IGN too close to publishers? Steam Early Access, Origin Sale and more!

The Midagedgamer Report for 3-22-2013

This Week:

IGN in cahoots with EA?, Steam Early Access, Origin likes you and more!

bf4scene-tagFirst we get movie reviews on a gaming website now it appears that gaming news icon IGN may (or may not) have exclusive access to content from the upcoming Battlefield 4.  The Battlefield 4 website went live Wednesday and somebody dug into its code and found a snippet suggesting that IGN already had a promotional  article written proclaiming “IGN predicting Battlefield 4 to be game of the year”.  A check of the site today shows no evidence of the code but the suggestion that IGN may be partnering with EA to promote the game is a natural leap.  Whether or not is true is something entirely different.  It does call into question how impartial a game review can really be when there’s such a close relationship with a publisher.  As though movie reviews weren’t bad enough.  By the way the BF4 website is here.  If you have an Origin account and log into the website you’ll earn the special “I Was There” in-game dog tag to show all your jealous friends…

IGN  too cozy with pubs?

Ever wish you had a say in how your favorite game got developed?  Well Valve has just launched Steam Early Access where gamers can play games that are still in development.  Most of the games are of the indie variety but include titles like ARMA 3.  It’s an interesting opportunity born out of Valves community based Greenlight program.  Smaller developers rarely have the resources to fully flesh out a game before launch so getting the fans involved could produce a better product.   Hopefully the free help translates into discounts and freebies for the participants.

Play it before it’s done

In case you haven’t noticed, EA’s Origin service is having a week long sale that ends March 26th on over 200 games.  Some are up to 70% off with Crysis 3 and Dead Space 3 around $30 US and the BF3 Premium subscription now half price at $24.99.  That’s almost funny, now that BF4 is announced who cares about Premium anyway?

They call it an “Origin Player Appreciation Sale”  I call it damage control after the SimCity debacle.  Who cares, take advantage while you can.

Origin Appreciates you

Seems Battlefield 4 isn’t the only game IGN has a sneak peak at.  They’ve released a glowing review of the upcoming Bioshock:Infinite due out March 26th.  Hailing this latest installment of the Bioshock universe as

A stunning original world of retro-sci-fi technology and gorgeous scenery. A cast of fully fleshed-out, memorable characters who deliver real emotional impact.”

I don’t know about you but with all this gushing going on in reviews that sound like they came right out of the publisher’s PR department I have to wonder how impartial IGN really is.  It’s not a stretch to suggest that publishers may be willing to give early access to a review site if they know they’re among friends.  Even flaws seem to be glossed over in favor of phrases like, “You Will Believe a City Can Fly”

Really?   Even bad reviews of games like Medal of Honor:Warfighter try to soften the blow by acting apologist and highlighting irrelevant bright spots like this from IGN’s review of Warfighter.

Warfighter strives for this by giving you a genuine impression of what it’s like to live as a Tier 1 operator, the elite operatives at the center of the modernized Medal of Honor series. It’s clear from the first cutscene all the way to the end credits that developer Danger Close has the utmost respect for the extraordinary skills and bravery of these soldiers.

 If Medal of Honor extended the same level of respect to its players, Warfighter might have accomplished more than its numerous significant failures and lack of player agency has allowed.” from IGN’s review of Warfighter

Ok, the last paragraph was somewhat useful but it’s a negative review, so what’s up with all this about “striving to give a genuine impression.”  How’s that even possible in a game so flawed that even EA (the publisher) had to admit it.

I guess that’s why I work for free…

IGN Reviews Bioshock Infinite

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