EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review Fiasco

March 16, 2011 -

Electronic Arts has brushed aside complaints that a developer from its studio BioWare had acted unethically in posting a user review disguised as a fan. Electronic arts downplayed a BioWare employee's positive user review of Dragon Age II on Metacritic, saying that it was normal for "people who make games" to "vote for them."

The publisher said it sees no wrongdoing in studios “voting for their own game," comparing it to movie makers voting their film up for an Oscar.

"Of course the people who make the game vote for their own game," an EA spokesperson told Kotaku. That's how it works in the Oscars, that's how it works in the Grammy's and why I'm betting that Barack Obama voted for himself in the last election."

BioWare forum goers and RPG players in general seem to disagree. Instead of the usual fanboy-ish user reviews that typically accompany an RPG series of this caliber, The Dragon Age II user reviews are best described as "angry." While fellow developers and the media might brush the whole affair aside as a "run of the mill event" that happens all the time, the community at large thinks it is highly unethical.

Source: Develop


Comments

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

Frankly I have no problem with his making a review ... he has that right ... no where does it say when making this review that he had to disclose who he works for or what he has worked on (or hell who he even is).

On top of that it was a User review ... maybe I could see an uproar if say he reviewed it for a major site as an actual editor under a pseudonym while being paid by the game company to do the review, but giving his own opinion in a User review ... yeah those are grain of salt situation and usually one that doesn't actually make me buy or not buy a game. (But then again if Im sketchy on buying a game I wait for a demo if none shows up then it gets put to the back of my mind until Steam has a sale).

 

Disclaimer: I have not worked on DA II, I don't work for a Game Company,  Wasting the time it takes to Track my user name down to the real person shows your creepiness and will lead you to nothing fun or interesting.

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

I personally don't see what the big deal is. It's not as though user reviews (which can be written by absolutely anyone) hold as much weight as media reviews. People act like this review was posted on IGN or Gamespot or something like that. The way I look at it (and always have) is that user reviews should be taken with a grain of salt because you have no idea who is on the other end of that review or what kind of bias they may possess.

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

Problem is, that same argument can also be raised against Media reviews. If a company is paying you X to advertise on your site, how easy is it to criticise their game? This has already been an issue once, and sadly I don't see it going away soon.

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

I highly doubt this is an FTC concern, he acted as an individual and was not supported nor represented Bioware when he made that post. The review is not marketing material, nor a part of Bioware's business strategy. As an individual, whether he was a developer or not, he is entitled to his opinions by means of vote or review or interpretive dance (his/her choice). If you seriously think that his review unfairly skews the results of the review and makes it impossible for you to determine if you like the game or not when making a purchasing decision, you should probably be reminded that it is a user review which means the only way to be fair is by looking at all reviews as a whole (and perhaps you should consider a more reliable method of predicting the value of a game, like rolling dice or flipping a coin).

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

Wow your comment is near the bottom and frankly its the first one I have seen that took a logical approach to it.

 

 

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

A review is different than a "vote". What are they even talking about, "voting for themselves"?

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

I'd say it's more a tempest in a teapot than a fiasco, but EA/BioWare's sure gotten lots of negative publicity over DA2 as a whole.

First of all: he shouldn't have posted the review in the first place.  Responding to your critics is, in general, a bad idea; it's unprofessional and thin-skinned.  Nobody likes seeing their hard work criticized.  But it's going to be.  By a bunch of savage, semi-literate man-children who will insult your mother while they're at it.  Welcome to the Internet.

Second: Yes, given that he wrote it, he absolutely, 100%, should have disclosed that he worked on the game.  He didn't, and that's a mistake.  Hardly a "fiasco", but an embarrassment, and yes, potentially an FTC violation, though siccing the feds on BioWare over it would probably be a bit of an overreaction.

And third: more than anything it's a demonstration that user reviews are easily gamed and, if 4chan's in a tizzy about something, you can kiss the legitimacy of an average score goodbye.  I'm as unhappy about the DA2 DRM as the next guy, but I'm not going to go submit a bunch of 1/10 reviews on a game I've never played over it.  And I'm glad Witcher 2's DRM-free (at least in the GOG version), but neither am I going to give it a 10/10 sight unseen.

