Harmonix has been forced to admit that their employees have been posting five star reviews of Rock Band 4 on Amazon, following fan uproar.
If no malice was intended on the part of Harmonix staff, it still looked very suspicious. These user reviews were posted some time after the review embargo ended, so most gaming sites already released their reviews, and scores were already aggregated where applicable.
One of the devs stated their review was intended to be a joke, but the reviews don’t seem like they are (at least they don’t read like the reviews for the Hutzler 571.)
Harmonix shared this statement regarding the incident:
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.
While Harmonix’s response seems appropriate on paper, it also seems like they aren’t treating the situation with the proper gravity. There’s no acknowledgement that they are suspected of foul play, nor are they defending or refuting such suspicions. As it is, we are left to judge Harmonix for ourselves, and I have a feeling gamers aren’t inclined to give Harmonix the benefit of the doubt.
Does this incident affect how you think of Rock Band or Harmonix? Are you still interested in getting Rock Band 4? If you do own it, do you still feel fine about buying it? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.