There is a gaming site in Germany called 4Players, which recently wrote what appears is a negative review of Atari’s new game Alone In The Dark. It seems that Atari had provided a pre-release of the game to specific gaming sites, and that 4Players was not one of those sites. It is alleged that 4Player may have gotten their hands on a pirated copy of the game. Does it really matter?

What matters is does Atari have the right to have the review removed? Wonder if the review was from a site that Atari did provide the game to and they wrote a bad review? Are only good reviews allowed?  According to the article, it states:

A Dutch gaming site called also alleges that Atari has tried to pressure it to remove a negative review. “Within an hour [after posting the review], Atari called to have the review pulled off, claiming there was an embargo till Friday,” staffer Erwin Bergervoet said to Shacknews. “Our review copy was sent directly to us by Atari and [was] not a pirated copy. They explicitly told [] that they only let high-scoring reviews break the post-release embargo date.”

It’s an interesting position to think about. What if a friend at retail slips you a game a few days early? By reviewing it you’re breaking the embargo, negating the power of whatever news source was given the exclusive rights to the first review, but you also risk being frozen out for future coverage, and now it seems like legal action is also a possibility. The message is clear: game writers must play by the rules dictated by the publishers, or they should be prepared to pay the price.

So what do you think? Can Atari enforce their will and have the reviews removed?

Comments welcome.