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

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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.
When you're making something for others to consume, you are "guilty until proven innocent." Clicks have to be earned.
 
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. 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-mailbag-skybox-edition/17-5196/?page=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 irrationality of Brad's arguments. 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 do that stuff.

As has been endlessly pointed out, Shawn Elliot's links 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.
That was a truly excellent post. As ive mentioned previously in the thread, I'm not sure why the majority of GAF believes that GB should get a free pass on these matters.
 
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. 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-mailbag-skybox-edition/17-5196/?page=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 irrationality of Brad's arguments. 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 do that stuff.

As has been endlessly pointed out, Shawn Elliot's links 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.
You should post it in that thread, too.
 
...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. ...
I haven't heard it, but can anyone seriously take those two examples of arguments as FOR Saints Row and AGAINST Skyrim? Saints Row 3 wasn't exactly bug free.
 

McBradders

NeoGAF: my new HOME
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. 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 Bethesda. 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-mailbag-skybox-edition/17-5196/?page=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 irrationality of Brad's arguments. 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 do that stuff.

As has been endlessly pointed out, Shawn Elliot's links 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.
Saints Row the Third is totally the better game. I will fight anyone who says different.
 
That was a truly excellent post. As ive mentioned previously in the thread, I'm not sure why the majority of GAF believes that GB should get a free pass on these matters.
Who says they should get a free pass? I think their record, along with their statements on the matter have been pretty consistent for a long time, and I'm comfortable continuing to visit the site. It's not a "free pass," it's an earned trust over years of familiarity, which doesn't disappear just because some other people do a lot of shady shit.

They're far from perfect, but they have a solid track record.
 
I am listening to the Giant Bombcast now but I too am puzzled why Giantbomb is put on a pedestal.

There is nothing immediately apparent to me that they should have higher standards than most.
 
Detecive GAf to the rescue!
(It's in JebusF's NeoGAF profile)
Stalker!



Seriously though, the best thing out of this thread is I now have a few new sites (including VG247 and The Average Gamer) I will be checking out going forward, and am really looking forward to Rab's new gig.

As for having an updated 'Gaming Site's Ethics' megathread created here at GAF, I think singe threads (new thread for new news) is far more effective. I'm honestly not sure if Polygon would have fixed things if the all the comments remained buried in this thread, far more likely that seeing the name of your site cast in a negative light on the gaming page of NeoGAF will cause you to act. Someone quietly slip ghst some gaming swag to write these!


Props to papersleeves for the OT, Ledsen for keeping things updated, and Jason for sticking it out.
 
Anybody else irritated by the latest Kotaku thing?
His account of events differs from my recollection. But I find the passive-aggressive tone of his piece pretty hilarious. Not unexpected when you look back at his very first post in this thread.

Given that folks in this thread seem so understanding, I'm sure you'll forgive me for having not read through this whole thing. I mainly popped in to look at which terrible post I'd made was being paired up with my comment about us not posting about Robert Florence.

I see that choosing not to report this story now qualifies one as a non-journalism doing scumbag.
Non-journalism doing scumbag. lol.

But hey, at least he's willing to openly discuss the issue, which I can appreciate and give him credit for. I don't care enough about the defensive bullshit (and thinly veiled contempt) to really take exception to it.
 
I am listening to the Giant Bombcast now but I too am puzzled why Giantbomb is put on a pedestal.

There is nothing immediately apparent to me that they should have higher standards than most.
Same here. I have nothing against the guys, they have their own thing going but I *really* don't get all the worship. ConfessionPanda.jpg
 
Same here. I have nothing against the guys, they have their own thing going but I *really* don't get all the worship. ConfessionPanda.jpg
Yup, I'd count myself as a fan. But I've been met with hostility by merely suggesting that they be held just as accountable as any other website. We've been applauding sites that have shared their ethics statements with us. I'd love for GB to step up as well.
 
Saints Row the Third is totally the better game. I will fight anyone who says different.
I'm pretty sure I had more fun with Saints Row 3.


/Checks stats on Steam

Saints Row 3: 69 hours

Skyrim: 108 hours.


Well damn...



Edit: Forgot to mention this in the above post:

That was a truly excellent post. As I've mentioned previously in the thread, I'm not sure why the majority of GAF believes that GB should get a free pass on these matters.
Watched you take a ton of flak for this in the thread, but you're 100% right. There's been a ton of studies that show how people are influenced by receiving even small things, and it's on a sub conscious level.
 
