Reality Check - Paid Reviews Conspiracy

Why are conspiracies so prevalent in the comment sections of game reviews? Cam investigates the psychology behind this kind of thinking.

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About Reality Check

Flex those mental muscles and join Cam Robinson on a journey of discovery in Reality Check, the show that investigates the science behind your favourite games, and spawns a few wild theories of its own.

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1617 comments
marioclemons5
marioclemons5

Nice try gamespot, but this further makes us know you are paid. Maybe not cash in hand, but swag, wine and dining, retreats and so on is the same as being paid. You aren't fooling anyone..we aren't political constituents and you damn sure aren't politicians. You can't fool us, just accept that as fact. We don't trust your reviews.

vincent12d
vincent12d

Who are you convincing Gamespot??? ... A video to defend itself saying its not defending itself mixed with a little bit of science equals only a fool will believe  , could not be any funnier. That is a good one Gamespot. LOL!!!

shadow6323
shadow6323

@vincent12d Ladies and gentleman, a prime example of the science/psychological understanding discussed in the video.

willdb
willdb

Dunning ex Machina

wowwow27
wowwow27

GTA V was not that great, i give it a 6.7, felt like i already played it.

wowwow27
wowwow27

keep away fanboys from giving a giant bomb of a review.

nicecall
nicecall

jeff gerstman or whatever his name was, gave Kane and Lynch 2 a bad review, Eidos complained to gamespot, and jeff was fired immediately after.


since this happened a few years ago, I have no trust at all in anything gamespot reviews or pretty much any site.


Maybe the corporates at gamespot should have split the advertising money with Jeff so he'd give them a higher score, but it didn't happen.

wowwow27
wowwow27

@nicecall new reviewers every 6 months, ha ha ha!!!!  don't get comfortable. you don't know who's review we will go with, we might just choose the positive review of the bad game.  corporate world takeover!!!! muwahahahaha!!!!


just play the game yourself, and convince yourself you got a good deal for sixty bucks.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

 I dont agree that a large number of people cant keep things a secret. Im not saying that has anything to do with this particular Conspiracy theory, but its already proven throughout history a LARGE number through threats or money can keep a pretty serious secret in large numbers.


The bankers do meetings in secret and ALL of them do actually keep it a secret, look at the TPP trade deal, all secret and the only reason some of it is being leaked out a little (not all of it) is because someone is infiltrating it and giving it to Wikileaks to expose.


Also all of the Iraq stuff was pretty much secret until bradley manning etc. The people at the top oil families, mafia, bankers, they DO do business behind closed doors when no one is around adn all involved generalle keep it a secret for a very VERy long long long time.


Manhatton project over 100'000 people didnt tell anybody it was happening.


I mean some of the business philosophies in life require everything to be kept secret just to do business. What about formula 1 cars etc? ALl the people that work for ferrari all take an oath of secrecy before the car is released to the public eye. they keep it a secret for like 8 months while designing. Theres tons of people working on the cars, hundreds and hundreds of people. All keep everythign the company says a secret until they are allowed to release the secret informtation to the public adn if they get told by the bosses dont tell the public anything or your friends OR your family, they dont.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

I seriously think the bigfoot people arent crazy, they just want to be the first people to get real footage of something that isnt there. Wouldnt YOU want to be the first one to have a real photo of an alien? I rest my case.


I think they are just wanting it so much, theyll believe it.

djmo121
djmo121

Reality check has become more interesting since starting psychology 1st year :)

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

I would caution folks that they ought to take the argument that gaming sites and their reviewers are beholden to game-makers for coverage material with a pinch of salt.


After all, this argument could not explain for anomalies that go against it, such as Kevin vanOrd of GameSpot and Jason Haber of Electronic Arts sitting down for a preview of SimCity: Cities of Tomorrow, when Kevin vanOrd is the very same GameSpot reviewer that slammed SimCity.


Heck, some time later after that preview, GameSpot published a freelancer's review of SimCity months after its release, and that one just rubs it in. Some days later, the same freelancer slammed Cities of Tomorrow in a review. Hardly a present for Electronic Arts for having given GameSpot an opportunity for a preview.

malfestus
malfestus

Just because they're biased by ad revenue to give more highly advertised games favorable scores, and by their backstage passes and relationships with people in the industry to give biased scores, and by their early access and contracts, doesn't mean every game a big publisher releases is going to get a good review.

SimCity was a likely exception to the rule on account of the fact that so many people couldn't even log in to play it, but while you're on about that one rare exception, an IGN Employee found her way aboard the Normandy in my Mass Effect 3.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@malfestus 

Ah, I was expecting an "exception to the rule" argument from you, and you were certainly smart enough to make use of the convenient argument that SimCity is technically broken. ;)

Yet, here you have an exception that goes against the argument that I have expressed skepticism against anyway.

