In a move that harkens back to the days of print magazines – and probably before that – IGN has been granted an exclusive first review of BioShock Infinite this Thursday night. This falls way ahead of the purported embargo for every other reviewing agent, which isn’t until next Monday. Of course, when you have gaming journalists like Geoff Keighley, Adam Sessler, and a rash of others crowing about the agreement, you know something’s a big deal.
My experience with exclusive reviews goes back to the days I used to subscribe to PC Gamer, back in the late nineties and early aughts, and I recall exclusives on a number of big titles over the years. This was obviously a boon to them in an era before leaked copies could be reviewed over the internet, or anything was reviewed on the internet at all, when it made sense that a publisher would dole out exclusives to magazines on a rotating basis or really, to the publication that bid the most for it. Oddly, these much-hyped reviews came about five to ten points higher than the average, which really distorted the value of any publication taking such a crown.
Flash forward ten years and watching 2K and IGN reach a similar agreement ensures , even if only psychologically, an implied bias for the amount of dollars, fees, or favors that were exchanged to make this happen. Despite its daddy company issues, IGN is still one of the largest gaming vendors out there and has plenty of weight to pull around when it comes to this kind of thing. I’m actually more appalled at 2K, who was obviously complicit in, or perhaps the architect of, this whole agreement. Of course, it wouldn’t be above IGN at this point to now post teasing a review in-progress while the rest of us salivate on the sidelines. Oh, wait.
Sadly, FleshEatingZipper did not receive a review copy from 2K, but that’s nothing new. I can’t count the number of rose bouquets I’ve sent to those guys.