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Bethesda asserts controversial review policy

Bethesda Games affirms that they will release review copies of games only one day prior to the commercial release date.

In an official statement found on their website, Bethesda Game Studios (maker of games such as the Elder Scrolls series and Doom) reiterated that they will continue their policy of sending review copies of their games to media outlets "one day before release." Stating their support for review outlets, YouTube channels, and content streamers, the publisher is instituting this policy to encourage customers and reviewers alike "experience [their] games at the same time."

Overall, reactions to Bethesda's stance on review copies have been fairly negative, as consumers and reviewers alike flocked to Twitter and other social media outlets to express their concern. Ben Kuchara with Polygon wrote a scathing article decrying the policy as a bad move for the industry, particularly for consumers. The conclusion drawn by the writer for Polygon is that Bethesda intentionally wants to restrict information surrounding a game prior to launch in order to obfuscate poor quality product and gain revenue from customers by hoodwinking them into buying shoddy games. Further, Kuchara stated that this policy is "wiping out any change players will have to learn about the quality of a game before it's released," resulting in unrealistic expectations being set for game launch. This, in turn, will create higher dissatisfaction among gamers who pre-order or purchase games at launch.

Martin Robinson at Eurogamer echoes this sentiment, calling the policy "anti-consumer" and "riddled with inconsistencies." They advise consumers not to pre-order games, calling the practice "a mug's game, which makes the machinations of publishers... all the more distasteful."

Bethesda is set to release The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition later this month on October 28th for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC.


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Sam Medley, 2016-10-28 (Update: 2016-10-28)