Date on Honors Thesis

Spring 4-28-2017


Economics and Finance

Examining Committee Member

Dr. David Eaton

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Sunayan Acharya

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Jim Humphreys

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Warren Edminster


Video game developers typically prohibit media outlets from publishing reviews of upcoming video games until a specified date and time. This study hypothesizes that review prohibition periods function as an economic signal of quality and thus impact sales. Specifically, this study predicts that permissive review embargo periods, relative to games with restrictive review embargo periods, are indicative of better quality games and in turn better sales. To test this conjecture the study collected a random sample of observations (video games) from four popular video game consoles and examined data regarding each observation’s review embargo period as well as data on their Metascores and sales. Findings demonstrate strong evidence that review prohibition periods indicate quality of a game. However, findings for sales are extremely mixed and suggest that review embargo periods may not significantly impact consumer purchasing decisions. The paper concludes with discussion of potential directions for future research on similar topics as well as discussion on applications for the findings in the study.