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Right now, the only other way to access the beta was announced this week for US folks. You need to shell out $5 to pre-order the game at GameStop. But, lots of people don't want to give GameStop even $5 of their money so at least they had the option to hold onto their SCC copy that could have been purchased at Target, Amazon, Best Buy or any of the other game retailers.

If you had purchased SCC and also intended its purchase to give you access to the beta, you're still OK right? You got a game that you hopefully enjoyed playing, however short of a time it may have been for you. I won't go into game length and re-selling finished games back to retailers that offer used games, because those are whole other cans of worms that I shouldn't be touching.

I'm sorry for those who have felt misled, but we clearly stated from the very beginning that there WAS a possibility for other ways to access the beta to open up in the future.

So then what was 'exclusive' about the beta access through SCC?

Another question that hasn't been answered.

I thought I answered it in an earlier post but perhaps that was at Ubi and I'm getting confused lol

Anyway I 'think' it was exclusive in the sense that no other game purchase (i.e. other than GR) would see such an offer.

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Thanks for answering, Kleaneasy. Might just as well been me getting confused. :)

Is there any chance for a little insight how Ubisoft processes community feedback? When you hand in those reports on community sentiment, do you actually get to see/hear any reaction from corporate, and if so, would you be allowed/willing to share some reactions with us here at GR.net? I'm sure many here would be very interested to hear whether e.g. forum posts have any kind of impact on the decision-making process.

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"Now we’re reading the feedback, and it’s really not getting the feedback we were expecting. It’s not getting all the love we were expecting.

But you now, you learn. It’s important to always check the feedback. Especially from the media.

I think the forums, you have to be careful. Forums tend to… the people that like it tend not to say much and it’s more the vocal people that are attacking… it’s almost, if you don’t look who’s posting you feel that everybody hates you. But if you check who’s posting and it’s only three guys…

Forums are dangerous."

-- Max Beland, creative director for Splinter Cell Conviction

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It's important to always check the feedback. Especially from the media

WOW! That is a major problem. UBI (or at least Max) cares more about what the media thinks than the people who buy his product. No wonder Rainbow Six has become a pile 'o poo. They make for great reviews but fall short of actually being good games.

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Thanks for answering, Kleaneasy. Might just as well been me getting confused. :)

Is there any chance for a little insight how Ubisoft processes community feedback? When you hand in those reports on community sentiment, do you actually get to see/hear any reaction from corporate, and if so, would you be allowed/willing to share some reactions with us here at GR.net? I'm sure many here would be very interested to hear whether e.g. forum posts have any kind of impact on the decision-making process.

It changes very much from one game and report to another, speaking generally though sometimes we hear more on a report and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes they’ll decide that certain points raised need further investigation and we’ll be asked to do a report specific to that point raised and in doing so provide a more indepth view on the community’s view of that point and why etc

As I say it changes greatly from one to another so it’s hard to give any clear idea on how it works because that depends greatly on what exactly the feedback is.

It's important to always check the feedback. Especially from the media

WOW! That is a major problem. UBI (or at least Max) cares more about what the media thinks than the people who buy his product. No wonder Rainbow Six has become a pile 'o poo. They make for great reviews but fall short of actually being good games.

This point was raised on Ubi and as I said there its not a case of caring what the media think over and above the community. The media are a good gauge of community feeling, using the DRM as an example if you do a google on news articles on that subject you’ll find they echo comments in the forums very well.

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The media are a good gauge of community feeling, using the DRM as an example if you do a google on news articles on that subject you’ll find they echo comments in the forums very well.

That may be true for some issues, but as far as the games themselves go I think that's pretty far off base. Most game reviewers don't play the games that they review nearly as much as the people who post on the forums. They review dozens and dozens of games every year, so their time with each game is limited. They don't necessarily have the same amount history playing other games in a series either. They may not even be fans of the genre. They frequently they also only play through the single player portion of a game, since they're reviewing a prerelease copy and the only other people online are other reviewers. You end up with a superficial look at the game's main features, many of which are just mentions of things that are on the press sheet that comes with the review copy. And the idea that they're in touch with the community is flat wrong; reviews are written before the community has had a chance to play the game at all.

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This point was raised on Ubi and as I said there its not a case of caring what the media think over and above the community. The media are a good gauge of community feeling, using the DRM as an example if you do a google on news articles on that subject you’ll find they echo comments in the forums very well.

"In the February 2008 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, Editor-in-Chief Dan “Shoe” Hsu asserted that Ubisoft had ceased to provide all Ubisoft titles to the EGM for any coverage purposes as a result of prior critical previews and negative reviews."

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Here's Dan Hsu's editorial in its entirety, taken from his 1UP blog:

Banned

This is a reprint of my editorial that appears in the February issue of EGM. A lot of people are talking about it thanks to Video Game Media Watch, Kotaku, Joystiq, etc. -- so I thought I'd put the original text here for people to read.

*****

It used to be game companies would pull advertising if they wanted to punish a magazine for unfavorable coverage. In more recent times, they're pulling the coverage as well. It's an interesting setup: Don't let us see the games, and we can't write anything bad about them. But don't let us see the games, and we can't write anything good about them, either.

Gamemakers have been taking issue with our reviews for as long as EGM's been around (almost 19 years now). It goes with the territory: Be honest and tough with your critiques, and you're going to ###### just about everybody off at some point. But when I took over as editor-in-chief in 2001, I also wanted us to get more real with our previews. I was tired of the press-release rehashes our industry had become accustomed to, so I asked for more sincerity and opinions from our writers and editors. Naturally, you have to be fair -- the products aren't finished yet, after all -- but judging from reader feedback, our opinionated previews have been a hit.

Except with some game publishers, of course. Less-than-totally-positive previews don't sit well with those who are used to those press-release rehashes. Combine that with our candid reviews, and you can imagine the consequences that we have to face constantly.

For the time being, you'll get little, late, or no coverage of the following products: anything Mortal Kombat (they didn't like our reviews), anything from Sony's sports department (ditto), and now, anything from Ubisoft (it seems our coverage of Assassin's Creed was the last straw). So in case you're wondering why you're seeing so little of these games in our magazines and on our websites, now you know.

What do we do now? Nothing. We won't treat these products or companies any differently, and we'll just cover them to the best of our own abilities, with or without their support. Because, after all, we're writing for you, the reader -- not them.

*****

P.S. I appreciate all the support from the readers, the industry...even PR people! We're not necessarily looking for any pats on the back or medals, but the kind words are appreciated nonetheless. For those other press outlets looking to interview me on this particular subject (G4, Gamertag Radio, Cranky Geeks, etc.): I appreciate the invitations, but I'm only doing one interview, here with Media Coverage, and will be on the next EGM Live* podcast talking about this, and that's it. I don't want to make a bigger deal out of this or look like I'm trying to milk this or anything. Between those two and this editorial, I've pretty much said everything I needed to say. :)

And here's an excerpt form Hsu's Media Coverage interview:

[...]With Ubisoft, though, things were a little more clear cut. "They banned us shortly after our 1UP Assassin's Creed review appeared, but it wasn't just because of the review. They didn't like our last two previews of the game, which pointed out some of the design flaws that we were concerned about." Indeed, the short, post-E3 preview in the magazine's October issue gave the game the decidedly uncoveted "Game We're Most Worried About" award. While a more in-depth preview in December was a little more forgiving, it still took the game to task for what the previewer saw as slow combat, rough controls and potentially repetitive gameplay. "[ubisoft] basically said, 'That's it -- we're no longer working with the 1UP Network in any capacity,'" Hsu paraphrased.[...]
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media doesn’t automatically mean reviews.... media means coverage full stop. The DRM example I used, that isn’t review coverage by any means.

Sometimes it’s far too easy to take a quote and add your own interpretation to it, nowhere in that quote does he say media is the most important/only important feedback and nothing else matters. He’s saying you have to be careful with forum feedback because it’s not a balanced overview of the overall buying community... and that’s very true. When collecting feedback on games you need to review all sources of feedback, media, the forums, tech support tickets and so on.

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Sometimes it’s far too easy to take a quote and add your own interpretation to it, nowhere in that quote does he say media is the most important/only important feedback and nothing else matters.

