Harmonix Admits Wrongdoing in Employee Reviews of Rock Band 4 on Amazon
Harmonix admitted that some employees did indeed go on Amazon to give positive reviews to Rock Band 4. Though it seems that some were placed there as a sort of "joke".
Harmonix clarifies their internal policies and deletes the disingenuous Amazon reviews.
Apparently some employees of Harmonix wanted to boost the ratings of Rock Band 4 on Amazon by giving it 5 star reviews. Oddly, it's been received very well by both gamers and reviewers alike attesting to the rather fun time you can have rocking out.
Harmonix has sent an official response over to Destructoid acknowledging the conduct, explaining the actions of those employees and somewhat admonishing the actions of the few that did post reviews.
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.
And to clarify, Matthew Nordhaus, who happens to be the project manager for Rock Band 4 at Harmonix amended his own review to reflect his thoughts on the matter, admitting that it was posted "half in jest,"
"I added this review half in jest (as you might be able to tell from the tone of the original). 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 favorite."
In truth they needn't boost the ratings at all with the success that it's enjoyed. Doing so can only hurt the image of Harmonix in the eyes of consumers and lessens their credibility. Good games stand on their own and don't need artificial enhancement. Even bad games need the legitimate criticism in order to actually improve. Likewise, Amazon recently sued over 1000 individuals who were offering up fake reviews on fiver. While these may not necessarily be fake, they do walk the grey line as to whether they can ever be seen as legitimate due to the writers involvement with the development of the game.