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Publishers: withholding review code is wrong

Friday, 5 April 2013 08:26 GMT By Dave Cook

In the past fortnight we’ve seen a handful of middling games release ahead of reviews. VG247′s Dave Cook argues that the practice of withholding code can do more damage than bad metascores.

Dear publishers,

I don’t like being called a game journalist. I prefer to be called a game critic. For a long time my job has been to offer critique of games and topics for a variety of outlets, so that I can inform the buying decisions of my readership. These are your customers. These people pay you money for your products.

To properly assess a game I need time to play it through and to closely inspect every mechanic, element of design, multiplayer components and other separate parts to see if the complete package warrants the top-line asking price.

It’s a failure if I can’t give an accurate picture of what your product is like, then my readership spends good money on an inferior product.

When you realise you have a bad game on your hands, and you choose to hold no preview events for the press, or withhold review code until the game is already out, then, I’m sorry, but you’re effectively conning your customers.

I understand that “shock and awe” is a term used regularly in the game marketing world. I’ve interviewed enough independent developers who hate the phrase to understand that it exists. It’s the notion of keeping elements of a game secret until your marketing plan allows them to be made public.

You can file teaser trailers, screenshot reveals, release date reveals, pre-order incentive reveals and soundtrack composer reveals under “shock and Awe”. I call it something else. I call it deception. The games industry has become a circus of half-truths, mystery and false messages. You see this whenever studios release tarted-up bullshots of games. It’s a false image.

Transparency was once a dying virtue in the games industry, but it has found new life in the PC scene, where paid alphas and Kickstarter campaigns live or die depending on how open and responsive a studio can be. The open forum approach and the dialogue between consumer and developer can make for a superior product, but this is a rare thing in the triple-A market.

Developers now have to hit certain Metacritic scores in order to keep their publishers happy, keep their bonus pay and, in some cases, keep their jobs.

So when a publishing house like you knows it has a dud game on its hands you often engage in in a spate of dishonest rug-sweeping. Should you choose to give me and my press colleagues an early glimpse of such a product, it’s usually a cleverly-orchestrated ‘vertical-slice’ that makes your game look better than it is.

You may also push out trailers that give an incorrect view of the final product, but at times publishers might choose to hold no preview events for a bad game, or to withhold review code so that the press can’t tear it apart pre-launch. But here’s a better solution: make a better game. It’s not our fault that you ended up with a poor product. Stopping us, agents of the gaming press, from properly appraising your product before it goes to market reflects badly on you.

Sure, you may still squeeze sales out of people before the bad reviews come out, but what does that say about how you view those paying customers? From this side of the fence it looks like you see them as money in the bank, rather than loyal fans who have perhaps saved and squandered for your game for some time. That is no way to maintain customer loyalty.

Take your poor reviews like grown-ups and learn from the experience. See and understand what you did poorly and use it to better your next project. Iteration is a major part of game development.

Why not hold preview events early, read the resulting previews and use that feedback to make much-needed changes? How about paid alphas that evolve over time thanks to the input of gamers and the press? We can help you make these games better at a distance.

The games press needn’t be your enemy. Read what we have to say and use it like a tool. Talk to your fans properly.

Stop hiding behind misleading marketing campaigns and doctored images that dupe customers into parting with their money for nothing more than a fantasy. When they see the reality of your poor product having paid for the displeasure, they will pin the blame squarely on you.

Insight is crucial. Last year I argued in a blog that game reviews should tone back the philosophical fluff and just explain whether a game is good or not. That’s the core of any review. I was quickly accused of missing the point, and was told by a commenter that reviews shouldn’t just be a straight list of product features and opinions.

That’s not what I was saying at all. It’s just when I read an article about game that rambles on for four paragraphs about what the interviewee is wearing and having for lunch, I switch off. I’m not interested in how many big words a reviewer knows. Just tell me if the game is any good or not. When you, publishers, withhold final review code because you fear a poor Metacritic score, then you’re effectively curbing that insight.

I’ll concede that, yes, publishers in the majority have lifted the ‘red rope’ on studios. And I’ll agree that gamers today have never been given so much insight into how development works.

But there is still much work to be done. When I see a five second teaser for a teaser trailer that shows nothing, I can’t help but think we’re all missing the bigger picture here. Transparency can be useful for all corners of the industry – press, developer, publisher and consumer – but until certain companies realise that their customers are more than just money then this malpractice won’t cease.

Withholding code does your customers a grave disservice. When I see your game placed high in the charts without any reviews to criticise it, that doesn’t make me think you’re shrewd. I’m sure that many gamers reading this feel the same way.

Sincerely,

Dave Cook, game critic.

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35 Comments

  1. Samoan Spider

    Excellent letter Dave, I hope some of them sit up and take note. But like anything they know that a shiny turd, if given proper attention, will be shown to be a shiny turd and people won’t buy it. I don’t see this practice changing as much as we would all like it too. As with all industries, there are good guys and there are arseholes.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Lord Gremlin

    See, some of those publishers get around exclusively by lying to the customer. So, this entire article is basically telling thieves to stop stealing.
    It’s how they roll, stupid. They will die before they change.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. solsticegamer

    “Last year I argued in a blog that game reviews should tone back the philosophical fluff and just explain whether a game is good or not. ”

    I disagree because reviews can never be objective. What you refer to as “philosophical fluff” is often the reviewer’s perspective. There is a place in reviews for pros and cons, but beyond that, it’s about the experience, and that is very subjective. It’s something that can’t simply be explained with good or bad. That’s why it’s also pointless when certain reviews try to cover aspects like graphics, story, sound, just for the sake of it, like its a box that needs to be ticked. Sometimes those areas need to be left out, and at others they need to be highlighted more. It changes with the game.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Dave Cook

    @3 Yeah, box ticker reviews are bad, I said as such in my piece above and yeah there is scope for insight and back-stories and other information that help give real value to a review.

    But do I really need to know what Ken Levine is wearing or having for lunch by the pool of some expensive hotel in a BioShock Infinite interview feature? It adds no value to the piece.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. life28

    I call myself game critic too, because I review games for few years. Me, as editor in chief of independent office is always hard to get review copy of game, and usualy, we get them at day of release. There are still much publishers, who can access us into game before release and we can tell reader if game is bad, or good just before release, before buy. But…we are small office and I am scared every time, when I have to post my review back to publisher and their game has poor score. I am scared, that beacuse our reviews have poor score, we won´t get another game in future. So I think, this is one reason why publishers are bit late with review copies, they fear of sales in first days of release.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Dave Cook

    @5 “They fear of sales in first days of release.”

    Yeah that’s true, and that’s perfectly understandable. But it gives off a bad message. I see gamers often ask us why no reviews have gone live for a game that’s out in the same week. Suspicions get raised and everyone assumes the game is shit. It’s negative.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    I agree.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. rbevanx

    “When you realise you have a bad game on your hands, and you choose to hold no preview events for the press, or withhold review code until the game is already out, then, I’m sorry, but you’re effectively conning your customers.”

    It’s their choice to show the game or not, you don’t see magicans showing their tricks before the show…
    I think it’s when they show footage as “in game” when it’s not in game it’s conning people, like with the recent Aliens game.

    It’s not a legal requirement for the publishers to issue a review copy and calling then con artists doesn’t help your argument I’m afraid.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. OmegaSlayer

    Great read.
    Publishers must hear the customer base or they bomb like DmC.
    Because we’re not cash cows and we know what we want.

    Also Dave…nice guts to pull out a piece like this.
    It will gather hate more than enlighten publishers, because…simply because it seems all the people in charge of something in this world are presumptuos, dumb and full of themselves, so they refuse others’ people honest and well thought opinions.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. silkvg247

    Good read.. not sure on the “grow up” part, I think really it’s more to do with them being professional and taking responsibility.

    I wonder which game/games triggered this article?

    In either case, at least the more experienced gamers know to wait for scores before they buy. I made my gf hold back from that walking dead trash.. she’s a fan of the show, she was going to buy it.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. sb319

    This seems curiously naive.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. ps4some

    Nice words Dave I agree entirely.

    You’re pissing in the wind though :)

    #12 2 years ago
  13. viralshag

    What’s the difference between a bad game getting withheld review code and a good game held under wraps by an embargo? The news of whether they are good or bad games will generally come to light at the same time and it’s often at the same level of risk.

