Games Journalism! Wainwright/Florence/Tomb Raider/Eurogamer/Libel Threats/Doritos

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Sep 30, 2011
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I noticed that too. I think one of the writers posted something on his personal blog but nothing on the actual site. Lots of people on GAF talk about how great they are, I wish they would put something up.
In the comments they [as in various contributors to the site] dismiss the idea because John Walker has already discussed the issue on his blog, it's not "about games", it was "too depressing" to include in the Sunday Papers segment. To quote Walker's replies:

John Walker said:
Sorry to spoil all your conspiratorial fun, but the reason RPS hasn’t written about it is because we’re a site about games and the games industry. We’re not a site about games journalism and the journalism industry.

Clearly we have no agenda to ignore the story, since as one of the owners and directors of RPS, I’ve been writing extensively about it on my own personal blog. Which is where a subject matter like this belongs.

The circumstances under which we would write about media matters would be the misrepresentation of games, such as Fox News’ coverage, or newspaper reports of Games Are Killing You stories.

So much as we haven’t covered Lance Armstrong’s controversy, because we’re not a site about sports, we haven’t talked about this story, because we’re not a site about games journalists.

I’m intrigued that people think not covering this story is to our advantage. We could make political capitol of the story to our own advantage. We aren’t.
John Walker said:
I should add – I’m not declaring RPS editorial policy here. As is very clearly the case, we’re far too varied a group of people to ever manage to come to agreement on such things. I’m arguing my reason why I don’t think it was a story for RPS to cover.

But I think in all the anger and conspiracy being expressed here, it’s important to note that a) if we had a problem with the subject, we’d not all be making it clear in comments that we fully support Rab; b) I wouldn’t have written about 5,000 words on the subject on my own site which I think is the more appropriate space for the discussion; and c) think about who we are – do we seem like the sorts who’d want to “hush the story up”? That just seems ludicrous.
 
Jul 7, 2009
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Shameful, RPS, just shameful.


John Walker said:
So much as we haven’t covered Lance Armstrong’s controversy, because we’re not a site about sports, we haven’t talked about this story, because we’re not a site about games journalists.
Is this shit for real?
 
May 14, 2012
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I think we deserve better than what we have.

I love the way Patrick Klepek adressed the question in his "Worth reading". It's all about trust, and knowing the integrity of a reporter.

Seeing the interaction on Giant Bomb with the Double Fine and Harmonix people can be disconcerting, but I am sure there is nothing intentionaly bad going on there.

Hearing Jeff talk about how Dance Central 3 and how it's the Kinect's fault that the game isn't 100% accurate at detecting movement does make me question how much a person can be influenced subconsciously.

I mean, they reviewed Dance Central 1 and 2, but did not do a third review. I know they (mostly) write reviews for games they want to review, but I don't see Jeff writing a bad Dance Central 3 review if he can rationalize that it isn't Harmonix's fault, and they don't deserve to get a Metacritic hit because a shitty Microsoft product. He was clear on the Bombcast, and I don't recall him explicitly saying he would review the game, but it's still weird to see they decide to not review the third game in a series. And if the reason he doesn't do a review is because he doesn't feel like doing one, great! That's even better.

I trust Jeff, and I honestly believe that he is honest and transparent, but the fact that it brings up these kinds of questions goes to show how awkward these kinds of relations can be for readers.
Jeff has been VERY negative about DC3 on the podcast. and not just for the kinect, but also for the story progression and stuff.

Giant bomb has relationships with some developers, but they are ALWAYS up front about it.Thats all you can really ask of people isnt it? Be honest about it, don't try to hide it. I think jeff and ryan are the least likely people in the universe to let relationships affect them.

And i think you are jumping to some conclusions with the lack of review. Maybe jeff just hasn't finished the game yet? He said he was having trouble progressing, would you want him to write a review of a game he hasnt beat?
 
Apr 23, 2008
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I noticed that too. I think one of the writers posted something on his personal blog but nothing on the actual site. Lots of people on GAF talk about how great they are, I wish they would put something up.
Don't think they're going to. John Walker was asked about it and said this:



It isn't very convincing; this debate is relevant to the games industry since it's about the relationship between marketing and the games media. It's one thing to post stuff on your blog - and it's admirable that he's clearly passionate about the topic - but RPS reaches far more people.
 
Jul 7, 2009
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Don't think they're going to. John Walker was asked about it and said this:



It isn't very convincing; this debate is relevant to the games industry since it's about the relationship between marketing and the games media. It's one thing to post stuff on your blog - and it's admirable that he's clearly passionate about the topic - but RPS reaches far more people.

Talk about burying your head in the sand.

This IS about games and the games industry. How the games industry tries to influence the media that covers their games is not about games? Wut
 

I'm an expert

Formerly worldrevolution. The only reason I am nice to anyone else is to avoid being banned.
Nov 26, 2008
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Jeff has been VERY negative about DC3 on the podcast. and not just for the kinect, but also for the story progression and stuff.

Giant bomb has relationships with some developers, but they are ALWAYS up front about it.Thats all you can really ask of people isnt it? Be honest about it, don't try to hide it. I think jeff and ryan are the least likely people in the universe to let relationships affect them.

And i think you are jumping to some conclusions with the lack of review. Maybe jeff just hasn't finished the game yet? He said he was having trouble progressing, would you want him to write a review of a game he hasnt beat?
While he did voice his opinion on the game, in the latest podcast he said he had figured some things out to make the experience better, but that at this point he wouldn't continue to review the game because it's too late. I agree he didn't make his feelings on it a secret, but by not adding his name to that "metacritic list" it does portray him in a strange light, especially since they praised the first two entries.
 

Psi

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That sounds like a copout to me. It's clearly related to the gaming industry and if he's really that passionate about it, there should at least be some mention of it on RPS, IMO.
 
Apr 23, 2008
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I didn't think we'd see something more amusing than Geoff Keighley's huckstering Throne of Dew and Doritos, but the sickeningly fawning Ubisoft letter draped on top of an American flag really is something. We're breaching critical levels of unintentional self-parody here.
 
Apr 6, 2009
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Yes, some reviewers sell their shit. Unfortunately, there is little anyone can do to stop them, unless it is beta/NDA code. Once a retail disc is sent out to a critic, it's theirs to do with as they wish, at least according to US law. That's true of music and movie (DVD/BD) reviewers as well as game reviewers.
Don't know how it is in the US, but here in Europe our review copies have a big "Not for resale" bar on it, so they (officialy) can't be sold or traded in.
 
May 2, 2006
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Been away for the weekend, just got back and caught up with everything. I've got to say, this is the best thread I've read on here in quite some time. So many great and thoughtful posts.

And wow at totilos response. Probably the worst I've seen and pretty typical of the kind of response we get whenever stuff like this is brought up. Don't rock that boat bro, and by the way look at this halo 4 swag!
 
Nov 6, 2006
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Jeff has been VERY negative about DC3 on the podcast. and not just for the kinect, but also for the story progression and stuff.

Giant bomb has relationships with some developers, but they are ALWAYS up front about it.Thats all you can really ask of people isnt it? Be honest about it, don't try to hide it. I think jeff and ryan are the least likely people in the universe to let relationships affect them.

And i think you are jumping to some conclusions with the lack of review. Maybe jeff just hasn't finished the game yet? He said he was having trouble progressing, would you want him to write a review of a game he hasnt beat?
That is an awful lot of benefit of doubt you are giving them considering how they reviewed the previous two games and gave a lot of pre-release coverage to DC3. It was on at least three video shows leading up to its release including the Big Live Live show and a special Quick Look Ex.

It seems pretty convenient that the first time their friends at Harmonix game might be bad that they decide to give it preview coverage but pass on a review that might hurt its metacritic.

I am not saying that is absolutely the case. Nor am I even saying Jeff made a conscious decision to choose to avoid a review for that purpose. But the whole thing is pretty convenient.

I like Giant Bomb a lot. I am a paid member. But that doesnt mean I think they so everything right and never let PR influence them or manipulate them.

Also. That 3DS video is gross even if they try to pass it off as ironic, they agreed to that circus.
 
Aug 12, 2007
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I didn't listen to Weekend Confirmed yet this week...I can't believe those comments are real. "Iconic for that demo"??? Seriously? Like, I've been listening to that show for years and that's seriously enough to make me stop for a while.

I wish we didn't live in a society where so many people were like "what's wrong with everything being saturated with ads? Programming your subconscious to react impulsively towards consumer goods is just good old fashioned American business!"

People are so unaware that they don't get that these aren't just colourful labels and slogans on these products that somebody thought up one day and decided it looked nice. These are the fruits of marketing firms that have had psychology graduates on payroll for decades who understand how behavioural modification and classical conditioning work. The words chosen, the colours, even the placement within the frame, these are all purposeful and group tested. There are decades of academic literature out there on this.
I just listened this afternoon. It's actually a relatively level-headed set of responses from the "other side." And it does give a sense for why the journalists are having such a hard time understanding why people are concerned about this. They pull the standard "not journalists" (which as many of us have stated is just a way of saying "I have no ethical obligation to my readers. My job is merely to entertain them.")

Jeff, in particular, does try to be fair to readers'/listeners' perspective. But ultimately, he says that the problem is readers want all the stuff that those same readers are saying journalists should not accept. And I'll admit it's a shitty position to be in. But that's why ethics exist. Having ethical standards means not having to hem and haw. They should trump any concern over giving readers "what they want."

There are a lot of things that readers would love to see (the Tabloid press is full of such things), but that doesn't make it ethical. Having an obligation to your readers doesn't mean pandering to them.
 
Sep 21, 2009
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Don't know how it is in the US, but here in Europe our review copies have a big "Not for resale" bar on it, so they (officialy) can't be sold or traded in.
There was a US court case (it was years ago now) which centered around promo CDs and the "Not for resale" words.

Basically, court said the promo copies were gifts and first sale applied.

Used CD and DVD stores out here could care less about buying (and reselling) media with the "Not for Resale" stamp on it. Browse through any of them and you'll see it.

Not sure what store policies are for games like that, as you' can't really browse through the used game discs at GameStop like you can at used CD/DVD shops.
 
Dec 30, 2011
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Don't think they're going to. John Walker was asked about it and said this:



It isn't very convincing; this debate is relevant to the games industry since it's about the relationship between marketing and the games media. It's one thing to post stuff on your blog - and it's admirable that he's clearly passionate about the topic - but RPS reaches far more people.
Based on this and the general fucked upness around all these sites; reviews really shouldn't be in OT's over more impressions from a mix of gaffers. They offer the exact same value and until 'early reviews' are shown to be independent - their frankly untrustworthy.
 
Aug 24, 2007
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You´re not seriously trying to accuse people like John Walker for laziness are you? :)
I am not accusing any individual of being lazy. The question was asked, those are the possible answers if it is not due to EG connections. Walker did write up a good piece on his blog, the question was why not cover it on RPS.

Edit: I'm tired and might have misinterpreted your tone. Sorry if I did.
 
Apr 23, 2011
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Most of the gaming journalist icons across the games media world come out of this mess looking a lot less like icons......
Yeah, it sticks out. Simply admitting its a shitty situation and its something they have to deal with would be better than pretending it doesn't exist at all. If everyone is that terrified of upsetting PR people, then its easy to wonder how deep their actually objectivity goes.

That tweet in particular is horseshit. PR and marketing is a big fucking part of the games industry. PR guys don't see blogs. They do see RPS. Maybe that isn't strictly the case, but hey, appearances.

I'm liking the original article/journalist more and more by comparison. Hopefully he lands somewhere else soon.
 
Mar 14, 2012
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A Square Enix spokesperson writes an "article" about a Sqaure Enix game which ends up being frontpage at IGN. Clearly not gaming industry related. So Rock Paper Scissors is all about writing, not gaming. John Walker, nobody expected such a shameful excuse from you.


 
May 14, 2012
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I like Giant Bomb a lot. I am a paid member. But that doesnt mean I think they so everything right and never let PR influence them or manipulate them.

Also. That 3DS video is gross even if they try to pass it off as ironic, they agreed to that circus.
Jeff has gotten fired for integrity purposes in the past. So yeah, he has earned trust I think. Im pretty sure his friends at harmonix didn't love him shit talking the game on the podcast. If he wanted to spare them wouldn't he just not talk about it?

(what 3ds video?/i just jumped back into this thread and missed this discussion. )
 

Psi

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So what do people think RPS "real" reason for not covering the story might be? :)
Considering John Walker wrote about it on his personal blog and not on RPS, the first reason that comes to mind would be some form of politics.

I'm not familiar with UK Libel laws but that could be a factor as well.
 
Oct 27, 2011
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Some may say "ooh, corruption!" For me, it's practicality, as I simply can't remember every single detail about every single game I've played over the last 15 years. When a new game in a series (or as is popular now, a HD remake) comes out, it can be useful to go back to the original.
This is a bit off-topic, but how effective is this now what with all the patches and DLCs?

So what do people think RPS "real" reason for not covering the story might be? :)
I think that they have set up certain boundaries and restrictions on what content gets published on their site, and are just too proud to expand those. Which is disappointing.
 
Aug 12, 2007
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Based on this and the general fucked upness around all these sites; reviews really shouldn't be in OT's over more impressions from a mix of gaffers. They offer the exact same value and until 'early reviews' are shown to be independent - their frankly untrustworthy.
This would be awesome. But it would put a lot more work on OP's shoulders.
 
Nov 6, 2006
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Jeff has gotten fired for integrity purposes in the past. So yeah, he has earned trust I think. Im pretty sure his friends at harmonix didn't love him shit talking the game on the podcast. If he wanted to spare them wouldn't he just not talk about it?

(what 3ds video?/i just jumped back into this thread and missed this discussion. )
I know Jeff's history and he is to be commended for it. But that doesnt mean he is put on a pedestal never above suspicioun. It is easy to stand up to a faceless company and give a bad review than it is to do it to someone you are friends with (especially if their company appears to be struggling a bit). It is generally a crappy position to be in, which is also why it is a good idea to avoid coverage of stuff by people you are friends with.
 

Antiwhippy

the holder of the trombone
Mar 28, 2010
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Also. That 3DS video is gross even if they try to pass it off as ironic, they agreed to that circus.
Hmm, I think this need more consideration. While yes, they did agree to that circus, and yes, it is dumb and grossly PRish. However, that is the way nintendo chose to give the 3DS to press for their early coverage. So, should the press decline, they will be missing out of early coverage of the 3DS, and as enthusiast press, shouldn't you prioritise getting early hardware in order to cover it, because that is what their audience are looking for?
 
Sep 21, 2009
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This is a bit off-topic, but how effective is this now what with all the patches and DLCs?
Haven't really run into that yet. I mean, I do have an original Xbox with some DLC on the hard drive, but by and large, the patches/DLC thing didn't go bit until the 360/PS3 days. Most games I'm pulling out (when one needs to come out) are Saturn/PSone right now, with the occasional PS2 or DC game.

As the current generation consoles near the end of their cycles, I'll likely have to load up a hard drive or two from each one with digital content so the latest patches are ready to go should I ever need to pull an old system out for reference.
 
Dec 30, 2011
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This would be awesome. But it would put a lot more work on OP's shoulders.
The 3D Land OT has great implementation of the same idea. Your right its a lot more work/choices to go through. Not sure how it would work, but in the end these 'reviewers' have themselves said their reviews hold no real worth and technically are less likely to be honest compared to your average gaffer.
 
Nov 6, 2006
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Hmm, I think this need more consideration. While yes, they did agree to that circus, and yes, it is dumb and grossly PRish. However, that is the way nintendo chose to give the 3DS to press for their early coverage. So, should the press decline, they will be missing out of early coverage of the 3DS, and as enthusiast press, shouldn't you prioritise getting early hardware in order to cover it, because that is what their audience are looking for?
Do you really think Nintendo wouldnt just send them a 3DS if they said "No thanks to the truck full of pretty ladies. Please just send us a capture unit"? Especially given how big Giant Bomb is now? Do you really think that every single gaming media outlet that got a 3DS was obligated to have a truck full of Nintendo girls show up to deliver it?

Maybe that is really true but if so, wow, right?
 

Antiwhippy

the holder of the trombone
Mar 28, 2010
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Do you really think Nintendo wouldnt just send them a 3DS if they said "No thanks to the truck full of pretty ladies. Please just send us a capture unit"? Especially given how big Giant Bomb is now?
Giantbomb is actually pretty samll compared to the giants like IGN and gamespot.

I can see that point, but I think that if it's nintendo's default way of sending early capture units, I don't think they would care enough to change it.

Also, another point. While we're arguing about needing transpenrancy in how these PR stunts are handled (throughout the whole thread I mean), wouldn't them putting up a video of the whole process be as transperant as it is, so you can decide if that PR stunt is affecting their coverage?
 
May 14, 2012
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Giantbomb is actually pretty samll compared to the giants like IGN and gamespot.

