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.
We 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.