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Bethesda expanded upon this decision in a recent blog post about the issue:
“Earlier this year we released DOOM. We sent review copies to arrive the day before launch, which led to speculation about the quality of the game. Since then DOOM has emerged as a critical and commercial hit, and is now one of the highest-rated shooters of the past few years.”
“With the upcoming launches of Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2, we will continue our policy of sending media review copies one day before release. While we will continue to work with media, streamers, and YouTubers to support their coverage – both before and after release – we want everyone, including those in the media, to experience our games at the same time.”
In theory, this practice should ensure Bethesda’s pre-order numbers are maintained, no longer swayed by early and potentially negative coverage.
This is unfortunate for us as journalists, but we’ll continue to do our very best to provide you coverage as and when we can.
However, if the reverse happens, we can expect the studio to change its tune in the coming months. Personally, it feels quite anti-consumer, especially when members of the public won’t be able to get an idea of a product's quality ahead of launch.
What do you think about this kerfuffle? Let us know in the comments.