Take-Two PR: We Don’t Blacklist Reviewers But We Whitelist Favorable Ones

The CEO and sole employee of Redner Group PR agency, James Redner, wrote in a guest column on Wired.com, trying to justify his reviewers blacklisting tweet and to distance 2K games from the scandal.

Redner admitted that his tweet was a "brain fart of epic proportions" and tried to justify it as "venting out" after reading "one particularly negative review of Duke Nukem [Forever]."

Redner didn't clarify which review he was referring to, but he claimed that the review was not a positive or negative opinion and that "it's as if the reviewer had a grudge and finally found an outlet to unleash his hostile brand of negativity."

"I overreacted when I read the review and I vented on Twitter," he admitted. "It was an act of passion on my part that lacked objectivity. In my opinion, someone had gone over the top to attack the game and those who spent their lives trying to make it. Ultimately, I committed a cardinal sin in marketing."

Redner then explained that publishers are under no obligation to send out copies of their game for review and that it is reasonable to expect them to try to send review copies to reviewers who are expected to has positive opinion about the game. For example, it makes little sense to send a sports game to an FPS fan reviewers who finds sports games boring.

Before launch Redner expected Duke Nukem Forever to receive a wide range of scores, so he decided to handpick a few key editor whom he expected to enjoy the game and decided to send review copies to them only. "The idea was to generate the highest possible cumulative scores for the game at launch. Consumer interest in a product tends to peak at launch. The game's short delay made my plan impractical. We did not implement the plan."

Unfortunately for Redner, the game's short delay ruined his plan as more review copies was sent then - almost ten times as much as the number of copies he recommended.

"It is my opinion that when someone exceeds their journalistic integrity and publishes a scathing, derogatory, uncalled-for review, I have the right to question it. Integrity isn't a badge that can be waved around to suit your situation. It is a lifestyle," Redner pondered. "If you ask for a copy of the game for review, you have an ethical duty to provide a fair review of the game. You do not have to like the game. You do not have to publish a glowing review. However, you must be fair and accurate. You owe it to your audience, yourself and the video game community."

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