So "especially" the media is as meaningless as "exclusive" beta?

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[...]you have to be careful with forum feedback because it’s not a balanced overview of the overall buying community... and that’s very true.[...]

And 'media' is a balanced overview of the overall buying community? I very much doubt that.

But that's beside the point. Even if forum feedback is not a balanced overview of the overall buying community, it still is direct feedback from (parts of) the buying community, whereas 'media' is not. As we have seen in the Dan Hsu example above, media coverage of games (all kinds - not only reviews) can and will be influenced by game publishers through various bullying techniques like cancelled advertising or denied access to early game demos etc.

I'm not saying all media coverage is either bribed or blackmailed, but there's no denying that some interdependency exists between game publishers and media, which at the very least limits open criticism. Forums on the other hand display the unfiltered opinions of actual customers. While this may not always be pleasant, it provides a unique chance to listen to end users who have nothing to gain or loose by insincere praise or criticism.

Writing these opinions off as being non-representative for 'the overall buying community' pretty much voids the raison d'être of fan forums. If the vocal fans are considered the few nuts not worth listening too anyhow, why have a forum at all?

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Forums provide the unfiltered opinions of a small number, and that provides an unbalanced view if taken into account on its own without considering other forms of feedback.

The point is to get a balanced view of opinion you need to take ALL methods of feedback into consideration, in doing so you get a balanced view of opinion.

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^

If you could point us to the particular means of communication or any source of outside influence which would explain the current direction, gameplay, and content of :FS (& various other titles) that would be useful in forming a balanced opinion of Ubisofts recent decision making.

I've been looking, but so far have come up empty.

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If you could point us to the particular means of communication or any source of outside influence which would explain the current direction, gameplay, and content of :FS (& various other titles) that would be useful in forming a balanced opinion of Ubisofts recent decision making.

Here you go: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/halo-3-sales-top-300-million-mark-in-first-week

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Honest answer is that I can't, the reason for that being my only involvement in feedback reports is purely forum community based. There's a huge team of staff across the entire company and across various job roles charged with collating feedback reports and each covers different sources. Given my position in the company I only see the reports that my colleague and I create, although I have on occasion seen the final version as forwarded by my boss to EMEA and can confirm the only changes they contain to mine and Mr Shades versions are the inclusion of additional feedback our boss has collected from sources we don’t cover. The final versions always remain loyal to our report content if anything his included content usually reinforces what we’ve reported.

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The point is to get a balanced view of opinion you need to take ALL methods of feedback into consideration, in doing so you get a balanced view of opinion.

Are you seriously trying to tell us that the phrase "especially from the media" means something other than that the media's feedback is more important to him? Come on now... :nono:

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Even people who do know the answer about the feedback wont say anything about where they get it.Yeah feedback is nice and all,but people working on the games have their own agendas.I dont think that feedback of any kind is even on the radar of a lot of devs at Ubi.Unless its after the announcement of a game or after release Id bet they never even care to hear about the feedback.Afterall what proof is there otherwise? It sure doesnt show in the TC games.If anything the TC games prove everyones point.Which is that most the devs couldn't care less about our opinions.Of course they say they do.It wouldn't exactly look good if they said that they know whats best as far as the direction of these games and dont care or need our opinions.Which is exactly how a lot of devs think.I dont care where feedback is coming from for the TC games,theres no overwhelming voice in the community asking for an abomination like SCC,a huge jump in future tech for FS,or TPV in R6.All these decisions go in the opposite direction.

Edited by Johnny
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The point is to get a balanced view of opinion you need to take ALL methods of feedback into consideration, in doing so you get a balanced view of opinion.

Are you seriously trying to tell us that the phrase "especially from the media" means something other than that the media's feedback is more important to him? Come on now... :nono:

No... I’m saying he understands how biased the forum community is and if feedback were taken solely from the boards it would be very inaccurate to say the least. The very nature of forums means those with problems post, those enjoying the games rarely do, and those unhappy are very vocal, they don’t post their thoughts once, twice or even a few times but over and over again. Forum feedback is very important but it has to be taken into consideration with a much wider community feedback.

