Andy Schuette has been gaming ever since he could hold a SNES controller in his hands and has been loving every minute of it. He's the funniest guy he knows, and the least funny guy everyone else knows.
Gamers occasionally rely on reviews of games to tell them whether or not they should pick up the latest release from their favorite companies. That being said, the integrity of the reviewing system must remain intact so that we as players can continue to receive legitimate information–good or bad–about the game. A way to not do this is for employees of the company to review their own game and consistently give it 5 stars to drive up its review score.
Employees of Harmonix, the developer of the Rock Band series, were found to be reviewing the fourth installment of the game on Amazon and giving it rave reviews. This was discovered by Reddit user Camera9, as they realized the names of the reviewers matched the names of employees at Harmonix. One of the employee reviewers, identified as Morgan Milardo, the legal and music coordinator at Harmonix, claimed that she was a new fan to Rock Band: “Absolutely love the game! Rock Band 4 is a perfect introduction to video games and music-gaming for me. As a new fan of Rock Band, I appreciate the intuitive structure of the game. I’m having a blast with the guitar – I made my way to ‘Medium’ level fairly quickly, which was very exciting for me. Freestyle guitar solo is SO much fun!”
I have my doubts that she has never been into Rock Band when she is in such a high position overseeing the addition of music to a game about music.
The company came forward about the issue after the news broke. In a statement made to Destructoid, Harmonix stated, “Harmonix has clarified its internal policy about posting reviews of our own products on retail sites, and we’ve asked that existing reviews be edited to identify Harmonix employees or be removed entirely. While we believe the reviews posted by a few employees were sincere and without ill intentions, as a studio we don’t believe these are appropriate actions. We appreciate the feedback from the community, and take our relationship with our fans seriously.”
Hopefully in the future there can be some sort of safeguard put in place to prevent such actions from reoccurring. With the trust that people place in reviews, we can’t have companies boosting the rating by adding their own biased (intentional or not) statements and scores into the mix. If nothing happens and this kind of fraud continues, then reviews will become utterly useless and we will have to find a new way to differentiate good games from bad before we make the decision to purchase it.