Stardock CEO Accuses Gamespot Of Biased Review | MOUSE n JOYPAD

In the wake of the release of Stardock’s Ashes of the Singularity, some ethical concerns have been expressed by the company against CBS Interactive’s popular video game website Gamespot.

In a tweet from Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock, he revealed an email entitled ‘Concerned about your choice of reviewer,’ that was written to Gamespot on April 6th. “In my 20+ year career I’ve never attempted to meddle in the review of one of our games,” he says in the first line. He goes on to suggest that reviewer Daniel Starkey “has a personal animus towards me,” and that “he has allowed this bias to affect one of his reviews of our games,” referring to his review of Galalatic Civilizations 3’s expansion ‘Mercenaries.’ He goes on to state his concern, saying that “this same journalist has now been assigned to review Ashes of the Singularity,” what he calls an “objectively excellent title.” He asked that the reviewer “recuse himself and allow someone else to review the game.”

On April 25th, Gamespot released their review of Ashes, in which Starkey gave the game a 4 out of 10. In it, he cites robots who “looked similar,” maps that were “dry and lack character,” and called the experience a “one-note” song. The average user rating on that same website as of publication was a 9/10

In a post on the official forums for Ashes, Wardell wrote an article entitled “Basic editorial standards in game reviews.” In it, he refers to an interview he did with The Escapist back in 2014, where he was asked about the #Gamergate controversy. In it, he confirmed that despite not liking how the internet were mobbing journalists, he felt that “the gaming media has some serious problems.” He suggests that sites hire the cheapest “freelancers” to “put a few hours into a game and write something up for $200.”

In the article, he accuses Gamespot of allowing a reviewer he calls an “aGG” (anti-GamerGate), to “use the platforms they write for to push their personal agenda.” Despite sending information about Starkey’s account permanently blocking him and the fear that he has a bias based on his personal views, Wardell confirms that “Gamespot never responded” to his requests or concerns. He criticizes the reviewer’s opinion, pointing out that he “rated Goat Simulator a 6.”

Wardell also revealed in a tweet that Starkey has been assigned to review their other game Offworld Trading Company, which is due to leave Early Access in two days on the 28th. This game has a Mostly Positive rating by the Steam community, as does Ashes of the Singularity

We reached out to Starkey, Editor-In-Chief of Gamespot Danny O’Dwyer, and Wardell for comment, but they did not get back to us in time for publication. What do you think of this? Are the developer’s expectations unreasonable, or should Gamespot approach this as a possible conflict of interest? Leave a comment below, and let us know what you think. And if you enjoy ethically conscious gaming news, make sure you keep reading Mouse N Joypad