Harmonix finds itself in hot water when the company is forced to admit that some of its employees posted positive Amazon reviews of its new game, Rock Band 4.
Released earlier this month, Rock Band 4 is, for the most part, the game that fans have been looking for. Critics have praised the game saying that it’s still as fun as they remember and Game Rant‘s own review gave the title 4 out of 5. In fact, Rock Band 4 is currently sitting at a Metascore of 79, which means that it has ‘generally favorable reviews’. It’s surprising then, that some Harmonix employees have taken to the game’s Amazon product listing page to post positive reviews of the game.
The reviews were picked up by Redditors yesterday evening when they noticed that some of the names of the reviewers are also the names of Harmonix employees. For example, an Amazon user named Matthew Nordhaus (a project manager at Harmonix) gave the game five stars, saying that “you can still rock in America. Aw yeah. Aw right.”, while Jayne Tan (who is a consultant at Harmonix) also gave the game five stars and wrote “I am so psyched to finally have Rock Band on my Xbox One“.
Rather than being a coincidence, or a campaign to tarnish Harmonix’s reputation as some have suggested, these reviews are legitimately from Harmonix employees, and the company confirmed as much:
“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.”
Nordhaus’ review has a new paragraph attached to it saying that “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” and that “music discovery, playing with your family and friends, and cooperation make Rock Band my favorite”. While many will appreciate the editing/removal of the reviews and the fact that Harmonix says that the reviews were not posted with “ill intentions,” had this not been caught by Redditors, it’s very likely that they would have stayed up as is and possibly duped shoppers into a purchase.
Some fans are also confused as to why the Harmonix employees thought that this was a good idea in the first place. Although the game’s launch has been a bit rocky (a lack of instrument bundles, and random song freezes being two prime examples), Harmonix had already pledged to fix those, and a blog post on the company’s websitee (which was posted before these reviews were published) states that a new Rock Band 4 patch will be out by the end of the month. So, it seems odd that Harmonix felt the need to do this but having been called out, it seems unlikely that the company will do this again.