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

I think a lot of people are missing the point that this was the User Reviews section of the site.

Just because he worked on the game, he should follow different rules than another reviewer who could post "worst game evar U R n00bz!"?

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

Yes. That is called ethic. You are a professional in an industry, you usually have an ethic code. And, as was said above, this goes against the FTC's rules.

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

Not to mention the fact that the FTC's guidelines on endorsements and testimonials (16 CFR 255.5) require express disclosure of any material connection between an endorser and a product or service endorsed.

 

The failure to do so is an unfair trade practice in violation of section 5 of the FTC Act.

Andrew S. Zaffron

EVP and General Counsel, Sony Online Entertainment LLC

Views are mine and not those of Sony

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

This is more in the lines of the President giving his own performance review then himself voting.

 

I swear to god EA/Bioware are becoming mentally retarded.

---- Rumblerumblerumber

---- Rumblerumblerumber

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

Well won't argue with you on the EA side... As for Bioware, unfortunately they are part of the EA family now. They risk stupidity by association. However their track record is a lot more positive than EA.

==============

James Fletcher, member of ECA Canada

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

in reality isn't his posting a glowing review to troll the bad ones just as bad?

all those that slammed him should first think of what they were doing as well, 2 wrongs folks 2 wrongs.. only 2 lefts make a right, 2 wrongs do not.

theres also a very old one that goes "Don't feed the trolls"

by slamming the game repeatedly for his review, and/or without having played the game at all (as many have not done) all in all he was the only one amidst the crowd to have even  probably posted a proper opinion of the game in his eyes. Tis honestly why i ignore meta reviews anyways, most of'em on AAA games are troll posts either by total fantards praising the game, or slamming the sequel because its "differant" and therefore immedietly bad. or they're a-holes just trying to diss it without ever having played a single moment, and only watched videos on youtube.

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

Actually, 2 lefts make a U-turn.  But I agree with your point that people who think his actions after shipping the game have anything to do with the game itself, and by extension would post negative reviews of it or choose not to buy it, are just being silly.

As a developer I would never choose to review my game in a public forum other than to tell friends, "Ya it's cool, you should check it out."  But really I don't see this as different than any other fanboy posting a glowing "review" of a product.  And it can be hard to not be a little fanboyish towards something you put a lot of work into.

Edit: Ninja'd about the two lefts....

===============

Chris Kimberley

===============

Chris Kimberley

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

*quietly exits by the rooftops*

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

Actually, two lefts makes a 180°. Three lefts make a right. So no, two lefts don't make a right.

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

lol thats what i get for posting at 2 in the morn anyways :p

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

Well, what if it was an honest opinion?  He may have well really enjoyed playing the game he had a part in creating.  There is nothing wrong with this.  I'm pretty sure if he would have thought differently he would have reviewed it differently.  User reviews are just that, user reviews.  If he's played the game to completion, he has every right to express his opinion about his own work.

People are overblowing the situation.

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

I don't think anyone's questioning whether his review was an accurate reflection of his opinion or not.  What's bothering people is that he didn't disclose the fact that he worked on the game.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

Actually, I would question the precision of the review. Obviously he didn't disclose the nature of his involvement, but I honestly believe that if you can't find anything wrong it isn't a review, it instead becomes a glowing testimonial.

But then again that's more of a personal gripe that I've levied on even a few professional reviews.

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

While it does look bad that their own staff review such glowing reviews, it is fair. He is absolutely right about academy awards and politics. This has happened before and shall happen again :)

Though mind you, I finally got a new PC (never will buy a Dell again...grrr. POS didn't last 3 yrs), and installed Dragon Age II. It is a fun, but simple/watered down game from the original. It is good in my book :D

==============

James Fletcher, member of ECA Canada

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

Except awards and elections don't really compare to reviews.  Had this guy cast his vote for Dragon Age II in some kind of Gamer's Choice award, that would have been fine.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: EA Downplays BioWare Employee's Metacritic User Review ...

