EA Norway Limits Battlefield 3 Review Code

[drop2]According to Norway’s ‘top news outlet’ NRK (via BF3Blog) the local EA office has been caught out regarding Battlefield 3 review code.

“EA has withheld review copies of Battlefield 3 to reviewers whom they thought would give the game a bad score,” says the blog.

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“A number of Norwegian gaming outlets, including popular ones like Gamer.no and GameReactor, have been refused review copies of Battlefield 3 due to their review scores of past Battlefield games.”

It appears there was a questionnaire sent out to potential reviewers that asked a number of questions regarding the game (and its competition, in the form of Modern Warfare 3).  One of the questions allegedly asks ‘is [the reviewer] a fan of Call of Duty?’ with the answer seemingly going towards your chance of scoring a copy to review.

One Gunnar Bodahl-Johansen, from Norway’s School of Journalism, called EA’s actions “unacceptable” and EA themselves have been quick to apologise.  The local marketing manager saying that “this should not have been sent out. We have made ​​a mistake and we apologise.”

“This is not something that neither should have happened earlier or what we intend to continue”.

We’ve asked for a review copy, but have yet to receive an answer.  We’re big Call of Duty fans.  Gulp.

Via BF3Blog.

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39 Comments

  1. Im gonna fire off an email telling them that ‘CODz Iz Crapz Innit! LULz, Me LOVE TANKz! Gimme!’ I wonder if that will work……

    • Lol they might suspect you are trolling :P

  2. Hmm, attempted journalist censoring aside, personally I can’t see a problem with this.

    I prefer to read reviews based on a games merits and faults NOT how it compares to another title in the same genre. Although it seems that the gamer community clamorous for this head 2 head stuff, which is why I suppose it’s so prevalent these days.

    While BF3 & MW3 futures are invariably intertwined, the comparisons drawn by ‘some’ review sites are obviously bias toward one title and this is reflected in their write ups. Anything to limit this is fine by me.

    • So, as far as you are concerned, biased reviewing is the way forward then?

      The article above makes no comment regarding “comparison reviews” between titles, just that EA seem to only want people with a predisposition towards Battlefield to review it.

      After what it would class as a poor BETA (bugs, lack of functionality, poor map), articles regarding known bugs that wont be fixed and this kind of media manipulation I’m thinking my decision to cancel my BF3 pre-order and wait and see how it pans out is a good idea. Damn shame.

      • It’s sad that people have forgotten what the true purpose of a beta is, after all the fake betas that have been released before.

      • I don’t buy into all this “its just a beta” stuff tbh. If you were ea and your primary concern is to try to draw as many people away from COD as you can why release a buggy and very average public beta in a wave of publicity this close to full release?

        Either the game isn’t near finished or they are a bunch of idiots IMHO. All they have managed with the beta as far as I can tell from talking to people is to confirm to cod players that bf3 is not for them and put off a number of battlefield fans like myself.

        I’m hoping I’m wrong and it releases to fantastic reviews, but I’m not risking my money on it until that happens.

  3. How funny, after they’ve slated CoD all this time saying how much better BF3 will be, then they show no confidence in their product. Idiots.

    And it’s hardly going to get terrible reviews as I thought the Beta was excellent.

    • Equally – any journalist who cannot give a non-bias review, shouldn’t be in that job.

      • That’s not really the case. Norwegian gaming sites got furious when they got the list because that shows that they are want to manipulate reviews.

      • I’d argue that any journalist who WON’T give an unbiased opinion shouldn’t be in their job. All publications have their own agenda, as a journalist you have to be able to report a story with the slant your editor wants, you’ll never get a job otherwise. Don’t blame the journalists, blame the editors.

      • Where’s our edit button? That should say won’t give a biased opinion.

      • @ GhistViper – I wasn’t saying Norwegian sites would give bias reviews, the comment was just a general opinion….just covering my arse really. In my opinion it seems EA are totally to blame in this instance for even asking the question about CoD. As per my first comment they should have confidence (especially after their claims) in their product, and the journalist, and that their game might even change the opinion of the most hardcore of CoD fan boys!

        @ tonycawley – Sorry, I guess this shows my ignorance of the journalism world. Am happy to blame the editor, so long as I can blame someone, right? :)

        It’s sad if all publications do have their own agenda.

      • ooh, i wonder which “slant” cb’s going for ;)

  4. Tough call this one. It wouldn’t be the first (or last) time.

  5. Worrying. Fully expect EA’s PR machine to spin this positively soon.

    Worthy of a sheitstorm, but unlike Acti, EA don’t seem to attract those.

    Something separate to this has been on my mind for a while, EA has effectively bankrolled half the gaming sites for around 6 months of the year… If there is criticisms over the game just how will many sites feel bringing up these criticisms, so has EA’s unheard of advertising budget bought it more than just ad-space, even if this is a sub-conscious reaction by the site/reviewer?

    • hopefully that shouldn’t matter eh? ;-) Either way EA should send it out, in the end a game becomes popular because of word of mouth, not reviewing sites. Yes some people do read them, but most like to try it out themselves anyway. I’ve bought a game many times when its had bad scores and still enjoyed it. Hopefully EA can sort this out properly.

  6. Like me and some of my fellow Norwegian asked last night; if they didn’t mean a list like this to come out, then why did they make it in the first place. I feel bad for neighbor DICE.

    • Yup – but it’s a pretty authentic Norwegian thing to do though, isn’t it? ;)

      Oh, we’re so bad at… assorted things.

    • Agree completely. It shouldn’t have happened – we know that – but it did. Apologising doesn’t cover the fact that underhanded tactics were already afoot. Utterly pathetic at best.

  7. I’m sure EA would have continued if they weren’t caught. This is unbelievably pathetic :P

  8. They just want good review scores, and good sales. It seems EA doesn’t even care about their gamers, they’re too focused on competing with COD.

  9. If I had spent millions on a product, the last thing I would be thinking about is sending a copy of my product to someone who constantly reviews low on all my products. I personally think its a cheek these people are making a fuss. If they review games properly and had some respect from gamers, then fair enough, but shouting about it makes them look like idiots.
    On the other hand EA should have some confidence in their product.

    • I agree with you. but I don’t see why the journalists didn’t just fill it out saying they hated COD and made it look like they would love the game, even if they didn’t. It’s not hard to lie on a bit of paper is it?

  10. While this is very poor practice, EA understand that the person who accounts for the majority of potential sales with BF3/MW3 is someone who doesn’t read a multitude of gaming websites, hell they might not read anything about it whatsoever other than the Yahoo! Entertainment review.

    EA understand that they’re up against force of habit rather than persuading that theirs is the ‘better game’. Ofcourse they’re trying to influence Meta-critic and increase the chances of any Google for ‘bettlefield 3 review’ throwing out a positive link, and in that way they’re attempting to take advantage of those that may only buy FIFA and CoD each year.

    It shouldn’t be done this way, but making a solid game simply isn’t enough; take a look at Enslaved. They’ve got the huge marketing campaign for this sure, but I don’t know of a way to break force-of-habit purchases, that doesn’t involve something a little more aggressive such as this.

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