Originally Posted by TyrantII
Sure you can. If you don't think ad revenue, exclusive contracts to pump out "first" reviews, and even withholding review discs down the line doesn't have influence; I got a bridge to sell you Joe. It might not be benni's changing hands directly, but it's close enough. Especially with the lucrative ad buys.
There's a reason there was a HUGE ad campaign on IGN, they got the exclusive first review, then gave GTA4 a perfect 10/10. It wasn't because the game was perfect.
Like I said, there's massive pressure and influence. But it's never as direct as "Give X score and we'll give you X cash." Ad buys are a tiny part of a much larger series of influences.
Frankly, the much bigger influence is the role of PR firms in doling out developer interviews, preview code, video content, etc. Burn that bridge and you're screwed as a writer. Doesn't matter if you're "independently" funded. But also remember that most reviewers get paid almost nothing (and sometimes literally nothing). Publishers host fancy preview and launch events for journalists. Many journalists are friends with people who work in development, publishing, and PR--especially if they've been in the industry for a long time. Many journalists are aspire to work in development or publishing (many have already made the jump). I could go on and on. There's no way around all of that, regardless of how independent your site claims to be. The only thing you can look for as a reader is a writer whose opinion you value. That's about it.
Advertising dollars are the furthest thing from a reviewers' mind. Trust me.
And I hate to say it, but I'd almost trust a big, well funded site more than a small one. The big ones can usually afford
to say what they think without running the risk of pissing any publishers off. They can usually weather a PR blacklist no problem (for many, blacklisting is just a regular part of doing their job). Unfortunately, many big sites treat their writers like crap, so they end up with crappy, underpaid, disposable writers who are "hooked" by their love for games. Many editors are like drug dealers with a staff of destitute addicts. You can tell a site is run like this when they've got some seriously awful writers (IGN, for example). The worst part is, readers don't seem to notice or care.
All a very long way of saying: Capcom
is small potatoes for most journalists. They lose nothing by pissing them off. But it's a chicken and egg situation. Is Capcom "small potatoes" because they have been making bad games over the past few years? Or are their games (like RE6) only now being called "bad" because there's a recent industry-wide turn against them?Edited by confidenceman - 10/2/12 at 8:33am