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Polygon, Eurogamer, Engadget et al are Wrong About Shenmue III and PayPal

Spaghetti

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(or: a loose letter to *some* parts of the games media)
(or: how to be better than a games journalist in one easy step)

To a.) reduce the confusion, and b.) show how lazy the journalists from these sites are in researching and presenting these stories, I made this follow up to the previous Shenmue III PayPal rewards thread to reflect current events and correctly inform people of what is actually happening.

First and foremost, some housekeeping R.E Shenmue III slacker backers on PayPal

Everybody will get what they paid for via PayPal, this is true for current and future slacker backers. Nothing is being taken away.

Now, the meat of this thread. From Polygon:

The Shenmue 3 Kickstarter campaign offers backers a plethora of exclusive rewards for contributing, from physical copies of the game in unique cases to specially engraved plaques. None of these gifts, however, will be available to those who donated via PayPal, according to the campaign's latest update.
From Eurogamer (the problem is the misleading title, the article itself clarifies the issue correctly at the end, though it looks like the comments section missed... all of that):

Shenmue 3 PayPal backers denied Kickstarter-exclusive reward options "as originally promised"
From Engadget:

But on the other, the PayPal backers were initially promised access to this stuff -- like a physical copy of the game for PlayStation 4.
And finally, from the Shenmue III Kickstarter:

KICKSTARTER REWARDS ON PAYPAL
Rewards labeled as “Kickstarter Exclusive” have not been offered on the PayPal site because we felt it was unfair to offer them after the Kickstarter had ended. There have been many requests, however, for certain rewards like the S3 World Telecom to be offered on the PayPal site. We would like everyone to weigh in and tell us what you think. If there is a strong consensus either way, the rewards will either remain as Kickstarter Exclusive, or will be offered on the PayPal site. Keeping our promise to you is very important to us; but at the same time, the PayPal site was set up precisely because fans could not back the Kickstarter and they feel they should not be penalized for that.
This Kickstarter update was made on the 3rd of December, it is only the fourth update scrolling down the updates tab (third if you're not a backer), it is a public update, and the above quote? The first full paragraph of that update.

Congrats games journalists, I didn't think you were lazy enough to forego less than a minute of research, but you proved me wrong. Inferring or outright stating that PayPal backers of Shenmue 3 would not get the items they paid for is ridiculous and a straight lie, it is an affront to the profession of journalism that the above examples could not be bothered to do the minimum amount of effort to get the story right from a research and presentation standpoint.

In the case of Eurogamer I'm very frustrated that they did actually present the story correctly, but buried the parts that proved there is no cause for alarm directly at the bottom of the article and masked it with an alarmist title. It's crazy how transparent this level of manipulation is, and even crazier that people are falling for it. Is Eurogamer's reputation as a respected games media website being abused in doing this?

Is this level of inaccuracy and obfuscation happening with every game that is covered by these sites? Why has this happened over and over with Shenmue III? Why are there continuing assertions that Sony is funding Shenmue III when it has been proven over and over that this isn't the case? Why did Eurogamer cheapen a great interview with Yu Suzuki by making money the focus of the title? Why does Ben Kuchera's weird, ranty hateboner thinkpiece about Shenmue III exist as legitimate journalist from a grown ass man? Why is this happening again, and again?



  • Is it ignorance? Sure, maybe, and human fallacy like that can be forgiven because it happens to us all.
  • Is it malicious intent? If you're that malicious over a niche video game some people like, then you're petty on a scale nobody would ever be able to fathom.
  • Or is it just out of a desire for clicks? You must have very dark intent if you abuse your position as a "trusted" member of the press like this.
Maybe it's all three, or maybe it's none.

I had literally no idea parts of the games media were this totally fucked until Shenmue III was announced. Maybe it was always this way but I never cared enough to notice. Does the culture of desiring clicks dominate the games media so much that this little amount of effort is put into it? Is there any malicious intent behind doing this, is it plain ignorance, or is it just the cold business reality of getting eyes on your site? Why does games media thrive so much on real or fabricated controversy? For each shining spot of games media like The Point, there's all this shit to drag it down into the mud. It's a real shame, and a real disappointment.

It seems increasingly like the games media exists as its own little thing with a different set of rules and conventions to regular journalism. It functions as it should normally, reporting news and rumours, interviews, video content, thought & opinion articles, whatever. Then occasionally you get these "IS X TAKING YOUR Y?" alarmist articles full of conjecture with little evidence to support it, or incorrect reporting that takes a few minutes to realises is making a mountain out of a molehill. If it happened only a few times in a publication's history it could be chalked up to human error, but it happens all the time, and there's always a trend of the stories in these articles having consumers getting fucked over enormously. People get frothing mad, clicking through other regurgitated articles with the same spin on the same badly researched story. They'll go on and share the articles with friends, cite them in their YouTube videos, plaster them all over Twitter, everything. Exposure, clicks, ad revenue.

Is there knowingly or unknowingly a micro-industry in games media that thrives on bad reporting that exists to get people angry about a real or manufactured controversy? At this point, I'd say yeah, there probably is, and we fall for it all the time. I've gone into threads on here with alarmist titles and thought "WHAT?! YOU FUCKERS!", but it turns out to be nothing at all when you read more than just the headline or go straight to the source. We've all done this, and I've been seeing people falling for it in the case of Shenmue III every single time.

But whatever. It's only a game. No, really. For all I've just written, I've not really done it in the defence of Shenmue III. I know when new media is released in February all this will have probably have blown over, and those who want or are interested in Shenmue III will be excited all over again, and those who aren't- well, they'll be the same as ever.

I've written all this not only to just clear up a persistent misconception over the last few days about this PayPal thing, but to show how easy it is to get the truth when you're going to the source and not just looking at the skewed view being peddled by parts of the games media. But hey, it's still only a game right?

As an aside, if you want to think about the human impact of this anger industry, feel bad for Yu Suzuki.

Imagine telling a reporter this:

Can Suzuki make the game that he wants, though, with the resources and technology at hand? "I could do with a bit more money! The game itself doesn't have to be gorgeous visually - a lot of the money these days goes into the graphics. If we perhaps compromise on the graphics and put more into the story, we can make a good game. The most important thing, to me, is that the game's interesting, and that it's something people want to play."
- and they run with the title "I could do with a bit more money!".

Says it all really. The games media don't like a happy ending. They don't care you're in the office from 6:30AM until 10PM even on weekends to make something that people will enjoy. They just want that controversial soundbite.

So sure, (some) games journalists, keep doing what you're doing, but the only people you're kidding are yourselves if you think you're a real journalist.

(minor note: i think the result of the poll is dumb so don't come at me with that "apologist" shit. check my post history, i got the receipts on that one)

EDIT: LMAO, spent a million years writing this and post it in off topic. Kill me.
 

Markitron

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Polygon are usually wrong about everything.
 

BronsonLee

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I remember seeing the thread about this pop up yesterday where the OP misread the shit out of everything, and I can't help but wonder if some outlets didn't make it clear on purpose. It's a nonstory otherwise.
 

Jonnax

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I think in general it is malicious but the people writing it don't care or handwaveit because it's a paycheck.
 

Spaghetti

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This is what I get for posting a thread with a billion gaf tabs open. Consider this a life lesson kids, check your tabs.
 

GhostTrick

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Misinformation surrounding Shenmue 3 ? How surprising. Even though, the poll thing was terrible.
And yes, it's basically a click attempt. I mean, okay, I understand the "we're investigating part". But come on, there's a lot more things worthy of "investigation". And articles based on misinformation or lies aren't helping.
 

Tecnniqe

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Well when the whole thing came out, this is what it was portrayed as. That PayPal backers would receive nothing.

Which apparently was wrong. However this is the games media. Its like a blog post. Gotta get it out there as quick as possible, with the baitiest title for maximum clickers.

I expected more from EG. Polygon? Eh.
 

LewieP

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Whilst clearly these publications are at fault for their inaccuracies, much of the communication from the SM3 team has been confused or unclear.

The haven't misled anyone, but they are not really doing a good job with their messaging across the board.

They should hire some PR staff with knowledge of the Western games industry.
 

Spaghetti

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Reminds me of this thread, media is still being wrong and shitty about this Kickstarter for some reason.
The Shameful Media Coverage of Shenmue III
That thread is kinda like a big omnibus edition of all this kinda mess.

This thread is asking if finding the truth of the story was really so easy as a few clicks, why did nobody bother to do it, and if they did, why did they not present the information as it was relayed on the Kickstarter page?
 

Spaghetti

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Whilst clearly these publications are at fault for their inaccuracies, much of the communication from the SM3 team has been confused or unclear.

The haven't misled anyone, but they are not really doing a good job with their messaging across the board.

They should hire some PR staff with knowledge of the Western games industry.
Don't get me wrong, anybody who has even sniffed a Shenmue thread recently knows Awesome Japan are not very good, but "Awesome Japan cannot do math" is not a story, but "YU SUZUKI IS STEALING BACKER REWARDS TO BUILD MOON BUGGY" is, and that's kind of the problem with this manufactured outrage shit, because the crazy lie always gets more attention than the mundane truth.
 

Markitron

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I expected more from EG. Polygon? Eh.
Eurogamer have been going steadily downhill since Tom Bramwell left, clickbait articles are common there now.
 

Abriael

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It has been my impression that several sites have been very keen on bashing Yu Suzuki and Shenmue III from the very beginning. Granted, they have made some missteps, but some of the cases I've seen can be defined only as journalistic sniping.

There have also been several attempts to twist his words in order to generate controversy or making Suzuki-san look bad.

A while ago I interviewed Suzuki-san in Tokyo (no, I won't link it, even because I can't :D) and GameSpot completely twisted his words, implying something that he never said and that I never asked, saying that he "subtly implied" that Shenmue III might come to Xbox One.

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/shenmue-3-creator-teases-xbox-one-plans-and-discus/1100-6431618/

My question was simply if he had ever talked to Microsoft about bringing the game to Xbox One in the past, since Phil Spencer used to tweet about it a lot.

Then we got MCVUK, that put together three elements that have absolutely nothing to do with each other to manufacture the most inflamatory headline possible.

"Shenmue 3 can't promise 60fps but can promise 'cute' and 'sexy' girls"

http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/shenmue-3-can-t-promise-60fps-but-can-promise-cute-and-sexy-girls/0157757

If course, the article was just as inflamatory, cherry picking all the elements that he could in order to put Yu Suzuki in a negative light.

Honestly, I kinda feel dirty just by linking it.

The funny part is that, when I told the dude from GameSpot that he was misrepresenting both Yu Suzuki's words and my interview, he told me that I'm "too soft" and refused to correct his article. Of course, when a big site like GameSpot does something like that, other sites will take their word and not check the original, and the misrepresentation will turn into fact for many readers.

PS: Yu Suzuki is adorable.
 

Danlord

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Reminds me of this thread, media is still being wrong and shitty about this Kickstarter for some reason.
The Shameful Media Coverage of Shenmue III
That thread is kinda like a big omnibus edition of all this kinda mess.

This thread is asking if finding the truth of the story was really so easy as a few clicks, why did nobody bother to do it, and if they did, why did they not present the information as it was relayed on the Kickstarter page?
That's my thread, I'll update it with this thread actually, I won't copy your contents Spaghetti, just using it as another bullet point.
 

Teletraan1

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They are so used to being on the publisher leash with spoon fed info that whenever they have to go off track and do any actual journalism they trip all over themselves. It is like giving a child a real coloring book after they had paint by numbers their whole life.
 

Kwansu Dudes

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Awesome Japan is still running things right? Seems like this happens more often than it should and people are way too quick to skim and post rather than comprehending then posting.
 

Shenmue

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I wish someone like Jason Schrier would do a piece on this and actually get the facts right and call out these writers. People like them give Jason a bad name and they should be offended by that.
 

solarus

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They are so used to being on the publisher leash with spoon fed info that whenever they have to go off track and do any actual journalism they trip all over themselves. It is like giving a child a real coloring book after they had paint by numbers their whole life.
Ruthless lol.
 

Tekkie

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Eurogamer have been going steadily downhill since Tom Bramwell left, clickbait articles are common there now.
Are there any gaming sites that focus on news that don't do that though? It reeks of desperation to me and it wouldn't surprise me if we see a lot of them going the way of the Dodo sooner rather than later. And frankly, I really wouldn't mind if that happened. I think we deserve better than what we're getting right now.
 

Tecnniqe

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Are there any gaming sites that focus on news that don't do that though? It reeks of desperation to me and it wouldn't surprise me if we see a lot of them going the way of the Dodo sooner rather than later. And frankly, I really wouldn't mind if that happened. I think we deserve better than what we're getting right now.
Schreier usually have some great investigatory journalism over at Kotaku every now and then.
 

IrishNinja

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this is why i'm glad i don't read those sites...man, the narratives on this one continue. and yeah, that Shameful thread did need an update!

It has been my impression that several sites have been very keen on bashing Yu Suzuki and Shenmue III from the very beginning. Granted, they have made some missteps, but some of the cases I've seen can be defined only as journalistic sniping.
absolutely, and seeing an industry legend finally not only working again, but doing so on his magnum opus - just to have clickbait sites shit on dude for doing so - it's gross.
 

Curufinwe

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I don't even care about Shenmue 3, and have been disgusted by the treatment it has received from various members of the Western games media.
 

Spaghetti

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But really, imagine being Yu Suzuki right now. You spend years in a broom closet at SEGA, then languish in Japanese indie dev hell of mobile and browser games. You sell all your cars and motorcycles and pretty much accept the glory days are over.

Then you find some French dude who helps you negotiate the rights to your great unfinished work from your former employer, and then you manage to get a major player like Sony to help you promote it in return for console exclusivity. You try getting 8-4 or Ryan Payton to run your upcoming Kickstarter campaign, but they can't do it, so you turn to some promising young upstarts called Awesome Japan.

Then you got to E3 and unveil your Kickstarter to a screaming crowd, get funded in less than a day, break two world records, and basically make a crazy amount of fucking money. Things couldn't be better.

Flash forward six months. The game is going great, you had an amazing research trip in China, and fans seem to be reacting positively to the prototype materials you've shown. You're working with a lot of old friends again who are employees of Neilo or are external contractors working on the game. You've also hired a fan you met in a restaurant who happens to be appropriately qualified, and some Korean kid who remade areas from your old game in the same engine you happen to be using to make the new game.

You've had a few bumps in the press recently by selectively quoting you, and you don't really have time for any hobbies anymore, but you're enjoying yourself because you're doing what you love for the people who appreciate you. Then you get a Twitter notification. And another, and another. It's a bunch of angry English speaking people saying something about PayPal rewards.

It turns out Awesome Japan bungled something as simple as a poll, and people got the wrong end of the stick about what the poll actually meant, and now news sites are reporting on it incorrectly and there's calls of fraud despite there not being any-

- but you're happy, because you're doing what you love, with people you like, for those who want what you're creating.

But you're middle aged so your dick doesn't work and it's hurting to pee, so fuck everything.

Shenmue III cancelled.
 

Abriael

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absolutely, and seeing an industry legend finally not only working again, but doing so on his magnum opus - just to have clickbait sites shit on dude for doing so - it's gross.
Ultimately, bashing something popular is a massive source of hits. Many sites nowadays follow the "there's no such thing as bad publicity" philosophy.

They know that by riling people up, they'll hit their daily visits goals easily. It doesn't matter if those people think they're bad, as long as they hit those links.
 

Spaghetti

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I wish someone like Jason Schrier would do a piece on this and actually get the facts right and call out these writers. People like them give Jason a bad name and they should be offended by that.
He's a good dude and part of the reason why I went back through the post to make sure I wasn't generalising too hard about games media as a big monolith like GAF occasionally gets treated like.
 

DangerMouse

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I don't understand how and why they're still around.
Yeah, they're awful. And wrong almost every time on these types of articles.

That Microsoft early money back when they started is probably the only way they are still around.

It has been my impression that several sites have been very keen on bashing Yu Suzuki and Shenmue III from the very beginning. Granted, they have made some missteps, but some of the cases I've seen can be defined only as journalistic sniping.

etc
Yup. It was shameful to watch their coverage of the Kickstarter despite some of it's missteps.
 

stuminus3

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What I don't understand is why the gaming press is so damn blatantly vindictive over this game and it's creator. Seriously, WTF is wrong with you, press people?
 

BennyBlanco

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I don't understand how and why they're still around.
Yeah, they're awful. And wrong almost every time on these types of articles.

That Microsoft early money back when they started is probably the only way they are still around.
Vox media is huge. Their SB Nation sites are second to none when it comes to specific sports blogs and Vox itself has been very succesful.

Polygon is such an embarrassment though. Wouldn't be surprised if it got axed this year.
 

DangerMouse

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What I don't understand is why the gaming press is so damn blatantly vindictive over this game and it's creator. Seriously, WTF is wrong with you, press people?
This. They seriously seem obsessed with sniping at this one game. Like they're salty it's happening after years of saying "hahaha no".
 

ajim

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I love you, Spaghetti!

You're like the Shenmue brother I never had but always wanted.
 

GhostTrick

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This. They seriously seem obsessed with sniping at this one game. Like they're salty it's happening after years of saying "hahaha no".


Because "there are legitimate questions and we need the answers lol". Even though, there are really scammy practices in this industry and a lot of these journalists aren't as agressive with that. So let's shoot on the ambulance.
 

funkystudent

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Awesome Japan seem like a real amateur hour group and I am surprised they havent been kicked off this project months ago
 

GhostTrick

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Awesome Japan seem like a real amateur hour group and I am surprised they havent been kicked off this project months ago

Yup, their management has been so terrible. I always said it: Shenmue 3 got this much money DESPITE Awesome Japan. I don't see what good thing they did in this campaign. Not a single good thing. Fans actually did 1000 times more.
 

Spaghetti

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Nobody should trust Yu Suzuki.



Here he is with a suspicious Frenchman threatening to SHOOT YOU. What a monster.
 

Spaghetti

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I love you, Spaghetti!

You're like the Shenmue brother I never had but always wanted.
Much love bruh.

Honestly, I do these occasional rants because I care. I care about Shenmue, I care about gamers, and I care about games, and it just seems like gaming culture has slipped into this place of pessimism, suspicion, and anger. We've all become paranoid angry grandpas and the current system is just compounding that.
 

ps3ud0

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I just dont think there are any standards in games media - I dont think they are any different to a random youtuber/blogger and quite happy to enhance any news story to ensure clicks.

I dont think the Shenmue kickstarter has been targeted by them, more that whatever agenda seemed to get the most clicks ended up bringing the whole corral. Just like any media though a negative-spun story probably is better than positive one...

I have to say though anything that shed light or ensures accountability on things like KS projects is a good thing in general

ps3ud0 8)
 

Corto

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Shenmue 3 coverage has being absolutely shameful since the start of the campaign. The militancy of some media trying to discredit the game and its campaign it's just baffling.
 

Spaghetti

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Wasn't NeoGAF wrong too?
Oh yes of course, but the thread earlier was based on reports from a games media site and later the OP got clarified properly, but because nobody read the OP and just read the title, people still came in thinking people were having things taken away from them.
 

Jinkies

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Journalism is like comedy, wherein both are only interesting when they are misanthropic.
 

Zafir

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Yeah, the coverage of it has been really awful.

I mean the campaign was handled appallingly but, most of the things complained about was answered.

The poll was utterly ridiculous, and I'm not surprised some controversy happened over it, but I find it funny how it managed to blow up into people losing rewards they'd already paid for.
 

zoobzone

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Heh I guess thats why sometimes マスコミ (Mass Communications aka the media) is also called マスゴミ (Mass rubbish).

I only really check GAF and reddit these days for gaming news now.