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

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NervousXtian

Thought Emoji Movie was good. Take that as you will.
The goal of this thread is exposing the problem to a larger audience. Period. Even if the industry never changes as a result, we still will have done a good thing. Your requirement for actual change as a result of this discussion is nothing but a false dilemma you're placing on us.
I don't think I've commented on the worthwhileness of the thread as a whole. And, heck, I'm not even looking for "actual change," so I'm certainly not saddling you with that commitment!

But some people are clearly looking for in-system change, and I'm just saying that I think that it is very unlikely. If you disagree, that's cool.
 
I mean something more like this:

Even if this story is the talk-of-the-town for the next month, and even if the EIC of every major enthusiast outlet on the planet publishes an editor's letter about it and promises to crack down in house, I believe that the overall climate of the games-enthusiast press will be the same in five years, and I believe that it wil not be rivalled by any alternative grassroots media structure.
If enough people think the way that you do, you'll be right. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's like saying, "I bet you $500 my life won't be meaningfully different in five years." If you don't want things to change and you don't ask for things to change, they won't.
 
Kuchera's piece was great.

Though some context about the UK libel laws is neeeded because he viewed the situation with US colored glasses. These laws are a great example of cutting off the nose to spite the face. They were enacted because the tabloid press in the UK was for the longest time behaving like a path of rabid sociopaths. They are an exaggerated reaction and not some institutionalized expression of supression of the press. I'm not from the UK though so my knowledge of this may be a bit lacking.
 
You know whats awesome?

The delay by the some corners of the games press in seeing the importance of this story has spread out what could have been a 1-2 day controversy that would have blown over into a week + shit storm as everyone slowly gives there own 2 cents on the matter.

Really sucks for Lauren Wainwright. Her reputation is ruined and any future employer who googles her will have a nice surprise.


Oh and if I had to guess MCV and Lauren probably only made a informal threat of liable action. They clearly didn't think anything through and probably never even talked to a lawyer before sending a strongly worded email to EG.

Heck I would be shocked if this wasn't just Lauren acting on her own. If anyone higher up at MVC and experienced actually approved this action then thats lulz worthy.

This whole thing just smells like some know it all media student not looking before they leap.

I refuse to believe ANYONE with a shred of dignity who works in the media would have told her to do what she did.
 
If enough people think the way that you do, you'll be right. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's like saying, "I bet you $500 my life will still suck in five years." If you don't want things to change and you don't ask for things to change, they won't.
I'm not standing in the way! And over the last few pages I've offered a pretty fierce condemnation of the industry and its players. I'm not position any opposition, ideologically or practically. And some of you are mobilizing, while some members of the enthusiast machine seem to be showing signs of attempting to appease you. So, hey, go for it. All I'm saying is that, given the way that the enthusiast pseudo-press works, I'd be shitshocked if something changed.
 
Kuchera's piece was great.

Though some context about the UK libel laws is neeeded because he viewed the situation with US colored glasses. These laws are a great example of cutting off the nose to spite the face. They were enacted because the tabloid press in the UK was for the longest time behaving like a path of rabid sociopaths. They are an exaggerated reaction and not some institutionalized expression of supression of the press. I'm not from the UK though so my knowledge of this may be a bit lacking.
Nah, I'm pretty sure they're relics from a time when freedom of speech wasn't valued as much.
 
Ben Kuchera's lastest piece is great. If you're reading this, Ben, then good job (and thanks for putting the effort in -- this is important)! I'm amazed this story has legs. I honestly thought this would've died down by today, but nope.

As was said above, she'll probably lay low at MCV for now and get a job at Square Enix a few years down the line. It's not like she'll actually ruin her career because of this, unless she actually thinks she can pursue a career games journalism. Personally speaking, if I were an editor I wouldn't touch Wainwright with a barge pole now. She's got that rep now.
 
I think TruthJunky and the other posters providing counter-arguments are misunderstanding each other. As I see it, the discussion boils down to:

1) All parties agree about the negative argument in regards to game media. It's fucked and the people involved are fundamentally incapable of rational and critical though.
2) TruthJunky's positive argument posits that (a) current system of game media cannot ever be fixed in terms of upholding professional and proper quality standards, and (b) only a grassroots/alternative to the current system would be able to achieve the ideals discussed in the thread.

So I think people should probably keep in mind that TruthJunky is only talking about possible solutions to fixing the problem.
 
1. I would never take that bet. You're right.
But you'll keep posting in the thread to try argue your case anyway, right?

3. I've not said that pushing for change is hopeless. What I've said is that pushing for change *within the current system* is pointless. Building an alternative media from the ground up is not only doable in principle but *very* doable in practice, and I've not said otherwise.
...Well, there's already evidence of that happening. Giant Bomb, RPS, PA Report, Polygon (maybe), there have been many bold new ventures happening in games journalism in the relatively recent past. So if your criteria is there will be no meaningful alternative media sources in 5 years, if any of those are still around, you'd lose. So I'm guessing that's not what you meant either.

Not that it matters, because even if you spelled out explicit quantifiable criteria for your bet, no one would take it because no one is making a prediction that things will definitely change. You think you're cleverly proving us wrong with the bet but you're just proving you don't understand the argument. Of course it's exceedingly likely inertia will maintain the status quo. That's true of all corrupt organizations everywhere. But sometimes, occasionally, something breaks through and starts a ball rolling in a different direction. No one is saying that will definitely happen here. But it might. Which is all that's being said.
 
...and (b) only a grassroots/alternative to the current system would be able to achieve the ideals discussed in the thread....
Yeah, but the industry is next to impossible to break into at a grassroots level. Companies just wont talk to you/deliver review material if you aren't willing to play ball with them, which then limits your coverage. Let's face it, people want to read the juicy stuff and exclusive content, not another Press Release regurgitation blog - and acquiring those juicy details, today, requires dirty deals. If there was a better, and realistic, way for an independent games news source to match the quality of coverage of the folks who have the "in", I'm sure many people would already be making use of it.
 
I think TruthJunky and the other posters providing counter-arguments are misunderstanding each other. As I see it, the discussion boils down to:

1) All parties agree about the negative argument in regards to game media. It's fucked and the people involved are fundamentally incapable of rational and critical though.
2) TruthJunky's positive argument posits that (a) current system of game media cannot ever be fixed in terms of upholding professional and proper quality standards, and (b) only a grassroots/alternative to the current system would be able to achieve the ideals discussed in the thread.

So I think people should probably keep in mind that TruthJunky is only talking about possible solutions to fixing the problem.
Yes. This is exactly right. And I've tried to be quite clear about this from the beginning. My second post was explicit about the fact that I was making a claim about the existing (pseudo-)media structure, and not a principled claim about the possibility of legitimate games journalism. I'm not sure what I could have said to be clearer. But, yes, Lime, I agree with this.

The only thing I'd add is that, again, I don't much personally care about whether we have a properly functioning games media. But, as I said, that is primarily a matter of taste, and I'm happy for those of you who want 'more'.
 
I like the MetaCriticCritic idea someone posted earlier, although I would call it CriticMetaCritic. Figuring out a metric to use on critics would be challenging, but I think doable. It would also have to be incredibly transparent, citing clear examples of, say, critics doing PR pieces for the same games they review, etc. Maybe a Wiki would be the way to go, I dunno. It would obviously end up being the most hated site among the game press, of course, but a valuable tool, nonetheless.

EDIT: mistakenly had a quote in there that wasn't related to this post
 
Well, there's already evidence of that happening. Giant Bomb, RPS, PA Report, Polygon (maybe), there have been many bold new ventures happening in games journalism in the relatively recent past. So if your criteria is there will be no meaningful alternative media sources in 5 years, if any of those are still around, you'd lose. So I'm guessing that's not what you meant either.
Well, I'm surprised you'd see Giant Bomb or (potentially) Polygon as a solution to any problem. (I love Giant Bomb to death, for what they are... but they are not a solution to any problem of media corruption, integrity, or independence.) As for RPS, I think that the actual substantive quality of the writing and analysis is sub-undergraduate garbage, but I won't speak to their motivations or integrity. I don't know anything about PA Report, but I'll look into them.

Not that it matters, because even if you spelled out explicit quantifiable criteria for your bet, no one would take it because no one is making a prediction that things will definitely change. You think you're cleverly proving us wrong with the bet but you're just proving you don't understand the argument. Of course it's exceedingly likely inertia will maintain the status quo. That's true of all corrupt organizations everywhere. But sometimes, occasionally, something breaks through and starts a ball rolling in a different direction. No one is saying that will definitely happen here. But it might. Which is all that's being said.
Hmm. Well, actually, the 'bet' was just an aside. It was a throwaway remark (though one I stand by), directed at a couple of people who were quite explicitly saying that this so-called crisis was "different" and might be the catalyst of change. Go back and read the exchange. My comment was a response directed to that specific exchange. I did not take myself to be doing anything clever with the bet and I was not misunderstand any argument. Go read the exchange.
 
Well, I'm surprised you'd see Giant Bomb or (potentially) Polygon as a solution to any problem. (I love Giant Bomb to death, for what they are... but they are not a solution to any problem of media corruption, integrity, or independence.) As for RPS, I think that the actual substantive quality of the writing and analysis is sub-undergraduate garbage, but I won't speak to their motivations or integrity. I don't know anything about PA Report, but I'll look into them.
At the very least Polygon have a clear ethics statement, it's a good start.
 
I'll be writing a short piece about this whole ordeal, I think. I also mentioned earlier that we put whether or not we bought or received games from a publisher - apparently that feature is in our CMS, but doesn't get pushed live. I'm currently chatting with the web design folks/site lead about 1. making that feature go live and 2. adding a little dialogue box for us to write a quick sentence or two about whether the game shipped with any swag, whether we were refused copies, how we got invitations to events for write-ups... that sort of thing. Transparency information.

Outside of sometimes answering questions in |OT| threads about games that aren't out yet, I don't really chat much about ~games writing~, but in this case I think it's important for me to show how stuff like this can (should?) be affecting writers, even (especially?) young part-time volunteer ones.
 
Yeah, but the industry is next to impossible to break into at a grassroots level. Companies just wont talk to you/deliver review material if you aren't willing to play ball with them, which then limits your coverage. Let's face it, people want to read the juicy stuff and exclusive content, not another Press Release regurgitation blog - and acquiring those juicy details, today, requires dirty deals. If there was a better, and realistic, way for an independent games news source to match the quality of coverage of the folks who have the "in", I'm sure many people would already be making use of it.
Well, I don't know about all of the specifics you're outlining here. But it would not surprise me that it would be exceptionally difficult to build an upstart that both (i) had the *actual* critical and professional distance required and (ii) offered good content, and the kind of content that many, many people want to read.

If that's the case, then it speaks to the depth of the problem. The fact that there is not a clear grassroots avenue is a symptom of the deep relationship between the existing games (pseudo-)media and the companies that they allege to cover.

As I keep saying (not that anyone cares), I'm not invested in replacing the current facade with an actual gaming media. But if one wanted to take on that project, they would need to start fresh. And it would be exceptionally challenging. It's easy enough to create a blog that maintains the relevant critical and professional distance. But blogging, for all of its fine qualities, does not seem to be everything that you guys are after. If you want researched stories, and fact-checking, and interviews, and in-depth coverage of the games-development process, and the kind of critical analysis (in reviews and/or previews) that requires someone with some training, then you're talking about building an organization that requires paying people. And it is hard to see how you could hire full-time, well-educated, hard-working writers in that environment, while gaining a readership (via whatever product-niche you're targeted), and finding a way to commercialize the project, without dying. The existent (pseudo-)media and the games industry would both want nothing more than to sink you.
 
On top of his existing piece, Jim Stirling will write about it for Destructoid too.

Jim Sterling said:
For those asking, "Why aren't other outlets covering the game journo shitstorm?" I thought long hard about doing so for Dtoid, and am doing.
 
From Stephen Totilo's comment on Kuchera's PA Report piece:

"I do regret the dismissive tone of that comment Ben quoted. Calling it not very important was a miscue because, a) the incident in and of itself was interesting and should have been an item on our site and b) the larger issues of distrust of the games press that have flared up again around this certainly are important. Giving a damn about whether the press can be trusted is always important, and I didn't mean to belittle anyone's concerns about that."

Why isn't the thread about our Silicon Knights story this long, NeoGAF? Sweeping that one under the rug?

Imagine a world where good games journalism doesn't generate really long threads on NeoGAF, but threads about games journalism and the alleged lack of good games journalism does. I guess everyone, not just Nick Denton, loves the whiff of scandal.
 

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
Here are the tweets of MCVUK EIC Michael French shortly after the fallout.



https://twitter.com/Michael_French/statuses/261464206883311617



Later he responded to Ben Kuchera



Looks like someone must have been twisting the truth.
Not sure about that.

Wainwright and Intent Media appear to have communicated with Eurogamer independently. Wainwright threatened legal action according to Eurogamer. Eurogamer is mum on the specifics of what Intent Media says, but it now sounds to me like the legal threats they referred to were just from Wainwright.

“Lauren told us that she intended to pursue the matter with her lawyers and made it clear she would not drop it until it was resolved to her satisfaction,” Bramwell told the Penny Arcade Report.
We know that MCV contacted Eurogamer about the article and, while they claim that they never threatened Eurogamer with legal action, Bramwell refused to discuss what was said during those conversations.
 
wow, before I read about this story I had no clue about how powerful the threat of a UK libel suit can be. crazy stuff.

The editing of the article and how the PA report describes a libel accusation as "an instant chilling effect of what people are comfortable saying, regardless of the truth" sounds like something straight out of the 1984 book. Obviously not quite that bad, but it just reminded me of the book.
 
WTF is going on? Someone is sending Dorritos gift sets to the press:



Source: https://twitter.com/ELahti/status/263015923160600576/photo/1/large

One of the GiantBomb team mentioned getting a package earlier today, but neglected to mention the brand (ethics in action!).
Probably Pepsi's PR team.

They sent out Mt Dew packages to the press when they did the Reach promo (or was it ODST)?.

Some outlets drank them. Others gave them away in contests because they were Halo themed.
 
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