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Harmonix Employees Caught Astroturfing for Rock Band 4 on Amazon

rock band 4 10-22-15-1

While we don’t normally cover Rock Band 4, it’s recently come to our attention that some questionable business is happening on Rock Band 4’s Amazon page.

Reddit user by the name Camera9 found several 5 star reviews for the game made by employees at Harmonix.

It remained unclear if these were actually posted by Harmonix employees, however, we’ve learned these are in fact legitimate reviews posted by actual Harmonix employees, via a statement from the developer over on Destructoid:

Harmonix has clarified its internal policy about posting reviews of our own products on retail sites, and we’ve asked that existing reviews be edited to identify Harmonix employees or be removed entirely. While we believe the reviews posted by a few employees were sincere and without ill intentions, as a studio we don’t believe these are appropriate actions. We appreciate the feedback from the community, and take our relationship with our fans seriously.

This isn’t the first time something like this happened, there was a similar incident with a Bioware employee during the release with Dragon Age 2. Now, these new reviews are either removed or edited to reflect the user being a Harmonix employee.

This may have just been a slight oversight on behalf of Harmonix, however, astroturfing is a very disappointing thing to see – and an ongoing issue that must be addressed at each incident.

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Writer at Niche Gamer. Passionate for video game journalism, and more than glad to be a part of it. I also write DOTA 2 stuff.



22 comments
  1. deadeye
    deadeye
    October 22, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    I’m glad they at least acknowledged that it happened and are transparent about it, rather than try to bury it.

    Still, I’d have to wonder why the employees did it. Were they told to do it? Were they just perhaps being a bit overzealous? Kinda hard to speculate.

  2. Offendatron_5000
    Offendatron_5000
    October 22, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Especially with how much people are looking into these things because they keep happening. You would think people/companies would learn.

    That’s likely all it is though, speculation, one way or the other.

  3. Misogynerd
    Misogynerd
    October 22, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    You killed the genre Harmonix by oversaturating the market, you can’t bring it back. Besides people are more into Vocaloid and Love Live Rhytmn games than using instruments.

  4. deadeye
    deadeye
    October 22, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I’d blame Activision more, although both share some of the blame.

    Also, I really think you’re overestimating the popularity of those rhythm games. They are not nearly as popular as you think. Especially in the west, where they are incredibly niche.

  5. djluke_1993
    djluke_1993
    October 22, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    I would say that’s true but I ended up with a broken Vita while drunk playing project Diva… So it kinda doesn’t work the same lol..

  6. sanic
    sanic
    October 22, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Wasn’t EA’s responce very different though, something like “lol fuck you I’ll do what I want” paraphrased of course.

  7. Misogynerd
    Misogynerd
    October 22, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    They are pretty niche, but the Love Live mobile game is popular, isn’t it?
    Still here is the problem crystallized:
    Rockband – 2007
    Guitar Hero 3 – 2007
    Guitar Hero World Tour – 2008
    Guitar Hero Aerosmith – 2008
    Rockband 2 – 2008
    Guitar Hero: Metallica – 2009
    Guitar Hero Van Halen – 2009
    The Beatles Rock band – 2009
    Band Hero – 2009
    Guitar Hero Smashhits – 2009
    DJ Hero – 2009
    Lego Rock Band – 2009
    DJ Hero 2 – 2010
    Rockband 3 – 2010
    Green Day: Rockband – 2010

    Activision was way worse though, although Harmonix wasn’t very good either.

  8. Offendatron_5000
    Offendatron_5000
    October 22, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    There was even Rock Revolution in the middle of that too. How much do you want to bet Konami still has a warehouse full of that shit somewhere…

  9. Reon
    Reon
    October 22, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    This isn’t exactly terrible as long as they admit it, they have a right to post a review like everyone else but it’s kind of pathetic to do.

  10. Siveon
    Siveon
    October 22, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Best Rockband game is for the PSP.

    Because screw plastic guitars. :X

  11. FalseTragedian
    FalseTragedian
    October 22, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    To be fair Konami did it first with Guitar Freaks…

  12. Phil F.
    Phil F.
    October 22, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Nobody really cares about those games either aside from the weebs that live in the niche.

  13. Phil F.
    Phil F.
    October 22, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    and DDR, but that’s not quite the same thing.

  14. CDan
    CDan
    October 22, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    I’d trade 3 Japanese games for a RBand Unplugged 2 on Vita.

  15. Siveon
    Siveon
    October 22, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    I’ll trade 5 or 10. Fuck me man, anything to play more western Rock songs.

    I’ll trade 15 just for a Queen II album DLC. Maybe even some Blind Guardian. Ah, bliss.

  16. Dewey Defeats Truman
    Dewey Defeats Truman
    October 22, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    They have a right, and I’m not gonna begrudge them for being genuinely excited about their own products if that is the case, but I would still think the average person would know better than to do this if only because they should know this kinda thing can easily lead to problems (such as, you know, accusations of trying to astroturf.)

  17. Dewey Defeats Truman
    Dewey Defeats Truman
    October 22, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    It was hardly just Harmonix that killed the genre so much as just a combination of them and Activision.

    Either way at least Harmonix kept it alive for longer than most people would really expect via DLC (they were still releasing it weekly until like 2013 or something.)

  18. Dewey Defeats Truman
    Dewey Defeats Truman
    October 22, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    I love me some plastic guitars, but the best rock band game (that I’ve played anyway) is Blitz. Or at least, my favorite.

    Man I’d love to import the RB3 songs into it.

  19. Siveon
    Siveon
    October 22, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    Holy shit there is a Rock Band Unplugged 2, then. Sorta. Gonna break out my RB3 and download a shit of ton of songs to use then~

    Woo! WHY ISN’T THIS FOR PC?!

  20. Fenrir007
    Fenrir007
    October 22, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Not the first time this happened. I remember a Bioware employee doing the very same thing. Ironically, this tells me more about the game than a 5 star review ever could.

  21. DrWawee
    DrWawee
    October 22, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    I stopped playing Rock Band when everyone I played it with moved away.

  22. Thanatos2k
    Thanatos2k
    October 23, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Pathetic excuses and lies. How did they not ALREADY have a policy about employees not posting fraudulent reviews? My company has that policy, and they don’t even make video games!