    Not to mention the fact that game sites, like VG, will often promote/hype/release any info about said bad/good game before launch. I think game journalism is just as bad for misleading potential customers or catering to their readership.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. frostquake

    Adapt or Die? Evolve or be Replaced? They make perfect sense! But not to a Company run by a Board!
    Remember the ONLY responsibility a board has is to its shareholders! And the only responsibility is P R O F I T!
    While the CEO of Gaming companies may know what is going on, the majority investors, either are on the board, or have a pawn on the board, and some of these people are extremely clueless about how the gaming industry only works! The only reason they are there, is the potential for profit!
    There are great many Documentaries that explain this concept, and why consumers will always be the last concern, ALWAYS!
    The Upper Echelon\Board\Majority Shareholders, will do whatever it takes to make a profit, Not giving review copies, gutting and splitting up a company to make a profit. Their goal is to give the LEAST for the Most! Least for Maximum Return.
    There is a Major Shift in the Economy right now in the USA, and parts of the rest of the world, but most Corporations will NOT change their formulas. As long as they get their profits, they could careless about the workers\developers or the consumers. Once they get their profits out, they are more then happy to let the company go Bankrupt.
    A company I worked for, which I shall not name, was bought by a certain past Presidential Candidate here in the USA. Instead of Him or his board being happy with a smaller profit over the long term, it was much easier to make a quicker profit by gutting the company and then putting it into bankruptcy! Even though thousands of people lost their jobs, the Board and CEO made a ton of quick money, even though if they would have kept the company they would have made more in the long term, but it was too tempting to turn a quick buck! This type of behavior exists in all Companies, including Game Companies!
    So good luck in getting any Company\Corporation to change!

    STAY FROSTY MY FRIENDS!

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Dave Cook

    @13 good games deserve your £45, bad ones don’t.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. viralshag

    @15, How do I know it’s a good game or not? Embargos are usually lifted upon the day of release. People will often have the games pre-ordered anyway if the hype train has been at work.

    So what’s the difference? It’s not like hyped good looking games have turned out to be disappointing before.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. silkvg247

    @15 No game deserves £45, that’s extortion :p

    #17 2 years ago
  18. SameeR_Fisher

    Great read Dave and totally agree, I hope other ‘game critics’ take the same stand as you, and start voicing concern regarding such matters.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Dave Cook

    @18 They aren’t. They mostly disagree, but thanks for reading.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Samoan Spider

    @19 And that Dave, is why we are here. We know that you guys aren’t just shills so fuck ‘em.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. ps3fanboy

    very good written article by dave cook here, he hit the nail on the head with this one.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. SameeR_Fisher

    @19: wait what ?!, I thought they won’t talk about it to not harm their relationship with the publisher or something, but disagree ?!

    I mean yeah sure people can disagree, but what is there to disagree about holding out a review copy ?!

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Dave Cook

    @22 I was told my opinion was naive and uneducated. I admit I could have offered more insight into some areas and presented the case of the other side better – I mean that sincerely – but mostly I was told that a PRs job is to help their employer make money and if shrouding the facts is the way to do that then who I am I to argue?

    I still cannot accept that with a smile. I don’t even blame the PR though, I blame the top tier marketing execs. I know lots of PR folk and understand they’re just doing their job, but again it’s my failing for not explaining that better in the piece.

    I used to work in PR for a legal firm though (nothing to do with gaming though) so know full well what parts of the job entail. I should have just stated it better. My bad on that one.

    Live and learn eh?

    #23 2 years ago
  24. SameeR_Fisher

    @23: Dave, I am sure you could have written it better, but to me when I read this piece it felt coming out from me, it was easy to relate to what you are saying as a fellow gamer.

    And really these people see that kind of PR the way to go ?!, seriously ?!, I mean as you said the top tier execs want something specific, but the amount of deceive the consumer goes through should matters most, to say this bluntly we are the reason company X is kicking, loyal consumer who have faith that company X give quality titles, betraying such trust is really dangerous.

    yeah Dave, live and learn, you know most readers here love your pieces, so keep them coming, keep voicing our concerns that may go unchecked, I for one will be always supporting.

    Cheers

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Dave Cook

    @24 thanks pal, much appreciated :)

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Lengendaryboss

    Very impressive letter Dave, stick it to the man :D. I can understand why publishers do it: to fool the uninformed crowd, get as much sales as possible thats the sort of anti-consumer, greedy and sad tactics i don’t like in a publisher. Everyone should know what they are getting into, which is again something the uninformed crowd don’t know about.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. DSB

    It’s certainly brave.

    It’s just another case of control being given over to publishers and PR because the press refuses to stand up for itself.

    If a movie studio refuses to hold press screenings before a premiere, the press responds by covering that irregularity and letting everyone know just how little confidence they have in their movie.

    The obvious result is that 99% of all movies have press screenings after which the press can write what they like.

    The videogaming press doesn’t respond in the same fashion, and so they don’t get the same respect.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. RocknRolla

    I haven’t been registered on this site long, but Dave this is the best I’ve seen from you! Great job man! Keep this up :) this is why I never buy games not known to me before I watch a review, I sudgest the whole should wait for a review as well haha :)

    #28 2 years ago
  29. salarta

    As Dave said, withholding the chance for critics to review a game until it’s already out is ultimately a bad thing for sales. If it’s a bad game, then it’s the difference between a loyal customer seeing the review and merely skipping that one game, or the customer wasting their money on a bad product and deciding not to buy countless future games that they’re on the fence about in case they suck as bad as the first one they wasted their money on.

    Using deception to sell one game is not worth, in the eyes of a sane person, the loss of a sale for ten future games. It’s also one of many reasons I stopped buying anything associated with Squeenix back in 2011. Among the many horrible things about Squeenix’s practices, both FF13 and 3rd Birthday as well as other games involved the writers, directors and marketing openly lying about the content or purpose behind the content as a ploy to boost sales. I can’t support or respect a company that treats its customers like morons.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. Dave Cook

    @28 and @29 thank you guys. Much appreciated.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. Gekidami

    Pat would not agree:
    http://www.vg247.com/2012/05/21/how-diablo-3-gave-metacritic-a-giant-middle-finger/

    “Reviews written after launch, especially those for games which feature a heavy online component, are more accurate and less susceptible to being tainted by publisher control. For the most savvy consumers in the games space – yes, that’s you – that means you’re going to get better reviews from unhurried experts”

    Interesting divergence in opinions.

    “They aren’t. They mostly disagree, but thanks for reading.”
    Indeed.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. Dave Cook

    @31 divergence of opinions is good though I’d say. We are two different people after all. Shows we’re a democracy in the end. Thanks for reading bud.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. scott_wright

    Having just read this I hope you don`t stop doing pieces like this they are great!

    I understand you don`t want people to dislike you Dave but you are doing great work!

    #33 2 years ago
  34. FuzzyPixels

    @31: It depends on what you hold the function of a review to be, and indeed the nature of the game at hand. It’s impossible to successfully review an MMO before launch, and indeed irresponsible to do so, but the vast majority of games may certainly be critiqued in both a timely and thorough manner…

    …given that the actual code arrives on time.

    But it depends what we’re writing for. Are we writing for consumers? Are we writing for developers? Ourselves? Posterity? All of the above?

    Personally, I think Dave’s frustration is warranted, but the practices of PR and marketing folk must be in the interests of their clients rather than those clients’ customers. Sadly the two are not always the same. As critics, it’s up to us to try and change the culture of blind buying, to make transparent what reps seek to make foggy, report on delays and stonewalling and hold publishers to account when code is late. We need articles like this from more of the top tier sites, honest writing (what a novelty!), but coupled with action.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. Dave Cook

    @34 thank you :)

    #35 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Batman: Arkham Knight will indeed be a download-only title on PC in the UK, Warner Bros. has confirmed to VG247. Batman: Arkham Knight will be available as both a physical and digital release for PS4, Xbox One and PC in North America and Europe. Again, in the UK, the PC version will be “available as […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege release date set for October per GameStop Italy – report

    GameStop Italy may have let the release date for Rainbow Six Siege slip if a recent listing is accurate. According to the listing, the game will release on October 16. While this could be a placeholder date, October 16 is a Friday in the UK, the usual day new releases land at retail. The release […]

  • Watch the $1 million Call of Duty Championship right here

    The The Call of Duty Championship takes place this weekend, and you can watch all the action as it unfolds right here. The event takes place in Los Angeles tomorrow March 27 and runs through March 29, and the livestreams are below. 32 teams from five continents and 11 countries will be competing in Call […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: Battlefest kicks off this weekend with Double XP

