Review codes concerning Bethesda

Bethesda made a blog post on their site detailing review copies of upcoming games such as Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2. Like with the release of Doom earlier this year, they're going to withhold sending review codes to media outlets such as YouTubers, Streamers and review sites (such as Kotaku, Metacritic and Polygon) til the day before launch.

Their reasoning is because they want reviewers to experience the same game as consumers.

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.- Bethesda

You can gather from this that lately, games have been shipping somewhat impeded, with some bugs and missing features that get fixed and added in either a Day 1, 2, 3, or Week 1 patch. Review copies miss these patches because by the time they come out, the reviewer would have posted their thoughts on the game from what they experienced which could be drastically different to what the consumers will experience on launch. But Bethesda aims to displace this and push reviews coming out til after the game has already released, which then removes the consumer making a fully informed purchasing decision.

I agree with Rock Paper Shotgun's statement about why they did this. Bethesda's blog post says, "we encourage you to wait for your favorite reviewers to share their thoughts", which contradicts their marketing for exclusive pre-order items.

They “encourage you to wait” with this single sentence in a blog post which most of their audience will never see. Meanwhile, they encourage you to pre-order their games now on their own online store and every other online store, and in physical GameStop stores, and in adverts. In the case of Dishonored 2 that encouragement is backed up with “1-day early access” (just like the media), plus the Dishonored Definitive Edition, and the Imperial Assassin’s Pack DLC. - Graham Smith, Rock Paper Shotgun

Bethesda's online store page. Advertising a free upgrade to the Dishonored Definitive Edition by simply pre-purchasing Dishonored 2

What Bethesda is doing with this is making the consumer less informed by pushing reviews to a later date after release. What this can do is force consumers to buy pre-orders with extra content before the reviews come in and possibly say the game isn't worth the price, which then leaves the consumer disadvantaged and possibly wasted their money if they also agree the game doesn't perform.

Tom Lynn

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