It is always important for consumers to be knowledgeable about the products they buy. This prevents them from making a purchase they would later regret. Reviews serve as an essential part in enlightening consumers about either a good or bad product — especially for media products that have a subjective nature.
That is why I find it baffling that Bethesda — the publisher of games such as “Fallout,” “Dishonored” and “The Elder Scrolls” — would even think of discontinuing pre-release review copies. On Oct. 25, 2016, Bethesda stated on their website that future products would follow the model set by this year’s “DOOM,” and only provide reviewers with access one day prior to release. Bethesda’s justification for the late releases was the commercial and critical acclaim “DOOM” received despite its one-day review period. Bethesda apparently feels confident enough in their products to the point where they don’t need to send out advance copies of their games. This is both anti-consumer and contradictory.
A review is an objective take on a product that serves as either a warning or promotion to consumers. In order to have an objective take on something, especially in video games, the game must be played in detail. The reviewer needs to take his or her time with the game for both completing and coming up with an informed opinion of said game. Having only one day for both completing and writing a detailed critique for a game can cause problems. Details might be skipped, or critiques may not be coherent enough for the reader. This is even more important when the element of competition is introduced. Websites that publish reviews are paid by advertisers based on the amount of views the page receives. This means outlets will rush to get their reviews out first to maximize their amount of readers.
Bethesda’s justification for holding back pre-release copies is also contradictory, as “DOOM” was to be a potential flop. Released back in April 2016, “DOOM’s” multiplayer beta was made available to the public, and the reception was negative overall. The multiplayer did little to introduce anything new to the first-person shooter genre. If Bethesda really had confidence in their product, they should have sent out review copies earlier. If the campaign for “DOOM” was the saving grace — and what made it so popular — then Bethesda should have allowed earlier reviews for better press to increase potential sales.
Rushed reviews are not good for the consumer and companies know this. If a review is delayed or rushed people will have less time to come up with an informed opinion and will end up buying something blind. Hopefully Bethesda will cease their anti consumerism practices and start thinking more about their customers.