Bethesda has today confirmed it will no longer supply media with pre-release copies of its games for review.
“Earlier this year we released Doom. We sent review copies to arrive the day before launch, which led to speculation about the quality of the game,” wrote Bethesda’s Gary Steinman in a blog post. Since then Doom has emerged as a critical and commercial hit, and is now one of the highest-rated shooters of the past few years.
“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.”
Reading around the spin, this means that the public will not have access to reviews of any Bethesda game prior to release. While Doom was a situation where the finished product was of quality, that’s not to say that every single release will be.
To the media, this strategy seems underhanded. It seems Bethesda is quite happy to receive pre-orders of its upcoming titles, and limiting pre-release reviews is a great way to maximise those orders.
In a way, Bethesda acknowledges this.
“We also understand that some of you want to read reviews before you make your decision, and if that’s the case we encourage you to wait for your favorite reviewers to share their thoughts,” Steinman concludes.
There you have it. If this situation worries you, take Bethesda’s own advice. Wait for quality reviews before sinking any money into the publisher’s products. Granted, in the cases presented above, you can read Skyrim last-gen reviews around the internet, and Stevivor itself has a Dishonored 2 preview you can also peruse. But is that enough?
What do you think of this stance?