20 Mar 2013
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IGN granted exclusive Bioshock review

By Brendan Kelly

The gaming journalism community is slightly annoyed today as IGN has received exclusive permission to publish an in-progress review of Bioshock: Infinite.

2K Games has allowed IGN to break the review embargo for Infinite, causing a ripple of annoyance from various journalists on Twitter,including Spike TV’s Geoff Keighley and Revision3Games producer Adam Sessler.

Ryan McCaffrey of IGN originally tweeted a teaser for the review, saying “now the moment you’ve been waiting for: the @IGN review-in-progress of Bioshock Infinite. Full review later this week.”

If you aren’t in the media, an embargo is essentially an imaginary piece of red-tape with ‘Don’t publish’ written on it.

If you do decide to publish without permission, you’ll get black-listed by publishers and won’t get any more opportunities for previews, news stories, review games, and so on.

Although most media outlets are guilty of coveting exclusives, gaming journalists were quick to notice the embargo-skirting news and took to twitter themselves to voice their opinions.

After expressing his concerns, former IGN staffer Arthur Gies added he wasn’t trying “to allege any wrongdoing or lack of integrity of IGN’s part...but it does muddy the waters quite a bit.”

The upcoming title from Irrational Games is expected to be one of the biggest releases of the year, which means publishing a review a few hours before everyone else is potentially worth a lot of page views.

“As someone who watched traffic behaviour for reviews, the amount of time does make a difference. It’s pretty major,” tweeted Gies.

Kotaku journalist Jason Schreier weighed into the debate as well with some pretty loaded language. “I feel like exclusive reviews are just the grossest thing, period.” Why the uproar?

Well, imagine you are the website granted exclusive coverage of an event, at the behest of those organising the event.

For fear of not being granted that exclusive coverage next time, there is added pressure to portray that event in a positive light, regardless of whether or not you should actually do so.

It whiffs just a little too hard of bribery, though this is all conjecture because IGN has big lawyers so please don’t hurt me.

Sessler’s tweets are also great – “okay we’ll have our ‘inclusive’ review of Bioshock Infinite next Monday, along with all the other plebiscites.”

Then a few minutes later: “what’s the opposite of exclusive’?” Brilliant. Have an opinion on this? We’d love to hear it in the comments below, which ARE exclusive to Techday.

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