When Public Relations Turns Nasty

AlienWare.jpgWell, I’ve nearly recovered from my stay in front of Toys R Us and am back to begin another week posting the newest video game information out there.

Let’s kick things off with a post from the folks over at Aeropause which goes into detail on a spat between HEXUS.net and computer maker Alienware. Basically Alienware sent HEXUS an Alienware Area-51 7500 system to review and when the editors at HEXUS published a piece that portrayed the system in a negative light, Alienware’s marketing manager responded with, “I’m afraid, after the last review, our ability to send you any hardware for review is pretty much gone. When I have one of the executives in the US threatening my job on the telephone, my hands become somewhat tied in the future.”

Emails went back and forth between the two parties for some time, but in the end Alienware admitted that it would only give reviewable hardware out to those parties that would give it high marks. This is something that Greg, Matt, and I are familiar with from our days reviewing games at BonusStage. Continue reading for an excellent example:

Once I reviewed a very bad WWII real-time strategy game for the PC and scored it accordingly (a 4.5 out of 10 or something). A few weeks later, the same publisher/developer was releasing another game that I was interested in reviewing, but when I sent over a request for a copy the game, this is what I got back from the publisher:

“I will submit a request to (publisher namer) but you killed them on your “(insert game here)” review, coming in around 30 points lower than the other reviews that have come in. Just to let you know, they may be hesitant to send a review copy out.”

Of course, this pissed me off so I shot her back an email saying that we review things without bias, and had I known that to get further reviews from them I had to score the games higher than what they actually were, I never would have agreed to a review in the first place. I may not be making a living form this, but I’m not willing to risk what journalistic integrity I do have just to get free games to review. Needless to say we never received reviewables from them again.

In closing, unless you absolutely trust a site and its point of views on games (by knowing the reviewers, etc.) you should always be aware that there’s the slight chance that a high review score given for a title you thought stunk on ice might be the result of pleasing another party to get more reviewable content.

About the Author

Having over 25 years of gaming experience, Zach knows a thing or two when it comes to one of his favorite entertainment activities. Additionally, he has also written many articles previewing and reviewing titles which can be found in various places around the net, including VGBlogger.com.