    A new season of Battlefest kicks off this weekend, and starting today, you will earn Double XP in Battlefield Hardline. Battlefest for Hardline is similar to the event held for Battlefield 4 last year. For the entire month of April and into May, in-game events and competitions will be held by the developers and player […]

  • Don’t forget: the GTA 5 PC pre-order bonus cutoff is March 31

    Just a friendly reminder to those planning on purchasing GTA 5 for PC: you have until March 31 to pre-order if you want all the bonuses on offer. Those who pre-order will be handed $1 million in-game cash plus a bonus $300,000. It is split between GTA 5 and GTA Online: $500,000 for Grand Theft […]

  • Games with Gold offers doubled for April – six games instead of three

    Microsoft’s April Games with Gold collection is being doubled. For the month Xbox Live Gold members will receive six instead of three games free. Here’s what’s on offer: Pool Nation FX: Available all month on Xbox One Child of Light: Available all month on Xbox One Gears of War: Judgment: Available from April 1-15 on […]

  • Pokemon players can grab a code for Shiny Charizard at GAME in April

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire players along with Pokemon X and Y owners can grab a free, rare Shiny Charizard from April 3 at one of GAME’s 320 stores in the UK. The redeemable codes for the character will be made available upon request and no purchase is necessary. Those who pop into one […]

  • F1 2015 will arrive on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in June, includes Mexico circuit

    Codemasters has announced its F1 franchise will make its series debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this June with the release of F1 2015. The game was developed using a new engine and contains improved handling and physics for all vehicles and parts attached. This includes: engine, transmission, aerodynamics, fuel tank, force feedback, suspension […]

  • Mortal Kombat X video confirms Liu Kang as playable character

    Liu Kang has been confirmed as a playable character in Mortal Kombat X in the latest video. You’ll also notice Bo’ Rai Cho in there as well. In the Shaolin trailer above you also get a look at Kung Lao and Kung Jin who is new to the series. Apparently, Raiden’s past champions of the […]

  • Short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront shows the Battle of Hoth

    A short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront has been posted by EA on Twitter. Well, that speeder isn't going anywhere. Can someone give us a lift to @SW_Celebration http://t.co/srEVrAA0zl #SWCA https://t.co/4W4LG8myke — EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) March 25, 2015 The teaser shows vehicles which we could be using in the game, but it mainly shows the snowy landscape […]

  • Pillars of Eternity releases today – get all the review scores here

    Pillars of Eternity, which still stands as the second most-funded video game on Kickstarter, finally releases today. It’s also getting some rather positive reviews scores, which we’ve rounded up for you. The isometric, party-based RPG from Obsidian Entertainment was one of the first video game projects to take to Kickstarter, and hit its $1.1 million […]

  • Take an in-depth look at Evolve’s Behemoth monster and four new hunters

    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]

  • Watch Battle Royale for free this weekend on Xbox Live

    Square Enix is celebrating the launch of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD by offering Xbox Live members in the UK a free rental of Battle Royale. Starting Saturday, March 28 and through Sunday, March 29, Xbox Live members in the UK will be able to rent Battle Royale through the Xbox Video Store, for free. The […]

  • Bloodborne journal, part 1: managing anxiety on the path to the Cleric Beast

    Bloodborne is both like and unlike the Souls games. Brenna descends into Yharnam with reluctance and trepidation. Need help succeeding in Bloodborne? You need our Bloodborne walkthrough and boss guide. Bloodborne isn’t Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls. Let’s get that out of the way right off. I enjoyed both Dark Souls games, but it was […]

  • PS Store Easter sale discounts MGS: Ground Zeroes, Far Cry 4, more

    The Easter Sale is live on the EU PS Store, with Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes for less than £10, FIFA 15 Deluxe Edition for £30 and other savings. Some of the PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita discounts are valid through April 8, other through April 15. PlayStation Plus members can also take an […]

  • Bloodborne video: how to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam

    Here’s a video for Bloodborne players showing a quick way to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam. It also provides a look at things you may have missed in Central Yharnam and The Sewers, courtesy of VaatiVidya. Don’t forget, we have guides posted for the game with more updates coming soon. Bloodborne released in […]

