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

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Sep 13, 2006
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Can anyone tell me what sites I could trust? Rock Paper Shotgun I've heard is one, any others?
Honestly, my list remained relatively the same after this problem, but I managed to include Rab and consevania which I had no idea it existed:

Rockpapershotgun.
Gamasutra.
Game|life.
Idle thumbs
http://www.shacknews.com/
I guess Penny Arcade is cool after the kickstarter, but I honestly found them asking money for being ad free( the implication here is that they would be free from PR) kinda shady in the first place.

Eurogamer will be out of the list after this.
 
Nov 6, 2006
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I was pretty LTTP to OMM. But it was still a brilliant read.
The opening paragraph of their Rune review:

This review almost didn't happen. After playing Rune all the way through to the rainbow-colored but still bitter end, I was ready to give up on games. At one point, as I was virtua-clambering over a pile of crates to get to the exit of one of Rune's sewer levels, I was like, "you know what? Fuck this, fuck sewers, fuck vikings, fuck orcs and motherfuck gaming. I've had my eye on model railroading for a while now anyway." Don't get me wrong, I'm sure you'll love Rune. It's technically very solid. It's everything you've seen a thousand times before, but it's 10-12% prettier! So enjoy it there, chubsy-ubsy. I'm talking to you, George Broussard.
and later:

Okay, how about this: A priest, a dog, and Tim Gerritsen walk into a bar and see a Rune level designer at work. The Priest says, "Good Lord, man, why did you make a hundred sewer levels?" The level designer says, "Those aren't sewers, they're dwarven aqueducts! Oh God, who am I kidding, I was thinking about wookies and I guess I blacked out."
 
Jul 29, 2010
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This is a superb list of outlets that explore issues related to gaming culture in an intelligent but entertaining way. It is also worth noting that about half of them are not part of professional gaming media. I would say that none of them gets a "free pass," though. As should be obvious by the Eurogamer mess.

I would maybe add Rock, Paper, Shotgun to the list.

Also, everyone should read Old Man Murray. I don't care how old it is. Its content is timeless.
1. Rab's defended Eurogamer. I hope they don't take most of the blame on this.
2. RPS is Rock, Paper, Shotgun :p
3. Old Man Murray is great. GFW was awesome as well.
 
Aug 12, 2007
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Eurogamer will be out of the list after this.
On the contrary, I think they come out looking the best of the bunch. Not only were they the ones who published the original piece, and not only did they keep the piece live (despite the forced emendations), but editors there have also come out on Twitter to say that things will be changing there. Considering that they'd already set a reasonably high standard, that's saying something.
 
Jan 2, 2012
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There's a lot of money spent by McDonalds on advertisements, doesn't mean I eat there.

We have to assume at some level people are smart enough to still attend a press event and maintain some level of integrity.

Does it mean all of them do, of course not. Yet, we don't paint all writers as plagiarists even though there are very high profile cases of it happening.
Here's Shawn Elliott's post on this:

Pharmaceutical company companies extensively research physicians' hobbies and personal interests, send attractive spokespeople to "inform" said physicians about their products over three-star michelin meals and golf games. Without exception, these physicians insist that they are immune to unethical influence.

Corporations like Coca Cola spend $10 billion a year or more on advertising campaigns with messages that college undergrads -- here I'm speaking from experience as a former instructor -- unfailingly insist they're uniquely insusceptible to.

Either these corporations are somehow recklessly burning revenue by the billions and somehow raking in unprecedented profit despite the sheer stupidity of their business practices or people are prone to maintain flattering though entirely unrealistic images of themselves. Unfortunately for us, replicated psychology experiments point to pervasive self-deception. Fortunately for us, while it's practically impossible for us to accurately monitor our own self-interest, we're marvelous at pointing it out in others. And this is the why the appearance of impropriety matters so much.

Tomes of research on the topic are out there and anyone remotely interested in cognition will encounter the experiments again and again. For those unfamiliar with it I recommend starting here: http://www.amazon.com/Honest-Truth-...How+We+Lie+to+Everyone---Especially+Ourselves
PR influence is most effective when you don't realize you're being effected.
 
Aug 24, 2007
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I don't think it's fair to judge Tolito for everything Kotaku is and does. Having been able to observe some GJ professionals in their daily work, it's both fascinating and awkward to note that both a professionally run organization and a not-quite-professionally run organization can produce about the same result in terms of style, content, and intended audience. And of course, all of the selfpropelled myths GJ have about players and the industry. (which are shared by roughly 99% of NeoGAF btw)

What I'm trying to say is that "journalism" is a far too wide concept to use in this context since a website or magazine is first and foremost (!) a product (or brand) that has to be sold, and as such is a mold into which everything is fitted. If I told you that some teen or gossip magazines were written by highly educated professionals, you would probably laugh your ass off and say "no f-ing way". But that is actually true for quite a few of them, despite the products tone, content, and audience. Also: what is believed to be the product's audience may not actually be that audience. Which is to say that like all verbal / written products, it is independent from its producer. Journalists may not write about things they really want, like, or interest them in the slightest. It's their job to sell the product, not their own values.

This seems to be missing from how posters look at outlets in this topic. The thought seems to be that Tolito controls the content of Kotaku, which was already an established brand when he became part of it. (as I see it:) It's actually more the other way around. Whatever values he and his staff may have, have to be second to the demands of the product: Kotaku.


What is interesting about this thread, just as it was with Denis Dyack at the time, is the rather personal vendetta in it. "calling out" [insert person]. I know that this whole "personal focus" has been a growing part of journalism in general since the decline of printed newspapers, but it seems much more so in GJ. I think it's worth pointing out that this "personalized access" to professionals is a myth in the sense that the person is still quite irrelevant to the demands of the product.

Also: I have said it before, and I will say it again: the Dyack "victory" was a huge loss in terms of having access to industry professionals and their personal views on their work. Community managers started popping up after that. And 'management' currently means 'control'. Their job is specifically to protect the brand / product (company and products) from detractors. Which is the core of PR.

If you want a serious debate about what GJ is, can be, or is allowed to do for that matter, there also has to be a discussion about the degree of (non-PR regulated) access to companies has to made possible by those some companies. I assure you that they have zero interest in letting anyone near their stuff without PR regulating their every movement. You might as well go to North Korea for the authentic "game industry visitor experience" (patent pending).
I mean: you can't expect journalists to be able to do their jobs (more than currently the case) by their own values when there is zero room for error in terms of keeping access.

/ my two cents
Great post. If Totilo et al had written something like this, and admitted they needed access to provide information it would have been refreshing. I also think consumers of the enthusist press need to stop demanding day zero reviews, and all the other rubbish that fuels the industry obsession with pre orders and previews and day zero sales.

Oh no! That's why he gave Resident Evil 6 a 6/5 and said it was the best game in the history of the universe. Except he didn't. His impressions from the event were pretty lukewarm, and he didn't even review the game they were showing off. Instead Brad Shoemaker gave it a pretty scathing 2/5. Clearly, Jeff is bought and paid for.

If someone is petty enough to be seduced by a free trip or a free PS3, you shouldn't trust their opinions no matter what they're getting or not. Because the decent reviewers and members of the game press realize this stuff doesn't really matter. They're not cheap enough to let this kind of stuff influence their opinion. Giant Bomb gets many of the games they quick look for free, but if they don't they just go out and buy the game themselves, and don't treat them any differently.

People who say, "Gaming press is only just PR!" are really fucking stupid. Like 'the earth is only 6000 years old' stupid.
You should really read the thread, especially the links about pharmaceutical marketting and non concious bias that were posted. Then you would understand why I say your post is hilariously ill informed.


Also, this is the greatest avatar I have ever seen:
 
Apr 12, 2006
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www.the-nextlevel.com
if you see a journalist who specializes in finance on tv and who gives his opinion about a bank and you later find out that he is a consultant for this bank or that he gets anything from it, would you still trust what he says, even if he assures you he's a totally ethical guy?

my point is a journalist should never be in a position that could be perceived as a conflict of interest
I'm going to tell you that every journalist who has covered finance has gotten something from financial institutions. The same way every doctor has gotten stuff from the pharmacological companies whose drugs they prescribe, and every pro movie reviewer has gotten special treatment from movie studios.

If you're looking for someone ethically pure, even Gandhi isn't going to satisfy. You have to get rid of this black and white notion, this one drop rule of 'the journalist accepted a free game once so he is forever tainted' because the real world just isn't that easy. What you need to do is gauge for yourself how influenced any particular reporter is by the institutions they report on, and weigh their opinion accordingly.

You should really read the thread, especially the links about pharmaceutical marketting and non concious bias that were posted. Then you would understand why I say your post is hilariously ill informed.
You're comparing doctors to game reviews, and calling me ill informed? Really? You can't take a study based on one group of people, and just plug the results into another. The mentalities, motivations, and definitely the level of bribery are completely different.
 
Aug 24, 2007
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I'm going to tell you that every journalist who has covered finance has gotten something from financial institutions. The same way every doctor has gotten stuff from the pharmacological companies whose drugs they prescribe, and every pro movie reviewer has gotten special treatment from movie studios.

If you're looking for someone ethically pure, even Gandhi isn't going to satisfy. You have to get rid of this black and white notion, this one drop rule of 'the journalist accepted a free game once so he is forever tainted' because the real world just isn't that easy. What you need to do is gauge for yourself how influenced any particular reporter is by the institutions they report on, and weigh their opinion accordingly.
Funny you should mention doctors...

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=43698286&postcount=4907
 

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MeisaMcCaffrey
Jul 7, 2010
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Honestly, my list remained relatively the same after this problem, but I managed to include Rab and consevania which I had no idea it existed:

Rockpapershotgun.
Gamasutra.
Game|life.
Idle thumbs
http://www.shacknews.com/


Eurogamer will be out of the list after this.
Nope. Eurogamer is up there with Rock, Paper, Shotgun. As Rab said, the site's editor had a tough 24 hours and in the end had to amend it. The article is still up, only the references to the two journos have been removed, which I think is fair. I don't think it's Eurogamer's fault at all.
 
May 14, 2012
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I'm going to tell you that every journalist who has covered finance has gotten something from financial institutions.
Not really a great defense. Remember when Jon Stewart took CNBC to task on his show, and that Mad Money guy after the financial meltdown? It was basically total corruption, overly cozy relationships driven by fear of losing access and a general worship of the wall street culture. It was one of the most iconic media failures of the last few years.
 
Aug 12, 2007
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Not really a great defense. Remember when Jon Stewart took CNBC to task on his show, and that Mad Money guy after the financial meltdown? It was basically total corruption, overly cozy relationships driven by fear of losing access and a general worship of the wall street culture. It was one of the most iconic media failures of the last few years.
What? You mean the "everyone else is doing it in other media, so I can too" excuse doesn't work any more? But everyone told me it would be fine!
 
Apr 12, 2006
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Not really a great defense. Remember when Jon Stewart took CNBC to task on his show, and that Mad Money guy after the financial meltdown? It was basically total corruption, overly cozy relationships driven by fear of losing access and a general worship of the wall street culture. It was one of the most iconic media failures of the last few years.
I'm not defending anything. I'm just saying everyone has had a taste. Some keep going back for more, and those people naturally are motivated to keep the gravy train going. But that's not everyone. Not everyone is reporting under the influence.
 

NervousXtian

Thought Emoji Movie was good. Take that as you will.
Feb 7, 2010
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Ore-Gone.. not Ory-Gone.
As far as I'm concerned, that unboxing video is just a ten-minute advertisement for Microsoft. I don't know how others feel, but that's my problem with it. Compound upon that the posts Shawn wrote, and you've got a problem of some magnitude.
Isn't what an unboxing of any product really is? Isn't a preview or a trailer just a advertisement, yes they are.

Gaming is a product.
 
Nov 6, 2006
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Isn't what an unboxing of any product really is? Isn't a preview or a trailer just a advertisement, yes they are.

Gaming is a product.
No, a preview is not just supposed to be an advertisement. The fact that you think it is just emphasizes the problem.

As for trailers, yes they are marketing. Also gaming media do not produce their own trailers for games to help market the game, at least as far as I know.

As for your statement that gaming is a product, I dont even know how to make sense of that. Gaming is an activity.
 
Nov 16, 2006
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holy fucking shit


I mean, the point about companies essentially treating gaming journalists as part of their workforce and PR people treating journalists as colleagues has been made before, but I thought that was done in a joking manner. That's just... wow.
 
May 20, 2007
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WOW

Has this actually been confirmed as true? I'm fucking flabbergasted if so. I mean, the point about companies essentially treating gaming journalists as part of their workforce and PR people treating journalists as colleagues has been made before, but I thought that was done in a joking manner. That quote is just... wow.
It also comes with presents rewarding them for their service judging by the image above.
 
Aug 12, 2007
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holy fucking shit


I mean, the point about companies essentially treating gaming journalists as part of their workforce and PR people treating journalists as colleagues has been made before, but I thought that was done in a joking manner. That's just... wow.
This shouldn't be surprising. What IS surprising is the relative indifference with which journalists treat this stuff. They all assume they're somehow above it all and so "hardened" that they can resist it by sheer force of conscious will. If publishers didn't think this stuff worked, they wouldn't continue doing it. And journalists need to stop assuming that it's just the "weak willed other guys" that this junk is targeted towards. News flash, journalists, it's you.

They treat it like junk mail. But the difference is that junk mail costs almost nothing. This stuff is expensive. Hell, shipping costs alone on some of the things that get sent to gaming sites must be insane.
 
Nov 16, 2006
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It also comes with presents rewarding them for their service judging by the image above.
At least this helps to explain why so many journalists are afraid of rocking the boat.

Also, the psychological impact of consistently treating someone as an employee or colleague (especially someone with ambitions to join the game development side anyway) shouldn't be underestimated.

This is really, really gross.


edit: I guess my strong reaction didn't come from the fact that this is happening, but that it's done so brazenly, completely open, in writing and everything.
 
Nov 6, 2006
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Since it is kind of hard to read, here is the full text of that Ubisoft PR letter sent to journalists along with the flag and PR kit:

It's almost July 4. Time to fire up the grill, invite some friends over and celebrate our nation's birth.

But this July 4 all of us at Ubisoft will have another reason to celebrate. And that's the phenomenal success of our Assassin's Creed brand which couldn't have happened without your incredible support and partnerships. So I'm writing to say, quite simply, 'Thank you.'

Thank you for helping make Assassin's Creed one of the best selling franchises of all time.

Thank you for igniting unprecedented consumer interest in Assassin's Creed 3 which is sure to break plenty of sales records this holiday.

Thank you for helping Assassin's Creed 3 achieve stellar exposure long before launch. Plus a stunning array of honors at E3 that exceeded our wildest expectations. We scored over 40 nominations and took home a bounty of awards including Xplay's Best of Show, Game Informers's Game of Show, and Gamespot's Editor Choice.

So this Independence Day, no matter your nationality, we hope you'll fly this colonial style flag as we celebrate our critical success. And this holiday season, all of us will ignite yet another revolution.

Thanks again,

Tony Key
Sr. VP. Sales and Marketing
Ubisoft Entertainment
 
Dec 23, 2009
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WOW

Has this actually been confirmed as true? I'm fucking flabbergasted if so.
To be far, PR sending media gifts for their coverage is common. Not in the, stuff your pockets but in the "this is what we give everyone we attribute to our success including dozens to hundreds of other people." Most gifts are much crappier though.
 
Feb 8, 2012
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Since it is kind of hard to read, here is the full text of that Ubisoft PR letter sent to journalists along with the flag and PR kit:
This sums it up.

And - games writers - it's YOU who need to change. Not 'those other guys'. No one is above this stuff. The link needs to be firmly and publically broken, if gaming journalism is to actually live up to its name.
 
Apr 18, 2011
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www.neogaf.com
Eurogamer will be out of the list after this.
Why, weren't they the ones running the story in the first place? I'm somewhat disappointed that they edited the text under threat of legal action, but then I don't expect them to go bust over something like that either, especially considering the damage was already done and the internets had archived the full version. But that doesn't say anything about their trustworthiness. Sites that don't even comment on the ruckus out of fear of losing their good standing however...

Eurogamer is still my favorite site, even more so after this I might add.
 

shintoki

sparkle this bitch
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Independence Day will no longer be known as an American Holiday. For it is the day the world declared, in one voice, we will not go quietly into the night, We will not vanish without a fight, we're going to live on, we're going to survive. Today, we celebrate Our Assassin's Creed Launch Day!
 
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