IskatuMesk wrote:In TB's case, not only is he a casual, he gets money from reviewing through advertisements. Therefore, he is biased towards what gets him the most money.
I'm not going to pretend I know TB's financial setup, but assuming he is only based on YouTube then the revenue from ads comes from viewers, not the company of the game he's reviewing. He gets and maintains viewers by being entertaining, informative, and maintaining a level of integrity. If viewers don't feel a sense of trust in his words, they stop watching -- and that ad revenue dries up.
So if he does have a strong motivation to make money, sacrificing his integrity would run contrary to that goal.
Back in the heyday of physical magazines, getting early access to a hot game before anyone else would drastically boost magazine sales. When publishers realized they could control access to get favorable reviews out of magazines, the seeds of taint were planted. Game reviewers were just dudes with jobs, accountable to a boss, who in turn was under the heel of the magazine's owner, board of executives, or stockholders. They still needed to cater to their readership with some level of honesty, but it became tempered by a greater pressure from the powers upstairs.
With someone like TB, who is his own company, his own brand, with no boss but himself, he is accountable only to his personal ethics and his viewers. I'd trust that relationship over a detached executive hierarchy any day. For TB and small operations like him, I would say money is just a means to an end, not the goal itself.
IskatuMesk wrote:Nothing against the guy personally, but not a single thing he says can be considered unbiased due to the fact he is monetarily involved in what he does.
I would never claim reviews of any sort were unbiased
. Even a penniless webcam kid that you recommend is going to be biased in some fashion. It is the very nature of opinion itself. I know I'm biased against sports games -- in my review I would repeatedly bemoan how boring it is. That doesn't mean a sports fan would feel at all the same way.
But we're talking the bias of money, right? Well, in the grand scheme of things, how many companies are actually large enough to be able to afford payouts to the multitude of game reviewers and magazines out there? Especially now, with the Wild West that is the internet? Okay, so we can reasonably rule out direct manipulation from anything but the largest publishers to the most popular magazines and websites. What else can publishers do? Restrict exclusives? Not send a free review copy? Deny beta invitations? Bar from press events? Turn down interview requests? They've got some options, but is it really adequate? In the end, journalists are the ones with the true power. Any overt intimidation by the publisher can simply be reported on by said journalists, resulting in a PR nightmare for that publisher. Not to mention the loss of what is essentially a free advertising venue.
But, as a rule of thumb: If you don't know enough about the author, treat any glowing review as an ad and take that for what it's worth. Like a celebrity endorsement.
IskatuMesk wrote:Whether or not you agree with what he says in any given review is irrelevant.
It is relevant to what I aim to get out of a review, and which reviewers I choose to spend time on.
IskatuMesk wrote:All games journalists are shills until proven otherwise, because the entire industry of game journalism is a complete joke with zero regulation and zero drawback for pandering and backpatting practices.
The drawback is a mass exodus of their readership. The internet has made this exceedingly easy.
IskatuMesk wrote:If I wanted to go further and look for video examples, I'd search for let's plays, NOT reviews, because review videos are almost always tailored and edited. In many instances reviewers are not even allowed to show more than X portion of Y game.
I lumped TB in with my usage of "video review" to minimize needless details, but in fairness most of his work that I watch is what he calls "First Impressions." Several times he has remarked that he does not consider his "WTF is..." series a review series because he has not played through the full game and so cannot give a true game review. They are closer to Let's Plays than reviews.
IskatuMesk wrote:Also I know who Yahtzee is, and I know his style, which is what makes me believe he is for-profit. Even if I end up agreeing with a lot of things he says, I don't necessarily consider it accurate.
He is employed by The Escapist website. They send him a paycheck. Yahtzee has stated they're hands-off with his content.
IskatuMesk wrote:I mean if you are just taking the videos at face value that's no problem, but too many casuals think of reviewers as honest folk when they are most certainly not.
So you thought me a 'casual', eh? Tsk, tsk. =oP