I would pose some more "exceptions" here - how would you explain away the reviews for otherwise technically flawless games, such as Arkham Origins and Lost Planet 3?

At GameSpot, Arkham Origins, a Warner Bros. product, was rather heavily advertised, even promoted by GameSpot, e.g. a 24-hour play session that had more than a few product placements, yet it was panned by a salaried reviewer of GameSpot anyway.


Prior to Lost Planet 3's release, there were more than a few videos at GameSpot, including a preview by Capcom's people, yet the game was panned later anyway.

Those are some hefty bridges that GameSpot had burnt there, aren't they?

socialistsmurf
socialistsmurf

Arkham Origins wasn't technically flawless, it was cobbled together bits of the last game with less content, lots of performance issues and bugs that I don't know how they managed, and the game sucks compared to Arkham City which was released years ago and is available in a bundle for cheap on Steam.

And Arkham Origins wasn't all that heavily advertised, and still got a 6 out of 10. I don't know what alternate reality you're living in where a 6 out of 10 is a bad score.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@socialistsmurf 

Do tell all that you said to me to the people who like Arkham Origins. ;)


Also, you are one to talk about other people living in other realities. You have noticed that I have included a link to a 24-hour MANvsGAME show that was made to promote Arkham Origins, haven't you?

malfestus
malfestus

@Gelugon_baat Would you argue that if someone makes a Lets Play and it gets posted on Gamespot that's equivalent to banner ads and backstage interviews?

Because that's pretty much how disingenuous you're being right now.

malfestus
malfestus

@Gelugon_baat Also no one said there were no advertisements. So your argument is BUNK.

Not all adverts are equal in scale, scope, or expenses rendered.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@malfestus 

Well, if you are going to narrow down the shilling of a game, don't ever be caught saying that a demonstration of a game is pandering to a game-maker.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@malfestus  

"Not all adverts are equal in scale, scope, or expenses rendered," you said.

That's a convenient twist that you have added to your stance.

malfestus
malfestus

@Gelugon_baat You're being disingenuous, because the topic here is about paid reviews and the biasing effects of ad revenue.

malfestus
malfestus

@Gelugon_baatIf the topic is the biasing influence on Gamespot's review system, then the convenient twist is how you're being deliberately deceptive in an attempt to twist the narrative and change the topic to whether or not any kind of advert no matter how miniscule and third party exists.

socialistsmurf
socialistsmurf

I tell them, but the part that's relevant to the paid reviews discussion is that Arkham Origins wasn't heavily advertised on Gamespot. Why are you even pointing to ManVsGame as if that proves me wrong? That's weak.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@malfestus 

Oh, you are one to talk about others being disingenuous when you are alleging that by taking ad revenue, game reviews are already tainted - especially when there are cases in the past where ads did not translate to favorable reviews, such as GameSpot's review of the heavily advertised Brink.

malfestus
malfestus

@Gelugon_baatI can't comment on Brink, but I didn't see it heavily advertised.

However you have already demonstrated that you will disingenuously conflate a simple ManVsGame promo to Banner Ads, Video Ads, and Behind the Scenes interviews being plastered all over the site.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@malfestus

Well I had; I still remember how GameSpot tagged some of its video as "promoted content", and how ads for Brink played even before its video review.


Also, if you are going to accuse me of that, don't ever let anyone catch you accusing GameSpot of shilling for a game when it makes a similar promotion.

malfestus
malfestus

@Gelugon_baat Says someone who admits to using adblockers to block all the ads.

But no, you can find one or two exceptions, one of which wasn't even heavily advertised and the best you could come up with was some internet tv show being linked. And that game still got a 6 out of 10, which isn't a bad score and is pretty damn close to the user score.

Then your other example, Brink, is another game that got a passing score, and you claim it was heavily advertised, but I didn't see many ads for it. No one can trust your standards for what qualifies as heavy advertisement, not after your ManVsGame bunk.

Meanwhile they were doing behind the scenes interviews for Rome 2, had ads plastered everywhere, and seemingly reviewed it on the basis of trailer footage. IGN gave Mass Effect 3 glowing reviews that glossed over everything wrong with it, and I found one of their staffers aboard the Normandy.


Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@malfestus 

Well, you can say all that, but that's your own cherry-picking. I can call "bunk" on all that you said too, using my own statements, and more importantly, you can't give any hard proof beyond suspicious circumstances.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@malfestus 

As for that IGN bit that you keep repeating, I have a simple explanation: IGN are just massive fans of Mass Effect and they have been rewarded for their fancy.

Easy as that.

malfestus
malfestus

@Gelugon_baat Another simple explanation is that IGN is so in bed with Electronic Art that EA is even putting IGN staffers in their videogames, and IGN is too biased to give an honest review.

