4P seeks to be a trusted and reliable source for gaming news, reviews, and information. We seek to avoid any conflicts of interest, and in situations where such conflicts may arise, we aim for full transparency with our readers. With that in mind, we have made the decision to institute an ethics policy to reflect our values of journalistic and critical integrity. We hope that this policy will hold our writers to a higher standard and help to build and maintain great relationships with both our readers and the games industry.
- Review Copies: Staff members may request copies of games and game hardware for the purpose of coverage, including reviews, previews, and features. These games will be looked at with the same critical eye as any other game we review, and we will not accept any “perks” for a positive review. The only items that we will accept from publishers are things that are necessary to do our jobs, such as games, consoles, and peripherals. We do not accept any monetary compensation from developers and/or publishers for reviews, nor will we allow gifts of money and/or merchandise, or threats to influence our coverage.
- Review Assignment: In many cases, our staff have autonomy in which games they review. In the case of a game being assigned to a particular staff member for review, the Editor-in-Chief will select one who has an interest in and knowledge of the genre, series, etc. in order to get a fair and accurate review.
- NDAs and Embargoes: 4P Games may cover products that require a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or embargo on information related to the product. We will agree to all such NDAs and embargoes provided they do not compromise our journalistic integrity or put any stipulations on the editorial process. In this case, we will find another way to cover and/or obtain the product.
- Conflicts of Interest: Staff members must reveal any personal or professional conflicts of interest that may impact any of their coverage or content. If the conflict is deemed minor, the staff member may publish the content with a disclosure of the staff member’s interest or relationship. If the conflict is substantial, the staff member will not be allowed to continue covering the game. If a conflict of interest is discovered after the content is already written, the content will either be amended with a disclosure of the conflict of interest (if minor) or removed entirely (if significant).
- News Sources: Any news that we publish will include a link to the press release or source if appropriate. If no such link is available (i.e. an announcement made during a trade show), the source will still be credited (such as “Sony E3 2014 conference”). We will not publish any unsubstantiated rumors, and any unverified rumors that we do publish will be marked as such.
- Patronage Sites: Staff members may contribute to people on Patreon or other patronage sites, but doing so will be considered a significant conflict of interest that will disallow the staff member from covering anything relating to the patron or his/her products. Any contribution on such sites must be disclosed to the other 4P staff, and, if deemed necessary by the editor-in-chief, the public.
- Crowdfunding: Staff are permitted to contribute to Kickstarter campaigns and other crowdfunding projects. If a staff member wishes to cover a game or other project that they have backed, they must reveal the extent of their contribution (the amount they have contributed, or the level of their backing) to the Editor-in-Chief, who will decide whether there is a conflict of interest, which will in turn be dealt with under the Ethics Policy on Conflicts of Interest.
- Travel, Accommodation, and Gifts: Staff are not allowed to accept travel, accommodations, or gifts of any kind from a company or associate of a company that has any interest in content published by 4P Games. If staff members are invited to an event, conference, etc. that requires such expenses, the cost will be covered by 4P itself.
- Industry Participation and Public Appearance: Staff members are encouraged to accept opportunities to participate in the gaming industry in ways such as appearing in person or on YouTube channels, podcasts, other websites, forums, etc. Staff members who do so are representatives of 4P Games and as such should reflect our values in their industry contributions.
- Contests and Competitions: Staff members may participate in contests or competitions hosted by developers, publishers, or any other companies that may have a stake in the content produced by 4P Games. Such participation should be disclosed to the 4P staff, who will make the judgment as to whether a conflict of interest exists or not.
- Harassment, Defamation, Etc.: In their writing, on social media, and elsewhere, staff are to realize that they are representatives of 4P Games, and should conduct themselves in such a manner. Harassment, defamation, and the like are totally unacceptable in any form. Any staff member found guilty of participating in such behavior will be dealt with accordingly.
- Advertising: 4P may run ads served by third-party companies such as AdSense. Any advertisements displayed by such services will be carefully screened to reflect 4P’s interests. We will not display any first-party advertisements (i.e. directly from publishers) without an agreement that such advertisements will not influence our coverage of the product being advertised.
Ethics are an ongoing concern in the games press, and we realize that we may have overlooked something in our policies. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns about the policy, or if you spot something that we have overlooked, feel free to email one of our staff members.