Bethesda Softworks, the publisher behind franchises such as Skyrim, Fallout, Dishonored and DOOM, announced that it will no longer send out advance review copies of new games to media outlets earlier than one day before the launch date.
The company made the announcement through a blog post on its official website, with the post starting off with Bethesda claiming that it values media reviews.
The reason given for Bethesda's decision to continue its practice of sending review copies only a day before the game's official release is DOOM, which was released earlier this year. Bethesda said that DOOM, despite Bethesda sending out review copies a day before the release, has emerged as both a commercial and a critical hit.
Bethesda then said that it will follow the same policy for two upcoming games, namely Skyrim: Special Edition and Dishonored 2. The publisher said that it only wants everyone, including those in the media, to start playing its games at about the same time.
Bethesda's decision, which could very well be applied not just to the two upcoming titles but to all future games of the publisher, will prevent detailed reviews from being written up for the games prior to being released.
The Effects Of Bethesda's Move
The decision will affect the entire video game industry, especially as it sets a bad example that might be followed by other publishers. If more publishers will start sending out review copies only a day before a game's release date, customers will be prevented from receiving the proper information that they have the right to know before purchasing a game.
When review copies are sent out, reviewers are able to create comprehensive reviews that will give customers a better idea of how the title plays out. This is especially important for Bethesda's games, which are often long and have great depth.
Having review copies sent out early will also reward good game developers, as reviews are great for marketing, especially when they come from reputed media outlets. To capture great reviews, developers have the extra incentive of making sure the launch copies of games are working as perfectly as possible to get word of mouth going for the new game.
What Should Gamers Do
With review copies released late, the goal of Bethesda is likely to limit the information that they have no control over so that there will be more customers going into purchases blindly. The best advice for gamers would probably be to not be attracted to preorder bonuses and bundles unless there is enough information to decide on whether a game is worth getting or not.