EA Reviewer Questionnaire for Battlefield 3 Enters Murky Territory

EA Norway admits 'human error.'

Recently, a few Norwegian gaming sites received a questionnaire (shown above) after requesting review copies of EA’s Battlefield 3. That in and of itself is not an abnormal practice. The problem is that some of the questions imply that EA Norway was seeking a… certain type of reviewer, one who may look more favorably on BF3. EA Norway issued an apology about the incident, stating that the questionnaire was sent out of human error, and that it isn’t a practice the company will be continuing.

Some have taken it as an attack on independent game journalism, claiming that a questionnaire like this ruins the review process. I wouldn’t go that far, because when most sites are reviewing games on a scale of 7/10 to 10/10, things are already flawed. It is, however, a practice that could be perceived as shady because of the way it was deployed. There would have been no kerfuffle at all had the questionnaires been sent out after the review copies were sent, as should have been done if this was just information gathering.

Personally, I don’t think any ill will was intended, as this was limited to a few sites in Norway, but it could easily be a slippery slope. On the other hand, Jim Sterling of Destructoid has stated that his confirmation of BF3 had, “no extra conditions or surveys,” and I’ve heard nothing odd on our end either, so things are business as normal on this end of the ocean.

Update: Another report, from Bf3blog.com, states that copies of the game were actually withheld from sites that they thought would give it a bad score or who have a history of rating Battlefield games low. The only source they linked, NRK.no (you can see a translation of the page we linked earlier here), says nothing of the sort, only sharing the same sort of uneasiness other outlets have had over the issue. NRK.no has stated to Pressfire.no that they are choosing not to report on Battlefield 3, but that it was a result of the limited early copies going out in the country. Unfortunately, sites being blacklisted is nothing new, but that is a whole other issue.

Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett has confirmed that the process was not out of the ordinary for EA Australia either, and that his request for a copy “was met with two questions: If my mailing address is still my mailing address and which platform I want it on.”

[Image via NKR.no]

Robert Hill-Williams
Robert Hill-Williams
Robert Hill-Williams

MASH Veteran

The only things Rob has been doing longer than gaming are breathing, sleeping, eating, and reading. RPGs were what made him view games as an experience instead of a distraction, but these days he likes and plays every genre gaming has to offer. Outside of his usual reviews and articles on MTB, you can find Rob on the weekly Mashcast and frequenting Twitter.

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