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BioWare employee accused of manipulating Dragon Age 2 Metacritic scores

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Chris Hoban It’s never pleasant to see something like this happen. Apparently a BioWare employee has been caught red-handed reviewing the game his employer developed. Some internet sleuthing has dug up some incriminating evidence that one may view as the manipulation of customer opinion by a company. Companies try to influence opinion all the time, but it becomes a problem when an employee poses as a regular consumer to hype a product. Follow the bread crumbs and you’ll learn how this whole mess came to light.

Through varies sources, including an infographic that’s being passed around on Twitter, we attempted to recreate the steps to get the same results the original whistle-blower achieved. It all starts on Metacritic, where a user going by the handle of “Avanost” wrote a user review. He gave Dragon Age 2 a perfect 10 calling it “flawlessly executed and endlessly entertaining.” Avanost only reviewed Dragon Age 2, but he rated two other versions of Dragon Age 2. He gave those versions a 10 and 9.

After searching for Avanost through Google, Avanost’s name appeared again on a website called Plurk. It’s there that Avanost’s real name is revealed to be Chris Hoban of Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Another Google search for Chris Hoban turned up a Linkedin profile for an individual who works as an applications engineer at BioWare. This individual is also named Chris Hoban. Coincidence? Maybe. However, the Chris Hoban on Linkedin is also from Edmonton, Canada.

We’ve tried to recreate every step in this investigation and were successful on most fronts. The only thing we couldn’t duplicate were the Metacritc reviews, which have been removed from the site. Avanost’s profile still says he rated three games and reviewed one.

While there’s nothing wrong with an employee loving his employer’s work, they should disclose that information if they’re going to post reviews. Otherwise, there is a clear conflict of interest that can’t result in anything positive.

Read [Reddit] Also Read [Infographic] Also Read [Metacritic]

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  • Angry Gamer

    I'm not buying another Bioware game until this fraud is fired.

  • Joe

    What's the big deal?

    I'm sure this happens all the time, so give the guy a break.

    Besides, maybe he legitimately thinks that the game is a 10/10. Isn't he allowed to vote just like everyone else, especially if it's outside of working hours?

  • Critic

    Make you think if EA has recemmended workers to write excellent reviews of DA2.

  • WTF

    Someone was bored enough to sleuth a metacritic reviewer?

  • trolololol

    Nobody bored enough to sleuth the dozens of 0/10 reviews by people who joined metacritic this week, it seems.

  • Manly tears

    Actually i was the one who sleuthed this out and posted it on 4chan, sad thing is i mentioned this on the official BioWare boards and they outright I.P banned me.

    A sad state of affairs when developers have to pay off reviewers and fake reviews.

  • Mosey

    Nice job Manly

  • JagaTelesin

    I personally remember reading Avanost's review on Metacritic when I was surfing around a few days ago, looking for some info on DA2. It was indeed a 10, and said exactly what the original person dug up.

    Very sad to see Bioware and/or it's employees committing this kind of act. They used to be a class act, but their recent release of DA2 combined with the revoking of a user's rights to play their own game (bug my arse) for a forum comment, and then this self-masturbation of a not-so-independent review… all shows where they are going.

  • Wanley Stoo

    big ups to my nigga Manly, numba won internet detective in the planet 10/10

    END OF LIME

    ___________________________________
    Be excellent to each other

  • Anon

    Looks like Manly GREW UP TO THE TASK

    Do ho ho …

  • Allan

    Why is this even a big deal? A single review won't budge the score at all.

    What about all the people that have never touched the game, giving it 0s and 1s? Even if you think the game is terrible you'd have to be extremely biased to give it 0/10. It's just as bad.

    This is pointless, and I'm amazed people would bother researching the authors of metacritic reviews.

  • Aaron

    I fail to see why this is a big deal. So what? A guy acting on his own accord can't write a good review for a game his company made, but it IS legal for companies to spend millions of dollars to boast how great their game is to impressionable young consumers through a bombardment of radio and television ads?

    This says more negative things about the idiot that took the time to find him then it does for the reviewer.

  • Star Brother

    OH, they even pulled the poor fellas linkedin pic! That's some dirty playing, but I guess they started it.

  • Guest

    shoot him!!!!!

  • Guest

    might be a bit harsh there don'tcha think