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Editorial Standards

NDAs and Embargoes

VSG aims to provide you with content that’s timely, comprehensive, and reliable. Doing so may require VSG to agree to non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and embargoes with the creators, developers, and publishers of the products we cover. Such agreements are standard practice in the industry and permits us to have better developed content in advance of a game’s announcement or release.

That being said, VSG does not agree to overly restrictive embargoes – an unfortunate trend in the video game industry. Embargoes that restrict meaningful discussion of the thematic or narrative context of the game, or other thinly veiled attempts to dictate the content of coverage, are never agreed to. It is VSG’s position that such restrictions – for example, prohibiting discussion of certain chapters of a game or a “surprise” that occurs in the introductory cut scene (both real examples from embargoes) – reflect an insulting lack of respect for the discretion of the media outlet.

VSG neither alters its opinion of a product due to the presence or absence of an embargo, nor does it alter its opinion just to negotiate for an earlier embargo or exclusive. Additionally, VSG never agrees to embargoes that lift after the property being covered is legally available to the public. For example, if a game has a midnight launch on the East Coast of the United States, VSG believes that it should be free to publish our review at midnight Eastern Time, and will not agree to embargoes that prohibit us from doing so.

Game Evaluation, Previews, and Reviews

VSG is a game review aggregator, not a review outlet. While VSG issues games “scores” and provides recommendations based on their aggregated MetaMeter Score, we do not independently review games or provide our own review scores. VSG may, however, publish editorials from time to time and as appropriate, including previews and opinion pieces, about games of import to our community.

VSG’s opinions are not for sale. Product evaluation and editorial opinion are determined by the author and the Editorial Editor or supervising editor. No consideration is made for advertising, exclusive access, or the future goodwill of the developers or publishers whose projects we cover.

VSG Deals

From time to time, VSG may publish articles highlighting noteworthy bargains on products we think you’ll like – a pre-order bonus, an awesome console bundle, etc. We see these deals as a service to you, our community, to alert you to the best online prices. Decisions to highlight these deals is based on the quality and value of the product. But we want you to know that if you go to retailers through one of our links and make a purchase, we may earn a commission on that sale (see our policy on Affiliate Links below). So if you find a great deal on VSG and decide to buy the product, thank you! If not, no worries. Keep on enjoying VSG’s content and keep looking for bargains.

Affiliate Links

In much of our content, you’ll find buttons and text links that redirect to reputable online retailers – like the Microsoft Store. If you click on one of these Affiliate Links, and end up buying something from the retailer, VSG will earn a small commission on your purchase. Because VSG does not use advertisement, affiliate revenue helps keep VSG in business, and ensures that VSG can continue to publish news, game hubs, and analysis to the highest editorial standards.

Not every product link on VSG is an Affiliate Link, however. VSG aims to provide our community with as many choices as possible, and will provide product links regardless of whether VSG has an affiliate relationship with the targeted retailer. Additionally, the presence or absence of Affiliate Links does not influence the editorial direction of our coverage. VSG is committed to covering video games and the video game industry with utmost integrity, and Affiliate Links should not be interpreted as a product endorsement.

Indeed, we make every attempt to apply Affiliate Links across the board to all product coverage, regardless of whether a product receives a Play It or Skip It rating from the MetaMeter. So, if you don’t find a link, it’s likely we couldn’t find an online retailer selling the product at the time of publication.

Compensation and Gifts

Gifts of any value are the property of VSG and editorial management determines whether those gits remain in-house for production needs or are given away as community prizes. At no point can a VSG employee or independent contractor accept cash or its equivalent from the companies we do business with.

VSG may accept complimentary accounts and in-game funds that are necessary for testing game features. At the discretion of the Editorial Board, VSG would, for example, permit developers to waive subscription fees for PSN or XBL, and to provide VSG with in-game currency to purchase content relevant to our coverage. VSG will provide any other funds needed to pay for content required to produce a feature.

All products are covered independently of these factors.

Conflicts of Interest

VSG does not allow our staff or contributors to (i) cover companies they have a financial relationship with, (ii) have worked for or currently have family working for, or (iii) employs a writer’s spouse/romantic interest. VSG requests all staff or contributors to clearly and accurately disclose relations with those within the industry, and to take appropriate steps to avoid the perception of bias. The independence of VSG is of paramount importance, and issues relating to conflicts of interest will be promptly disclosed.

Sources of Information

Sources and industry insiders provide valuable information to VSG and enable us to do the work that we do. But it is strictly within VSG’s policy not to pay our sources. On rare occasion, VSG may contract with a source as a co-creator for the content we intend to publish. VSG will request anonymous sources to prove their identity so as to maintain our editorial integrity, but will vigorously protect the identities of our sources who wish to remain anonymous.

Copyright Policy and Plagiarism

VSG is very sensitive to our intellectual property rights, as well as the rights of other content creators. As a review aggregator, we rely on the hard work and professionalism of games media outlets and independent reviewers alike. Simply stated, MetaMeter Scores would not exist without the hard work and dedication of employees at the publications included in our aggregator, like IGN, Polygon, GameSpot, Eurogamer, and others. VSG endeavors to provide proper attribution whenever that work forms a component of our coverage – for example, on a game hub – and to provide a summary and link to the original review wherever possible.

VSG has no relationship or affiliation with the publications included in our review aggregator, and VSG’s use of review scores, review snippets, and other meta information should not be construed to suggest sponsorship or endorsement of VSG by those publications. VSG’s use of review snippets, trademarks, logos, and other identifying information is necessary to accurately describe the information displayed to users, and VSG endeavors to use only so much of those companies’ intellectual property as necessary. The use of such material falls strictly under the fair use doctrine of copyright law, and wherever possible, a link is provided to the original source.

Learn more about our Copyright Policy in Section 7 of the Terms of Service.

Non-VSG Content

Some people who contribute to VSG are content creators in their own right, and they may produce and promote content outside of VSG on other blogs, including those owned by VSG, as well as Twitter Feeds, Facebook Pages, YouTube channels, etc. VSG encourages such content creation, and will support those efforts to the fullest extent possible. However, please note that opinions shared on non-VSG channels do not necessarily reflect those of VSG.

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