NZGamer.com Editorial Policy

NZGamer Editorial Policy
 

NZGamer.com is an independent videogame media outlet based in New Zealand that publishes news, reviews, previews, and critical analysis of games and gaming culture.

If you feel that our work has in any way fallen short of the following editorial standards, please contact us.

Content Assignments

We endeavour to assign all our reviews and previews to the best person for the task; ideally, a subject matter expert. The following factors are considered in assignments:

  • interest in the specific title in question
  • interest in and knowledge of the franchise
  • interest in and knowledge of the genre as a whole
  • availability
  • access to platforms

The aim of this is to make our content as relevant as possible to the audience. If you're reading a review, it's most likely because you have some interest in the game or genre in question, so we want subject matter experts behind every review, preview, and feature.

Having said that, this is not a perfect science, and having the "perfect" person to cover a game won't always be an option. In such cases, the most appropriate available person will be assigned.

Review Scores

Reviews are, fundamentally, subjective - they're one person's opinion on the relative strengths and failings of the game in question. With that said, a scoring system is meaningless if those scores aren't consistent and standardised. Regardless of who's reviewing a game, or what the title in question is, a 7/10 should always mean the same thing.

To that end, we have the following guidelines about what a score on NZGamer.com means:

  1. A terrible game, with no redeeming qualities.
  2. A very bad game and one that is likely to entertain very few (and even then, only for the wrong reasons)
  3. Almost no redeeming qualities whatsoever
  4. A generally poor game, however some might enjoy some aspects of it
  5. Nothing special, but potentially worth investigation by a niche audience
  6. A decent game, but does have some significant drawbacks
  7. A good game with many redeeming qualities
  8. A very good game, with just a few things holding it back
  9. An outstanding game with just minor issues
  10. Best in class; a "system seller" and the type of title you'll be thinking about for years to come.

We also use a decimal system to further break down our scoring process. If we give something a score of 8.9, we're saying it's at the high end of the "very good game" bracket, but not quite good enough to be deemed "outstanding" (i.e. 9/10).

From an editorial perspective, a 10/10 score does not mean a perfect game. A game can be a best in class, "system seller" while still having flaws, it just means that its strengths are so noteworthy that they far outweigh any problems. That said, we don't give out 10s lightly - In NZGamer.com's nine-year history, we've only given out five 10s.

Review Notes

As of October 2015, all our reviews have a notes field at the end, detailing the following information:

  • whether or not the review copy was supplied to us, and if so, by whom
  • the version of the game reviewed

Patches

Games are constantly being updated, which means that certain aspects of a review, like bugs encountered, may not always be accurate.

In rare circumstances, we may amend a review with a footnote indicating a post-release change to the game that in some way contradicts the review itself, but neither the score nor the main body of the review will be altered.

If changes to a game are extensive enough, we may undertake a supplementary review, at our discretion.

Online Games

For online games, or games where online multiplayer is a substantial component of the game, we may choose to delay publishing a scored review until after release. This is to ensure that we can fully test the game in a live environment, and that we're reviewing the game in a state representative of what is available to the public. In cases where we delay a review for this reason, we'll make note of this in the article itself, and may publish an unscored "first impressions" article on or before the game's launch to help inform day-one buyers.

Advertising & Sponsorships

NZGamer.com is a proudly independent videogame website. While we do accept paid advertising from those in the business of selling videogames and related products, the company is specifically structured to avoid any risk of bias seeping into our editorial activity.

We have never allowed any advertiser to have any say over any of our critical coverage, and will never do so. Review scores are arrived at by considering the game (and its related microcosm) alone, and neither writers nor editors are appraised of the value of the advertising (if any) that the title's publisher or distributor might have spent with us.

We do not discuss review scores with developers, publishers, distributors, or PR firms prior to a review being published. After an article is live, no changes will be made unless there are factual inaccuracies to be corrected, or other extenuating circumstances. In any situations where changes are made, they will be noted.

Events

NZGamer.com staff regularly travel to overseas events, like E3, or press-only preview events, in order to gather content. In many cases, these trips will be partially or wholly funded by publishers or PR firms.

We accept external funding for these events because it helps improve our coverage, by giving access to content opportunities that we wouldn't otherwise have. However, this is never conditional on the editorial direction of any content generated from the event. A publisher inviting us to an event simply gives us access to the game in question, and doesn't come with the promise of positive coverage. Furthermore, any situations in which we are sent to an event at a publisher's expense will be outlined in the resulting coverage.

NDAs and Embargoes

In many cases, delivering content that's both timely and comprehensive requires us to agree to non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and embargoes on coverage. This is a common industry practice, and allows us to get early access to review copies in order to publish our review as on, as close to, or even before the game's launch.

With that said, we won't agree to embargoes or NDAs that don't serve our audience. For example, we may reject an embargo that lifts after the game is publicly available, or where an NDA is too restrictive to allow us to give an honest assessment.

Relationships

Given the the nature of our work, NZGamer.com staff have relationships with people in all segments of game development. These are strictly professional, with no influence our editorial process.

In situations where a staff member has a personal relationship with someone whose work they may be covering, we require this to be disclosed NZGamer.com management, in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest in our content. In cases where having someone covering a project or game that a personal acquaintance is involved is unavoidable (for example, in news articles, when only one person is on hand to cover the story), these relationships will be disclosed publicly within the article in question.

Non-NZGamer.com Content

Many of our writers create content outside NZGamer.com for other publications, on personal blogs, and on social media. Opinions expressed by our staff outside of the website do not necessarily reflect those of NZGamer.com itself.