In her latest “I really should add this damn thing to our link list” Biting the Hand, Jessica Mulligan, well, bites the hand that feeds her. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
To put it bluntly: As much or more than any other “consumer press/consumer product relationship” I can think of off the top of my head, game publishers and game magazines have a close, financially-symbiotic relationship. Most game magazines (and some Web sites) literally depend on the publisher marketing dollars for survival. In a sense, you could say that they are in bed together and that the one with the pocketbook is on top. Because of that, I believe a conflict of interest exists, and it isn\’e2\’80\’99t working in the favor of the person who buys games.
Mark Asher, who writes for game magazines as well as his own website, ignored the burning question of sexual positions engaged in during publisher/reviewer coitus and concentrated on bitching about how he was cut out of the payola.
Do publishers try to influence editors? Of course. Does that mean reviews are bought and sold? Please, show me the evidence. Show me the piss-poor game that gets the good review and the mediocre game that gets the 5-star review.
I would also direct you to an article I’ve linked to before, where Bruce Rolston of Adrenaline Vault proves conclusively that PC Gamer sucks eggs.