Bethesda now only Sending Review Copies a Day Before Release

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

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News dropped yesterday on Bethesda’s website that the company would only give review copies to media outlets a day before release. This will affect up-coming titles such as the Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2.

This was their explanation:

At Bethesda, we value media reviews.

We read them. We watch them. We try to learn from them when they offer critique. And we understand their value to our players.

Earlier this year we released DOOM. We sent review copies to arrive the day before launch, which led to speculation about the quality of the game. Since then DOOM has emerged as a critical and commercial hit, and is now one of the highest-rated shooters of the past few years.

With the upcoming launches of Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2, we will continue our policy of sending media review copies one day before release. While we will continue to work with media, streamers, and YouTubers to support their coverage – both before and after release – we want everyone, including those in the media, to experience our games at the same time.

We also understand that some of you want to read reviews before you make your decision, and if that’s the case we encourage you to wait for your favorite reviewers to share their thoughts.

Skyrim Special Edition releases globally on October 28 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Dishonored 2 releases globally on November 11 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.


About Jonathan Falu

I am currently a college student at Temple University as a MSP major in Emergent Media, and wish to one day be a paid video game critic. I currently do video reviews on the channel The Smartest Moron on Youtube over here:

  • Panpopo

    Unfortunately Bethesda has a reputation of releasing games that may be very buggy upon release, and having negative reviews reflecting that will only cause potential loss of sales. Also, they may also be worried about pirated copies floating around before release, which seems to happen often enough. People that love Bethesda games will not care about reviews and will buy day-one regardless, so this makes sense from a financial perspective.

    • Miqubi

      Didn’t think about the pirated copies issues, that reminded me of 7th Dragon, the game was pirated like a month ahead of official US release or something crazy like that iirc, apparently someone leaked a review copy.
      Also iirc some tester (or reviewer?) for the fallout 4 DLC (forgot which one) leaked it and put in on nexusmods ahead of release (it was taken down almost immediatly)

      That said I think you’re right, I believe there are four kind of people here:

      1) people who want to play immediatly and will pre-order always
      2) people who will only buy later at a discounted price (either physicial/digital xb1/ps4/pc)
      3) people who are undecided
      4) people who will not pre-order for various reasons

      1, 2 and 4 are unaffected by this, the 3rd category will either make a leap of faith due to hype or will wait for other gamers opinions/feedback and reviews, whatever they do there’s a good chance these will still purchase the game close to launch (so at full price), maybe after a major patch if there are notable bugs that get fixed.
      Either way Bethesda still get sales, potentially just spread out instead of in bulk, potentially they get MORE sales anyway due to youtubers/streamers hype anyway.

      I think the ones really affected by this are reviewers who might feel “pressed” into churning out a review because people are waiting for it (and I mean decent reviewers who care about it, the ones who do it for traffic only would still put out a poorly made review anyway imho, just now it’ll be even worse)

    • Panpopo

      Yeah, I would not be surprised if there is a shift towards targeting their marketing to large youtubers and streamers (who are going to play it anyway) compared to more traditional media sources. For example, if there is a well-known youtuber or streamer that loves monster hunter (and their audience is a targeted demographic), there may be a more concentrated effort to go after them.

    • Miqubi

      Makes sense tbh, it’s also an advantage for the players in some cases, I feel like you can get a better idea of the game (i.e: how balanced/difficult it is etc) if the person who plays it is good at what they’re playing,

  • Mr0303

    It worked for Doom, so it makes sense they repeat this strategy. Word of mouth can be even more powerful than early reviews.

  • Migi

    With gaming media being Bias and easily bought its not suprising they would do something like that,. Cause let’s be honest COD and Battlefield are the same old shit over and over again yet they always get the same high rating yet when a anime game does has something reptetative its gets a tanked rating or some retarded complaint while all big ititle games are as repetative as hell only real difference is the budget and graphics which never get’s taken into account.