Mike Murdock sez,
I write as a freelance reviewer for Joystiq.com, one of the largest video game website/blogs. AOL owns them.
I wrote a review of a video game called "Conduit 2", by High Voltage software, published by Sega.
The review was very negative. I gave it 1/5 stars. I was…very harsh. But it was justified. The game is, in my professional opinion, terrible.
I am also a fantasy novelist. After the review was published, the creative director of High Voltage sent out an inter-office email, telling his people to go to my book on Amazon.com and write reviews of it, since I had written a bad review of their game. The email was leaked to the gaming press.
The issue is not that it's a cute back and forth between a major video game developer and a lowly reviewer, but moreso that a major company attacked the livelihood of the reviewer because they didn't like the review, and they're acting like that's ok. Even the email response they sent to The Escapist condones what they did, and admits it. Then they wryly continue saying that kind of behavior is respectable, warranted and, most of all, above reproach.