Skyrim: Special Edition is the second game released under Bethesda’s new policy of handing out review copies just one day before release and we’ve already seen an impact.
Skyrim was a highly anticipated game due to the nostalgia factor for a loved game and series. Obviously a huge number of Elder Scrolls fans would want to grab a shiny new version of an old classic to play on their latest consoles.
But would fans have purchased the PS4 version had they known ahead of time the mod support was limited to just 1 GB? Would they have bought an Xbox or PC version if they knew the audio was of lower quality because of poor compression? This is the kind of information gamers want before spending money. For some gamers Skyrim could have been the reason they finally upgraded to a new console and they could easily feel cheated if they bought the version with lame mod support.
So far this policy has benefitted Bethesda while hurting gamers and journalists. But for a publisher that already has a negative image of releasing buggy games, I can’t imagine they want to potentially lose consumer trust. Bethesda didn’t release early review copies of DOOM either but that game had zero issues and ended up a critical and commercial success. While a Skyrim remaster was always a good bet to make a nice profit, these issues have left a sour taste. If Dishonored 2 blindsides us with similar problems, Bethesda could risk losing a lot of the goodwill they’ve earned over the years.
Other publishers must be watching this situation very closely and will no doubt copy the policy if they deem it successful. But as of right now I can’t foresee it being anything but bad for gamers.
What do you think?
Here’s a discussion video on the A 90s Kid YouTube channel: