Developer Harmonix has admitted that a number of its employees left positive reviews for its recent release Rock Band 4 on Amazon’s website.
Reddit spotted a number of five-star reviews left by apparent employees of the studio. And now Harmonix has admitted that was indeed the case.
"Harmonix has clarified its internal policy about posting reviews of our own products on retail sites, and we’ve asked that existing reviews be edited to identify Harmonix employees or be removed entirely,” it told Destructiod.
While we believe the reviews posted by a few employees were sincere and without ill intentions, as a studio we don’t believe these are appropriate actions. We appreciate the feedback from the community, and take our relationship with our fans seriously."
One of those who posted a review, Matthew Nordhaus, has even updated it to reflect the change: In hindsight, it’s probably important that I note that I worked on the game and work for Harmonix. That being said, I’m confident that if I didn’t I would still give the game five stars. It’s a beautiful, peaceful, cooperative game, rare enough already in today’s landscape, that I can play with my wife and kids. Music discovery, playing with your family and friends, and cooperation make Rock Band my favourite."
None of which changes the fact that it wasn’t disclosed in the first place.
You can argue all you like about sincerity, but in not disclosing their employment those involved very much posted ‘fake’ reviews. How can anyone possibly trust that the sentiments were genuine? After all, had they not liked the game would they have left a one-star review telling people to buy Guitar Hero instead?