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

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conman

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Aug 12, 2007
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I think it's hilarious to say that this wouldn't generate any interest in the gaming community these sites are reporting information to when this topic has over 350k views.
Just look at how much attention the story is getting on Eurogamer itself. From a purely self-serving perspective, why wouldn't journalists elsewhere want to redirect some of that site traffic to other own sites? ...unless they're afraid to open a can of worms?
 

choaffable

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Aug 5, 2009
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Nasty thing to say.

I've made it quite clear that I take these issues seriously, and I think I've addressed everyone in this thread with a great deal of respect. I don't see myself above readers, nor do I view readers with any level of disdain. I have a ton of appreciation and gratitude for the people I try to serve every day. Silly jokes on Twitter don't take away from that, in my eyes. I'm sorry if you feel otherwise.
All snark aside, you've done a lot of good engaging in this topic with a level head. The bullshit part is hiding behind your whole "it's just jokes, bro." Tweets are still comments made in public and visible to all, as we saw in the article that kicked this whole thing off. This attitude that your tweets are walled off, completely seperate from views you've expressed here is ludicrous. Your tweets do mean something. There are repercussions even on Twitter; people have been fired over tweets.

And this whole "it's just a joke" is a shitty defense for even a comedian (which you definitely are not). It's the whole excuse that lets hack stand ups disguise racist or homophobic bullshit as "just jokes." As expressed by comics like Patton Oswalt, even it it's a joke, you should still be able to stand by it. So man up. Stand by your opinion, tweet jokes and all. You know, do the same thing that Florence did before he lost his job.
 

arglebargle

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Aug 26, 2010
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Do you think a lot of Kotaku readers are that interested in this story? I think a lot of GAF posters are, because a lot of GAF posters are fascinated by this sort of inside baseball stuff, but I think that makes up a rather small chunk of our audience, to be honest.

This is perhaps the most nauseating, infuriating excuse that you could possibly have given and was perhaps best left unsaid.

On the front page of today's New York Times, there's an article on the fairly lucrative paychecks received by dairy industry executives as a result of dairy industry consolidation. Now tell me, how many readers of the NYT well and truly have even a passing interest in this issue? It's probably somewhere in the high double digits.

Despite the what could very well be an overwhelming lack of interest in this story, the editors of the NYT saw fit to go with it because they saw a value OTHER THAN GENERAL INTEREST in its publication. Isn't that the objective of journalism? To inform no matter how seemingly irrelevant the issue?

Your excuse rings so hollow that it's almost deafening.
i agree this this, pretty much completely. something that has been sort of alluded to several times in this thread is that journalism can also control what is relevant, which seems appropriate to mention in this context.

also, i would argue that if kotaku actually covered interesting stories like this then maybe more of the gaf-type readership would visit kotaku. i go to kotaku approximately zero times a month, but if they did stories like this i would go there more.
 

Dennis

Banned
Jul 7, 2009
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are you guys stupid? jeff green put those there as a joke, he's actually holding ground on the issue and arguing intelligently about it on the cast and making some great points even when the other guys on the cast are kinda feeling awkward about it
we know
 

jschreier

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Jan 6, 2011
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Do you think a lot of Kotaku readers are that interested in this story? I think a lot of GAF posters are, because a lot of GAF posters are fascinated by this sort of inside baseball stuff, but I think that makes up a rather small chunk of our audience, to be honest.

This is perhaps the most nauseating, infuriating excuse that you could possibly have given and was perhaps best left unsaid.

On the front page of today's New York Times, there's an article on the fairly lucrative paychecks received by dairy industry executives as a result of dairy industry consolidation. Now tell me, how many readers of the NYT well and truly have even a passing interest in this issue? It's probably somewhere in the high double digits.

Despite the what could very well be an overwhelming lack of interest in this story, the editors of the NYT saw fit to go with it because they saw a value OTHER THAN GENERAL INTEREST in its publication. Isn't that the objective of journalism? To inform no matter how seemingly irrelevant the issue?

Your excuse rings so hollow that it's almost deafening.
Wait a minute. I read a bit of that story, and it seems to be a piece about high-level executives walking away with huge paydays while average dairy farmers get nothing. That is the very *definition* of something that would be interesting to everyone. A story about the little guy getting screwed? Shady conspiracies?

From the Times:

A long-running antitrust lawsuit in a federal courthouse in Greeneville, Tenn., offered one possible explanation for his early success, by contending he engaged in a conspiracy more than a decade ago that helped expedite dairy industry consolidation and make himself a bundle.
This is not inside baseball! This is a crazy story! I don't think the issues we've discussed in game journalism are even close to as interesting to average readers. I think there are many more interesting stories out there to tell.

But look, it's okay if you disagree. And yes, sometimes it's important for us to cover stories that might not be interesting to everyone (like the Silicon Knights piece). I didn't say that lack of widespread interest was the *only* reason I haven't covered this. I gave more than a few reasons last night. I also said it was nuanced and complicated, and that I have mixed feelings about whether we should be covering it. I could very well be wrong! Read through the rest of my posts for more on that.
 
Mar 8, 2012
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I think it's hilarious to say that this wouldn't generate any interest in the gaming community these sites are reporting information to when this topic has over 350k views.

Please, Kotaku, Gamespot, Polygon, and whatever other gaming website filled with 'journalists' are refusing to report this under the guise it wouldn't draw attention: what is your average page view? Simple question. If it's +/- 350k then you have no reason to not air the story, as it is gaining enough traction to have people interested in it.

Honestly, the fact people in this thread have better informed the community on this situation than 'gaming journalists' have through all the major gaming hubs speaks measures to how far gone gaming journalism really is.
I just scrolled down Kotaku's front page, not a single article has more than 40K pageviews.

The Silicon Knights article? 39,543

G4 canceling shows? 56,598

And yet, somehow, the argument is being made that people are more interested in those stories than this one.
 

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
Jun 8, 2004
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I challenge any outlet who says their audience doesn't care to put a poll up on their website asking their readers if they care whether or not their game reviewers get paid (in kind or otherwise) by the publishers of the games they review.

I've a feeling 'the audience doesn't care' because they've never thought about it, never been exposed to it. Probably because these things only get an airing on message boards and more industry orientated outlets.

But I think the vast majority of people who read game reviews would like to know about it if unseemly stuff was going on between game reviewers and publishers.

'People don't care', yet the original article sparking all this was pinned to the top of Eurogamer's most popular for days.
 

Neato_Jinkins

Banned
Jul 24, 2004
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someone already said it better, but yeah: if the primary motivation behind what you publish is ensuring that your audience is never enlightened to new information or challenged in any way, you're not much of a consumer advocate.

not that i'd ever accuse games writers of consumer advocacy.
 

jschreier

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Jan 6, 2011
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Wait just a mother-lovin' second, you're this Jason Schrier

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=465809

the Jason Schrier that fell for a crudely edited pic?

the Jason Schrier that demanded evidence that it was fake rather than evidence that it was real?

the Jason Schrier that had his own article criticising people for doing the same thing quoted at him?

the Jason Schrier that got someone banned from another messageboard for pointing out your mistake on Kotaku and then gloated about it afterwards?

the Jason Schrier that then retreated to Twitter to badmouth GAF (I'm surr they were just more of your zany jokes)?

the Jason Schrier that eventually had to issue a grovelling apology to GAF?

Daym, we really do forget these incidents. That thread should have been enough to write you off as a games critic forever.
You got me! Didn't I mention this before?

If you think that a dumb mistake is enough to "write me off as a games critic forever," that's a shame! I'm proud of the work I produce every week, and I continue to try to learn from mistakes like that incident in order to make sure they don't happen again.
 
Jul 2, 2012
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Do my posts in this thread seem dismissive of the concern?

I really am sorry if you guys feel like my tweets to Barack Obama or N'Gai or whoever seemed dismissive and not just silly. That was by no means the intent. I just don't think there's a lot of room for serious arguments and conversations on a platform where you're limited to 140 characters a post, as I said earlier.
I do give you credit for jumping into the warzone and actually talking about it here but just awaiting that article!
 

Froli

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Nov 1, 2011
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are you guys stupid? jeff green put those there as a joke, he's actually holding ground on the issue and arguing intelligently about it on the cast and making some great points even when the other guys on the cast are kinda feeling awkward about it
This is true. You guys should check the live stream (-edit, He even mentioned neogaf and topic is still on) lol
 

arglebargle

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Aug 26, 2010
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I just scrolled down Kotaku's front page, not a single article has more than 40K pageviews.

The Silicon Knights article? 39,543

G4 canceling shows? 56,598

And yet, somehow, the argument is being made that people are more interested in those stories than this one.
i agree with your point, but 56,598> 40k

edit: unless that wasnt on the front page, then i apologize for correcting you.
 

SolidSnakex

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Jun 7, 2004
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I challenge any outlet who says their audience doesn't care to put a poll up on their website asking their readers if they care whether or not their game reviewers get paid (in kind or otherwise) by the publishers of the games they review.
Yeah, i'm not sure why gamers wouldn't be bothered by that. Especially if previews and reviews influence their purchases. That's a major part of this story.
 

Shurs

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Just stumbled upon this video of a German magazine where they show the new XBOX dashboard. Now the weird thing is that they have the "Walking Dead" theme in the background. There's basically no way that this was meant as an intentional PR ad for the show, but it still shows how ignorant journalists sometimes seem to be about what could make them look bad.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S0N8d5NISs


They cared enough to blur out the gamertag but I guess changing the theme would have been too much work.
I can't tell whether or not this is a joke post.
 

NHale

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Mar 3, 2009
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Shit. Jeff Green almost returned to Gaming Journalism after leaving EA the first time. GamePro offered him John Davison job.

Imagine Jeff Green on gaming press when this shit occurs. It would be epic.
 

sflufan

Banned
May 5, 2007
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I don't think the issues we've discussed in game journalism are even close to as interesting to average readers.
To which I say, "So what?"

The NYT story has all the elements that we've heard and read about dozens of times before - same tale, different industry. There is nothing inherently more interesting in this story than a similar tale about Wall Street, the defense industry, etc.
 

jschreier

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Jan 6, 2011
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Hey folks, for what it's worth, I'm still iffy about covering the Eurogamer/Wainwright story, but I *do* think it could benefit Kotaku's readership if we write something about our own ethical standards as reporters, which I believe are very high. That sort of thing is not up to me, though.

I've gotta run in a bit and apologies if I can't get to anyone's posts, but again, thanks for hearing me out. Special thanks to those of you who stayed civil.
 

papersleeves

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May 29, 2010
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You'll also notice that there have not been stories at http://kotaku.com/games-journalism/ (except for something about a survey) in years. Looks like the last one was 2009. It's just not something that we cover very much.
Of course. Why would you risk giving your take on a situation you guys are deeply rooted in? It's better to ignore and wait for it to disappear by itself. You guys love this whole PR situation and they do too. Why would want it to change when you are so comfortable in it?

Then you read comments like "Sadly this is how the industry works". Sadly my ass. YOU ENJOY IT. You don't want it to change.
 

Marcel

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Feb 16, 2012
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It's sort of depressing to think about a hobby you enjoy whose greater dialogue in the media is mostly controlled by conflicted media hacks who cannot stand up under even slight scrutiny, judging from Jason Schreier's halfhearted have-it-both ways responses in this thread.

Context is important, however. There are greater offenders like Malcolm Gladwell who is listed as 'third-party media representative' of the tobacco industry. The stuff that goes on in games journalism is pretty much just Baby's First Conflict of Interest spread to a really wide degree. Don't forget that it's really easy to shove this stuff under a rug when there are press releases to cover! Or GAF stories to poach for your own aggregate blog!
 

jschreier

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Jan 6, 2011
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Of course. Why would you risk giving your take on a situation you guys are deeply rooted in? It's better to ignore and wait for it to disappear by itself. You guys love this whole PR situation and they do too. Why would want it to change when you are so comfortable in it?

Then you read comments like "Sadly this is how the industry works". Sadly my ass. YOU ENJOY IT. You don't want it to change.
You're right: I love having the freedom to write about whatever I want without ever worrying about how a publisher or PR person will react. And the only way that I can really convince you that's true is through my work, which I believe stands for itself. As I already pointed out, Kotaku is constantly publishing interesting, challenging stories that don't always align with the interests of the companies that we cover. I feel extraordinarily lucky to be a part of that.
 

Marcel

Member
Feb 16, 2012
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Honestly? I'm surprised no-one's decided to make a Shit Game Journalists Say blog in the wake of this, or something along the same lines.
It already exists, although the author doesn't do much for it anymore: http://gamejournos.com/

The author's definition of a game journo pretty much covers this whole fiasco: Game journalist: n - An individual who writes professionally about computer and video games, although may not adhere to a professional work ethic. May not research or fact-check stories. May be more interested in hyperbole than actual constructive criticism of media. May be incapable of determining the mathematical average of a 0-to-10 scale. May be unable to handle criticism. May claim to be "just a blogger" or "not a journalist really", which is at least partially true. See also: Game PR.
 

Ath

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Apr 28, 2012
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Hey folks, for what it's worth, I'm still iffy about covering the Eurogamer/Wainwright story, but I *do* think it could benefit Kotaku's readership if we write something about our own ethical standards as reporters, which I believe are very high. That sort of thing is not up to me, though.

I've gotta run in a bit and apologies if I can't get to anyone's posts, but again, thanks for hearing me out. Special thanks to those of you who stayed civil.
The person who it is up to unfortunately doesn't agree it seems...

Stephen Totilo said:
I don't think it's a pretty important story. I think it's the same tired nonsense about games journalism that some folks love to carry on endlessly about. If we had more clear facts about whether one journalism outlet or journalist really threatened to sue another and if that other outlet buckled under that needlessly, then maybe we'd have a small story. But that would take reporting to find it out, and I just don't care enough about the latest supposed media scandal to ask my reporters to look into it.

You know what's important? Doing good games journalism, which is what we did this week and highlights in this list above.
That's a shame, I really do think that there are some serious issues here that should be reported about. On another note, I do appreciate you coming in to discuss this with us Jason.
 

MushroomSamba

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Nov 15, 2009
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Man, you guys are brutal. I'm actually surprised people like Jason are showing up to defend themselves, since it's clearly just making it go from bad to worse.

Some of you are treating games journalism as if it were some noble profession or a higher calling. They're a business like any other, with employees concerned about getting the most out of their piece of the pie. Sure, it'd be nice if they conducted their profession with integrity, but their job is to hook readers, and I doubt corrupt behavior and bias reporting will ultimately affect their hits, since the majority of their audience don't know/don't care about it in the first place.

I see a lot of people try to relate it to other fields and businesses (I worked in med/pharm research before, so I know if we had that kind of relationship with vendors, we'd be out the door in a heartbeat), but that doesn't apply here. No one's really in harm's way. Readers keep clicking and coming back for more, which I'm guessing means they agree with the reviews. And if they don't agree, they're obviously coming back for something. In either case, they get what they want out if it. I don't suspect game journalism will change unless it starts biting them in the sales. And honestly, they have no reason to either. Again, they're in the business of simply getting hits, no matter how they get it, and no matter how badly a select few want something more of them.

That might be unfortunate and cynical, but it is what it is. I just feel bad someone lost their job over this.
 

ghst

thanks for the laugh
May 9, 2006
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Hey folks, for what it's worth, I'm still iffy about covering the Eurogamer/Wainwright story, but I *do* think it could benefit Kotaku's readership if we write something about our own ethical standards as reporters, which I believe are very high. That sort of thing is not up to me, though.

I've gotta run in a bit and apologies if I can't get to anyone's posts, but again, thanks for hearing me out. Special thanks to those of you who stayed civil.
so you won't bother them with all the ugly conventions which permeate the industry and make it near impossible for a game journalist to make completely honest criticism, due to both the positive coercing influences and the negative pressures resulting from the incestuous symbiotic relationship the critic has with the object of criticism; but you will make an auto-fellating piece declaring your own infallibility?

when's the cut off date for the pulitzer?
 
Jul 25, 2009
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Many are eager to see people in the press address the matter (and several sites have been writing about it); some want promises that writers are taking palliative measures. The important thing, though, is that forums such as this are already skeptical, and there's no better corrective measure than that.

Whatever we want to think the press can do, what PR people can do, none of it will accomplish anything comparable to the result of audience scrutiny. GAF is great at this. It's why this thread exists. Sometimes we read signal where there's only really noise, sometimes we isolate the signal from the noise. So it goes.

I don't doubt that Shreier is being honest with himself when he writes that " I've never felt like being friendly with PR folk has affected the way I do my job, and all the good PR people understand that journalists want to be as fair and as honest as possible when covering their companies. If I ever felt like I was writing or covering a story differently because of a friendship with someone in the industry, I might reconsider this approach, but I've never had that experience." But we're all blind to our own blindnesses. In short, the proper path is the one GAF has walked all along: big, messy, boisterous, many-voiced discussions driven in equal part by enthusiasm and skepticism.

Thankfully, this isn't a field like medicine that (for the non-med students among us) is characterized by information disparities that disadvantage us and put us at the mercy of specialists. Second opinions are free and we needn't devote a month of research to determine whether or not a physician is painting the whole picture when prescribing a drug. Everyone here is as much an expert as the so-called specialists. When you smell bullshit, call bullshit (as is already the case).
This post by Shawn was pretty dope. I feel like people missed it.
 

jschreier

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Jan 6, 2011
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so you won't bother them with all the ugly conventions which permeate the industry and make it near impossible for a game journalist to make completely honest criticism, due to both the positive coercing influences and the negative pressures resulting from the incestuous symbiotic relationship the critic has with the object of criticism; but you will make an auto-fellating piece declaring your own infallibility?
No, my point is that it could be worthwhile to bring up those influences and pressures and discuss how we deal with them. Transparency is key.
 

Dennis

Banned
Jul 7, 2009
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so you won't bother them with all the ugly conventions which permeate the industry and make it near impossible for a game journalist to make completely honest criticism, due to both the positive coercing influences and the negative pressures resulting from the incestuous symbiotic relationship the critic has with the object of criticism; but you will make an auto-fellating piece declaring your own infallibility?
I for one would like to see an answer to this.
 

Jackpot

Banned
Nov 8, 2011
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Totilo said:
I don't think it's a pretty important story. I think it's the same tired nonsense about games journalism that some folks love to carry on endlessly about.
.
.
.
But that would take reporting to find it out, and I just don't care enough about the latest supposed media scandal to ask my reporters to look into it.
Written the day after he was boasting about Kotaku's stellar reporting. It's all nonsense apparently, from Driv3r reviews to GTA4 to today, apparently not a single person in the gaming media has witnessed such things happening. Just nonsense by troublemakers.
 

aeolist

Banned
Oct 31, 2006
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If there's one thing I've learned from this thread it's that there is a fucking enormous gap between the way the gaming press is perceived by their audience and the way they think they are perceived.
 

jschreier

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Jan 6, 2011
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This post by Shawn was pretty dope. I feel like people missed it.
I did miss that, and I'm glad you brought it up again. Shawn is spot on. I enjoy reading and participating in discussions like this because I think people should be constantly criticizing the press. It keeps us honest and helps us do better jobs. There have been some comments in this thread that were out of line, but I appreciate most of what's been said, and it's definitely made me think.

That said, I think sites like Kotaku are often condemned and accused of things that aren't quite true. The idea of Kotaku as a press release rewrite factory is rather inaccurate.
 

EternalGamer

Banned
Nov 6, 2006
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I'm glad this is getting mocked and satirized. It deserves to. But a lot of game writers are defending it like these comments from Weekend Confirmed:

Jeff Cannata said:
I think people are just pissed off that a guy who is very successful is successful in this way. That you are able to be perceived as selling out because you are paid to sit in front of products that he is seen sitting in front of.
Garnett Lee said:
The nice thing is that he isn't sitting there with a copy of Darksiders 2 saying I love THQ. He is sitting there with a bag of Doritos.
Andrea said:
The idea that we shouldn't have personal relationships in PR, I think that is silly.
Andrea said:
I think the idea that we get stuff for free or that there is a payola is just such bullcocky, I tell you.
Andrea said:
Are people crucifying Keighley for having Doritos and Mountain Dew as sponsors? I mean, like I don't understand those are like key things for this demo. I mean, I love Doritos. I don't care if he has those in the shot. ... It is [a perfect relationship between Mountain Dew, Doritos and Halo]. That's their audience. The young male, 18-35 male who is the primary demo for videogames. Those are two key products that that demographic enjoys. . . . A lot of Americans grew up with Mountain Dew. It's part of American culture. It's iconic of that demo.
I want to talk about this last concept that this is a "perfect relationship that benefits gamers" line because it is the exactly same thing that Keighley says in that ridiculous video.

It in no way "benefits gamers" for Mountain Dew and Doritos to be offering "double exp" with their products. This bullshit needs to be called what it is. If the designers of the game wanted people to level up faster in the multiplayer, they could simply increase the experience rate themselves rather than having people buy a bunch of junkfood to accomplish this task.

Furthermore the direct way they are trying to manipulate the audience into thinking this is some great ideal relationship and have Master Chief out there shilling for their soda is fucking insulting to the intelligence of their audience. It is embarassing to me as a consumer who has actually bought all the Halo games thus far. It makes me not want to buy this one because, frankly, my intelligence is being insulted by this kind of marketing.

Advertising needs to exist, obviously. But there is no reason Microsoft has to pimp out Master Chief; the Halo franchise makes piles of money; that's just plain greed. Furthermore, on the games media side, there is a big difference between requiring advertisers and becoming an outright shill for their products saying things that you goddamn know aren't true like "This Mountain Dew double XP is great for gamers."

I like Keighley. I hope he takes these knocks and moves on and maybe even learns a bit of a lesson. But I am very happy that at least this part of the story is getting deservingly satirized by some. It is troubling that is being so vehemently defended by others. It makes me really wonder what kind of standards they have. Not to mention how trashy their tastes are.
 

Bobby Roberts

Banned
Feb 13, 2012
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geekremixed.com
Stephen Totilo said:
I don't think it's a pretty important story. I think it's the same tired nonsense about games journalism that some folks love to carry on endlessly about. If we had more clear facts about whether one journalism outlet or journalist really threatened to sue another and if that other outlet buckled under that needlessly, then maybe we'd have a small story. But that would take reporting to find it out, and I just don't care enough about the latest supposed media scandal to ask my reporters to look into it.

You know what's important? Doing good games journalism, which is what we did this week and highlights in this list above
Oh man. -

Jason, man, you're officially off the hook, I guess. You can stop rollin in here to try and engage. Your boss straight up called this a non-story.

Thanks for the link, Ath.
 

JABEE

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May 19, 2010
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Written the day after he was boasting about Kotaku's stellar reporting.
"We won't report on it, because you guys come up with stupid myths like blacklisting and corporate pressures. We won't do any of the actual work to dispel or find out if these myths are true because it would be too hard and our readers who come for stories about cosplay cleavage won't give us enough clicks for Gawker to pay us a living wage."
 
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