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Atari Sues Game Sites For Low Reviews

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 10 comments

Ex-console and game developer Atari late last week decided to sue three online game review sites that posted less than favorable reviews of its latest console game, Alone in the Dark for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Norwegian review sites Gamereactor.no and Gamer.no as well German site 4gamers.de received letters from Atari to take down their reviews. Both Norwegian sites gave Atari’s latest game a ghastly 3 out of 10 rating and 4gamers.de slammed the game with a 68-percent conclusion.

Last we checked, our sister site Tom’s Games and other popular U.S. reviews sites did not have more than previews of the game, as Atari has yet to release Alone in the Dark for any console.

Atari’s lawyers demanded that the three sites remove their reviews of the its game due to the poor ratings and using a pre-release "press" copy of the game. The lawsuit also indicated that it was possible the three sites used illegally downloaded copies of the game. While we can understand the later point, using "press" copies of the game for reviews is a common practice.

The three sites also indicated that Atari pulled advertising due to the poorly rated game.

Atari Nforce GrabWe took a look further into the situation and found that a "scene release" of Alone in the Dark was released for the Xbox 360 on June 17th, 2008 — two days prior to the release of the review on 4gamers.de and 3 days prior to the published review on gamer.no. While this isn’t conclusive evidence, it does align with what Atari indicated in its complaint.

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  • 0 Hide
    jhansonxi , June 23, 2008 9:07 PM
    It's been said that game reviewers are often just marketing department sub-contractors so maybe it's a breach of contract issue. :D 

    Other perspectives on game reviewer bias:
    http://www.gamespot.com/news/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=26421988
  • 0 Hide
    timaahhh , June 23, 2008 9:50 PM
    Whats a scene release?
  • 0 Hide
    mr roboto , June 23, 2008 10:09 PM
    It won't matter much weather or not the reviews are taken down, I heard it's not good at all. But what do you expect when Atari starts meddling with a possible good game? Almost all their titles are released with a ton of bugs and bad gameplay mechanics. No amount of patches can fix bad mechanics.

    timaahhhWhats a scene release?


    Pirated software or Warez.
  • 0 Hide
    homerdog , June 23, 2008 10:17 PM
    If they reviewed pirated copies I can see why Atari might complain. If they were press copies then maybe a contract was breached. I'm sure Atari wouldn't give out press copies without pairing them with a nice fat NDA.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 23, 2008 11:03 PM
    lol... sore losers =P

    either way I don't care i'm getting AitD
  • 0 Hide
    swiftpulse , June 24, 2008 12:06 AM
    gamerankings.com shows an average of 69% as of the moment from 3 reviews



    If that's any indication, a score of 3/10 seems kind of low!
  • 0 Hide
    swiftpulse , June 24, 2008 12:12 AM
    Hey, the url I put in my post disappeared.

    Here it's again, without using the tags

    http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/930280.asp
  • 0 Hide
    lopopo , June 24, 2008 5:40 AM
    Not surprised at all. I think we will see more of this type of thing in the time to come. Times are changing, people are much more educated and big companies do not like that. Companies like EA have turned game production into car production; the types of assembly lines that Henry Ford would drool over. I can only hope people pas as much attention to government policies as they do to which game sucks the most.
  • 0 Hide
    groo , June 24, 2008 5:32 PM
    I don't understand why Atari would be bitching about people reviewing unfished unready games? thats what Atari releases all the time.
  • 0 Hide
    cyprod , June 24, 2008 7:32 PM
    This is why I hate the press. "Atari sues because of low reviews." No, Atari sued because reviews were posted about a game not released yet. You say "well, it was off of press releases". Is it not possible Atari did not send those companies press releases, which would mean they didn't have legal access to the game to begin with, hence the suing? Of course not! We're the press and we're never the bad guys, it had to be because of a low review score and not the possibility that the content was pirated!