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Giant Bomb claims they were denied a Borderlands 3 review copy due to 'dubious E3 coverage'.

Solidus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
420
I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often, honestly. If you're a business, why give an early copy of your game to any outlets other than the ones that consistently overhype your product? Integrity over money? If only...

Also, I feel bad for the dev team. This clearly shows that the publisher doesn't believe in the product they spent years working on. Instead of taking the "someone didn't like it in their preview, but wait until they see how great the rest of the game is" route, they went the "oh shit... someone's actually being critical of our product, better not let them spread more word" route.
 

Eumi

Member
Nov 3, 2017
3,078
I meant it's petty to not give Giant Bomb a copy for free because they (Gearbox) didn't like what they (Giant Bomb) said about them during E3.

And I wouldn't really label this as "manipulating review scores". If anything, it's not nearly as bad in that respect as Bethesda denying anyone review copies. If people really want to know what Giant Bomb has to say about the game, they can just wait for them to buy it and give their thoughts on it.
If the scores have nothing to do with it, what do you believe the reasons for the selectivness is?

Most people are on the same page here, that they didn’t give Giant Bomb a code because they were too negative, but if you have some other idea it’s worth sharing instead of just saying “I don’t think it’s this”.
 

XandBosch

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,693
If the scores have nothing to do with it, what do you believe the reasons for the selectivness is?

Most people are on the same page here, that they didn’t give Giant Bomb a code because they were too negative, but if you have some other idea it’s worth sharing instead of just saying “I don’t think it’s this”.
I didn't say it had nothing to do with the review scores, I just said I wouldn't label it as "manipulating review scores". Yes it seems they're being selective with who gets to review the game for these reasons specifically, at least in this one instance that we've heard about.

I also didn't deny that it seems they denied GB a copy of the game because they were being too negative...did you read my posts at all?

I was originally responded to because I just agreed with another poster who said:

Me personally, I dont really feel bad for reviewers not getting a copy of the game early. I dont know any other industry that would complain about critics selectively not getting a early show of something. Shady or not , If its my product i can show it to who i want right?

Wanting this game to do bad just because the PR department at 2k is kind of shitty. A lot of good devs probably worked hard on the title.


That's all lol. Giant Bomb aren't owed a free copy of the game, they can buy it just like I have to. Because they make videos for YouTube and have a popular podcast they're entitled to a free game? That's just not really how I choose to see it, I guess. And I 100% stand by the second part of that dude's comment, that people seemingly want this game to do bad because Randy Pitchford has been making stupid decisions - but he's not the only person at Gearbox, and Borderlands 3 looks like it'll be as much fun as the first two - that's all. I only got more defensive when someone compared denying a small outlet a free video game to a fascist government denying news coverage to media outlets...
 
Oct 25, 2017
145
I meant it's petty to not give Giant Bomb a copy for free because they (Gearbox) didn't like what they (Giant Bomb) said about them during E3.

And I wouldn't really label this as "manipulating review scores". If anything, it's not nearly as bad in that respect as Bethesda denying anyone review copies. If people really want to know what Giant Bomb has to say about the game, they can just wait for them to buy it and give their thoughts on it.
I mean, this is basically just a more eloquent way of repeating the "If they want to review it , buy it" post from the beginning of the thread. Which is a bad take. I really don't see how someone can look at this and not label it as manipulating scores. It is blatant.
 

XandBosch

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,693
I mean, this is basically just a more eloquent way of repeating the "If they want to review it , buy it" post from the beginning of the thread. Which is a bad take. I really don't see how someone can look at this and not label it as manipulating scores. It is blatant.
I guess I would label something like PAYING an outlet to give a positive score as "manipulating review scores", not denying one indie outlet a free copy of the game.

But fair enough, I guess I just don't fit into this thread. Ima bounce.
 

