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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Game Companies Really Need to Learn to Handle Criticism



As gaming channels on YouTube have risen in popularity over the years, game companies have become more willing to send them review copies of games as they would magazines and websites. Even channels that have well below 100,000 subscribers can get recognized by game companies and have review copies sent their way. But just because these companies are sending them games to review, that doesn't mean these YouTubers are obligated to do puff piece videos on their latest releases. This seems to be what game companies think because the minute the channel runners start singing a tune they don't like, all the review copies and free stuff stops coming in.

A lot of game companies have this sense of entitlement when it comes to giving out free stuff. They supply YouTube content creators with games and they expect glowing remarks. Said content creators don't stroke their egos, they get butt hurt. Jim Sterling has been blacklisted from several industry publishers for his very outspoken, negative reviews on games. Square Enix is one of several game companies that wants nothing to do with him.

Haedox, another YouTube gaming personality, used to be part of the Nintendo Brand Ambassador, which sounds like a pretty sweet deal. I mean, who wouldn't want free Nintendo games? Trouble is, the NBA program has a contract that Nintendo can terminate any time they choose under any circumstances. Wanna guess why Haedox lost his NBA status? Yup, he didn't function as an echo chamber, telling gamers that every single Nintendo game he was sent was good. He gave his honest opinion, which was just too much for Nintendo, so they terminated him as a NBA.

No one likes to have their product blasted to smithereens, but the cold, hard truth of the matter is, everything you put out isn't going to be enjoyed by all. What still puzzles me is that game some game companies are completely unwilling to accept this fact. Rather than suck it up and take the criticism, these publishers, cry like little babies, take their toys and go home.

I get that publishers ceasing to deal with YouTubers that dish out the occasional negative review is their way of silencing bad press. But that isn't going to make it go away. If anything, their actions are only delaying it slightly. Even if publishers don't send out review copies to gaming YouTube channels, they can still go out and buy the game and give it bad review if they didn't like it. I get that initial sales are important and by weeding out the "bad eggs" publishers can secure more sales because a good chunk of gamers count on reviews to be the deciding factor for whether they buy a game or not.

Criticism is never going to way. It is always going to be a thing and publishers really need to learn to deal with it. It isn't like a switch they can just turn off. Publishers could take the criticism they get to heart and improve their games. You know, that whole learn from your mistakes deal. It is an idea. Or they could just keep cutting off those that have negative things to say about their games. I think we all know which route they are gonna end up taking.

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