Rock Band 4 Developers Admit to Giving Their Own Game Positive Amazon Reviews
Update: Harmonix have now admitted that their own employees gave Rock Band 4 positive reviews on its Amazon page. In a statement given to Destructoid, the publisher said:
“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. 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.”
Original Story: In a particularly embarrassing rumor, employees of Rock Band 4 developer Harmonix have been accused of leaving overwhelmingly positive Amazon reviews for the game, posing as customers in order to give the game a better rating on the game’s store page.
Many of the reviews, uncovered by Reddit user Camera9, have been written by people either posing as Harmonix employees by using their names, or by Harmonix employees themselves. While it would be incredibly idiotic for the dev’s employees to have posted the reviews using their own names, the only other reasonable explanation is that someone appears to have a major vendetta against Harmonix, and they’ve been posting these reviews of the game throughout the duration of October.
As noted by VG247, the Harmonix employees who have seemingly posted the reviews include Morgan Milado, Harmonix’s legal and music coordinator; Richard Cody, an audio QA; and Shawn Witt, lead character artist.
Take a look through the reviews below (Camera9 points out that he discovered the names of those listed only as ‘Amazon Customer’ by looking at their wish lists):
Developers posting reviews of their own game is hugely unethical, not to mention that it’s also against Amazon’s Terms of Service. If Harmonix employees did post positive reviews of their game whilst pretending to be customers, it’s not known whether they did this of their own accord, or whether it was an initiative staged by the company in order to attract more sales. While Rock Band 4 has received a positive critical response, the Amazon ratings for the game range from 4 stars for the Band-in-a-Box bundle, through to a measly two-and-a-half stars for the base game, which can prove to be off-putting for prospective buyers.
Hopefully this is all a misunderstanding and Harmonix haven’t actively attempted to dupe their customers, but this certainly looks more than a little suspicious.