Gestault

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,379
I didn't say it had nothing to do with the review scores, I just said I wouldn't label it as "manipulating review scores". Yes it seems they're being selective with who gets to review the game for these reasons specifically, at least in this one instance that we've heard about.

I also didn't deny that it seems they denied GB a copy of the game because they were being too negative...did you read my posts at all?

I was originally responded to because I just agreed with another poster who said:

Me personally, I dont really feel bad for reviewers not getting a copy of the game early. I dont know any other industry that would complain about critics selectively not getting a early show of something. Shady or not , If its my product i can show it to who i want right?

Wanting this game to do bad just because the PR department at 2k is kind of shitty. A lot of good devs probably worked hard on the title.


That's all lol. Giant Bomb aren't owed a free copy of the game, they can buy it just like I have to. Because they make videos for YouTube and have a popular podcast they're entitled to a free game? That's just not really how I choose to see it, I guess. And I 100% stand by the second part of that dude's comment, that people seemingly want this game to do bad because Randy Pitchford has been making stupid decisions - but he's not the only person at Gearbox, and Borderlands 3 looks like it'll be as much fun as the first two - that's all. I only got more defensive when someone compared denying a small outlet a free video game to a fascist government denying news coverage to media outlets...
I just want to point out that it feels like you're going in circles here. You said within the same post that you "wouldn't label it as manipulating review scores," but also say outright that "it seems they're being selective with who gets to review the game for these reasons specifically" and that you "[wouldn't] deny that it seems they denied GB a copy of the game because they were being too negative."
 

Praxis

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,486
UK
This behaviour is re-inforced by the way people bang on about metacritic as though the cumulative score is a trophy or a stick. Its terrible and we can stop publishers caring by stopping the nonsense and overreactions.

The review threads on here show exactly why publishers do this - 19 good reviews and one average to middling one and the average one is championed and talked about for weeks on end. It needs to stop. Pick reviewers you like and trust and read them and stop using aggregated nonsense as some kind of a justification or trophy.
I agree.

If someone said a film was better than some other film because of the IMDB or RT score it received my eyes would roll into the back of my head. I know RT and others have an average of critics as well, but that is still worthless for me. Spider Man reviewed well and I thought it was boring. This whole obsession with scores is shit.

It's why the only film reviews I watch/read are Mark Kermode's, we don't always have the same opinions but he has a similar taste in films as I do and the ones we do differ on his reasoning is interesting anyway.
 

Window

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,429
I don't even remember then being that critical or cynical about Borderlands. I thought they were all pretty interested.
Abby and Dan were disinterested in the game in their preview footage coverage to put it mildly. Which is fair enough if they didn't enjoy it. They were honest with their opinion on it. Though they didn't really have a lot to say in the video so most of it was just reiterating their lack of excitement about the game.
 

wollywinka

Member
Feb 15, 2018
164
I don't have your experience etc but that all makes a lot of sense. What stopped the other review outlets throwing the PR company under the bus though? Why didn't they call out the cherry picking and selective coverage?

GB, Kotaku etc are not going far enough to call out 2K, AND other outlets on this. I get the reluctance to start an internet hate mob...but they ought to do something IMHO
Back in the ‘90s (and, to a degree, the early Noughties), the Internet wasn’t the force it is today. Social media didn’t exist, so controversy was far more contained and localised. With less information at your fingertips, journalists depended more on press releases. I used to have a stack of them on my desk, and if something caught me eye, I would write an article or a review.

I had a particularly good relationship with Sony. The in-house PR used to bike over games on unmarked CDs. Given the lead-in for magazines, this would often be months before release. My seven-year old son was the principal beneficiary. Lol.
 

AntiMacro

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,420
Alberta
That's all lol. Giant Bomb aren't owed a free copy of the game, they can buy it just like I have to. Because they make videos for YouTube and have a popular podcast they're entitled to a free game? That's just not really how I choose to see it, I guess.
It's not a 'free game' it's a tool used to provide coverage. This is just a really stupid take that needs to stop.
 

