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Game Previews Just Game Marketing? 282

Kotaku has a feature up today written by James Wagner Au, formerly embedded reporter in the world of Second Life. He's now doing his own thing, and he's got a fairly cynical discussion over at the Kotaku site about the real purpose behind game previews in industry rags. From the article: "For the thing of it is, game magazine previews are almost uniformly positive, even for the most undistinguished titles. So it unrolls thus: publisher makes mediocre game; press previews depict mediocre game as being good or at least worth a look; excited gamers read previews, foolishly believe them, start making pre-sale orders of mediocre game; driven by preview press and pre-sale numbers based on that press, retailers stock up on mediocre game; publisher makes money from mediocre game, keeps making more games like it."
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Game Previews Just Game Marketing?

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  • Who buys? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Threni ( 635302 ) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @06:32PM (#14903961)
    Who pays £40 or whatever for a game without reading several reviews about it, or having played it first? I don't get it, but apparantly it must be lots and lots of people.

    No problem though - hang back a little, and you get to buy a game once the reviews are out, the servers are up and the patches are released.
  • by TomHandy ( 578620 ) <tomhandy@gmail.3.14159com minus pi> on Sunday March 12, 2006 @06:37PM (#14903979)
    Really, I don't expect anything from a game preview other than to get an idea of what an upcoming game is going to be about, what it might look like, what kind of gameplay or innovations it will feature, etc. Granted, some of the hyperbole can be distracting (i.e. "this game is going to REDEFINE FPS's!!!!"), but it's not generally something I read a game preview for. Honestly, the biggest thing I care about is screenshots and online videos (something which is of course handled much better online than in magazines)..... I don't think I'd ever pre-order a game though or even buy it on the first day though (unless I was reasonably confident it would be good) until I read more final reviews, and also read more user reviews and impressions.
  • Re:Who buys? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Khuffie ( 818093 ) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @07:54PM (#14904283) Homepage
    Well, it depends on the game really. I for one know I'll be buying Twilight Princess before reading any reviews. I wait on most other games, but there are certain titles that I know I'll love regardless of the reviews.
  • by Buran ( 150348 ) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @08:03PM (#14904318)
    And apparently, you just don't care about actually telling the truth in your articles and serving the people who pay to subscribe to your magazine, because I don't see anything anywhere about writing objective, fair articles but I see lots of bragging about happily filling the pages with bullshit.

    I wrote to PC Gamer once to politely correct a photo error in one of their articles, and they published my letter -- and made fun of me, comparing me to a fictional character on a TV show. For politely correcting an error in the way that one is supposed to do when writing to a magazine or newspaper editor! In the same way in which I've found errors in the NY Times and Time magazine and written to them -- and either gotten a very polite, grateful response from them or seen the correction published in the errata in a future issue.

    That one act meant I did not renew my subscription and I have never subscribed to a gaming magazine since -- because some asshole doing the same job you do proved that his profession didn't deserve any respect.

    Grow up and do your fucking job. You know, the thing they teach in journalism school about, I don't know, following the rules of journalism ethics.
  • by skam240 ( 789197 ) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @10:22PM (#14904735)
    Just IM'd a buddy of mine who's an editor for one of the big sites. While the developer would certainly prefer only good things to be said in the preview there are no stipulations attached to getting stuff to preview.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI