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

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Rufus

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Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.
Why can't Microsoft or 343 do that on their own YouTube channel? Why does it take you to do it? It's a service, yes, but it is a cheap service just about any schlub can do. Kotaku specifically doing it adds nothing of value to those interested that, for instance, a review of the game would add. You may as well have posted the entire PR blurb verbatim, made a wordless video and called it a day.

It's nothing but advertising. Plain and simple.

What makes this especially prescient is holding it next to Totilo's opinion of the topic at hand. Perhaps not entirely fair, but if there's something you still fail to see with that particular juxtaposition, I don't know what to say.
 

TheOddOne

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Why can't Microsoft or 343 do that on their own YouTube channel? Why does it take you to do it? It's a service, yes, but it is a cheap service just about any schlub can do. Kotaku specifically doing it adds nothing of value to those interested that, for instance, a review of the game would add. You may as well have posted the entire PR blurb verbatim, made a wordless video and called it a day.

It's nothing but advertising. Plain and simple.

What makes this especially prescient is holding it next to Totilo's opinion of the topic at hand. Perhaps not entirely fair, but if there's something you still fail to see with that particular juxtaposition, I don't know what to say.
That... is the point?

What else would they do with an unboxing video?
 

Lime

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You guys are going nuts about an unboxing video? Good lord.
Stephen Totilo about the Florence issue and not covering it:

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.
Apparently the PR press regurgitation of an unboxing video is more important than reporting or at least just mentioning the topic of journalism ethics.
 

Sharp

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Come on, it's Brian Ashcraft. I can't think of anything he ever wrote that counted as video games journalism, and now he's migrated to just babble on about Japanese culture.
Chinese culture, in this case...
 

Dead Man

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You guys are going nuts about an unboxing video? Good lord.
Nah, we are laughing at Totilo's quality journalism.

Unboxing videos are ridiculously easy hits. They don't require a lot of time to create and people apparently like to watch them. Unboxing videos is an easy way for a publisher to get on the front page when they're already through with all of their pre-release marketing but want some extra space on a website / extra mentions.
They'll send out a nice box full of stuff and achieve two things: a) They might get a video out of this and b) A big box with loads of stuff to crawl through always gets more attention than a disc in a paper sleeve.

While we're talking about unboxing videos: IGN uploaded one for MS's surface that probably wasn't meant to be that way.
That's part of the problem.
 

Effnine

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Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.

You know exactly what it is, it's for page hits, not information. Is Kotaku the only site where consumers can find out what is in a bundle? Seems like this could be information that can be found at a retailer or an official Microsoft/Xbox site.
 

Htown

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You guys are going nuts about an unboxing video? Good lord.
Yes, entrement. We're 4200 posts into a topic about an unboxing video.

You sure cut to the core of the issue!

reposting:
First of all:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npHDxSvwCE0

Second:
Jason, you have now spent about twice as much time and effort and written three times as many words defending the fact that you're not writing a story as it would have taken to actually write and publish a story.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe your video game playing audience is less interested in an article about whether game writers are being jerked around like puppets on a string than they are in articles about why we should be happy and play the games we have instead of looking forward to new ones or why you're disappointed in your iPad 3.

I know I was SCREAMING for articles on THAT shit.

Third:
You guys need to out in front of this more than any other site out there, besides maybe Eurogamer.





Never forget.
 

Shinta

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You guys are nuts about an unboxing video? Good lord.
I don't really care about an unboxing video honestly, but just think it through. Atlus does a lot of their own unboxing videos, and it works the same. Honestly, it probably works a hell of a lot better that way since they tend to know more about the product. You may have noticed in the Kotaku one they mention "Red Ring of Death." Ouch, I'm sure Microsoft didn't like that.

So why isn't Microsoft doing these themselves instead of sending Kotaku a free system? The list of possible reasons is pretty short.
 

Saint Gregory

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Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.
I have several professional journalists in my family so I really feel for what you and other people in your particular field of journalism is going through right now but how could you look at that commentary in the top half of that image and the title of the video below the image and not see the clear irony of what is taking place.

In answer to your direct question no, gaming journalists should not be reviewing the content of special collectors editions of games to help me decide their value, primarily if you received that special edition for free. Obviously, even if it's on a subconcious level, the value of that special edition is going to be different to the journo than it would be to me.

I would never expect a Blu-ray/DVD reviewer to incorporate the value of whatever extra non-film related items are included in a box set to their assessment of the quality of the film either.
 

Rufus

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That... is the point?

What else would they do with an unboxing video?
Just one more step dude, you're almost there. I'm not against advertising. When the guy who favours doing 'quality games journalism' does it, over, say, reporting on the uncomfortable relationship that the press and PR have, then that's a problem.
 

Lime

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That Luke Plunkett guy is my arch nemesis.

"Guys, stop being assholes by expressing criticism and buy the next Call of Duty."
 

choaffable

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You guys are nuts about an unboxing video? Good lord.
It's not about unboxing videos, it's just an example of how hyprocritical Kotaku's stance is concerning this whole issue. Fine, there are people who want unboxing videos (you got to do something between Hoarder marathons). You can serve that audience. It's having your editor-in-chief do it, lending his credibility to the unboxing. I mean, if he's gonna be part of an unboxing, it must be a important priority and that puts me off as a reader looking for serious game journalism.
 

Harlock

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I thought TotalBiscuit had exaggerated about how shit Kotaku is, but, well, seems right after what Stephen Totilo said. Too bad, Kotaku has good people, like Mike Fahey. But not Totilo.
 

entremet

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Read. Good lord.
I read the quote? And?

Stuff I don't care or respect, I ignore. I get enough news, impressions and the like from GAF. I don't pretend to love in a fantasy land where I expect big media conglomerates to provide fair coverage. There are great people doing that outside of the corporate box.

Follow people not dumb blogs.
 

HoosTrax

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84 pages of this to get caught up on...

Just to be clear, do people consider it an issue when their local sportcaster is obviously very chummy with the local football team's players/coach/owner, and they don't cover the visiting teams to any real extent? I figure this kind of thing is expected and accepted behavior for their job position, and you obviously shouldn't make any sports bets based on their opinion.

Or is the issue that gaming...writers?...personalities? are passing themselves off as actual journalists, where they're intentionally trying to create this illusion of supposed impartiality and trustworthiness? I honestly don't know if this is the case, as I only have time to read RPS, PCGamer (which I take with a mountain-sized grain of salt), and glance at Kotaku (which I consider tabloid or blog quality writing).
 

Dead Man

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I read the quote? And?

Stuff I don't care or respect, I ignore. I get enough news, impressions and the like from GAF. I don't pretend to love in a fantasy land where I expect big media conglomerates to provide fair coverage. There are great people doing that outside of the corporate box.

Follow people not dumb blogs.
I AM A REBEL INDIVIDUAL!!!!
 

Stuart444

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Things are getting more hostile in here now towards Kotaku but you really can't blame people.

If you see a comment like people saw there from Totilo about not doing the story and then looked at most of the stories they post on Kotaku, it's really not a big surprise that people would get annoyed at it, laugh at it or even mock it.

Seems pretty logical that the reaction would happen and I think a lot of people outside of GAF would probably agree with that assessment just with the picture(s) paired in the last page.
 

funkystudent

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I do appreciate every member of the games press who has contributed to this thread.

Even if some of you have clearly missed the point and are just making yourselves and your sites look bad its good to have a discussion on the matter instead of just seeing you and your PR buddies posting vague snarky twitter posts.

Ill give Gies credit for trying to be honest and helpful even though he could probably write off this entire forum after the backlash about him in that pretentious ploygon documentary and I wouldn't blame him.


I would also like to tip my hat to every writer and website who actually covered this mess. You did your job. Well done.
I fucking miss Jeff Green and Shawn Elliot being part the press.

Most of the current crop of kids are so damn spineless.
 

JesseZao

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I think I've subconsciously reacted to this problem by not visiting "game" sites to find out about games. I'll watch the youtube videos of people playing the games or the trailers, but I won't read previews about these games. I'll watch a livestream that's being held by the developers, but I don't want to watch IGN/etc. previews.

I take marketing direct from the source, or from amateur youtube/stream-ers. If I want opinion, I seek word of mouth from friends or members of gaf. I used to listen to podcasts, but all the good ones seem to die off because the labor of love doesn't pay bills.

I could see this as a catalyst to the crash of this space in journalism to give rise to a new model. Let companies produce their marketing and leave the journos to write unbiased opinion about the industry or games that are already out. I'm really tired of the hype culture of "DAY 1" consumption and would rather people acclimate to the netflix effect of the casual "watch it eventually" approach. This would allow a level headedness to review content and recommend it or not accordingly.
 

Lime

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I read the quote? And?

Stuff I don't care or respect, I ignore. I get enough news, impressions and the like from GAF. I don't pretend to love in a fantasy land where I expect big media conglomerates to provide fair coverage. There are great people doing that outside of the corporate box.

Follow people not dumb blogs.
I don't think you are understanding what the discussion is about.
 

adixon

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I think its the Totilo qoute + the video not the video exclusively.
This -- don't think that most people here are against unboxing videos. It's just the contrast between something which is the height of superficial game news (can't get much more pure hype for the sake of hype than caring about the box that a game comes in) and at the same time saying he doesn't care about a story which frankly looks like the most obvious revelation of a very real conspiracy between publisher PR and game publications that I've ever seen.

By the way, love your RPG column, Jason. With all the good stuff you guys have been doing lately, I feel less dirty reading kotaku now than I ever have in the past :)
 

Sharp

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84 pages of this to get caught up on...

Just to be clear, do people consider it an issue when their local sportcaster is obviously very chummy with the local football team's players/coach/owner, and they don't cover the visiting teams to any real extent? I figure this kind of thing is expected and accepted behavior for their job position, and you obviously shouldn't make any sports bets based on their opinion.

Or is the issue that gaming...writers?...personalities? are passing themselves off as actual journalists, where they're intentionally trying to create this illusion of supposed impartiality and trustworthiness? I honestly don't know if this is the case, as I only have time to read RPS, PCGamer (which I take with a mountain-sized grain of salt), and glance at Kotaku (which I consider tabloid or blog quality writing).
When it comes to local sports team coverage, bias is expected and encouraged in the local broadcasting team. As a Nationals fan, I would never expect MASN to be the first to break news of some crisis in the Lerner family or seriously clubhouse / steroid issues, because I know they are glorified PR mouthpieces of the team. That's their role, and it doesn't bother me. When I want real news about the teams, there are publications out there unaffiliated with any of them who can provide that to me, to a greater or lesser extent.

The problem in gaming is, I think, that people have very different expectations of what the independent review sites have to offer.
Do you think they're taking it home with them?
I have no idea what they plan to do with the contents, as I didn't actually watch the video. That's why I was asking.
 

Rufus

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Do you think they're taking it home with them?
Even if not, they're getting clicks for a commercial with no editorial content. (May seem dumb to call out Kotaku for this, of all places, but they're in the focus right now, so might as well take it as exemplary.)

I don't think you are understanding what the discussion is about.
Eh. He's already drawn the right consequences. Fair enough, I say.
 

DangerStepp

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Jeff Green is about to do the Curly from the Three Stooges floor spin.

Please, God, someone gif this.

Or he's just doing this:
 

Neat Machine

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84 pages of this to get caught up on...

Just to be clear, do people consider it an issue when their local sportcaster is obviously very chummy with the local football team's players/coach/owner, and they don't cover the visiting teams to any real extent? I figure this kind of thing is expected and accepted behavior for their job position, and you obviously shouldn't make any sports bets based on their opinion.

Or is the issue that gaming...writers?...personalities? are passing themselves off as actual journalists, where they're intentionally trying to create this illusion of supposed impartiality and trustworthiness? I honestly don't know if this is the case, as I only have time to read RPS, PCGamer (which I take with a mountain-sized grain of salt), and glance at Kotaku (which I consider tabloid or blog quality writing).
No, and that is not even remotely similar to what is going on here. It would be more like if Ford sent Matt Lauer five brand new cars and he spent The Today Show telling viewers how awesome Ford vehicles are. Now imagine this being a fundamental tenet of how news works, and how you learn about things. In every other area of journalism, this is instantly recognized as an ethical no-no. In games 'journalism', however, apparently it's a non-issue that is not to be talked about.

If I'm reading the Square-Enix newsletter, then I don't mind the information being biased towards Square-Enix. If it's coming from a supposed independent, critical source then there's absolutely a problem.
 

Marcel

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vast conspiracy between publisher PR and game publications that I've ever seen.
No. This kind of stuff actually diminishes the discussion and makes the people discussing this issue seriously look bad. Calling it a conspiracy gives the PR/journos a lot of ammunition to make people here look like nutjobs, as opposed to people who just want the conflicts of interests and general media hackery to stop.
 
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When it comes to local sports team coverage, bias is expected and encouraged in the local broadcasting team. As a Nationals fan, I would never expect MASN to be the first to break news of some crisis in the Lerner family or seriously clubhouse / steroid issues, because I know they are glorified PR mouthpieces of the team. That's their role, and it doesn't bother me. When I want real news about the teams, there are publications out there unaffiliated with any of them who can provide that to me, to a greater or lesser extent.

The problem in gaming is, I think, that people have very different expectations of what the independent review sites have to offer.
Absolutely, if your website is little more than a portal for rehashing PR lines and press releases then don't try and pretend that a story about journalistic integrity is somehow beneath you.

Own it.
 

Risette

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Aug 27, 2007
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LOL, no jumping on your throat, I've been iompressed with yoru tenacity in the face of pretty overhwleming criticism. The complaint I have is the claim of QUALITY JOURNALISM and CAN'T BE BOTHERED juxtaposed with BOX OPENING
sometimes boxes can be hard to open man

somebody has to do it
 

Helscream

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Well I think if you replaced the word "conspiracy" with "bullshitting" I think the sentence would make more sense.

EDIT: Just noticed I got member status. Maximum Overdrive!
 

trw

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Folks, please don't all jump on my throat for this, but what exactly is wrong with unboxing a collector's edition so people can see what's inside and decide whether or not they want to buy it?

It's hardly investigative journalism, but it seems like a useful service to readers who want to get a visual on what's inside those things.
You don't find something strange in the fact that other companies does their unboxing videos on their pr youtube page themselves? Isn't this just you doing a Microsoft pr video for them in a better populated channel? You aren't doing a useful service to your readers, you are doing Microsoft pr for them and you are ok with it.
 

Htown

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It's not a conspiracy. It's basic psychology that a lot of game writers have convinced themselves they are immune to, apparently.
 

Neat Machine

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It's not a conspiracy. It's basic psychology that a lot of game writers have convinced themselves they are immune to, apparently.
Which deserves a lot of conversation, but the fact that they're so afraid to even acknowledge the issue makes them seem more guilty than ignorant, IMO.
 

beastmode

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Someone make a .jpg combining Jason's posts, the one about Kotaku not being a press release rewrite factory and the defense of a Halo 4 unboxing.
 

HoosTrax

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No, and that is not even remotely similar to what is going on here. It would be more like if Ford sent Matt Lauer five brand new cars and he spent The Today Show telling viewers how awesome Ford vehicles are. Now imagine this being a fundamental tenet of how news works, and how you learn about things. In every other area of journalism, this is instantly recognized as an ethical no-no. In games 'journalism', however, apparently it's a non-issue that is not to be talked about.
I guess I'm not familiar enough with Geoff to understand whether he's considered:
a) the gaming version of Matt Lauer
or
b) the gaming version of the guy who covers the X-Games with giant banners for Red Bull, Monster Energy, DC Shoes "subtly" in the background
 

Gomu Gomu

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You don't find something strange in the fact that other companies does their unboxing videos on their pr youtube page themselves? Isn't this just you doing a Microsoft pr video for them in a better populated channel? You aren't doing a useful service to your readers, you are doing Microsoft pr for them and you are ok with it.
Not only are they ok with it, it's what they actually call journalism. It this, and not investigating this case.

It's just the perfect summery of what major websites call games journalism.
 
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