Bethesda has recently come out and said that they are no longer providing early review copies to game journalists. 2K did not provide early review copies to journalists for their latest title, Mafia III. Many media outlets haven’t been releasing early reviews for other games, such as the latest Call of Duty, but rather releasing their reviews post-release. While many outlets like IGN have released statements about how they feel this is detrimental to the industry, game journalists are not entitled to early review copies of games. While some gamers do rely on the IGNs of the world to tell them what to buy, the majority of consumers will buy regardless. A game review is just one person’s opinion, and opinions vary greatly among gamers.

What is most troubling to me is that there is a sense of entitlement in the industry, that it is somehow a journalist’s right to be able to review a game early. Pardon me, but it isn’t. To review a game, period, is a privilege. It is not a right. Game publishers and developers are going to do what they feel is in their best interests. If they feel giving out early review copies is a detriment, it is in their right not to do that. That is perfectly okay. I’ve received games where I’ve had a month to review it, and I’ve received games to review after release. Every time it is a privilege though, not a right.

One of the most baffling things is that regardless of whether or not larger outlets get a game early, they will still get a good amount of traffic. Smaller outlets need to work harder. It just makes it more obvious that there’s a culture in gaming journalism where as opposed to being grateful to review a game, people feel it is their right. This is not how things should be. Instead of feeling grateful for receiving a game early, journalists tend to take it for granted. It’s unfortunate and this culture needs to change, as game journalists are not entitled to early review copies.

To receive a game for review is humbling. It’s always great to receive a game early for review, but this isn’t always the case. Game publishers are under no obligation to provide early copies of games. With so many events now being held that are catered to the public to show games off pre-release, early reviews are also becoming obsolete. Gamers are getting the opportunity to check these games out early before release for themselves. They can make their own informed decisions. They don’t need reviews to tell them if they want a game or not. We live in a very different age of social media with information at the tip of our fingers. Game reviews are a great tool and help inform consumers, but those who are going to buy a game at release are going to buy. Game journalists are not entitled to early review copies and people don’t need early reviews. It’s just a nice luxury to have.

About The Author

Founder/Editor-in-Chief

Morgan Lewis is a Video Game Journalist and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of VG Culture HQ. He has been writing about games for over four years and has written over 900 articles during that timespan. He first fell in love with gaming when he received A Link to the Past for Christmas when he was six. He also loves anime and anything that has to do with gaming culture.

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  • spideynut71

    Publishers and developers are not entitled to early pre-order $$ either…but they regularly count on it, even so far as reporting to their share holders and board members. It’s the ultimate “counting your chickens before they’re hatched”….just ask Hello Games.

  • Mithan

    This is all bad arguments:
    -EARLY Reviewing is a privilege. Period.
    -SMART consumers will wait for said reviews. Period.
    -This may be anti-consumer on the developers part, but YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF BY WAITING.

    I bought No Man’s Sky, before waiting for reviews. The game is a terrible POS that should never have been released, but you know what? It is MY FAULT for getting too excited and buying this POS instead of waiting a day or two for reviews and comments from my peers (you guys). If I had, I wouldn’t of given them $70 and waited for it to be fixed or never purchased it. My fault.

    Marketing people count on our excitement to exploit us.

    Gamer’s have only themselves to blame if they can’t wait an extra day or two to make a purchase.
    Gamer’s have only themselves to blame for “pre-ordering” a game for some garbage “bonus”.

    Use some common sense here folks and wait. You have already waited a year or two for whatever game it is you are buying, a few days makes no difference.

    If you can’t wait an extra day or two, it isn’t anybodies fault but your own.