  • Bloodborne issue prevents summons at Vicar Amelia fight

    A Bloodborne bug has prevented players calling on help to take on one of the nasty early bosses. Bloodborne bosses are significantly easier to take down in co-op. Unfortunately, at least one of them is proving difficult to find help for – and not just because not many players have obtained the Small Resonant Bell […]

  • Mass Effect 3 on sale on EU PSN, but not free

    Mass Effect 3 is discounted on the European PSN, but it’s not free. Update 2: The option to add to cart now lets you choose between the free trial or full version. The full version is on sale for £6.49 or £5.84 for PlayStation Plus members. The free trial is of course is still available, […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Race to Elite winners announced, one player makes £10,000

    The winners of Elite: Dangerous’ Race To Elite competition have been announced, with one player receiving the grand prize of £10,000. Back when Elite: Dangerous launched, developer Frontier announced a competition that would award players to first reach Elite rank in trading, exploration, or combat, a prize of £1,000 each. The grand prize – £10,000 […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: How to make the most money with Special Bonuses and Elite Challenges

    You’re not hitting heists for the good of your health. Here’s how to max cash rewards. Money. GTA Online players love it. Greenbacks are the core of the entire experience, allowing you to buy the best weapons, vehicles and stupid haircuts. Heists, as promised, gives more opportunities than ever to earn serious cash, but once […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 coming tomorrow

    PlayStation 4 firmware 2.50, codenamed Yukimura, is due for release tomorrow, March 26. Firmware update 2.50 for PlayStation 4 will be launching tomorrow, March 26, Sony has announced. Codenamed Yukimura, the system update is promised to bring suspend/resume feature, trophy sync improvements, accessibility options, and much more. 2.50 has been in beta testing a while […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges and more

    Heists aren’t the only addition in GTA Online’s latest DLC – there’s a lot of content that can earn you big RP and cash payouts. GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges While heists are the talking point and big payoff after more than a year of waiting, there’s a […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: what’s the best Police sniper rifle?

    What’s the best bolt-action, Police sniper rifle for the Professional class in Battlefield Hardline? Let us help you answer that question. As you’re probably aware, Battlefield Hardline weapons are class specific and faction specific. This makes deciding on a good weapon and loadout much harder than it was in Battlefield 4. Which is where Westie […]

  • Evolve 1.3 patch nerfs Wraith, adjusts Kraken

    Evolve is receiving a new patch that aims to put an end to the Wraith’s dominance. Evolve developer Turtle Rock outlined a few of the changes coming in patch 1.3. The patch brings balance changes to the monsters – mainly the Wraith – as well as other various changes to Hunters’ tools based on player […]

  • Bloodborne: watch the opening 40 minutes

    The opening minutes of Bloodborne really do set the stage for what’s to come. They’ll also help you decide if this game is for you. Arekkz Gaming has captured the first 40 minutes of Bloodborne. Complete with the opening cutscene, and the first few obstacles you’ll face. The video is commentary free, so wear headphones […]

  • YouTube will relaunch livestreaming service with focus on eSports and gaming – report

    According to industry sources, Google is preparing to relaunch YouTube’s livestreaming service with a focus on eSports and gaming. According to anonymous sources speaking to TheDailyDot, Google is planning to bring back YouTube’s livestreaming service. The company is said to have started recruiting around 50 engineers with experience in the field, “a pretty big statement […]

  • I think I’m too old for Final Fantasy 15

    Final Fantasy 15 was nine years in the making – and counting. Are we the same people we were in 2006? Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae A demo available for PS4 and Xbox One. Offers a couple of hours of gameplay. More if you jump over the borders. Bundled with Final Fantasy 15 Type-0 and […]

  • New multiplayer mode for Splatoon announced

    Nintendo has sent over three screenshots for Splatoon along with information on the Wii U another of the title’s multiplayer modes. Called Ranked Battle, it keeps track of each player’s online ranking. Splat Zones is one of the additional ways to play online in this mode. It differs from Turf War, which is the main […]

  • 2015 WoW Arena World Championship has a $250,000 prize pool

    Blizzard has announced the WoW Arena World Championship will culminate at BlizzCon 2015. World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena teams from around the globe will compete for spot at the 2015 WoW Arena World Championship and for a share in the $250,000 prize pool. Online qualifiers will be held for North America, Southeast Asia, Australia, New […]