Nugnip

Member
Oct 25, 2017
751
I guess I would label something like PAYING an outlet to give a positive score as "manipulating review scores", not denying one indie outlet a free copy of the game.

But fair enough, I guess I just don't fit into this thread. Ima bounce.
Paying an outlet for a good score is manipulative. Denying the means to review the game in time to an outlet you feel is going to score the game poorly is just as manipulative. Don't worry, they're gonna get their free copy. Just after it's too late to cancel preorders.
 

bonkasaurus

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,063
That's all lol. Giant Bomb aren't owed a free copy of the game, they can buy it just like I have to. Because they make videos for YouTube and have a popular podcast they're entitled to a free game? That's just not really how I choose to see it, I guess. And I 100% stand by the second part of that dude's comment, that people seemingly want this game to do bad because Randy Pitchford has been making stupid decisions - but he's not the only person at Gearbox, and Borderlands 3 looks like it'll be as much fun as the first two - that's all. I only got more defensive when someone compared denying a small outlet a free video game to a fascist government denying news coverage to media outlets...
The difference between a media outlet not getting a review copy and you having to buy it is that nobody cares what you have to say about the quality of a game.
 

Manicstreet

Member
Oct 25, 2017
135
My two cents if anyone cares. They don't need the giant bombs of the world anymore. They are paying streamers (Gothalian, Broman & others) to hype the hell outta the game. Why risk sending a key to a site that has journalistic integrity?
 

Xeteh

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,370
The "Giant Bomb aren't owed a copy" comments are super dumb too because Jeff even says it is well within their rights (2K's) to not send them a code. They weren't complaining they didn't get one, they were commenting that they got a different answer than the security concerns thing that was making the rounds.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,142
Las Vegas
Pitchford needs to go. Hes gonna kill sales of the game.
99% of people don't know who Pitchford is. 99% of those who have heard of his name before don't know how much of a creep he is.

Randy Pitchford is mostly a resetera monster. Sales of this game will be fine. It'll eat RE2, DMC5 and Sekiro for breakfast. (or any other ERA popular GOTY candidate this year) Probably even with some of thoses games combined.
 

thebishop

Member
Nov 10, 2017
1,634
99% of people don't know who Pitchford is. 99% of those who have heard of his name before don't know how much of a creep he is.

Randy Pitchford is mostly a resetera monster. Sales of this game will be fine. It'll eat RE2, DMC5 and Sekiro for breakfast. (or any other ERA popular GOTY candidate this year) Probably even with some of thoses games combined.
It'll do great on consoles if performance is good imo. PC is a lost cause due to EGS.
 

Fadewise

Member
Nov 5, 2017
542
I guess I would label something like PAYING an outlet to give a positive score as "manipulating review scores", not denying one indie outlet a free copy of the game.

But fair enough, I guess I just don't fit into this thread. Ima bounce.
It's not about whether or not they had to purchase the key themselves; it's about early access to the game in order go give a well-informed review day-and-date with the launch, which absolutely informs the day-one narrative around a game.
 

Island

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
81
If the reviews didn't matter, there would be no reason to duck them. Even a bad review is basically free advertising in terms of increasing awareness of your product, the release date, and just ensuring that potential customers are saturated with news about it in the run-up to release. You would never turn down a chance at free publicity unless you were explicitly concerned about the risks negative publicity would pose.
I am still in the camp that denying a highly vocal (and critical) group (GB) does more to increase publicity then if they were given a review copy so that they can discuss it on a podcast.
If this happened because Pitchford was felt personally attacked I'd actually find that a fair reason compared to gaming the metacritic.
This feels more likely based upon the limited understanding I have of Pitchford as a person.

The major outlets (IGN, Gamespot, PCGamer, etc) DID receive a review copy. (I would also note that Gamespot is in the same company as GB, so the beef seems more personal on that fact alone.)

