Starfield Review Scores Affected by Bethesda Withholding Review Copies
Starfield review scores may be artificially low due to Bethesda withholding review copies from some outlets, with some users speculating that the publisher may be trying to manipulate them by withholding copies from outlets with a reputation for giving lower scores to Bethesda games in the past. The practice, known as ‘cherry-picking,’ is not uncommon in the gaming industry, with some companies accused of using review scores as a way to control the narrative around a game’s launch.
The ongoing Starfield review embargo is set to expire on Monday, May 6, with Eurogamer and other outlets publishing their Starfield reviews later that day. However, some users feel that the impending Starfield review scores are being manipulated by Bethesda, which has withheld review copies from certain outlets.
“Bethesda is cherry picking review outlets for Starfield and won’t give copies to some of the outlets that gave lower scores to their previous games,” one user says. “They’re trying to manipulate review scores and it’s disgusting.”
While some users agree that this practice is problematic, others argue that review scores themselves, particularly on platforms like Metacritic, are given far more importance than they deserve.
“Sony uses Metacritic scores as a metric for future projects and even dev bonuses,” one user replies. “They literally use it as a way to control devs. Don’t just look at the issue with Bethesda, look at the institutionalized use of review scores.”
Another user replies, “Bethesda withheld a Fallout 4 review copy from us because New Vegas didn’t get a certain score threshold. Obsidian missed out on a bonus from Bethesda because New Vegas didn’t meet a certain score threshold.”
However, other users feel that the focus on review scores is simply excessive and that consumers should rely more on their own personal judgment when deciding whether or not to purchase a game.
“Reviews should be nuanced, not reduced to a number or a star rating,” one user replies. “It’s ridiculous that companies rely on review aggregation and hyperfocus on arbitrary numbers.”
Another user replies, “The problem isn’t the rating system, it’s the fact that companies use Metacritic as a measure of success.”
The conversation also touches on Eurogamer’s use of whole stars, without any half-points, which is seen by some as limiting the range of scores that can be given and lacking nuance.
“It’s really time for Eurogamer to consider revising its rating system,” one user replies. “Allow for more granularity and better representation of a review score.”
Another replies, “The issue isn’t with the rating system but with companies using Metacritic as a measure of success.”
“Ultimately, this is about the need for a more comprehensive and nuanced approach to game reviews that goes beyond simple rating systems,” another user replies. “The industry is far too focused on review aggregation, and the hyper-focus on arbitrary numbers.”
For their part, Bethesda says it is withholding review copies of Starfield to give the game an “unprecedented” chance to breathe.