One of the podcasts I listen to, more specifically the Rebel FM podcast, brought up an interesting issue in a recent episode: do game companies use game journalists as free advertising or public relation agents? When I heard this, it got me thinking: how often do I buy a game based on a journalist’s opinion or review? This answer is: a lot. There are a select few journalists whose opinions I trust, and when they get hyped for a game, I usually do as well. The podcast members, who have worked for 1Up and some now work for GameSpy, brought up the fact that they have often been asked to play a game and then tell the company representatives what they thought of the game or what they would change. Now, I do not feel this is anything morally wrong for the most part, but it most likely helps improve the quality of most of the games we play. However, they also brought up the point of having a moral obligation to not review a game one has previewed. This is important, because seeing the differences between early versions of the game and the final product may sway ones review score.
So, my dearest of doves, what do you think on this subject? Is the fact that game developers use game journalists as free testing or advertising a big deal? Should a journalist who previews a game review the same game? Do you even care? I also feel it is important to note that this is not a post to criticize any game journalists you do not like. Keep it civil, please!