I don't know why you're such an apologist for the "professional" review industry, that you have to deny that all the ad revenue and industry access and their dependency on developers can even bias them.

You're like GameSpot and IGN's white knight on this issue.

You're cherry picking because you have to look for rare exceptions to the norm and apply special standards to form false equivocations, which is evidenced by your attempt to equivocate Gamespot linking a ManVsGame marathon to mass advertising through banner ads and commercials.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@malfestus 

That explanation is for those who wear tin-foil hats, and swallow conspiracy theories - of which that explanation is one - easily.


Also, I am an "apologist", because I don't see bias as an issue, and that I don't expect gaming sites to give me anything more than entertainment.


Plus, if you are going to call me a "white knight", I will call you a "tin-foil hat".


You are also cherry-picking because you are looking for examples without clear proof of corruption in order to pad conspiracy theories, as is evident by your citation of IGN's featuring in Mass Effect, and your convenient denial of events that go against your arguments by way of your mere memories.

westsand
westsand

Jeff Gerstmann, Alex Navarro, Ryan Davis, Brad Shoemaker, Vinny Caravella. Who are these guys? Oh yeah... they were "fired" or left because of the this issue which you claim non-existent. Next time when making video to convince others to your lies please make more thorough search, or just try to nuke little sites that can give insight to audience with no memory. like Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Gerstmann

What infuriates me is tick headed propaganda that takes their audience for idiots. Instead of accepting your shame you blame audience for being paranoiac. Typical... 


Either insult your audience with looser like Danny for giving feedback or rationalize your lies with these videos. Your PR, unconcern and disrespect disgusts me.

mav_destroyer
mav_destroyer

But publishers still DO exert some pressure on gaming websites and reviewers sometimes, don't they? They don't have to directly hand out cash to do it. Quite the opposite, if they receive bad reviews from a particular website they can stop sending out pre-launch review copies of the game, thus that website loses any advantage it could have of publishing an early review and getting all the web traffic before the game releases.


I don't know if this ever happened to Gamespot but I'm sure it happened to another website. I can't remember which one though.

gamer112696
gamer112696

Metacritic and Game Rankings are best in my opinion. Although, I do check this site too because I like how the video reviews are set up.

iagbas
iagbas

It may not be getting direct cash from publishers but sites like these are need to get on well with publishers to get advertisement from them which is their main income.

Harshsampat
Harshsampat

employee fired for giving a bad review from game spot

Tommi88
Tommi88

Sending titles to IGN and Gamespot before they sent it to smaller companies IS NOT A BRIBE. Its called marketing. If i created my own blockbuster game i would want it to be reviewed by the biggest and best sites on the internet. its not a conspiracy thats how it works and its not a secret.

snova9308
snova9308

seriously though, if game companies give money to every single reviewers in the world, just as you people say, do you think the game company in question would profit from that?


they would spend more money paying off reviewers than what they earn from selling their games if they did, ya idiots.

malfestus
malfestus

Black Mage wins the internet!

Sikrion
Sikrion

@snova9308 lets break this down

"seriously though"
k serious...

"If game companies give money to every single reviewers in the world"
not every single reviewer just the big ones, ign , gamespot, gametrailers, etc. it also doesn't have to be cash. Notice how ign always gets to review big games several days before the smaller sites DESPITE both sites having the ability too minus the embargo.

"do you think the game company in question would profit from that?"
The advertising industry is a multibillion industry, and its that way because it works. Coke products average about a dollar to two dollars and yet they spend thousand on ads a day. Because it works.

"they would spend more money paying off reviews than what they earn from selling their games if they did"
sorry but you are vastly underestimating the gaming industry.

"ya idiots"
just on a side note if you want others to agree with you, don't refer to them as idiots, crazy, tinfoil hat wearing dunces, etc.

Have a nice day.

loafofgame
loafofgame

Who do you want to be president of this comment section? @Gelugon_baat or @malfestus? Put your votes in right now, so we can generate a completely reliable representation of the general opinion about this issue...

malfestus
malfestus

I vote for myself obviously.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@malfestus 

Indeed you would. That's to be expected of an egotistical person.

Also, you may not be realizing that loafofgame may well have been sarcastic with that post.

olegavi323
olegavi323

It's time the Jeff Gerstmann incident comes back and bits you in the ass GS!

ne0meg4
ne0meg4

"It's surprisingly wide spread view point - but why is this?"
Umm, let me break it for you GameSpot - Kyne & Lynch review. You can't be trusted ever since... I still come in here from time to time, but trust your reviews am not.

olegavi323
olegavi323

These beliefs are already facts! We DIDN'T forget what happened to Jeff Gerstmann! Gamespot, do you guys think your viewers are stupid??!! This video only show's how much worried you are bout this! Money changes everything and everyone.