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

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I've worked for three publications that had much higher integrity than the majority of sites. All folded. The reason? Gamers say they want real reporting, and real honest information but they really don't. They just want free information and easy access to it that can be done in short word counts so it doesn't take too much of their time.

The ones who loved what we did at those places really loved it and stuck around. But they were few and far between. Flash, expensive looking web sites, and being first means far more than anything else in "videogame journalism". You either embrace that or you're dead.

Web sites don't want the guys with integrity. They want people who work fast and don't rock the boat too much.
 
All that money PR spends is just because they're really really really nice people. It's just a friendly gesture! There's no way press is being influenced!
But it's not like games writers ring up/email saying "Hey, can you send me nice stuff?".

It arrives with the games half the time. It gets thrown in the corner, and you go and work on the game for a review/article.
 
This post is very reactionary based on a very out-of-context comment.
Context?

CONTEXT?!

How dare you speak to me of context when I'm in the middle of an obviously emotionally-driven rant!

;)

The point still stands though.

If there is a witch hunt, it's self-inflicted.

We would not have seen this level of furor if the game press had gotten in front of the story.

Edit: To address the use of the term in context...

I disagree with Jeff.

The line between critic, writer, personality, promoter, corporate spokesperson etc. has been purposely blurred.

The public demanding to know who is what is not a "witch hunt".
 
Bullshit Jeff. In what way exactly can it be described as 'bitter'
I don't see how the article was bitter - it made a very good point. If Jeff feels the article should have been better, while agreeing with its point, then why doesn't he write this better article himself? That isn't meant to sound as confrontational as it does, reading it back - but it's a genuine question. If you believe it should be better - write something better.

Yeah, I don't think it needs to be free. If his material has value, give it a price. There's no shame in that. It can still be 'free'.

Voluntary subscriptions, youtube channel, twitch stream, google adsense, ads from companies _not_ in the gaming industry, etcetc. Any or all of that is a-ok in my book. Even sweet sweet merch, if he ever hits the right level of popularity. A way to give something to people who support you.

If he wants to sit on a throne of junkfood and dispense gaming wisdom, cool, just don't sit on ubisofts american flag.
From his Twitter, he was asked about voluntary subscriptions and seems to be considering it - he says it could happen, as long as there was still a way for people who wanted to watch it for free, to watch for free.
 
I've worked for three publications that had much higher integrity than the majority of sites. All folded. The reason? Gamers say they want real reporting, and real honest information but they really don't. They just want free information and easy access to it that can be done in short word counts so it doesn't take too much of their time.

The ones who loved what we did at those places really loved it and stuck around. But they were few and far between. Flash, expensive looking web sites, and being first means far more than anything else in "videogame journalism". You either embrace that or you're dead.

Web sites don't want the guys with integrity. They want people who work fast and don't rock the boat too much.

Well said and really speaks to why we are all stuck with what we're stuck with now. We reap what we sow.
 
now we just need more sites to follow vg247's example. There have been a few other publications that have announced they aren't taking paid trips and whatnot.

The only thing reviewers should be getting free are games/hardware items sent by the pr teams to review. Everything else has no point.
 
Great news. Personally don't see anything wrong with ads (just gaming centric ones agreed through mates/PR and with conditions); but I understand his reasons for making it non-ad based.

Will be interesting to see.



Bullshit Jeff. In what way exactly can it be described as 'bitter'
Where is this quote from?
 
I've worked for three publications that had much higher integrity than the majority of sites. All folded. The reason? Gamers say they want real reporting, and real honest information but they really don't. They just want free information and easy access to it that can be done in short word counts so it doesn't take too much of their time.

The ones who loved what we did at those places really loved it and stuck around. But they were few and far between. Flash, expensive looking web sites, and being first means far more than anything else in "videogame journalism". You either embrace that or you're dead.

Web sites don't want the guys with integrity. They want people who work fast and don't rock the boat too much.
Doesn't surprise me even one whit, sadly :|
 
We know that Stephen Totilo and a lot of other site bosses are watching this thread. I would be interested to know if they agree with you.

Their existence is heavily dependent on getting the most clicks/hits/page views as possible -- and of course being "first." There's not much room for integrity and solid info when this is the norm. Of course, these sites do run the occasional feature story, but that's not going to keep them afloat if that's all they do.
 
Props to Totilo.

I'm still confused why the press seems to be weighing the importance of DoritoGate here. I'm pretty sure most of us thought it was more funny than actually meaning anything (The halo sign in the back could implicate something, but this is hardly the first time a games press has appeared near game merch/advertising stuff).
 
The other problem is as we writers age, we are pushed out of the games industry unless we decide to become PR people or go back to our day jobs. (I did the latter.) It's a young man's game because it pays shit and they expect you to spend hours upon hours for said pay. 20-somethings (and often younger) aren't usually huge on integrity. You barely know what that means at that age.
 
Perhaps its just my inner cynic, but why is important italicized at the end? Just seems...odd.
The word "important" was italicized because Stephen has been called out (on GAF and now on other gaming sites) for his use of the phrase "not important" in reference to this issue. That entire editorial was a mea culpa for the phrase, so it makes perfect sense to emphatically say that it is, indeed, important.

Also, regarding the first paragraph...

...while the Mountain Dew/Doritos thing was a catalyst, I don't think anyone really cares too much about the over-abundance of non-endemic advertising - you guys have got to get paid somehow. Jeff Gerstmann's post seemed to make this mistake too.

Yeah, being surrounded by junk food isn't exactly a good look, but it's much, much preferred over advertising the products you're supposed to be critiquing (Halo).
Worth remembering that this whole issue came to light following the circulation of that photo. This was not just a "catalyst," but it was the beginning of the conversation--even before Florence's Eurogamer article. Even if the conversation has changed, that photo (and its implications) are still part of the issue.

The good, the bad and the ugly. It's a great idea and a way for us to draw a line in the sand to ensure something positive comes out of this whole debacle.
Not sure how we can all agree on a list, though. That would put a lot of power in the hands of a few "editorial" figures on GAF. We can try, but I'd much rather see us simply more attuned to the issue. And rather than just doing the typical "lol games journalism" crap, actually holding these writers accountable. It's possible this would work if we had some hard-and-fast criteria and standards that we could quantify. Doing X means you're on the "bad" list. Doing enough Y knocks you down to the "ugly" list. An open apology for some prior offense gets you back on the "good" list. Etc.

I've worked for three publications that had much higher integrity than the majority of sites. All folded. The reason? Gamers say they want real reporting, and real honest information but they really don't. They just want free information and easy access to it that can be done in short word counts so it doesn't take too much of their time.

The ones who loved what we did at those places really loved it and stuck around. But they were few and far between. Flash, expensive looking web sites, and being first means far more than anything else in "videogame journalism". You either embrace that or you're dead.

Web sites don't want the guys with integrity. They want people who work fast and don't rock the boat too much.
It's this kind of cynicism that many of us are trying to combat. And to be fair to many games writers, they also aren't as cynical as you.

To paraphrase Edmund Burke a bit, all it takes for douchebags to succeed is for good men to do nothing.
 
Update: Added Giant Bombcast, Weekend Confirmed 3, Guardian funny thing, 1up Yours, Christian Spicer, VG247, Video Games Interactive, MaxwellGT2000, Kotaku, Dave Long


Current articles/videos/podcasts
Wings over Sealand (Stuart Campbell) articles (second article has early summary) 1 2 3
John Walker's (Rock Paper Shotgun) blog (start with Games Journalists, And The Perception Of Corruption, includes guest post by Rab Florence)
TotalBiscuit
Jim Sterling
Penny-Arcade 1 2
Gamasutra
Forbes
Worthplaying
GiantBomb
Jason Lauritzen editorial and GAF post
RPGCodex writes an excellent summary
Destructoid
BoingBoing
TheSixthAxis
EDGE article that was written a few weeks ago
PlayerOne Podcast
Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell (editor who edited Rab's column) about the last few days
Rock Paper Shotgun official stance
The Guardian and a funny thing related to the article
Giant Bombcast
VG247 on their new ethics statement
Video Games Interactive
Kotaku

Old (but still relevant) articles/videos/podcasts
Rab Florence (the guy who started all this) criticizing games writing since 2008
An old episode of CGW Radio discussing Gerstmann-gate
Old Gamasutra article on the influence of PR
Old GFW radio bits
1up YoursShawn Elliot and Shane Bettenhausen

Comments from the industry
Shawn Elliot - 1 (aegies is Arthur Gies of polygon.com) 2 3 4 5 6 on the psychology of PR etc
and some more Arthur Gies - 1 2 3 4 5 and some replies 1 2 3
Jeff Green on the way it actually works, and another post, an another
ShockingAlberto on his view as a former games writer
Jason Schreier (Kotaku) - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 and many more
N'Gai Croal initial reaction on Twitter
Chris Schilling (freelance) likes both people involved and so doesn't want to write about it
Danny O'Dwyer (Gamespot UK) on why his site won't cover this (audience is not interested) - 1 2 3
pastapadre on being shunned by the industry
Stephen Totilo (Kotaku) doesn't think this is an important story (has changed his mind about that part, read post 9). Wants to focus on good games journalism, this prompted a pretty funny picture and a comment about it, then Stephen Totilo enters the thread 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 (ignore the comment on 18, couldn't find a direct link to Totilo's comment) 19
Weekend Confirmed 1 2 3
Syriel on his experiences of PR
Jeff Gerstmann short comment on swag
Christian Donlan and Simon Parkin of Eurogamer want to change how they do things[/QUOTE]
Nert on his experience as PR in the tech industry 1 2
John Walker (RPS) on why the site won't cover it (they did anyway) like his blog did
Rab Florence tweets
Jeff Gerstmann 1 (1 is from Tumblr) 2 (2 via EternalGamer, highlights some other stuff) 3 4 5 (3-5 are comments by Jeff in this thread)
Christian Spicer
MaxwellGT2000 talks about his experiences as a writer for a small site that got bigger
Dave Long 1 2

Comments from others
GillianSeed79 and firehawk12 on how journalist do criticize their peers
voodoopanda highlights that the issue is not in any way black or white
Snowden's Secret comments on gaming press reactions
Zissou weighs in

Other relevant/interesting links and examples of PR
Examples of various press kits
The 3DS comes to GiantBomb
Letter sent to reviewers from UbiSoft along with their press copy of Assassin's Creed 3
How Rockstar handled the reviews for GTA4
Battlefield 3 review questionnarie
 
It arrives with the games half the time. It gets thrown in the corner, and you go and work on the game for a review/article.
you're failing to recognize the power of advertising.

The swag is meant impress you subconsciously. To convince you the game is "something".

How much coverage do games without marketing campaigns receive?

How much coverage do games with marketing campaigns receive?

We all know the answer.

Is that fair?

Is that fair to developers?

Is that fair to gamers?

Is it good for any of us who enjoy this medium when HALF of a game's budget is spent on marketing?
 
The other problem is as we writers age, we are pushed out of the games industry unless we decide to become PR people or go back to our day jobs. (I did the latter.) It's a young man's game because it pays shit and they expect you to spend hours upon hours for said pay. 20-somethings (and often younger) aren't usually huge on integrity. You barely know what that means at that age.
I'm still thinking that Youtube and Twitch may be the path to a new form of gaming press. Nothing in the sense of the traditional preview/review focused stuff that demands PR access, but rather, a mix of personality and information.

There are already plenty of people making a living doing that, and a great many of those are doing so are producing content that is... not up to the standards of crusty old people like myself.

There's probably millions more teens interested in flash in the pan youtube stars than there are older gamers interested in more informative personalities, but I could be wrong.

Speaking of aging gamers, I gotta say that NMA, RPGCodex, and even the QT3 forums to some extent represent the unpleasant 'I don't like change' aspect of aging as it pertains to gaming. Not a pretty sight. If that attitude is my future destination, put me out to gaming pasture.

And yeah. If you're a good writer, you should probably be writing for companies that actually pay you what you're worth, something that young gaming writers (and the gaming industry in general, for young gamers) don't quite grasp.
 

NervousXtian

Thought Emoji Movie was good. Take that as you will.
I've worked for three publications that had much higher integrity than the majority of sites. All folded. The reason? Gamers say they want real reporting, and real honest information but they really don't. They just want free information and easy access to it that can be done in short word counts so it doesn't take too much of their time.

The ones who loved what we did at those places really loved it and stuck around. But they were few and far between. Flash, expensive looking web sites, and being first means far more than anything else in "videogame journalism". You either embrace that or you're dead.

Web sites don't want the guys with integrity. They want people who work fast and don't rock the boat too much.
Thanks Dave, and to be honest is there not really a place for both?

Some great things have happened in the last few years where some sites have really tried to become that more hard hitting game journalism page.

If Kotaku wants to walk the line between Japanese Culture mixed some journalism and other fluff, and you don't like it.. then don't read it.

Because honestly, what you have in this giant thread is a bunch of people pissed off that Dodge isn't making Toyota Prius's.

Not to say don't call out blatant bullshit as bullshit, but when we are bitching at Polygon over a Halo avatar by way of Pizza Hut piece and a Kotaku un-boxing piece we are really chasing the wrong story.

If people want to put their money where there mouth is than support the sites you like, but stop screaming from the corner about the sites you don't. That didn't save the publications Dave is talking about, because if you think gamers really want this stuff then show it.

The world would be a boring ass place if we all liked the same thing or wanted the same thing.
 
Good on Kotaku for posting that piece this morning. The most refreshing things about this particular set of controversies is seeing some publications acknowledge the criticisms (even if they don't agree with all of them) and taking steps to address how they could be perceived. I'm not expecting any industry wide miracles here, but the outcome has already been more positive than I would have imagined.
 
I've worked for three publications that had much higher integrity than the majority of sites. All folded. The reason? Gamers say they want real reporting, and real honest information but they really don't. They just want free information and easy access to it that can be done in short word counts so it doesn't take too much of their time.

The ones who loved what we did at those places really loved it and stuck around. But they were few and far between. Flash, expensive looking web sites, and being first means far more than anything else in "videogame journalism". You either embrace that or you're dead.

Web sites don't want the guys with integrity. They want people who work fast and don't rock the boat too much.
Being trustworthy isn't always in direct conflict with brevity and giving people the sort of information they want.

Like with Crispy Gamer one of my main memories of it was a long piece on whether we should be concerned by the casual use of demonic imagery in games in terms of how it puts off Christians. It was sort of original but it was only sort of vaguely relevant to most people's interests. And then on the escapist you get all the old articles about how games are definitely art this time. And articles by people are professors of psycho-social-mmology about how important mmo studies are. Quite frankly all of this is boring.

Sometimes we just want to know if Ikari Warriors Extreme is worth playing or not courtesy of a short and witty piece of writing. But maybe now I can just watch a bought and paid for gameplay video on youtube and turn the sound off to ensure journalistic integrity.
 
Call me cynical, but I think that some people are telling you what you want to hear, so this controversy quiets down.

I honestly don't see most people working in the field suddenly giving up their perks and freebies in order to satisfy the internet's demands for "truthfulness". Remember working in the media is about "creating the story", so all that's really likely to happen is that they'll be somewhat more circumspect about the swag that they will continue to receive.

The irony to me is that this problem can only be truly solved through regulation and policing, not through a public outcry. Public censure isn't going to make anyone who's inherently dishonest or corrupt change their ways overnight, they are just going to try harder to cover their tracks.
The takeaway message from this thread is 'follow the money' and 'don't trust the media (not just games media) to have your best interests at heart.'

PR expertise is all about managing public perceptions and there is lots of PR types in gaming. So I'm sure we'll be getting a bunch of inconsequential BS 'helping' people to believe their favourite site or personalities are really their trustworthy friends and not just employees making a paycheck from a corporation whose profits come entirely from games advertising.

Follow the money.

I'm sure places like Kokatu and Polygon, and yes even the saints at GiantBomb have had damage control meetings where the agenda was "How can we manage public perception so our traffic doesn't suffer", and most definitely NOT "how can we be more honest and transparent".

Follow the money.
 
It's this kind of cynicism that many of us are trying to combat. And to be fair to many games writers, they also aren't as cynical as you.

To paraphrase Edmund Burke a bit, all it takes for douchebags to succeed is for good men to do nothing.
I kept my integrity for about eight years of writing. Worked from my home. Never read other people's work before submitting my own. Sent in professional copy that was barely edited when it appeared in print. Never received "swag" from publishers because I wasn't on the PR lists.

Heck, the one time an editor asked a publisher to specifically send the game to me the PR guy was happy to get me on all his lists, etc. I wrote an honest review of said high profile game (because it was broken in a lot of ways) and was immediately cut off. Never heard from him again.

That's how this industry works. I never bought into that side of it. I know my work was always written from my perspective with no outside influence. It was based on my own tastes and my 25 years (at the time) of playing and writing about video and computer games. But that meant pretty much zilch as publications folded and I looked for more work.

So I walked away with my integrity intact, happy that I did my best. When I see stuff like the Halo 4/Doritos/Mt. Dew thing or this young writer threatening libel because they're a PR mouthpiece who can't handle being called on it, it makes me sick.
 
The takeaway message from this thread is 'follow the money' and 'don't trust the media (not just games media) to have your best interests at heart.'

PR expertise is all about managing public perceptions and there is lots of PR types in gaming. So I'm sure we'll be getting a bunch of inconsequential BS 'helping' people to believe their favourite site or personalities are really their trustworthy friends and not just employees making a paycheck from a corporation whose profits come entirely from games advertising.

Follow the money.

I'm sure places like Kokatu and Polygon, and yes even the saints at GiantBomb have had damage control meetings where the agenda was "How can we manage public perception so our traffic doesn't suffer", and most definitely NOT "how can we be more honest and transparent".

Follow the money.
If gaming journalists were actually interested in "following the money," they wouldn't have become gaming journalists.

The issue here isn't about money. I hope we've long since moved past facile "moneyhat" accusations. The core issues are unrecognized PR/publisher influence and too-flexible ethics policies.
 
I've worked for three publications that had much higher integrity than the majority of sites. All folded. The reason? Gamers say they want real reporting, and real honest information but they really don't. They just want free information and easy access to it that can be done in short word counts so it doesn't take too much of their time.

The ones who loved what we did at those places really loved it and stuck around. But they were few and far between. Flash, expensive looking web sites, and being first means far more than anything else in "videogame journalism". You either embrace that or you're dead.

Web sites don't want the guys with integrity. They want people who work fast and don't rock the boat too much.
And yeah, part of the problem is the readership. Why is fox so profitable? Because people watch it and love it. Some of the anger in this thread should be directed at the readership.

And of course this isnt going to change. People are people. So the takaway message remains "follow the money" and "don't trust popular media".
 
I've worked for three publications that had much higher integrity than the majority of sites. All folded. The reason? Gamers say they want real reporting, and real honest information but they really don't. They just want free information and easy access to it that can be done in short word counts so it doesn't take too much of their time.

The ones who loved what we did at those places really loved it and stuck around. But they were few and far between. Flash, expensive looking web sites, and being first means far more than anything else in "videogame journalism". You either embrace that or you're dead.

Web sites don't want the guys with integrity. They want people who work fast and don't rock the boat too much.
Sites with a lot of press releases and poor information closed too. Even IGN is not going well. Business is hard to everyone.
 
I kept my integrity for about eight years of writing. Worked from my home. Never read other people's work before submitting my own. Sent in professional copy that was barely edited when it appeared in print. Never received "swag" from publishers because I wasn't on the PR lists.

Heck, the one time an editor asked a publisher to specifically send the game to me the PR guy was happy to get me on all his lists, etc. I wrote an honest review of said high profile game (because it was broken in a lot of ways) and was immediately cut off. Never heard from him again.

That's how this industry works. I never bought into that side of it. I know my work was always written from my perspective with no outside influence. It was based on my own tastes and my 25 years (at the time) of playing and writing about video and computer games. But that meant pretty much zilch as publications folded and I looked for more work.

So I walked away with my integrity intact, happy that I did my best. When I see stuff like the Halo 4/Doritos/Mt. Dew thing or this young writer threatening libel because they're a PR mouthpiece who can't handle being called on it, it makes me sick.
That's cool. And you should be proud. But what if you instead saw yourself as a small instrument of change in the industry? What if your work contributed in some way to what's currently happening? Standards change and expectations change.

I don't expect most of the big gaming sites to change their behavior. But some might. And I definitely don't expect PR reps and publishers to change their behavior. All I hope is that journalists own up to their responsibilities and don't get complacent in their ethics. Just because they've established a firm stand in the past doesn't mean they haven't slipped a little in the meantime. It's good that we're trying to keep them accountable, and consistently vigilant.

How is that a bad thing?
 
If gaming journalists were actually interested in "following the money," they wouldn't have become gaming journalists.

The issue here isn't about money. I hope we've long since moved past facile "moneyhat" accusations. The core issues are unrecognized PR/publisher influence and too-flexible ethics policies.
you missed my point. It is that their paychecks come from websites owned by corporations whose income relies on game advertising. As dave said, the people who get hired are those that 'work fast and dont rock the boat'. Integrity/ethics? hows that going to improve profitability. I said nothing about bribes.

edit: and I meant that the people relying on these sites for honest information have to 'follow the money'. Games journos already know where their paychecks come from.

edit #2: and I hope I don't get burned again, but I've bookmarked vg247 because that editorial from the owner was pretty good.
 
you're failing to recognize the power of advertising.

The swag is meant impress you subconsciously. To convince you the game is "something".

How much coverage do games without marketing campaigns receive?

How much coverage do games with marketing campaigns receive?

We all know the answer.

Is that fair?

Is that fair to developers?

Is that fair to gamers?

Is it good for any of us who enjoy this medium when HALF of a game's budget is spent on marketing?
Well, we try and cover every game we possibly can. Triple A or not.

The swag means nothing, and we decide what games we're covering at least 3-6 months in advance, so I'm not sure how the swag helps that :-S If one company wants to send swag with their promo/debug code, then fine, but it makes not a jot of difference to how we cover it. And I'd be amazed if everyone else wasn't the same.

This sounds like you actually think reviewers aren't influenced by these things?
I only know that our writers aren't. Again, I'd be shocked if people were influenced by this stuff, it's mostly tat anyway. If a reviewer/writer/whatever is influenced by a fucking iPhone case (for example) then they should be utterly ashamed of themselves.
 
There should be a standardised set of guidelines that sites agree to abide by - like the ones VG247 posted, maybe with a few changes if it's felt they're needed. Obviously no site can be forced to - it's not law - but it should be a voluntary agreement.

I don't see why sites can't give away or just send back any merchandise that isn't the game disc/cartridge itself, for example. I know at least some sites do this, but it's not clear if all of them do - in fact it's been shown over the last week or so that some journalists keep said swag/"tat" and are happy to receive it.
 
Well, we try and cover every game we possibly can. Triple A or not.

The swag means nothing, and we decide what games we're covering at least 3-6 months in advance, so I'm not sure how the swag helps that :-S If one company wants to send swag with their promo/debug code, then fine, but it makes not a jot of difference to how we cover it. And I'd be amazed if everyone else wasn't the same.



I only know that our writers aren't. Again, I'd be shocked if people were influenced by this stuff, it's mostly tat anyway. If a reviewer/writer/whatever is influenced by a fucking iPhone case (for example) then they should be utterly ashamed of themselves.
Who does JebusF write for?

Let attempt a thought experiment. Imagine the way/standards you do reviews was the universal standard for all reviews for all products. Infant car seats, Senior walkers, car safety ratings, sprinkler systems etc. Would you be 100% confident in those reviewers if they followed the exact standard? Would you have any concern about the special treatment given to them manufacturer?
 
Well, we try and cover every game we possibly can. Triple A or not.

The swag means nothing, and we decide what games we're covering at least 3-6 months in advance, so I'm not sure how the swag helps that :-S If one company wants to send swag with their promo/debug code, then fine, but it makes not a jot of difference to how we cover it. And I'd be amazed if everyone else wasn't the same.



I only know that our writers aren't. Again, I'd be shocked if people were influenced by this stuff, it's mostly tat anyway. If a reviewer/writer/whatever is influenced by a fucking iPhone case (for example) then they should be utterly ashamed of themselves.
yeah, swag means nothing.

just hire the 'work fast and don't rock the boat' guys. you know, like how fox just hires the 'die hard republican personalities that old white people like' guys. It's not as if a Mitt Romeny ipad case would affect Anne Coulter.
 
yeah, swag means nothing.

just hire the 'work fast and don't rock the boat' guys. you know, like how fox just hires the 'die hard republican personalities that old white people like' guys. It's not as if a Mitt Romeny ipad case would affect Anne Coulter.
If you find it impossible to believe that (in our case) we do it because we love video games, then I'm sorry. But it's true.

Not everyone has an agenda, it's actually possible in this world to do something because you love it.

Who does JebusF write for?

Let attempt a thought experiment. Imagine the way/standards you do reviews was the universal standard for all reviews for all products. Infant car seats, Senior walkers, car safety ratings, sprinkler systems etc. Would you be 100% confident in those reviewers if they followed the exact standard? Would you have any concern about the special treatment given to them manufacturer?
In our team of writers? Yep, 100% confident.
 
I apologize. That wasn't the question. All reviewer's in general. John Q' reviewer so tospeak. Not your team specifically.
Ah sorry. I don't know every reviewer, so I can't answer.

The people I do know though, yep 100%, I respect them as writers, but I wouldn't even bother with them as people if they weren't honest individuals.

I've no doubting there are some people out there who do things for their own reasons, but I'm a little worried about the idea that everyone is guilty until proven innocent, because as someone who writes about games, that's how a lot of this is coming across.
 
If you find it impossible to believe that (in our case) we do it because we love video games, then I'm sorry. But it's true.

Not everyone has an agenda, it's actually possible in this world to do something because you love it.
hey, what I was getting at was maybe it's just easier to hire the guys who like doing whatever it is the corporate paymasters want them to do.

You know, like fox hiring the people who love to throw poop on 'liberals' (in quotes cuz I don't actually know what the term means) as opposed to critical thinking intellectuals who nobody would watch and have them try to pretend to be entertaining poop-chuckers.
 
I only know that our writers aren't. Again, I'd be shocked if people were influenced by this stuff, it's mostly tat anyway. If a reviewer/writer/whatever is influenced by a fucking iPhone case (for example) then they should be utterly ashamed of themselves.
I don't know what site you write for and I really don't want to attack you and your peers, but you're wrong. You are influenced by these things and so is every single one of your colleagues. You're influenced by anything and everything. I don't even think that's that problematic. What I find weird is that you chose to ignore this and claim that you're different from any other healthy human being on this planet.
 
Anybody else irritated by the latest Kotaku thing? Just read through it and I noticed that Stephen Totilo still thinks we're just a bunch of trolls. In fact, here are his exact words:

In the days that followed my “not important” line was snarkily contrasted with other stories we’ve run that, it was inferred, had been deemed more important than the exploring the values of good journalism. I failed to appreciate how that one comment would be used to demean our other work and how willingly some critics would ignore the strong and often skeptical reporting efforts put forth by the Kotaku team on myriad gaming topics. When I wasn’t playing Assassin’s Creed III this weekend, I was discussing and arguing with the users of the NeoGAF forum. Some simply chastised me for my dismissal of the story. Some decided it was evidence of Kotaku’s own complicity. As the discussion unfolded, I encountered those who were so wary of the influence of gaming publisher public relations that they could not accept the news value in showing readers the contents of a $100 version of Halo 4 or the finish on a special Halo version of the Xbox 360 through an unboxing video—to help readers know whether it was worth springing money on these things—if those very things being shown were mailed, unsolicited by the Halo PR team and if the showing of them would dovetail with PR’s agenda to help market the game. A reasonable difference of opinion there. I also encountered the flat-Earth theories that Kotaku is toothless and only picks on those who are not rich or powerful enough to hit us back. Any reader of our site who has seen the full sweep of our coverage of major game publishers and platform holders might very well dismiss those views as the tired nonsense that they are. I suspect our legal team, superb defenders of all of Gawker Media’s sites from the rich and offended, would concur.
Notice how he TOTALLY FAILS to make any mention of the people who gave coherent, meaningful criticism backed by real world examples of maleficence on the part of those who would call themselves journalists. Instead, everybody here is either snarky, paranoid, or delusional...

Then again, I might be reading this, and the rest of the article, wrong. As with everything about this thread, read what's out there and then make your own informed opinion.

It's in the round-up, but here is the link to the full article: http://updates.kotaku.com/post/34700873618/a-note-to-readers-about-a-story-we-have-not-yet-covered
 
You're the reason why people on this forum don't trust people who write about games. The only question people can ask about you is: 'Is he crooked or stuipd?'

First of all, the tangible power of swag is clear. From Kotaku to Giantbomb, you can find dozens of articles and videos chronicling the trinkets they receive. How is advertising "nothing."

Second, when you discuss swag, you refer to an iPhone case. Why pick something trivial when game writers regularly get things like custom game systems, exclusive collector's editions, or other things worth hundred of dollars?

Finally, you talk about "influence" like you know something about it. People with degrees in Marketing and Psychology, who know a lot more about it than you, have decided that swag is useful tool. And they've continued the practice for DECADES.
Agreed. This is becoming a tired argument from the enthusiast press. It's just excuse after
excuse for their behavior.
 
P.S. I just realized that the guy who was selling Assassin's Creed 3 press kit may not work for the press. In fact, what he is doing is purchasing press-related products on eBay for cheap and selling it at high price. So pretty much he is buying items from people who are selling these press kits and reselling it for profit.
Or he could work for one of the publishers. Or a PR firm. Or one of the companies that actually makes the press kits.

But of course since someone (albeit jokingly) claimed it was Hardcoregamer that falsehood is now taken as fact.
 
Ah sorry. I don't know every reviewer, so I can't answer.

The people I do know though, yep 100%, I respect them as writers, but I wouldn't even bother with them as people if they weren't honest individuals.
This video has been posted early, but maybe you haven't seen it. I am not suggesting that people who are reviewing games are "big cheaters" to use the vocabulary from the video.

In my opinion, you don't have to know every reviewer on the face of the earth in order to answer the question. If a reviewer for infant car seats was getting paid for flights, hotels, free dinner and drinks with the engineers, a PR person who makes sure the reviewer is having a good time, Signed NDA's that base review's publication date & time on the reviewer's score, etc... If that was the case would that bother you?

I am not saying that you or your organization does the above. I don't know. But whatever you do accept as special treatment for the publishers, if other reviewers and industries made that the standard would it bother you? Would you be concerned that the reviewers, John Q., might be influence?

I think s/he writes for http://www.godisageek.com/
(It's in JebusF's NeoGAF profile)
Thank you :)
 
Just finished listening to the newest Bombcast here are some thoughts:

A lot of what these guys say sounds great and they do have the cred to back it up. And it is awesome that they have found a way to get out of the stupid PR as news and "exclusive" grind cycle. And it is also great that they are willing to mock and subvert a lot of the PR they try to get swindled into. In general, they have a very healthy attitude toward this stuff.

However, they are far too quick to dismiss the idea of the more indirect influences of marketing and PR. Not only do they literally paint the world where there are "good guy" journalist and "bums," but they also seem to portray it as either the influence is there or it isn't in a very binary fashion.

Let me take one example from their own content to demonstrate how this is problematic. They mention in this week's podcast that Brad wanted the giant 5 foot tall Skyrim statue from Bethesday. Of course Bethesda was happy to send one over and they videotaped the whole thing. You can find the video here: http://www.giantbomb.com/giant-bomb-...e=6&sort=first

Now, do I think that statue changed Giant Bomb's review of the game? No, probably not. However, as Safe Bet pointed out above, really big fancy PR items subconsciously make you think that a game is a really big deal. Nothing could possibly do that more than having a giant Skyrim statue in your office day in and day out.

So what happened when the Game of the Year discussioned happened on GiantBomb cast? It was a deadlock between Skyrim and Saints Row. And Brad was the hold out against Saints Row. His basic argument seemed to be that he just could not see giving it to Saints Row over Skyrim that it was just unfathomable despite all the arguments that came up about Skyrim's glitches and about it being a iteration on Oblivion. A lot of listeners commented at the time on the seemingly irrationality of Brad's arguments because most of the criticisms he leveled against SR3 were also true of Skyrim. But it seemed that Brad just was dead set on the idea that Skyrim was a "bigger deal" and Saints Row simply wasn't as much of a big deal.

This is the potential effect of fancy swag and expensive trips. It may not change your review scores (at least not overtly and not dramatically) but it sure as hell might plant the idea that a certain game, franchise, or companies products are a huge deal. That you should probably cover them more, talk about them more, and that they should be weighed heavier in your mind than other games that don't have that stuff.

As has been endlessly pointed out, Shawn Elliot's posts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) do an excellent job of talking about the sublte impacts of PR and marketing on psychology. You guys are not above it's influences even when you think you are. Consider that, don't just dismiss it.
 
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