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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

GAMING NEWS

BioWare Employee Caught Writing User Review for Dragon Age II

Posted on Tuesday, March 15 @ 15:32:59 Eastern by


Reddit user GatoFiasco found something curious on Metacritic, when he found that the top user review (since taken down) by Avanost was a bit too lofty in his praise for Dragon Age II:

The immersion and combat of this game are unmatched! A truly moving and fun epic. Anything negative you’ll see about this game is an overreaction of personal preference. For what it is, it is flawlessly executed and endlessly entertaining.

Since Avanost only reviewed one game - Dragon Age II - GatoFiasco investigated further and found that Avanost is an engineer for BioWare.

Now, I don't think Bioware is doing any kind of astroturfing or "rent-a-crowd" here where they are having their employees write positives user reviews all over the Internet. It's certainly a question of ethics, though. There's nothing incredibly wrong with writing positive praise for a game that you've worked on (if so, then indie developers would never say anything), but it is a matter of integrity. According to the FTC Publishing Guidelines:

Bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.

According to some supposed "industry veterans", this practice actually happens all the time; if so, that's injustice to the consumer. Not that we should believe Metacritic user reviews, anyway, but it is a form of deception disguised as personal opinion.

[Source]
Related Games:   Dragon Age 2
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