I am a devout subscriber to many gaming magazines, namely Game Informer and PC Gamer. Why? Well, ever since I was a kid I would keep the physical copies of these magazines because I loved reading in general. There is also a big difference between the physical version of the magazines and the now-digital copies of them. I would never read a digital copy of a magazine, because at that point I would just visit various video game online news outlets instead.
Anyway, I have started noticing a trend in these gaming magazines. Many of their readers have pointed out in the discussion sections that reviews on Game Informer might be paid off from the publisher simply because they don’t agree with the score. For example, in this month’s GI issue, a reader pointed out examples such as Call of Duty: Ghosts and Advanced Warfare receiving decent scores (8 and 9, respectively) even though they were consistently voted two of the worst games in the entire franchise. The reader then made the conclusion that Activision might be paying off Game Informer to keep their scores up.
I have also become suspicious of this, admittedly, through the entire Destiny fiasco. I got pretty annoyed of the entire coverage of Destiny, even though I didn’t have a problem with it at launch. I’m all for hype but Game Informer still covers the game from end to end, even an entire year after its release (example is the Rise of Iron cover). I have no holds against Destiny, having played it for hundreds of hours already. But Game Informer seriously put a dent in how I view them, considering even their monthly reader question — every issue, they ask readers a question regarding their gaming preference (eg. “What is your favorite shooter of 2016?”) — was once related to Destiny: “What would you like to see in Destiny 2?”
So even I have my qualms about it. But honestly I don’t know if Game Informer gets paid. They are, after all owned by Gamestop, a company whose goal is to sell as many video games as possible.
Quite frankly, I don’t really care about the question. What I do care about is if other media forms, whether print magazines or online video game news, are being paid off just to show bias toward a specific publisher or game. I’m all for the consumers. I am as much a consumer as everyone else, considering Mysteryblock isn’t nearly as big as, say Gamespot, and I truly just care about having a good time with games and getting my money’s worth. If media is destroying our trust with them, then where do we turn to for legitimate and fair information regarding video games and PC hardware?
Don’t know if they’re getting paid off but would be pretty awesome if someone did an in-depth investigation on the actual companies.