How not to do video game PR…

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DNFmore

Duke Nukem Forever is – after over a decade of development hell – finally out and available at retail. Unfortunately, it seems that it really just isn’t able to live up to the hype – and is crashing and burning in reviews across the planet. Reviewers have labelled it as crass, puerile and needlessly and gratuitously misogynistic – calling it unfun, unfunny and a waste of Duke’s legacy.

The Redner Group, the PR company responsible for American distribution of review copies of the game took exception to all the negative reviews – and then made one of the biggest blunders a video game PR company could make.

They decided that in future, they’d only be giving out review copies to those who favourably reviewed their games – treating games as dangling carrots on sticks in order to make their jobs in public relations easier. Here’s what The Redner Group said through one of the most public, and least professional ways of making a statement, Twitter.

  • many went too far with their reviews..we r reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn’t based on today’s venom.
  • #AlwaysBetOnDuke too many went too far with their reviews…we r reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn’t based on today’s venom
  • It’s one thing to not like a game, it’s an entirely different thing to rate it a 2 & b completely mean spirited
  • It’s cool to not like something…no need to be mean about it. But, it shows u…it’s easier to b funny when being mean
  • Fair is great. Even if the score is poor, as long as the review is fair…I’ve got zero complaints.
  • Bad scores are fine. Venom filled reviews…that’s completely different.

The company has backed up on its stance though, and has apologised for letting emotion get in the way of logic, saying :

  • I have to apologize to the community. I acted out of pure emotion. I will be sending each of you a private apology.
  • I need to state for the record that 2K had nothing to do with this. I will be calling each of you tomorrow to apologize.
  • Again, I want everyone to know that I was acting on my own. 2K had nothing to do with this. I am so very sorry for what I said.

Still, the damage has been done. Threatening reviewers with blacklisting based on unfavourable editorial is unfortunately something that happens too often, something that gained public attention when Gamespot fired Editorial Director Jeff Gerstmann under pressure from Eidos following his critique of Kane and Lynch. Eidos had an intensive ad campaign running on Gamespot at the time. Thankfully, we’ve not encountered this sort of thing too much locally. We here at Lazygamer take our public responsibility very seriously, and it wouldn’t be fair to you, our readers, if we allowed our advertisers or the local game distributors to dictate our editorial content. On that note though, we curiously have yet to receive a review copy of Duke Nukem Forever…

Source : Twitter (via Ars Technica’s  @BenKuchera)

Last Updated: June 15, 2011

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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