If you were concerned about your product, you would do what other publishers do and either not provide copies to ANY outlets or embargo the reviews to the same day as launch to hide your mess. Unless you think 2K has paid off all the outlets that were given a review copy in order to inflate a metacritic score? (And the cheque didnt clear in time for PCGamer....)
 

Jebusman

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,453
Halifax, NS
Let's be realistic, it's going to sell a ton on PC as well. All the EGS stuff is as much confined to places like resetera when it comes to deciding whether people buy or not as the Pitchford stuff is.
I mean we would know this for sure if we ever got sales numbers for EGS games, but alas the company who employs the man made famous for approximate sales numbers doesn't allow devs to disclose sales numbers.
 

THRILLHO

Member
Nov 6, 2017
423
by GB's review scale, its not a 5/5, so at best its 4/5, which translates only to an 80/100 on metacritic, with 2K risking a 3/5 if they didn't like the humor/writing/dated gameplay/etc, which is a 60/100, lower than even PCGamer's score. It'd make more sense for publishers to deny them review copies unless they were almost certain it'd get 5/5. whatever the real reason, it sure as shit isn't security
 

TheYanger

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
5,971
I dont see fans of those shows complaining the critics didnt get to see it early.

Same goes for music.
Point me to a notable reviewer being told they were going to be singled out and not sent a copy because they weren't shilling said product. That happens a whole lot less in those industries.
 

modoversus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,196
México
? :

What is the first controlled review event that you can remember hearing about?
I think maybe on the first two years of Giantbomb, on the Bombcast they mentioned having to go to a hotel with other outlets to review a game. They explained how that worked. I'm trying really hard to remember, but I think they sent Brad? And the game was from Konami, maybe.
 

modoversus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,196
México
I dont see fans of those shows complaining the critics didnt get to see it early.

Same goes for music.
People do complain when a movie or TV show is released with no reviews, or with the embargo for reviews is the same day as release of the product, because at this point the audience is educated enough to know that the studio/producer is hiding the product because it probably sucks.
 

ghostcrew

Spooking
Moderator
Oct 27, 2017
8,988
United Kingdom
Point me to a notable reviewer being told they were going to be singled out and not sent a copy because they weren't shilling said product. That happens a whole lot less in those industries.
This happens all of the time in music. I work in this industry. You just don’t hear about it because music fans aren’t obsessed with Metacritic scores like gamers are. Nobody cares what score The Guardian gave to the new Foo Fighters record or what Metacritic score the last Chvrches record got. I’ve worked on record releases for over ten years and nobody has ever talked to me about Metacritic scores.

But you can guarantee that when review copies are sent out they’re not sent to the guy that gave the last record one out of five and insulted the singers wife.
 

TheYanger

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
5,971
This happens all of the time in music. I work in this industry. You just don’t hear about it because music fans aren’t obsessed with Metacritic scores like gamers are. Nobody cares what score The Guardian gave to the new Foo Fighters record or what Metacritic score the last Chvrches record got. I’ve worked on record releases for over ten years and nobody has ever talked to me about Metacritic scores.

But you can guarantee that when review copies are sent out they’re not sent to the guy that gave the last record one out of five and insulted the singers wife.
Sorry, I think that's more because nobody cares about music reviews tbh.
 

airbagged_

Member
Jan 21, 2019
1,548
Charleston, SC
Are people still claiming that Giant Bomb complained about not getting a copy, when they were just addressing how they were approached about the situation in contrast to other sites that didn't get keys?
 

