I feel like we should all get along like adults lol.

As for my "Sony and God of War hate", I have a tendency to discuss issues I have with game design and the current trends gaming has taken and I love doing it with a bit of humor (like my Site that shall not be named comment). This is not limited to Sony nor God of War, but when your site starts getting taken over by that demographic and you're sitting there trying to regain order, you get called anti everything, whoever you ban you're anti that console/company or pro rival company/console. It turns out when most of the new demographic rushing in and also violating the rules is pro one console you get painted as anti that console and a fanboy... As for my comments against God of War prior to doing that review it was generally limited to Kratos as a character, and how the story doesn't really fit the lore (though not that big of a deal but you had people actually saying it fit) but no one plays an action game for story or the characters (usually, Dante and Bayonetta being the rare exceptions).

My actual issues with the series was and still is the first game is still the game with the most content in the series with the best story. GoW2 improved the combat, so there was progress in that game, but Chains of Olympus felt like it wasn't essential to the main storyline, it felt like a spin off, and the game was even shorter, with a very limited enemy variety, deaths due to the static camera, screen tearing, very linear, braindead puzzles, and I beat it in one sitting... while 20 dollars more expensive than GoW2, the only reason to buy it over GoW2 at that time was the portability and that would be something to appeal to fans who must have it on the go, my review was done in early 2009... so the fans already got it, it was for people looking for action games on the go, you have to rate it on their value, just like rating an old retro title you'd have to rate it based on how fun is it now to go back to these games and would someone interested in finding old used games they missed out on, would it be a good choice for them, you must write for your audience.

So basically what I'm saying is my issues have always been rooted in logic, not immature hatred of a select company, since I tear into any developer with design issues in their games. Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft, Activision, etc. are not immune to that lol I constantly bitch about last generation, the Gamecube and PS2, the games that came out at that time, and when games come out this generation with the same design issues as those games (sometimes worse) I speak my mind. Last gen is what turned me into a PC gamer and a Blizzard fan, this generation has brought me to a balance of consoles and PC, where I love the Wii and Nintendo getting their groove back vs last gen, PS3 with the best library and most passion from Sony since the PS1, and then my PC, I had a 360 but sacrificed it to get a new PS3 after mine broke... point being if I really "hated" Sony I wouldn't go through all the trouble and buy so many games from them, but even as I don't really buy 360 games I don't hate Microsoft either, it just ended up that between PS3, Wii, DS, 3DS, PSP, and PC my gaming needs have been covered :| (I really need to stop posting in the middle of the night I tend to ramble with stories like an old man or something lol)
 

patapuf

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Most people mean it when they say advertising has no effect on them either.

I'm sure few people are outright thinking "man I'll bump up the score because of this toy I got!" But I'm sure quite a large number soften a harsh review a little.
only if you liked the toy.... i don't think there's a great deal of people that think a game is better because they got some CE stuff (especially if receiving that thing is very common), but that's just me.

Of course if you are a big fan on the franchise that might be different but.. your not unbiased in such a case anyway.
 

Clear

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Feb 2, 2009
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Call me cynical, but I think that some people are telling you what you want to hear, so this controversy quiets down.

I honestly don't see most people working in the field suddenly giving up their perks and freebies in order to satisfy the internet's demands for "truthfulness". Remember working in the media is about "creating the story", so all that's really likely to happen is that they'll be somewhat more circumspect about the swag that they will continue to receive.

The irony to me is that this problem can only be truly solved through regulation and policing, not through a public outcry. Public censure isn't going to make anyone who's inherently dishonest or corrupt change their ways overnight, they are just going to try harder to cover their tracks.
 
Feb 22, 2009
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So if people choose to cash in their "flags" it's easily on the same sort of scale as winning a PS3 in exchange for promoting something. Considering the cover letter. Which Giant Bomb correctly say is shady and something they wouldn't do. The only difference is that they can't be bothered to work out how much the the flag is worth on ebay to send it back. Although also clearly covering a big title like Assasin's Creed 3 is something they would also do anyway without being sent a flag.
 

Shurs

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So if people choose to cash in their "flags" it's easily on the same sort of scale as winning a PS3 in exchange for promoting something.
Selling anything given to you by a publisher is unethical, and people who do it should be called out. There's really no room for debate there, as far as I'm concerned. The same goes for trading in review copies at Gamestop.
 
Feb 22, 2009
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Selling anything given to you by a publisher is unethical, and people who do it should be called out. There's really no room for debate there, as far as I'm concerned. The same goes for trading in review copies at Gamestop.
Which is why the long discussion about how the internet mob are coming after Giant Bomb for being sent stuff they don't do anything with is misleading.
 

JebusF

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Jan 24, 2008
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Selling anything given to you by a publisher is unethical, and people who do it should be called out. There's really no room for debate there, as far as I'm concerned. The same goes for trading in review copies at Gamestop.
I completely agree.
 

MaxwellGT2000

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Selling anything given to you by a publisher is unethical, and people who do it should be called out. There's really no room for debate there, as far as I'm concerned. The same goes for trading in review copies at Gamestop.
This is one reason I think our reviews were better in the early days, we had to make that investment like everyone else
 

Shurs

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This is one reason I think our reviews were better in the early days, we had to make that investment like everyone else
I think review copies are fine. They're a product sample, as far as I'm concerned.

Can they affect reviewers? Certainly, but I really think it works from the bottom up. The smaller the site, the more they are affected by their relationship/dependency on PR.
 

Withnail

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I know of a writer for a big site who sells his review copies on ebay. But I'm not going to name him because there is a bit of a mob mentality at the moment and for all I know he gives the proceeds to charity (though if he does he certainly doesn't advertise it). Anyway after the recent furore I'm sure the guy in question will be more cautious about doing it in the future.
 
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