Agreed. 

No matter any way you look at it...I am personally not angry or offended, but it appears rather questionable for a Bioware team member to post such a glowing review for his own project.

==============

James Fletcher, member of ECA Canada

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Which group is more ethically challenged?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Andrew EisenIf you do, I hope you can provide some examples of people (again, other than random no-name numbnuts on Twitter) who are genuinely trying to dictate what should and should not be allowed so far as themes, topics, language, plot devices, etc. go.07/01/2015 - 9:43am
MattsworknameI'd go into why I think it's a bigger problem then most realize, but nows not the time really. I'll catch up with everyone later07/01/2015 - 9:42am
Andrew EisenThat's the thing though, rarely is anyone (again, other than random numbnuts on Twitter) attempting to dictate what can and cannot be said or done.07/01/2015 - 9:39am
Andrew Eisen"Don't write rape scenes" is being offered as advice (along with reasons for that advice) not a mandate.07/01/2015 - 9:37am
MattsworknameOh, on that last one andrew I wasn't talking about the article, I was being more general, lately it seems like all the news and media is trying to decide what is and isn't proper to say. Thats what i was refering to.07/01/2015 - 9:37am
Andrew EisenPerhaps you should consider reading the entire article. Despite quotes you can pull from the intro and conclusion, the author isn't arguing that you can't or shouldn't be allowed to cover a certain topic.07/01/2015 - 9:35am
MattsworknameOne of the things I hate right now is that people are trying to be the deciders of what is and isn't proper to be said. It's political correctness to a level that makes me angry.07/01/2015 - 9:29am
Mattsworknamemake them, i just tell peopel that I think what they did sucked. Just cause I dont like what they did, doesn't mean I can tell them "You shouldn't wrtie that" cause thats just another step on the way to telling them "YOU CANT WRITE THAT".07/01/2015 - 9:24am
MattsworknameNo, but you or I aren't the one to tell someone else what they can or cannot do beyond EXTREMELY narrow limits. Telling a person then shouldn't write something or say something. I may hate certain movies or music, doesn't mean I dont' tell peopel not to07/01/2015 - 9:23am
E. Zachary KnightHasbro is taking steps to fix its Dinosaur gender issues. http://io9.com/the-jurassic-world-dinosaur-toys-are-clever-girls-again-171513589607/01/2015 - 9:20am
TechnogeekImagine that level of accuracy, only applied to something that has actually caused physiological and psychological trauma in more cases than just whatever the equivalent of the CD-i Zelda games would be.07/01/2015 - 8:40am
TechnogeekThat's the issue I see as well, E. To put it in terms anyone reading this site will likely understand: you know how any time video games show up on TV, they feature absurdly outdated 3D graphics and/or audio from the Intellivison era?07/01/2015 - 8:40am
InfophileWell, you CAN go to a crowded streetcorner and tell everyone who passes by your social security number and bank account PIN, but you shouldn't. Is that censorship?07/01/2015 - 8:36am
E. Zachary KnightSo if it is going to turn out to be a bad scene, why even bother writing it?07/01/2015 - 8:07am
E. Zachary KnightMatts, Goth, The article, and others I have read making the same conclusion, state that most people fail in their attempts to write rape scenes without being overly offensive or overly incompetent in their attempt.07/01/2015 - 8:07am
Adam802http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Ex-Sen-Leland-Yee-may-be-headed-for-a-plea-deal-6358941.php07/01/2015 - 7:12am
Adam802Possible plea deal in Yee case: http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_28408532/leland-yee-case-plea-deal-appears-likely07/01/2015 - 7:11am
MattsworknameInfo, Im with goth on this, the moment people start saying "You can but you shouldnt" thats a slow slide into censorship07/01/2015 - 6:05am
InfophileIn other words, you stopped when you found out it was arguing for a position you disagreed with, but before you found out why.07/01/2015 - 5:29am
Goth_Skunk"In short, anyone can write a rape scene—but should they? Chances are, the answer is no." And that's where I stopped reading.07/01/2015 - 5:11am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician