Not Enough Shaders: ACKKStudios claims gaming site fished for Nintendo bashing answer

StreetsAhead

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Two Brothers (ACKKStudios) Original Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ackkstudios/two-brothers-0

http://www.notenoughshaders.com/2012/11/26/gaming-journalism-versus-nintendo/

By the occaisionally accurate (I joke, I joke) Emily Rogers.

Gaming Journalism versus Nintendo

by Emily Rogers on November 26, 2012

The goal of journalism is to try to find the most interesting story possible. When it comes to Nintendo, I’m going to assume that the negative stories will grab the most traffic. I won’t pretend like Nintendo doesn’t make mistakes, and I’m glad websites will call them out on their mistakes.

But here’s the issue. You don’t promise an indie developer to do an interview about their game, and then turn the interview into: “Tell us what pisses you off about Nintendo’s indie policies” for most of the interview. And when the developer doesn’t tell you anything negative about Nintendo, you choose not to publish the interview.

A very big (very well known) gaming site invited an indie studio called ACKKStudios to do an interview about their game “Two Brothers” for the Wii U’s eShop. ACKKStudios thought, “This is awesome! We’ll get tons of exposure about our game from this site!” They were really excited about this interview because they could talk about their game to a big audience since most of their interviews have been with much smaller, lesser known sites.

Remember that indies rely on the gaming media and social networking (Twitter, facebook) to get the word out about their games. They don’t have giant budgets of advertising dollars to promote their stuff.

So they do the interview over the phone. This was a week or so after Hurricane Sandy had hit New Jersey (where ACKKStudios is located). Brian Allanson from ACKKStudios is expecting most of the questions to be about their game, but the interviewer isn’t interested in that. The interviewer keeps throwing leading questions to get them to bash Nintendo’s indie policies. ACKKStudios keeps trying to dodge these leading questions left and right. In the past, ACKKStudios has gone on record saying that their experience working with the eShop team was really smooth so far: http://www.notenoughshaders.com/2012/10/26/exclusive-ackkstudios-announces-two-brothers-for-wii-us-eshop-next-year/

Because ACKKStudios has to keep dodging these questions about “why Nintendo sucks with indies”, the interview starts getting super awkward, weird, and boring.

Three weeks later, and the interview hasn’t gone up on the site. This is because ACKKStudios didn’t give them any ammo to create a negative story or a controversial headline a few weeks before Wii U’s launch. For this particular site, talking about the game ”Two Brothers” is not going to bring them any hits. It is not click bait. Big sites think it’s easier to get negative or controversial information about Nintendo out of indies than bigger developers and publishers. They promise to interview an eShop developer about their game, but the reality is they are coming to these eShop developers for a completely different, more controversial story.

Indies like ACKKStudios can’t publically criticize sites in the gaming media because indies don’t want to be blacklisted from a website as big as this one. This is part of why I can’t mention the site by name. The issue here is indies NEED the gaming media to spread the message about their game, but some big sites think they can walk all over an indie because of this. Gaming media knows that indies need the media, but the media doesn’t need indies.

For the big site I am referring to, it has quite a negative reputation from Nintendo fans. Some gamers have made past claims that this site has an agenda against Nintendo, and I never believed it. I just assumed that Nintendo fans were being way too sensitive and defensive about any criticism against Nintendo. But now I’m starting to think there might be some kind of an agenda from this site. For the record, I’m NOT talking about IGN, GameSpot, Eurogamer, or Destructoid. The site I’m speaking of is just as well known as those sites though.

It’s true that sites have no obligations to post an interview.

But when you bait indie developers into thinking you’re interested in their game when your real agenda is tearing down Nintendo with a controversial story…your site starts looking like ”The Sun” of gaming journalism. The irony is that the top guy behind this site has been regularly defending gaming journalism when his site has been the biggest contributor in manufacturing click-bait controversy.

I’m friends with many eShop developers, and many indies in general. I talk to them via twitter/emails every day. They always tell me about the behind the scenes stuff and the politics of the gaming industry. I try to make an effort to help talented indies with promoting their games. Big gaming sites should know that eShop developers talk to Nintendo on a regular basis. Some of these eShop developers are friends with Nintendo of America employees. Keep that in mind before you push an agenda, or you’ll end up burning a lot of bridges.
More at the link: http://www.notenoughshaders.com/2012/11/26/gaming-journalism-versus-nintendo/

Heather Pop-and-Locklear me if old.

EDIT!

First this happened:
Wow! It's not every day you get anonymously accused of this sort of thing. This is about me and Kotaku, yes.

I'm disappointed that the developers of that game chose to bash me to another reporter instead of asking me why my story hasn't gone up. If they had asked me, I would have happily told them that the story was pushed back because I didn't want it to get lost among the influx of Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Wii U, holiday gift guides, and all the other big stories we've been covering over the past few weeks. I would have told them that their story is not particularly timely, so I wanted to hold it for a time when they could get more attention.

I would have also happily told them how excited I am about the Wii U and how psyched I am to hear that indie developers are doing well on it. I said as much in a podcast recorded yesterday, coincidentally (which you can check out Wednesday over at GameTrailers TV).

Anyone who follows me on Twitter, reads my work on Kotaku, or saw my thoughts on BBC last week knows that I am very high on this system.

I'm also disappointed that the author of this article didn't reach out to get my side of this story. Reporters should not treat other reporters this way.

It's always weird when stuff like this goes public. I still intend to run this story, but now I guess there's more to the story than what I was originally going to run.
(Post 48)

Then Emily took down the article.
Then Twittered her heart out while the rest of the internet watched in amused befuddlement as she tried to explain who was talking to whom about what.

I have removed the article to prevent any politics for the studio.
I should have not written that article without talking to the interviewer and Ackkstudios.
While I speak to AckkStudios regularly, there was no reason to turn anything into a public article.
For the record, the article I wrote had nothing to do with kotaku. It was a different site. I noticed gaf people sending me a link to gaf.
AckkStudios did an interview with Kotaku but that wasnt the site I spoke of in the article.
Much popcorn was eaten.

 

grimshawish

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Not shocking. Will read the rest in a bit.
But yeah the Nintendo memes are too often then repeated time to time; with everyone pretending things haven't really changed.
I mean at Wii U launch I think only NES was covering the changes in online policy from Nintendo.

They should have brought Doritos.
 

Takao

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If you don't name names, and publicly shame them then what's the point of writing this article? It's pretty obvious just by looking at this forum that negative stories sell more than positive ones.
 

Tenck

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If you don't name names, and publicly shame them then what's the point of writing this article? It's pretty obvious just by looking at this forum that negative stories sell more than positive ones.
Hey, you mind reading the OP next time?

Indies like ACKKStudios can’t publically criticize sites in the gaming media because indies don’t want to be blacklisted from a website as big as this one. This is part of why I can’t mention the site by name. The issue here is indies NEED the gaming media to spread the message about their game, but some big sites think they can walk all over an indie because of this. Gaming media knows that indies need the media, but the media doesn’t need indies.
 

grimshawish

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If you don't name names, and publicly shame them then what's the point of writing this article?
Well they're not the ones writing it, only in this case being interviewed.
Also naming names might mean they won't get interviews from other mainstream press or that site again. Its still important to them.
 

watershed

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I can believe it but without specific information its just talk. Will a semi-public shaming cause any change in how big gaming sites with an agenda deal with indie developers? Not likely.

As I said in the other thread, Knowing the name might be bad karma for ACKKStudios.
LOL, not surprising if true.
 

Takao

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As I said in the other thread, Knowing the name might be bad karma for ACKKStudios.
When I read this paragraph:

For the big site I am referring to, it has quite a negative reputation from Nintendo fans. Some gamers have made past claims that this site has an agenda against Nintendo, and I never believed it. I just assumed that Nintendo fans were being way too sensitive and defensive about any criticism against Nintendo. But now I’m starting to think there might be some kind of an agenda from this site. For the record, I’m NOT talking about IGN, GameSpot, Eurogamer, or Destructoid. The site I’m speaking of is just as well known as those sites though.
The first name that popped into my mind was Kotaku, sorry Jason Schrier, lol.

But ultimately I still don't agree with their decision to keep the name private. They didn't cover your game anyways, so who cares if they blacklist you?
 

Takao

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But when you bait indie developers into thinking you’re interested in their game when your real agenda is tearing down Nintendo with a controversial story…your site starts looking like ”The Sun” of gaming journalism. The irony is that the top guy behind this site has been regularly defending gaming journalism when his site has been the biggest contributor in manufacturing click-bait controversy and fluff.
Kotaku vs. Polygon

My money is on Kotaku 'cause Polygon hasn't done a whole lot of click bait.
 

Sho_Nuff82

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Hey, you mind reading the OP next time?
I'm pretty sure whatever website did this already knows that this is referring to them.

I don't know what they were hoping for, if I'm an indie there's no way I throw a platform under the bus before my game released.
 

IrishNinja

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shame we can't see a name, but i'm willing to believe this happens, based on the hits negative stories bring & a new gen/console cycle starting. i'm likewise inclined to believe this can and will happen to sony and MS as well, perhaps to varying degrees based on sites and what they think will bring in more hits, moreso than fanboy agendas.
 

frankie_baby

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If this is true (and I don't doubt it is) the site in question needs running out of town, perhaps Nintendo could pull in a few favours from 3rd parties and get them brought down
 

BGBW

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Jan 19, 2007
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Another Nintendo flame thread? Really?
Babies are advised to refrain from posting on GAF for a reason.

If this is true (and I don't doubt it is) the site in question needs running out of town, perhaps Nintendo could pull in a few favours from 3rd parties and get them brought down
Yeah, they should ask their best buddies from EA to help.



Also if it isn't the Otakus of K then you'll all be sued for libel!
 

maquiladora

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This is the same Emily Rogers who wrote this article on October 5.

We asked Martin Hollis why a developer should consider the Wii U when they have so many platforms to choose from like Steam, iOS, XBLA, and PSN.
We asked whether indie developers face any boundaries or obstacles in getting their games on a Nintendo platform.
You could easily spin her own questions into "fishing for negatives" too even though they obviously aren't.

And whole thing is meaningless without naming this unknown gaming site anyway.
 

freddy

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shame we can't see a name, but i'm willing to believe this happens, based on the hits negative stories bring & a new gen/console cycle starting. i'm likewise inclined to believe this can and will happen to sony and MS as well, perhaps to varying degrees based on sites and what they think will bring in more hits, moreso than fanboy agendas.
The difference here is Microsoft and Sony advertise a lot more on big websites. I always see bigger games like Halo and Uncharted but very rarely see Nintendo do the same thing. So if you write slanted controversial articles about them you run the risk of pissing off the bean counters or advertising department.
 
Aug 24, 2009
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Kotaku vs. Polygon

My money is on Kotaku 'cause Polygon hasn't done a whole lot of click bait.
The defending game's journalism bit can mean Jason Schreier or Justin McElroy, and I'm not so sure about Polygon not doing click bait things. They've done it. They're just too young a site to have done a lot of it. What we need to do is average click bait articles per day and compare.
 

Shurs

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So a website decided not to publish an interview in which the interviewee admits to dodging questions "left and right"?

Seems okay to me.

People want tougher games journalism, then get upset when a website asks tough questions.
 

frankie_baby

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Babies are advised to refrain from posting on GAF for a reason.


Yeah, they should ask their best buddies from EA to help.



Also if it isn't the Otakus of K then you'll all be sued for libel!
EA might have thrown there toys out of the pram with regards to ninty but I'm sure ubi and Activision would help
 

Gadirok

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That's pretty low of the site. I hope some other site offers ACKKstudios an spotlight because this is disgusting. I don't have a wiiU or plan to get one, but the site was clearly taking advantage of ACKK, and it is absolutely disgusting.


Another good show from gaming journalism.
 

Gadirok

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If it is Kotaku he should just come out and say it, maybe it'll open the flood gates and we can sink that shitty ship once and for all.
Where else will the cesspool of gamers go? Have you read the comments section on that site? Its better off if they stay there and not spread the disease.

Half of Kotaku's stories are all speculation and assumptions which annoys me.
 

Pie and Beans

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Oh so this is calling on games websites to actually go back to advertising games wholesale rather than looking for a story? (jokes)

Emily Rogers fairly obvious slant comes off just as bad as fishing for Nintendo negatives though, but its a pity a little indie dev got their hopes and dreams stepped on by big bad Kotaku.
 

D-e-f-

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This is the same Emily Rogers who wrote this article on October 5.

You could easily spin her own questions into "fishing for negatives" too even though they obviously aren't.

And whole thing is meaningless without naming this unknown gaming site anyway.
If you schedule an interview about your game and instead get asked questions that clearly have a different agenda, things are quite different than an interview about working with a platform holder.

So a website decided not to publish an interview in which the interviewee admits to dodging questions "left and right"?

Seems okay to me.

People want tougher games journalism, then get upset when a website asks tough questions.
As said above, if you were lead to believe the interview was about the game you made and it turns out it isn't, then this is clearly not okay. Especially for a small indie studio who needs the exposure! That's simply exploitation.
 

jschreier

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Wow! It's not every day you get anonymously accused of this sort of thing. This is about me and Kotaku, yes.

I'm disappointed that the developers of that game chose to bash me to another reporter instead of asking me why my story hasn't gone up. If they had asked me, I would have happily told them that the story was pushed back because I didn't want it to get lost among the influx of Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Wii U, holiday gift guides, and all the other big stories we've been covering over the past few weeks. I would have told them that their story is not particularly timely, so I wanted to hold it for a time when they could get more attention.

I would have also happily told them how excited I am about the Wii U and how psyched I am to hear that indie developers are doing well on it. I said as much in a podcast recorded yesterday, coincidentally (which you can check out Wednesday over at GameTrailers TV).

Anyone who follows me on Twitter, reads my work on Kotaku, or saw my thoughts on BBC last week knows that I am very high on this system.

I'm also disappointed that the author of this article didn't reach out to get my side of this story. Reporters should not treat other reporters this way.

It's always weird when stuff like this goes public. I still intend to run this story, but now I guess there's more to the story than what I was originally going to run.
 
Jan 12, 2007
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So a website decided not to publish an interview in which the interviewee admits to dodging questions "left and right"?

Seems okay to me.

People want tougher games journalism, then get upset when a website asks tough questions.
Really?

1. This is an indie developer who has openly admitted enjoying their dealings with Nintendo. If Kotaku did their homework, they would know that.

2. Knowing the fact that someone has a great (or starting a great) relationship with publisher, you never do a bait-and-switch, tell them the interview is going to be about their game and instead ask them why Nintendo sucks so much.

You don't say shit about those that're paying your bills, especially when one bad word (if any) can squish you. The fact that the whole interview was a bait to make them say some shit just to get hits is outrageous. This isn't a celebrity tabloid website like TMZ no matter how much they try. This is videogames we are talking about. They love making games, they wanted to promote their game; instead they got lowballed.

It's like interviewing a man who loves his wife a lot and asking them why does he hate his wife so much.

EDIT: Oh my! jschreier's post above me! :lol Still standing by my original words though. Bait and Switch ain't fun. The article itself will be very interesting to read!
 

Pie and Beans

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Wow! It's not every day you get anonymously accused of this sort of thing. This is about me and Kotaku, yes.

I'm disappointed that the developers of that game chose to bash me to another reporter instead of asking me why my story hasn't gone up. If they had asked me, I would have happily told them that the story was pushed back because I didn't want it to get lost among the influx of Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Wii U, holiday gift guides, and all the other big stories we've been covering over the past few weeks. I would have told them that their story is not particularly timely, so I wanted to hold it for a time when they could get more attention.

I would have also happily told them how excited I am about the Wii U and how psyched I am to hear that indie developers are doing well on it. I said as much in a podcast recorded yesterday, coincidentally (which you can check out Wednesday over at GameTrailers TV).

Anyone who follows me on Twitter, reads my work on Kotaku, or saw my thoughts on BBC last week knows that I am very high on this system.

I'm also disappointed that the author of this article didn't reach out to get my side of this story. Reporters should not treat other reporters this way.

It's always weird when stuff like this goes public. I still intend to run this story, but now I guess there's more to the story than what I was originally going to run.
Haha whoops, another Emily Rogers snafu. This is what happens when a preferential corporation bias blinds you to all other eventualities.