Even people who do know the answer about the feedback wont say anything about where they get it.Yeah feedback is nice and all,but people working on the games have their own agendas.I dont think that feedback of any kind is even on the radar of a lot of devs at Ubi.Unless its after the announcement of a game or after release Id bet they never even care to hear about the feedback.Afterall what proof is there otherwise? It sure doesnt show in the TC games.If anything the TC games prove everyones point.Which is that most the devs couldn't care less about our opinions.Of course they say they do.It wouldn't exactly look good if they said that they know whats best as far as the direction of these games and dont care or need our opinions.Which is exactly how a lot of devs think.I dont care where feedback is coming from for the TC games,theres no overwhelming voice in the community asking for an abomination like SCC,a huge jump in future tech for FS,or TPV in R6.All these decisions go in the opposite direction.

You couldn’t be more wrong, we’re often asked for reports on titles long before there’s any wiff of a new game being developed.

The issue isn’t whether they’re asking for and reading the feedback, it’s whether what you want from the game is the same as the majority of that community, like it or not the GR & R6 games sold well so they’re successful games.

The reality is you guys represent the hardcore and only a small percentage of the buying public, the feedback collected across all sources takes into account the entire community not just you.

Edited by kleaneasy
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No... I’m saying he understands how biased the forum community is and if feedback were taken solely from the boards it would be very inaccurate to say the least.

Nobody is saying feedback should be taken solely from the forums. Where did anybody say that? My point is that putting more weight on what the media says is a bad idea. And that's what M. Beland says that he does. As others have pointed out, the media's credibility is less than stellar when it comes to the publishers with big advertising budgets. You get a corporate-whitewashed writeup of a game by somebody who is on a deadline and has played it for MAYBE a day or two. Sometimes a criticism or two will sneak in there, but it's usually something minor. And there's hardly ever any real analysis of the multiplayer portion of the game other than what modes are options are available.

So sure, read the reviews. But putting more weight on them than on the voice of your "biased" fans is like the corporate executive who surrounds himself with "yes" men. He hears exactly what he wants to hear and does what he wants to do knowing that he'll always be told that he's doing a good job. It doesn't make for good leadership, and it doesn't make good games.

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Not sure where you are getting the idea that anybody here is saying that forums are a balanced representation of feedback on a game nor the only source. I agree a lot of people post on a forum are posting because of a negative experience. As a lot of people only search out the forum when they have a problem. But then again when you have a long running series (i.e. Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, Splinter Cell, etc.) you will have A LOT of regular posters who are posting feedback regardless if it's negative or positive.

I only highlighted Beland's comment because his statement showed an ultimate bias towards the media's feedback over people who actually buy the game and play it for more than a few hours, which is beyond wrong (IMO).

like it or not the GR & R6 games sold well so they’re successful games.

Just because a game is successful doesn't mean the game is good and the opposite is also true. That statement only shows a closed-minded and egotistical attitude. With the right marketing you can make just about any product "successful". There are plenty of people out there that if you show them some pretty explosions and some gimmicky features they can't wait to give you their money.

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the TC games prove everyones point.Which is that most the devs couldn't care less about our opinions.

Not everyone.

like it or not the GR & R6 games sold well so they're successful games.

Just because a game is successful doesn't mean the game is good and the opposite is also true.

Yes, but, the GRAW series on the XBOX 360 and PC were/are great games and so too the Rainbow Six Vegas games, imho.

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like it or not the GR & R6 games sold well so they're successful games.

Just because a game is successful doesn't mean the game is good and the opposite is also true.

Yes, but, the GRAW series on the XBOX 360 and PC were/are great games and so too the Rainbow Six Vegas games, imho.

In your opinion, which you are entitled to.

GRAW 1 & 2 (PC): I enjoyed but would not say they were great. Though were quite a bit better than the round of other TC games out at the time.

Vegas 1 & 2 (PC): Just barely a notch above Lockdown and far from great as they were fundamentally flawed on so many levels. Which from another one of Beland's comments about making the weapons "behave" in the game as they are represented in movies should tell you all you need to know about Rainbow Six's future.

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