Blog Archives

Kotaku, The Blacklist and What’s Left of Games Journalism

fallout-4-please-stand-byIt’s not an uncommon occurrence for a gaming news outlet to be blacklisted by a publisher. You can hear Jim Sterling talk about blacklisted regularly on The Jimquisition. Destructoid was blacklisted by Konami. At one time or another, EGM was reportedly blacklisted by numerous companies including Sony, Midway and Ubisoft. Jeff Gerstmann infamously lost his job at GameSpot over a poor review of Kane & Lynch that resulted in Eidos Interactive threatening to pull ads from the site.

The latest publication to take their blacklisting public is Kotaku. Editor-in-chief Stephen Totilo took to the site to reveal that the company had been cut off by the PR branches of both Ubisoft and Bethesda. While some in games media are standing up for Kotaku, those content consumers that Kotaku are supposed to be producing content for aren’t on their side. When you’re as divisive as Kotaku, there isn’t much sympathy for the devil.

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Joystiq Rumoured to be Shut Down

joystiq-logoWe’re about a month removed from the original game magazine, CVG, being shut down but that isn’t stopping the games journalism industry from downsizing some more. Re/code is reporting that Joystiq, a gaming blog that’s been around for over 10 years, is on the chopping block.

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PC Gamer Editor Writes About Ubisoft While in a Relationship with Ubi Employee

pc-gamer-ubisoft-headerSometimes it pays to avoid controversial topics because people will dissect you if you poke the bear. PC Gamer executive editor Tyler Wilde just learned this one the hard way.

Wilde posted a column on PC Gamer advocating for the end of the term “PC Master Race” (while making some comparisons of the term to the Nazis) but I don’t think he expected what the fallout would be. While he had to weather the unfortunately expected personal attacks, he also had his personal life dragged into the matter. That’s because Wilde is dating a communications specialist for Ubisoft while still writing about Ubisoft for PC Gamer without disclosing his relationship.

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CVG Shuts Down

cvg-headerBack in May, we brought you news that the world’s oldest gaming publication, CVG, was on the chopping block as part of their publisher’s structural evaluation. A second round of evaluations took place earlier this month and on Friday, CVG announced that they would be closing their doors.

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Jim Sterling Takes His Act on the Road with Patreon-Funded Site

jimquisition-logoJim Sterling, The Escapist’s former reviews editor, host of The Jimquisition, and frequent collaborator with Yahtzee Croshaw, is setting out on a new project that just might change the face of video games journalism.

Unhappy with the current state of how advertising and revenue models are affecting content on gaming news sites, Sterling is striking out on his own with his own Patreon-funded website, TheJimquisition.com.

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Ubisoft Embargoes Assassin’s Creed Unity Reviews Until After the Game’s Launch

assassins-creed-unity-headerTwo big Triple-A games had their review embargoes lift on Tuesday. One of those was Dragon Age: Inquisition, a game that game out a week from this Tuesday, which already has the overwhelmingly positive reviews that you’d expect from BioWare of old. The other game was Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Unity, a game that came out on Tuesday with some early and midnight launches but had a Noon EST review embargo.

In the latest of a series of avoidable gaffes, Ubisoft has again insulted the consumer. This time, they embargoed their top franchise’s annual offering’s review until after the game was released in an abuse of the system.

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Et Geekera’s Stance on GamerGate

gamergate-headerWell, since the rest of the games “media” happened to all release letters from the editor within hours of each other about GamerGate (I guess GameJournoPros is still just a discussion group), I shall follow suit.

Our official position shall be kept simple and is as follows:

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Who Watches the Watchmen: A Secret Game Journalists Group May Shape the News You Read

the-evolution-of-games-journalism-critical-miss-escapistAt the start of a column last year, I made a joke about how every games writer seems to be in lock-step when it comes to major talking points. I wrote: “I’m convinced that there is a missive sent out to video games writers with talking points that we’re all supposed to stick to for a year.”

One year later, Breitbart, an American news site with a pro-conservative slant to coverage, has uncovered a secret mailing list of leading games journalists that suggests that my little joke might actually be reality. A mailing list of about 150 leading games writers may be shaping the discussion and coverage of major games industry stories on leading websites.

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“GamerGate”: Gamers Aren’t Bad People; Misogynists, Harassers and Troglodytes Are

gaming-is-not-a-crime-headerA couple of weeks back, I stopped posting on here unannounced. That was in the midst of the Zoe Quinn controversy, since redubbed by unimaginative people as “GamerGate,” and there was no other news being reported by the gaming media. Normally, I would find something from the tech world or some videos to fill in the Friday (August 29th, if you’re keeping score at home) but I was absolutely defeated.

Not only had the Zoe Quinn story not died after the couple of weeks it had been alive but the discourse had gotten worse. It wasn’t just all the slut shaming, harassment, threats and other general misogyny that was directed at Zoe and anyone who spoke in support of her or against slut shaming, misogyny and the like. The gaming media, having spent the entire Zoe Quinn scandal not talking about the accusations of members of the gaming media compromising their professional ethics and integrity in dealings with Quinn, came out swinging and condemned gamers for being terrible people. They declared gamers dead.

They wildly missed the mark. Gaming isn’t dead. Gamers aren’t dead nor are they the worst people in the world. It’s the people who are spewing hate that are the real terrible people but they don’t represent all gamers.

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TotalBiscuit Examines Gaming Media Role in Hyping Games

I’ve taken to calling the games media a public relations and marketing adjunct of the major game publishers. In exchange for access from the publishers, those publishers get preferential coverage. Sometimes, it’s an implicit agreement. A PR agent for one publisher told me that they would be more inclined to play ball with me if I gave them regular preview coverage. That led to the intentionally disingenuously named “hype train” and trailer roundup blog posts.

However, many writers and publications don’t really tip off which preview coverage has legitimate journalistic or informational merits and which is just disingenuous hype piece. While I don’t have to do that, some really big publications act as hype machines for publishers and developers and show no remorse in doing free publicity work.

The ever insightful TotalBiscuit examines how publications are pulling the wool over your eyes and why you shouldn’t believe the hype.

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