"Preview Bias" Sidebar: the Bias See-saw

Note: Please read in the context of the original article.

In his e-mail response, Shoe also addressed Torres’ specific concern that “the DS has always been met with ‘approach with caution’ wording [in EGM] … whereas the PSP has always been worded as ‘it’s so cool we know your going to buy it anyways’ wording.”

Shoe cited examples of past EGM issues where the opposite was true:

  • “…wanna bet that nearly every Nintendo first-party game on [the DS] is fantastic?” —August 2004
  • “The DS’s design is fundamentally unique, which means it’ll give us new gaming experiences we’ve never seen or even thought of before.” —August 2004
  • “We’ve all been through our share of shoddy Sony game hardware.” —August 2004
  • “…can’t wait…when some awsome Mario or Zelda DS game comes out, instantly making it a must-own portable for real gamers.” —February 2005
  • “[DS] offers unique functionality that puts it in a bizarre, innovative class of its own.” —February 2005

Shoe sums up his point: “If you’re a Nintendo fan and think we have it out for Nintendo, you can find evidence to back that. If you’re a Sony fan and think we have it out for Sony, ditto. End result? EGM can’t win. :)”

One thought on “"Preview Bias" Sidebar: the Bias See-saw”

  1. Shoe, EGM can win, when it takes a stand for the consumer! The fact is, while the gaming industry has been at the forefront of technological innovation, we’ve let the developers and spin-doctor marketers run away unchecked. EGM should set the standard for the gaming media and stand for integrity when the news stand is stocked with crap like GamePro and that GameStop catalog, Gameinformer. The question of preview bias is in all magazines and in every area, from Shiny’s Matrix game to the PS2 harddrive, so as the editor you must decide what action to take. You can try to reign in your writers excitement about projects, but that would put a damper on our industry and possibly kill some great projects and developers. After whats happened with Sega Sports and games like Beyond Good & Evil, innovation doesn’t need to be stymied. What you can do is hold these people accountable for their statements as well as the quality of their products. You did an interview with Peter Molyneux after Fable and did an admirable job balancing both sides, now do this with the console manufacturers themselves.
    The accusations of bias in this instance are about the PSP and the DS, but they involve all machines. EGM needs to be the Consumer Reports and NYTimes of the game industry. Each company has made promises, which you have reported and your readers have spent money on, now get them on the phone and if they don’t want to answer your questions, then report that.
    This industry is quickly being divided into a handful of groups: Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, and the “little guys”. They all have things to answer for, the question of bias comes from not asking. I’ve read alot of comments about “exclusive, killer apps” when you write about the X-box, but after Halo2, Fable, and Ninja Gaiden, where are they? We both know that developers are hesitant about risking money in the face of sales to a smaller consumer base, but that doesn’t mean you don’t ask! Where is the third party Gamecube support? Why haven’t I cancelled my internet service in place of “connectivity”, and why haven’t I heard about the DS using it? If EA has so much talent and resources, why do they only seem to put out sequels while the innovation is comming from the small developers? If you want to make a stand for the integrity of your magazine, this is where you start.
    Where you seal the deal is by getting real with Sony. While some of your writers like one machine over the other as most people do, the constant across the gaming media is to be pro Sony. I say this not because I’m a fanboy of thier competition, but because they are the industry leader, making the boldest claims, and not being challenged to live up to them. The free market may be what challenges their pocket book, but frankly I don’t like being lied to, and the claimes they made about the PS2 amount to nothing short of that. When the marketing push for the Dreamcast launch was getting into full gear, Sony logically put out PS2 news to deflate their competition. That news, from Ken Kutaragi himself, was that it would only be one year later, it would be much more powerful, and it would be the all-in-one, set-top-box, insert your catch phrase here, gaming solution. They proclaimed in interviews and press confrences that it would lead to a gaming revolution with websurfing, TV recording, downloadable games, movies and music all from one little black box and one easy interface. Instead we got 2 controller ports, and the opportunity to purchase the network adaptor and the hard drive separately for a combined $140. Where are the movies and the music? Why can’t I download the newest games and demos? Where are the killer apps for my $100 hard drive? Heck, where is the support for it period? The PS2 has the largest player population in gaming, but nobody is asking questions on our behalf? After sinking in all this money for features that were never even attempted (and the Japanese PSX hybrid doesn’t count, it didn’t even do everything they promised for almost $1000 and that’s a separate machine) I’m being told in your “previews” that the PS3 may give me these features. The next preview tells me that the PSP will be the ultimate portable everything and I’m supposed to believe it because you write that Sony said so and you accept it? Your only questions are battery life and some rare disc release when your being sold on a new disc format and more features than a swiss army knife? How many new media formats have worked, CD-I, DAT, the N64’s DD, or Sony’s own mini-disc?
    When the PSP comes out on this side of the Pacific, review it and it’s launch games with the same balance you did for the X-box, Gamecube, etc. but if the hardware defects are still there, and the features that they promise are not utilized, point that out too. Nobody treated the Dreamcast’s initial lack of online support with kid-gloves, and Nintendo has been criticized for the crappy use of the touch screen and microphone on the DS so far, Sony’s sexy little machine should be no-different.
    If I remember right Shoe, you started on the preview crew with Crispin and “Sushi X” back in the day. Now while your preview pages try to sell me on the PSP and the unbelievable Cell processor, I’m still waiting to be “moved” by the “Emotion Engine”. Face this head on, take them all on with equal aggresiveness, and don’t soil your reputation any further with pandering to Sony or selling out like you did with that “Call of Duty” cover fiasco.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *