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

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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.
At the end of the day, it'll all be worth it if it even causes one site to change how they operate. I'd also imagine that said site would become quite popular here. But it probably isn't something that can be changed quickly, so we'll just have to give it time.
 

I'm an expert

Formerly worldrevolution. The only reason I am nice to anyone else is to avoid being banned.
These guys should be throwing each other under the bus. They're competitors, not friends. It's time to break up this boys club mentality the "press" seem to have.
 
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.
I don't care for GB either and am skeptical of Polygon. My larger point was, there are alternative publications popping up that do not operate within the traditional enthusiast framework and are not as beholden to it as the big sites, so if your argument was that that's what needs to happen to improve the field, I'm pretty sure we all agree that more of it needs to happen, I'm just not sure why you think that was an especially contrarian view to take.

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.
I'll cop to misperceiving your post as stronger and more directed than it was. However, it's still the case that no one actually made a prediction that things would change. The closest that came to that is "This doesn't feel like the 100 other times this story has come out to me, this feels like a tipping point." It may be semantics, but that's not a prediction, it's a gut feeling. Even if I shared the feeling, I certainly wouldn't bet $500 on it.
 
Why is it so hard for Wainwright to just come out and say something? Why is she taking such a bull-headed stance on this?

It's only making it worse for her.
What is she going to say if she thought there was nothing wrong with what she was doing in the first place? She felt attacked and exposed, now she just feels persecuted instead, so there's no real reason to come out and say anything.

Hopefully there's some soul searching going on on her part, and the fact that she tried to remove the evidence of her connection to SE might be an indication that she is starting to catch up to the fact that what she did might've been highly unethical. On the other hand, hopefully her current and future employers begin to realize she's burn out too.
 
Klepek, handling the situation in his usual dismissive manner.

‘I’m not going to recount the series of events,’ GiantBomb’s Patrick Klepek declared, rolling his virtual eyes, ‘that lead (sic) to much of the Internet getting up in arms for the umpteenth time about the supposed widespread impropriety of the profession I dedicate my waking life to.’
We ALL dedicate our lives to certain professions. Just some of us take it more seriously than others I suppose.
 
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.
What you can do is separate the news from the criticism. Get criticism from amateur sites and get news from forums or major sites, keeping in mind PR and news are often the same thing.

You get reviews later this way, but it's obviously preferable to shitting where you eat. Later reviews are better anyway, since reviewers have time to play the game at their own pace and let their thoughts settle.
 
Hah, surprisingly enough, even RPGCodex has done an article on the games journalism scandal. It's pretty vitriolic.
This article is the best yet. Definitely worth the read.

Love this:

And when a group of professional reporters (some of the best ones in their field, according to the GMAs!), like a shit version of the Stanford Prison Experiment, prove under laboratory conditions that their ethical code and good sense can be swayed in thirty seconds by exactly one Playstation 3,[...]
 
MCV seemed to have lied or bended the truth when responding to questions if Intent threatened a libel lawsuit.
Not really. They stated that Intent hadn't made legal threats, they didn't say that Wainwright hadn't. I was surprised at the time that noone directly asked them whether anyone, not just Intent, had made any legal threats.
 
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 the point is that ALL gaming news sources refuse to play ball with the publishers. Do you think pubs don't want coverage for their games? They'd have to drop their bullshit and respect the ethical codes of the journalists.

Of course that would never happen since the monetary reward from breaking rank and play ball would be too great for everyone to remain ethical.

I also doesn't help that a big part of their readership doesn't give a shit about all this and just want their bullshots early.
 
Why is it so hard for Wainwright to just come out and say something? Why is she taking such a bull-headed stance on this?

It's only making it worse for her.
What could she say? The damage has been done. Either she comes out and tries to defend her actions, which she's probably smart enough to know will reignite the controversy and re-direct the storm directly back at her, or she offers an apology which probably won't be well-received and won't actually fix anything.

Plus, I'm not saying we should feel sorry for her, but I imagine that getting the entirety of the Internet rage machine digging into your entire history and career and trying to dig up any remotely unsavory evidence is probably likely to make a person want to shut down and stay away. It may not be good PR but most people are bad at PR. That's why we have PR people.
 
He said it was a bad article on the Octoberkast, it was quite a contrast to the way Jeff Green commented on it.
I'll have to listen to that when they put those two guys' segments up, but I'm not surprised. The subject matter is likely something Gerstmann is sick to the back teeth of by this point, and he's always come across as an actions-before-words guy.

I'm looking forward to the Bombcast, I want to get Brad and Vinny's take on this, if they have one. edit: Although Vinny's probably got a million other things to care about, especially when this basically has nothing to do with him
 
Wheres this from? The post on GB seemed reasonable enough.
It's from the post you are talking about .

the podcast I believe. Someone posted a whole list of damning quotes including the gold ol' "You're all just jealous of us".
It hasn't been commented on by the Bombcast, so you must be thinking of somebody else.

I'll have to listen to that when they put those two guys' segments up, but I'm not surprised. The subject matter is likely something Gerstmann is sick to the back teeth of by this point, and he's always come across as an actions-before-words guy.

I'm looking forward to the Bombcast, I want to get Brad and Vinny's take on this, if they have one.
If they bring it up at all it will be mainly on a small part of the story, that seems to be how most of the media have tried to deal with the questioning.
 
Wheres this from? The post on GB seemed reasonable enough.
His worth reading article from 10/26. It's mostly reasonable on it's own, I suppose, but taken in light of so many sites echoing the same sentiment it becomes tiresome to hear. Yes this happens all the time, yes we know you have to walk a very thin line, but if you're going to bother to talk about the issue at all, at least give it the context it's due and don't treat us like it isn't our concern. How he finished that piece, "Now, let's move on." struck me as horribly arrogant. This whole thing exposes the amount of stink you all have on your hands. Now let's not move on with business as usual, let's see what we can do to fix this shit or at least cut out the cancer.
 
I don't care for GB either and am skeptical of Polygon. My larger point was, there are alternative publications popping up that do not operate within the traditional enthusiast framework and are not as beholden to it as the big sites, so if your argument was that that's what needs to happen to improve the field, I'm pretty sure we all agree that more of it needs to happen, I'm just not sure why you think that was an especially contrarian view to take.
Did I say that my view was contrarian? I just expressed my view (which I thought might be unpopular, though I wasn't sure), and some people agreed with me some people didn't.

My view is that:
(a) the system that is in place cannot be reformed into a legitimate form of critical media, and
(b) it is unrealistic and unreasonable to expect 'more' from the current system (given the types of people and entities involved), and
(c) if we wanted 'more', we'd have to pursue a fundamentally distinct system (rather than reform of the current system), and
(d) I personally don't care whether we ever get 'more'.

Notice that those points are taken directly, word-for-word, from a number of pages back. I've been quite clear about my position. Is it contrarian? I have no idea. It's just what I think!

I'll cop to misperceiving your post as stronger and more directed than it was. However, it's still the case that no one actually made a prediction that things would change. The closest that came to that is "This doesn't feel like the 100 other times this story has come out to me, this feels like a tipping point." It may be semantics, but that's not a prediction, it's a gut feeling. Even if I shared the feeling, I certainly wouldn't bet $500 on it.
Sorry, but how's that a point against me in some way? A guy gave his 'feeling' about things changing, and then, as an aside, in a single sentence, I said (in effect) that I was very confident that things wouldn't change. And then some people agreed with me and some people disagreed with me. What's the meta-problem you're having?
 
What could she say? The damage has been done. Either she comes out and tries to defend her actions, which she's probably smart enough to know will reignite the controversy and re-direct the storm directly back at her, or she offers an apology which probably won't be well-received and won't actually fix anything.

Plus, I'm not saying we should feel sorry for her, but I imagine that getting the entirety of the Internet rage machine digging into your entire history and career and trying to dig up any remotely unsavory evidence is probably likely to make a person want to shut down and stay away. It may not be good PR but most people are bad at PR. That's why we have PR people.
I guess, but even a formal statement explaining her stance on this would help. Obviously enough, staying in hiding leads people to assume you have things to hide.
 
Here is the section of the article that Klepek quote was taken from.
Patrick Klepek said:
That’s not an excuse for the problems in games journalism, just a reminder to keep the world in perspective. I’m not going to recount the series of events that lead to much of the Internet getting up in arms for the umpteenth time about the supposed widespread impropriety of the profession I dedicate my waking life to. I have, however, linked to a series of articles, essays, and reactionary pieces about what’s happened, and that’ll catch you up to speed.

In brief? The Eurogamer piece was on point--he took the words out of my mouth. I don't have a problem with calling out someone specifically. Unlike the iPhone fiasco with Gizmodo, this is a public figure. She's dug a deeper hole for herself by locking down her Twitter, and altering her resume. She should have just gotten in front of this, and taken her lumps. I believe she made a naive mistake, not one of cynical opportunism.
How on earth is that overtly hostile?
 
WTF is going on? Someone is sending Dorritos gift sets to the press:

*Doritos "press kit" pic*

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!).
There are abundant examples of how marketing teams co-opt irony. Commercials and advertising are filled with "ironic" winks to the audience about how they know they're being crassly commercial, and then commercials about how we know that they know, and how they know that we know that they know. That's nothing new (if, in fact, that's what this pic is showing).

From a company's perspective, if they get a laugh and some space in any internet conversation (like this one), they see it as a win. That's as good an encapsulation of the bind that many game journalists are in, as well. How do you talk about a "product" without also selling it?

Also, I hate Doritos and Mountain Dew. Always have.
 

JeffGreen

97.5: The Brodeo
That is a pretty great deal you managed to negotiate, but how would that actually work? Let's say EA, in their infinite wisdom, decided to license Hooters Roadtrip 2: Ho-Bros Go Hootering and had Popcap develop it. Would you, like, not be required to hand out the titty funbags stress relievers at E3 2013? Would someone else in the company take over doing PR for it?
Great question. And "titty funbag stress reliever" made me LOL. So I think that means I need to suggest that for the next E3, yeah. Maybe zombie titty funbags?

To answer for real: In fact, I would not have to do that. For one, I have input/authority/responsibility for PopCap events. So I could just flat out veto that and it's likely it wouldn't happen in the first place. Second, EA has been pretty great so far about "letting PopCap be PopCap", so the likelihood of us being forced to develop Hooters Roadtrip 2 are slim at best, unless maybe it was a Match 3 game. (Which seems kind of anatomically disturbing.) Third, yeah, I do kind of have the freedom - at least so far - to just say, "Yeah, I don't think I'm gonna do that or cover that," and I'm left alone. I'm fortunate. They want me to be "me," and know that if my integrity - well, such as it is, for a shill - is compromised, well, that's really all I have to offer in the first place anyway. Also, I'd quit! So there's that.
 
Great question. And "titty funbag stress reliever" made me LOL. So I think that means I need to suggest that for the next E3, yeah. Maybe zombie titty funbags?

To answer for real: In fact, I would not have to do that. For one, I have input/authority/responsibility for PopCap events. So I could just flat out veto that and it's likely it wouldn't happen in the first place. Second, EA has been pretty great so far about "letting PopCap be PopCap", so the likelihood of us being forced to develop Hooters Roadtrip 2 are slim at best, unless maybe it was a Match 3 game. (Which seems kind of anatomically disturbing.) Third, yeah, I do kind of have the freedom - at least so far - to just say, "Yeah, I don't think I'm gonna do that or cover that," and I'm left alone. I'm fortunate. They want me to be "me," and know that if my integrity - well, such as it is, for a shill - is compromised, well, that's really all I have to offer in the first place anyway. Also, I'd quit! So there's that.
How much does the Total Recall license cost these days, anyway?
 
There are abundant examples of how marketing teams co-opt irony. Commercials and advertising are filled with "ironic" winks to the audience about how they know they're being crassly commercial, and then commercials about how we know that they know, and how they know that we know that they know. That's nothing new (if, in fact, that's what this pic is showing).

From a company's perspective, if they get a laugh and some space in any internet conversation (like this one), they see it as a win. That's as good an encapsulation of the bind that many game journalists are in, as well. How do you talk about a "product" without also selling it?
There was a bit on The Colbert Report recently where Tom Hanks was the guest. The entire 6-minute segment was about how blatantly Hanks was promoting Cloud Atlas. "Hey, go see CLOUD ATLAS CLOUD ATLAS CLOUD ATLAS!"

Get it? He's promoting, but being obvious about it. It's ironic!

My Facebook feed reposted the YouTube link several times and thought it was hilarious. I thought it was a painful, unfunny segment and exactly what you're talking about.
 
Cheap Ass Gamer has accused Ben at PA of bullying Lauren Wainwright (for the original PA story). I don't understand how Lauren Wainwright is not considered a bully for threatening legal action and getting a guy to lose his job.
 
Wondering what a metacritic would look like if we could filter out reviews by people with clear ties to devs/pubs. I reckon Rockstar's games will end up with like 5 reviews.
 
Cheap Ass Gamer has accused Ben at PA of bullying Lauren Wainwright (for the original PA story). I don't understand how Lauren Wainwright is not considered a bully for threatening legal action and getting a guy to lose his job.
I listened to CAG on this and could not of felt more different.

I don't know if its because they didn't know all the facts or that Wombat really values his PR relationships and is a massive hound for freebies.

I'm really hoping for some big discussion around this to come up, it's all very muted and he said she said from what has been mentioned.
 
I can just never get upset about any of this stuff. I guess it depends on what your starting-point expectations look like. If you were expecting or hoping that members of the enthusiast press were expert researchers and/or writers, functioning as independent analysts and reporters who were bound (and protected) by professional standards of conduct... then it makes sense that you'd be pretty pissed off.

But come *on*. I can count on one hand the number of game-press folks whose work I'd grade even reasonably well in basic university course focused on analytical writing. Look at these folks' backgrounds (academic and otherwise!), experiences, stated interests, past writing, public conduct at events, and so on. Why would it even cross your mind that the enthusiast press would embody media ideals?

To my mind, this is a bit like getting indignant about the one-year-old kid screaming in the airplane. It's an airplane! And a baby! What did you expect?!
if this whole shebang serves to educate some, that's a good thing. otherwise, personally, this. i am not 'outraged'. yes, it's all pathetic, & inherently destructive (gotta give out those 6-7-8s to everyone else to further promote/distinguish the 9-10s), but the 'industry' is dead determined to do business in this way, & it'd appear that a helluva lotta people, both shepherds & sheep, are just fine with it. it's all very unfortunate, but, as a wise man once said: 'this is why we can't have nice things' :) ...

ignore the industry. it's something that's managed to 'insert itself' between the 2 things gaming's always really been about: imaginative/talented designers/developers, & you. enjoy the games you enjoy (while you still can :) )...
 
Cheap Ass Gamer has accused Ben at PA of bullying Lauren Wainwright (for the original PA story). I don't understand how Lauren Wainwright is not considered a bully for threatening legal action and getting a guy to lose his job.
I know CAG/CheapyD is a GAF darling but honestly they're pretty terrible. I've never gotten the appeal of the guy when he's been on 8-4.
 
I listened to CAG on this and could not of felt more different.

I don't know if its because they didn't know all the facts or that Wombat really values his PR relationships and is a massive hound for freebies.

I'm really hoping for some big discussion around this to come up, it's all very muted and he said she said from what has been mentioned.
The journos reacting defensively aren't doing so because they like their "free stuff" or love having their "PR teats to suckle on." It's because they feel attacked, plain and simple. They feel like they're being called dishonest and corrupt.

This couldn't be further from the truth. The trolls calling them corrupt liars are the same people who've always been calling them corrupt liars. The difference is that this time there's a whole new crop of readers who are coming into this conversation and questioning the ethics of having close ties to pubs and PR people. But those of us in this "new" crowd aren't calling them "corrupt" or "liars." Unfortunately, journalists are responding to these new voices the same way they've responded to the typical trolls.

These journalists simply aren't hearing us. Instead, they're choosing to relegate our complaints to the same pile as those other loud, unreasonable voices. It's become reflex at this point for them to respond like this because they've gotten used to doing exactly that for the past decade. But these new complaints aren't like the previous ones. It makes it easy for them to dismiss these new voices by just treating us the same way they've treated the everyday trolls they're used to dealing with (and dismissing). From their perspective that's all this looks like: the usual internet trolling and loud, anonymous naysaying and insults to credibility. I understand. I've been on the receiving end of this myself. It's very easy to ignore and dismiss.

Thankfully, it sounds like some journalists are listening and have been able to separate the wheat from the chaff in this discussion.
 
I think we'd all trust gaming more if it handled things like Old Man Murray. No PR systems here, just good, old-fashioned hatred for Roberta Williams and a Crate Review System.
 
Rab's tweeting some stuff about all this atm.

Robert Florence ‏@robertflorence
So how do we change this bizarre system where many games writers are almost indistinguishable from their PR colleagues?
Robert Florence ‏@robertflorence
I think the mainstream games coverage sites will never change. They will remain (for lack of a better description) PR partner sites.
Robert Florence ‏@robertflorence
What we need to do is encourage the creation of small, independent sites that have zero PR influence upon them. And help sustain them.
Robert Florence ‏@robertflorence
Get used to late reviews. "@robmcauslan: Where do you draw the line though Rab? Getting games early enough to review means dealing with PR."
Robert Florence ‏@robertflorence
I can't tell you how many people I see starting small, independent, and then they're desperate to go to E3.
Robert Florence ‏@robertflorence
This notion that PRs DON'T influence stuff is nonsense. No-one is talking about brown envelope bribes. It's all about control of access.
Robert Florence ‏@robertflorence
Readers need to understand that their rabid demand for EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOKS!!! make it easy for PRs to control the content they read.
 
Rab's tweeting some stuff about all this atm.
Yeah, and they're interesting things, but how would you host a small, independent games website? Surely GAF, for instance, isn't making enough money to support a small staff of writers, and it's not exactly a small website to begin with.

Robert Florence ‏@robertflorence

Why do you need "connections". You can speak to your reader about the shared experience of gaming without ANY connections.
I've been blogging for a long while now, but I'm not getting paid to do it, which means I can't post all that regularly; besides, it's not like I have an audience to begin with. So yeah, even if I'm a great writer (and I've no idea if I am; but people generally respond positively to the things I post), I could post without connections, forgo early reviews, and do all of that other stuff... but what's the point? I love writing about games, but I'm also attending school full time (and after our department fell apart, my program became essentially worthless, so I'll be graduating without any employable skills), working a crappy minimum wage job, and dealing with a bunch of other real-life issues. If I want to do some sort of serious games journalism stuff... I need to be paid. It can't be just a hobby. How do I, or anyone else, make that work?
 
I'd be down with late reviews. Hell, I'd prefer them.

I'd know the critic spent as much time with the game as he/she needed to. I'd know they didn't just rush through a game on easy mode, and I'd know they spent time getting to know and understand a game's details and environments.

I know Metacritic is the key to getting a site on people's radar, and that having an early review is key to getting seen on Metacritic, but there are a good handful of sites that don't even give scores. What's the difference? Give the reviews a week to percolate. You'd get to be the "final word" even. While everyone else is rushing to get their reviews out, you'd get to be the one absorbing it all, not dealing with launch-week issues, and saying something definitive about a game.

You could even build the site on exactly that premise. Polygon is trying to play this game by having flexible scores and reviews, but they'll still be rushing to get through games to have reviews up by embargo days. It colors not only your evaluation of a game, but it colors your entire experience of a game. I've been there. I know what it's like. I had to complete and review GTA4 in two days. Not at all reflective of how most people experience a game like that (and BTW I got slammed by readers for giving a less-than-perfect score).

Seems to me there's room for that kind of a site. Hell, if I didn't have another gig in another industry, I might even do it myself. A lot of blogs do this already. But none seem to foreground that approach.
 
Yeah, and they're interesting things, but how would you host a small, independent games website? Surely GAF, for instance, isn't making enough money to support a small staff of writers, and it's not exactly a small website to begin with.
The first thing that's needed for something like an independent site that is sustainable is some really talented writers who have worked in game design (preferably had part in some stellar ones).
 
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