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:

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
I had a similar reaction.
 

ghst

thanks for the laugh
just listened to the giant bomb's take after reading eternal's autopsy.

you can hear the disdain for all those no-name jacks talking mess where there ain't none seeping through their teeth between words. they simplify the arguments that are going on here into a rout of crappy swag they've been sent or the times when fully paid trips didn't suit their schedule (with someone trying to slip their all expenses paid trip to korea on behalf of blizzard to report on esports, "a harmless opportunity we wouldn't have had otherwise" in to this section).

the argument around here seems to be that giant bomb call themselves entertainment reports, and shouldn't be held to the same standards, yet they appeared to take any accusations that their positions are somehow compromised with seething indignation.

from this discussion, i got the feeling that this is a bunch of guys who enjoy the game and believe they know how to play it; they just want to make sure the spreading fire doesn't engulf them. "if you can't trust us, go somewhere else".

it also made me uncomfortable that nobody could start a new sentence without agreeing with the last guy.
 
just listened to the giant bomb's take after reading eternal's autopsy.

you can hear the disdain for all those no-name jacks talking mess where there ain't none seeping through their teeth between words. they simplify the arguments that are going on here into a rout of crappy swag they've been sent or the times when fully paid trips didn't suit their schedule (with someone trying to slip their all expenses paid trip to korea on behalf of blizzard to report on esports in to the "harmless opportunity we wouldn't have had otherwise" in to this section).

the argument around here seems to be that giant bomb call themselves entertainment reports, and should be held to the same standards, yet they appeared to take any accusations that their positions are somehow compromised with seething indignation.

from this discussion, i got the feeling that this is a bunch of guys who enjoy the game and believe they know how to play it. they just want to make sure the spreading fire doesn't engulf them; "if you can't trust us, go somewhere else".
Thats disappointing.

Maybe I will find their podcast entertaining and there is value in that at least.....
 
just listened to the giant bomb's take after reading eternal's autopsy.

you can hear the disdain for all those no-name jacks talking mess where there ain't none seeping through their teeth between words. they simplify the arguments that are going on here into a rout of crappy swag they've been sent or the times when fully paid trips didn't suit their schedule (with someone trying to slip their all expenses paid trip to korea on behalf of blizzard to report on esports in to the "harmless opportunity we wouldn't have had otherwise" in to this section).

the argument around here seems to be that giant bomb call themselves entertainment reports, and should be held to the same standards, yet they appeared to take any accusations that their positions are somehow compromised with seething indignation.

from this discussion, i got the feeling that this is a bunch of guys who enjoy the game and believe they know how to play it; they just want to make sure the spreading fire doesn't engulf them. "if you can't trust us, go somewhere else".
I have a feeling this is going to be the MO for most of the games media is going to take. They are going to misrepresent the arguments being made, then they are going to destroy the fake arguments they created and claim victory. You see it with Titillo, VG 247 to a degree, now GB if your summary is correct.
 

ghst

thanks for the laugh
I have a feeling this is going to be the MO for most of the games media is going to take. They are going to misrepresent the arguments being made, then they are going to destroy the fake arguments they created and claim victory. You see it with Titillo, VG 247 to a degree, now GB if your summary is correct.
the main take i got from it were the dangers of being in a room where everyone agrees with each other.
 
I have a feeling this is going to be the MO for most of the games media is going to take. They are going to misrepresent the arguments being made, then they are going to destroy the fake arguments they created and claim victory. You see it with Titillo, VG 247 to a degree, now GB if your summary is correct.
Yup, strawman fallacy.
 
I have a feeling this is going to be the MO for most of the games media is going to take. They are going to misrepresent the arguments being made, then they are going to destroy the fake arguments they created and claim victory. You see it with Titillo, VG 247 to a degree, now GB if your summary is correct.
That's what they did with the mass effect 3 debacle. Wouldn't surprise me.
 
just listened to the giant bomb's take after reading eternal's autopsy.

you can hear the disdain for all those no-name jacks talking mess where there ain't none seeping through their teeth between words. they simplify the arguments that are going on here into a rout of crappy swag they've been sent or the times when fully paid trips didn't suit their schedule (with someone trying to slip their all expenses paid trip to korea on behalf of blizzard to report on esports, "a harmless opportunity we wouldn't have had otherwise" in to this section).

the argument around here seems to be that giant bomb call themselves entertainment reports, and shouldn't be held to the same standards, yet they appeared to take any accusations that their positions are somehow compromised with seething indignation.

from this discussion, i got the feeling that this is a bunch of guys who enjoy the game and believe they know how to play it; they just want to make sure the spreading fire doesn't engulf them. "if you can't trust us, go somewhere else".

it also made me uncomfortable that nobody could start a new sentence without agreeing with the last guy.
And I do. Very rarely do I have any reason to visit any of these sites. News for games gets tweeted and posted here, I have all the access to game videos I need on youtube, and I have the gamers at NeoGAF for reviews of games.

Sites like these are utterly useless to me. How can the opinions of any website, including Giant Bomb, compare with the opinions of thousands? It cant. They are utterly useless.
 
just listened to the giant bomb's take after reading eternal's autopsy.

you can hear the disdain for all those no-name jacks talking mess where there ain't none seeping through their teeth between words. they simplify the arguments that are going on here into a rout of crappy swag they've been sent or the times when fully paid trips didn't suit their schedule (with someone trying to slip their all expenses paid trip to korea on behalf of blizzard to report on esports, "a harmless opportunity we wouldn't have had otherwise" in to this section).

the argument around here seems to be that giant bomb call themselves entertainment reports, and shouldn't be held to the same standards, yet they appeared to take any accusations that their positions are somehow compromised with seething indignation.

from this discussion, i got the feeling that this is a bunch of guys who enjoy the game and believe they know how to play it; they just want to make sure the spreading fire doesn't engulf them. "if you can't trust us, go somewhere else".

it also made me uncomfortable that nobody could start a new sentence without agreeing with the last guy.

I think you are being a little unfair. Without a doubt that are far too dismissive and they create what will seem to many in this thread as strawmen carcititures. But I don't blame them that much for that part because I wasn't really expecting them to read this 6,000 post thread.

However, they also spend the last part of that conversation just tearing the PR bullshit to shreds and they talk about a lot of the nonsense that goes on in games media like "exclusives," and screen shots and trailers and the problem of being manipulated by PR. They cover a lot of stuff being talked about in this thread in a very level headed and smart way.

The "if you can't trust us go somewhere else" line is far too knee jerk defensive sounding, though. I agree.
 
I have a feeling this is going to be the MO for most of the games media is going to take. They are going to misrepresent the arguments being made, then they are going to destroy the fake arguments they created and claim victory.
Of course. That's exactly what happened with ME3's ending as well, save for a few outlets who actually decided hey, maybe we should actually read what's being said and see if there are any valid points.

Ignoring this controversy didn't work, so it's time to move on to plan B: bring out the strawmen and continue defending all these bullshit practices.
 
Because GB are super popular and because they claim they arent really journalists and what not they are just a bunch of bros.
Actually Patrick Klepek said he does think of himself as a journalist in his opinion piece on GB a few days ago. So not everyone at GB feels that way.

And regardless of what they call themselves, they all seem to think it's important that they be held to the same standards as journalism proper. It's a tough balancing act they're trying to pull, and honestly, I don't know why they insist on the whole "not a journalist" thing. It doesn't gain them anything. It's all part of their "just bros" attitude, but there's nothing wrong with claiming a little bit of professionalism.

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.
It's a great point. It's a variant of that awesome .gif of Justin McElroy dancing in circles with joy when he received his copy of Skyrim. One might be more extreme than the other, but I honestly think that being a journalist means you do need to tone down the fandom a bit. There's nothing wrong with saying you're a fan of a particular studio or IP, but not to the point where it means leveraging your position in the press for personal gratification. That's where Brad and GB stepped across a line. And I think that line is possible to maintain. All this crap about "you can't do what we do without getting your hands dirty" crap is just that: crap. There is a line you can draw. And this is one of them. Personal gain from professional position. Not cool.
 

ghst

thanks for the laugh
I agree with you that they are too dismissive. However, they also spend the last part of that conversation just tearing the PR bullshit to shreds and they talk about a lot of the nonsense that goes on in games media like "exclusives," and screen shots and trailers. And they think all that stuff is PR bullshit.
i don't think that separates them from almost any other site on the issue. even those people who tweeted from the GMAs to win a playstation 3 would've surely acknowledged that it was just some dirty piece of PR bullshit, doesn't mean they didn't comply and benefit from it.

their argument is built around the idea of establishing an iron fortitude against this kind of bullshit, a noble pursuit, but one that has been proven nigh impossible by a myriad of psychological studies. investing in your own moral incorruptibility is much easier than completely revolutionising your codes and practices in order to entertain airy psychological theories.
 
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.
The problem is when it comes to subtle effects of marketing on the subconscious, there is not much one can do about it. Grocery stores are filled with dozens of researched tricks to subtlety influence our shopping habits. From the pace of the music played, to the placement of the most popular items, to where the entrance doors are, we are being hot with a multitude of carefully studied decisions designed to make us unknowingly buy more than we intended. I'm aware of some of these tricks, have probably been influenced by them, yet, if I want groceries, I have no choice but to subject myself to them.

Games are much the same way. The only way people covering the industry could remove even the chance of influence, obvious or subliminal, would be to run a site that only covered games from the day of their release on. No preview coverage, no advance copies, no contact with any developers or publishers, no game based ads. Could and should more sites like that exist? Maybe, although without game based advertising I think those sites would be hard pressed to exist as anything but a hobby site.

If people here truly want those kinds of sites, they need to stop being so hypocritical and posting topics about preview coverage, advance reviews, screenshots, and exclusive game announcements. All those things exist because there's demand for them. Demand you in part are creating. It is two faced to happily lap up advance info on titles and then be outraged over the ugly dance of needless trips, swag and stunts that the gaming press has to enter to get that early access from developers and publishers.

GiantBomb has plenty of possible temptations that they themselves have openly revealed. They have gone on paid trips to cover games, they are friends with people who make them, they receive advance copies of some titles and plenty of swag that is intended to influence them. They engage in that before mentioned ugly dance to get advance coverage and early review copies. They've been honest in letting you know that they don't plan on cutting themselves out of any of that, and it is up to you to decide if you can trust them to withstand all of that and remain impartial. If you truly believe that, for example, a Skyrim statue has caused Brad to praise that game more than he should, then you should probably not take anything he has to say seriously and look for other sources of unbiased video game coverage.

All any of us can do is read people's work and decide for ourselves if their opinions are genuine. That doesn't meaning finding people who agree with all our gaming tastes, it means finding people who when they cover games make arguments that make sense and stand on their own two feet. That will always be our best defence against corruption.
 
so he can have free pass until he dies? excuse me i know gb is the "darling " on gaf but i cant see why they cant get flak por this type of things
They have been getting flak for this, but given most of them quit a well-paying job to join GB people cut them more slack then other sites.I suppose it depends on why you visit GB, I go there for entertainment, not for factual information on games which they themselves aren't that fussed about(see how they rarely know the price of any DD game they cover), in fact a lot of the time the game is the least important thing in their videos(I have no interest in ever buying a farming simulator game, but if Vinny is doing a QL of one I'm there with bells on).
 
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.
Great post Eternal. Again, I really don't see any responses to these types of posts. Journalists are continually avoiding these ideas.
 
The problem is when it comes to subtle effects of marketing on the subconscious, there is not much one can do about it. Grocery stores are filled with dozens of researched tricks to subtlety influence our shopping habits. From the pace of the music played, to the placement of the most popular items, to where the entrance doors are, we are being hot with a multitude of carefully studied decisions designed to make us unknowingly buy more than we intended. I'm aware of some of these tricks, have probably been influenced by them, yet, if I want groceries, I have no choice but to subject myself to them.
Completely true, of course. That is the reason why people who evaluate the taste of certain products (food) get to taste them in a certain scenario where there is little to no possibility for them to be influenced by these things. People who evaluate and judge the taste of coffee beans don't get them in their retail packaging and under no circumstances in a special packaging only meant for the testers. The environment in which they do their work, the evaluation, the tasting, is controlled and designed in a way that makes it impossible for outside factors to influence their judgment.

Video game websites and the reviewers do not even attempt to create such a scenario and, what's even worse, ignore the problem on hand with all the power they have. The bad thing with this is not that they're human and thus influenced by anything and everything, the problem is that they firstly ignore the facts and secondly, are unwilling to change anything.
 
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:



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
I'm about as far from being a fan of Kotaku (and other Gawker outlets) as possible, but I do think you're being a little unfair here. The way he initially responded in calling it a non-story and unimportant was extremely unsavory, but he himself has admitted as such and apologized for it multiple times (including in this thread, in the comments section of the PA Report article, and in that letter-from-the-EIC). Let's keep in mind that he is a human being, and having your credibility, integrity, and work mocked and questioned elicits human emotions that are hard to suppress, even for the best of us - I'm sure many of us have made comments on the internet that we've regretted by the next day. And while this is honestly one of the best and most interesting thread on GAF in quite some time, it still has had its share of drive-by "lol Kotaku" comments.

Nowhere in that letter does he actually characterize the vast majority of people who've contributed to this thread as being delusional or paranoid. He did call that juxtaposition image of his poor comment and the Halo unboxing article as snark, but let's admit it, much like a lot of things on the internet, it really *is* snark. Just like when I joke that Kotaku finally has a decent layout, and it only took a winter hurricane for it to happen.

You seem to want him to see the entire issue in exactly the same way you/"we" do and just agree with all of it, which is clearly an unreasonable expectation for someone who is on the other side of the press-audience divide. I'm giving him credit for owning up to the incredibly poor way he initially responded to people about the topic, and for publicizing to the greater Kotaku audience (which I presume to be rather larger than the contingent of GAF that has closely followed this mammoth of a thread) that a (hopefully) fair and insightful look into the issues is forthcoming. Now maybe it will turn out to be a terrible article that does nothing more than give excuses and deflect from the issue, or maybe it will be a good one that addresses the points we've raised head-on and telling us what changes, if any, they're making going forward so that the perception* of corruption or bias, real or imagined, do not plague the gaming media. I will make that judgement when the time comes. But in the meantime, I do have to say I've gained greater respect for Totilo and Schreier for at least coming in here to engage with us and face the music. My opinion of Kotaku has, actually, increased slightly because of it. Gizmodo though, is still complete shit for anything other than news of the "Company X announced product Y today" variety.
 
Brad responded to this post in the Bombcast thread.
Here it is:

rudds said:
My argument was that Skyrim is the most robustly successful execution to date of the Bethesda RPG formula, a formula that I think is currently the best thing going in games (and I'd be thrilled to see someone else come along and do it better, because lord knows Bethesda's implementation ain't perfect). Saints Row is kind of a trifle as open-world games go, and the humor missed for me as much as it hit. I really enjoyed it but in my mind it's not GOTY material just because of its (admittedly delightful) subversive qualities.

If you've been with the podcast from the beginning you can't have missed the Fallout 3 discussions that took place for months on end ad nauseam, so you know we all sincerely really like that kind of game. Please take this as evenly as possible, but the idea that a stupid statue entered into the thought process in any way, even subconsciously, is offensive.

The bolded part of your quote is the most distressing, though. If we aren't capable of deciding for ourselves which games are a "big deal" and how much coverage a game warrants, purely based on how much the audience cares about it and how much we're interested in it, we shouldn't be doing this job in the first place. I like to think the number of QLs and reviews we post for smaller downloadable and indie games is a good offset to coverage of big, hyped retail releases.

As has been pointed out in the other thread, you're creating a no-win scenario in which we either admit we're compromised, or it turns out we're compromised anyway and just don't know it. The only solution at that point is to decide whether you trust us enough to keep listening to what we have to say. I do hope our track records speak for themselves in that regard.
 
Video game websites and the reviewers do not even attempt to create such a scenario and, what's even worse, ignore the problem on hand with all the power they have. The bad thing with this is not that they're human and thus influenced by anything and everything, the problem is that they firstly ignore the facts and secondly, are unwilling to change anything.
And of course, part of this is sincerely believing that you are somehow different and would be unaffected. Heck, if we took a poll, most people here would say they could review things while remaining objective. I like to think I could remain completely objective, but some of my purchasing habits prove otherwise.
 
Also:


You guy do a pretty great job of covering smaller games, no doubt. Though I can't think of a time you guys did one of your "Live" hour or two long quicklook extravangzas on a smaller title the way you do for even mediocre big ones like Medal of Honor. Maybe indie devs should start sending over pizzas? (That was a joke.)

Anyway, that's a bit off topic. My only point was that it simply that I don't believe the argument that all that swag and the big PR circus put on by big publishers has no impact at all. It is isn't just simply a matter of trying to buy you off with shit. Whether or not you want or like the stuff they are doing is really beside the point if they can just get you to post one more preview or decide that you need to talk about their game for 5 minutes while you only spend a passby coverage of another title. In short, yes, I want you to simply admit that yes that stuff can have an influence because it is painfully obvious to me that it can and does just in the same way that it can and does effect all of us. As Shawn succinctly noted, just don't present yourself as some sort of "Randian ubermensch" above all influence and that really seems like what you guys were doing on the cast.
We've never claimed we're anything other than human, susceptible to the same frailties and shortcomings as everyone else. But all of us have been doing this for a long, long time, and if we come off as dismissive about this I think it's because we all know for ourselves what a leathery, jaded hide we've all built up about the less palatable aspects of this business, a thick skin which hopefully girds us as much as possible from external influence. While we regard our own cynicism as self-evident because we work with it every day, I can understand how it may not be obvious to the average audience member who isn't privy to every aspect of our editorial practice.
 
Fair retort, though I don't agree with the notion that implying subconcious influence in this case is at all offensive (an example where I think it is unfair: ragging on people who enjoy 'moe' as potential pedophiles, to name a crass example. I'm baffled by its popularity, too, but that goes to far). It's a perfect example of PR trying to leverage your personal enjoyment of the game and your position as a "guy a lot of people listen to", whatever you want to call it.

The best you can do is to be conscious of the possibility that you're being taken advantage of. I think that's what people are particularly incensed about when the press comes off as (or is) dismissive of the points raised.

edit: OK, the above puts it more into perspective. Should have F5'd sooner.
 
Just finished listening to the newest Bombcast here are some thoughts:
I have a somewhat different recollection of the Skyrim events. I don't think Brad's point ever was that Skyrim was a bigger deal, but rather that he believed Skyrim was a better game, full stop. Brad was not willing to back down from this belief of his; what you might be describing was Ryan deciding that SR3 somehow didn't deserve the award despite his actually liking it more.

You could argue that this is because of the insidious, ubiquitous, reality-altering nature of advertising. As a theory, it's particularly silly: it's unfalsifiable and essentially amounts to a loaded question fallacy.

Essentially, their point that you should go elsewhere is the only thing they can say at this point. They're not going to convince people otherwise; especially not with the ridiculous psychology argument being bandied about.
 
Brad responded to this post in the Bombcast thread.
Cool, got a link at all or do I have to dig through the thread? I don't think I've ever entered that thread.

Edit: NM, Dennis posted it. I'm dumb.

Edit 2: Ah, lame. Depressing response. These people think they're above human biology. Amazing. Übermenschen apparently. I swear, it's like these people have never heard the Socrates quote of "Wisest is he who knows he does not know." Understanding your limitations, whether social, behavioral or biological, enables you to further yourself.

Edit 3: Saw the quote with more context. Okay.
 
And of course, part of this is sincerely believing that you are somehow different and would be unaffected. Heck, if we took a poll, most people here would say they could review things while remaining objective. I like to think I could remain completely objective, but some of my purchasing habits prove otherwise.
Exactly. All this swag and life size statues.. no effect. They are Niche's "Superman". They have evolved past the common man.

I think the overarching point is that they, just like us, are human. So having a system in place that reduces the influences on them would be beneficial.

Review swag for example, just have one person ( preferable who isn't reviewing games if possible ) open all the boxes from the publisher, throw all the swag in a bin and hand the reviewer only the game itself. The reviewer doesn't see the swag. He just gets the game.

I am completely pulling this out my rear, but I think the example shows that by thinking about these things you can put simple processes in place that would reduce the influence on the staff. But first you have to admit you are human before you can think critically about these issues and put measures in place to protect yourself. Instead we get the tired argument trotted out by the media of "if 'X' influences you, then you are in the wrong line of work"...... FFS.

I am not a Sean Elliot fan but the "Randian Übermensch" phrase was perfect.
 
I am completely pulling this out my rear, but I think the example shows that by thinking about these things you can put simple processes in place that would reduce the influence on the staff.
I think the bigger point is: why do this at all? What purpose would this white room review serve, precisely? Or more specifically, how would we be better served by this? Does it make it easier for us to line up contexts? Are we hunting for 'fairness' or 'objectivity' in reviews, and this would somehow allow us to reach it? I personally don't think that the entire baggage of influences, swag included, invalidates someone's opinion. The point is to try and understand the context of what you're reading; it's why you want personalities in the first place, because you can try, based on experience, to frame their opinions in a way you can parse.

The key is that essentially we're arguing that external stimuli influences people. Of course it does; that's a truism. It's why advertising exists. The point they're making is: if you think that we're being influenced to a degree in which you can't trust our opinions anymore, go someplace else.
 
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