TheYanger

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
5,971
Are people still claiming that Giant Bomb complained about not getting a copy, when they were just addressing how they were approached about the situation in contrast to other sites that didn't get keys?
I don't think so? People in the thread have complained, but it's pretty clear that GB themselves did not. They disclosed what happened pretty calmly and explained that while all of those pieces individually aren't super uncommon, they add up to be a bit of a shit situation. Happy?
 

ghostcrew

Spooking
Moderator
Oct 27, 2017
8,988
United Kingdom
Sorry, I think that's more because nobody cares about music reviews tbh.
Agreed. The two industries are so different. We watch content, like giant bombs, as fans because it’s entertainment. I’m a giant bomb premium subscriber and have been since day one, and I’ve been really excited to hear the teams opinions (and video content) surrounding borderlands. There is no comparison to that in the music industry.

I’m simply disputing the fact that this behaviour (blacklisting and sending to favourable reviews) doesn’t happen in the music industry. If anything i would guess it’s much more common.
 

TheYanger

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
5,971
Agreed. The two industries are so different. We watch content, like giant bombs, as fans because it’s entertainment. I’m a giant bomb premium subscriber and have been since day one, and I’ve been really excited to hear the teams opinions (and video content) surrounding borderlands. There is no comparison to that in the music industry.

I’m simply disputing the fact that this behaviour (blacklisting and sending to favourable reviews) doesn’t happen in the music industry. If anything i would guess it’s much more common.
Oh almost surely, I meant it mostly as a tongue in cheek joke, because I've literally never heard anyone speak about music reviews. I imagine when you run across, say, a film that snubs a major reviewer it's much more of an issue however, because film reviews are highly publicized and expected parts of consuming that media, just like games. Ultimately, to most of the audience they don't matter much, but I think for the core audience it's certainly an expectation that this stuff is sent to everyone or no one.
 
Feb 24, 2018
774
I am legit curious in seeing how the the metacritic score changes once the rest of the critics are able to review and post them up. Like will 2K actions, even unwittingly have a negative effect on them, it stays the same or the other critics have a worse time with the game then with the early version the first batch got.
 

Nora

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,293
I didn't say it had nothing to do with the review scores, I just said I wouldn't label it as "manipulating review scores". Yes it seems they're being selective with who gets to review the game for these reasons specifically, at least in this one instance that we've heard about.

I also didn't deny that it seems they denied GB a copy of the game because they were being too negative...did you read my posts at all?

I was originally responded to because I just agreed with another poster who said:

Me personally, I dont really feel bad for reviewers not getting a copy of the game early. I dont know any other industry that would complain about critics selectively not getting a early show of something. Shady or not , If its my product i can show it to who i want right?

Wanting this game to do bad just because the PR department at 2k is kind of shitty. A lot of good devs probably worked hard on the title.


That's all lol. Giant Bomb aren't owed a free copy of the game, they can buy it just like I have to. Because they make videos for YouTube and have a popular podcast they're entitled to a free game? That's just not really how I choose to see it, I guess. And I 100% stand by the second part of that dude's comment, that people seemingly want this game to do bad because Randy Pitchford has been making stupid decisions - but he's not the only person at Gearbox, and Borderlands 3 looks like it'll be as much fun as the first two - that's all. I only got more defensive when someone compared denying a small outlet a free video game to a fascist government denying news coverage to media outlets...
hell yeah i too hate independent press and love the taste of boots
 

Bold One

Member
Oct 30, 2017
7,096
I am legit curious in seeing how the the metacritic score changes once the rest of the critics are able to review and post them up. Like will 2K actions, even unwittingly have a negative effect on them, it stays the same or the other critics have a worse time with the game then with the early version the first batch got.
It shouldn't, but it will, even Jim Sterling said as much, there's just too much fuckery to isolate.
 

Razgriz417

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,887
just listened that portion of the bombcast during my commute and yeah GB in no way was complaining about not getting review codes. They gave plenty of examples of how this is common place and even highlighted that they rather get an honest reason like this (which Rorie mentions they've gotten before for other games) than the vague run around about security concerns or not having enough copies.

Too bad the rest of the transcript isn't in the OP and I shouldnt be surprised but there's still a bunch of ppl with an axe to grind with GB for one misguided reason or another lol