I can see that point, but I think that if it's nintendo's default way of sending early capture units, I don't think they would care enough to change it.

Also, another point. While we're arguing about transpenrancy, wouldn't them putting up a video of the whole process be as transperant as it is, so you can decide if that PR stunt is affecting their coverage?
Exactly. It is about transparency. Expecting everyone to be a paragon of morality is a bad way to ago about life. But expect them to at least be transparent in the process.

Its not like Giant Bomb's relationships are hidden under the rug. You know where they stand, and you have the right to assess whether that relationship matters to you.
 
Aug 12, 2007
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Here's a thought:

If games writers want to stop being called "journalists," maybe they should rename certain sections on their websites. Rename "news" as "shit the PR department sent me." And rename "reviews" as "opinions of a self-proclaimed hack."

Come on, journalists. You can understand why we hold you to these standards. You either pass on press releases and entertain us in the process, or you stick to your guns and expect us to respect your opinions and insights. You can't have it both ways.
 
Jun 10, 2011
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This thread has convinced me that the worst part about being in game's press isn't the low pay or the pushy PR people. It's the batshit insane readers who think a slice of pizza is enough to throw away a decade of track record.
 

Antiwhippy

the holder of the trombone
Mar 28, 2010
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I don't think reviews should fall under journalism, mind you. Anyone can write a review, it's just the writing skill and knowledge of the medium that separate the good ones and the bad ones.

I wouldn't call film, food or book reviewers journalists. I would call them critics.

Also, opinions.
 
May 20, 2007
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This thread has convinced me that the worst part about being in game's press isn't the low pay or the pushy PR people. It's the batshit insane readers who think a slice of pizza is enough to throw away a decade of track record.
I think it is the posters that set up a strawman to argue against instead of looing at what is actually contained in the thread.
 
Nov 6, 2006
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Giantbomb is actually pretty samll compared to the giants like IGN and gamespot.

I can see that point, but I think that if it's nintendo's default way of sending early capture units, I don't think they would care enough to change it.

Also, another point. While we're arguing about needing transpenrancy in how these PR stunts are handled (throughout the whole thread I mean), wouldn't them putting up a video of the whole process be as transperant as it is, so you can decide if that PR stunt is affecting their coverage?
If they are so small, wouldn't that mean Nintendo would be LESS likely to want to send over a truck full of women?


I dont totally disagree about the transparency thing. But Kotaku doing their unboxing of $500 worth of Halo 4 crap is also transparent. The problem is it also allowing PR to dictate content.

I am not saying GB is evil and corrupt. Nor am I saying videotaping the whole thing isnt better than just ignoring thr charade part of it. But there certainly is a PR collusion going on there. Nintendo successful got their (frankly awkardly misogynistic) marketing stunt on tape.
 
I go to RPS for something different to what is everywhere else. Usually that means I go there to read what John Walker is currently musing, but seeing as what John Walker is musing is currently the thing that is everywhere, I'm OK with RPS not having that.

If that makes sense. Anyway, they have a tone to maintain; serious, fairly-disgruntled chatter about the PR/writer relationship doesn't fit at all. Plus, come on, RPS ain't that big, anyone who frequents it knows about all this bollocks by now.

Maybe they'd be wise to have a link to John's blog posts at the top of the site if it'd stop people getting pissed off, but John's kinda shown he ain't one for bending to the majority voice, is he
 
Apr 30, 2009
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It seems like maybe there's too much anger about this in this thread.

Then again, there's probably too much apathy from game journalists about the psychological effects that this type of stuff can have. Not sure how to feel about what this thread is trying to accomplish.
 
Jul 24, 2007
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Shit like this is why I've sidestepped the gaming press for anything but podcasts in the last 5 years. It's reached critical mass, the whole circus. There's no going back, no getting better. The glory days are over.

This is why I read and make purchasing decisions based on what I read here. I trust a gaggle of posters here because their tastes typically align with mine and they don't have to filter their opinions.
 
Mar 14, 2012
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Here's a thought:

If games writers want to stop being called "journalists," maybe they should rename certain sections on their websites. Rename "news" as "shit the PR department sent me." And rename "reviews" as "opinions of a self-proclaimed hack."

Come on, PR writers. You can understand why we hold you to these standards. You either pass on press releases and entertain us in the process, or you stick to your guns and expect us to respect your opinions and insights. You can't have it both ways.
Fixed and agreed.
 
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