The View From The 16th Floor

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Posted by Jeff (3580 posts) -

I occasionally glanced down and thought "man, I should really come back here on my own time." 
Last week, Capcom invited a pile of games press from around the world to Hawaii, where it held its annual Captivate event. Despite having a proper name, it's not that different from any other event designed to show off upcoming products. But that's sort of beside the point. The company showed off some newer versions of previously announced games and announced a couple of new products, as well.

The new products--Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Bionic Commando Rearmed 2--only appeared in trailer form, which, of course, you can view on the site. Dead Rising 2 also proved to be interesting, with a new closed-off demo showing a bit of story, as well as some interesting weapon combos. The DS was also represented with Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective and Okamiden.

I'll get into all of those games with separate articles for each. Most importantly, I just wanted to clearly state up front that, as always, the Giant Bomb travel policy is to accept travel and lodging from publishers for non-exclusive events. A few people like to make a lot of noise about event travel here and there. Actually, it only comes up when a publisher flies the press to someplace warm and slightly out of the way. For example, you probably won't hear anyone piping up about a trip to Nevada that a bunch of people (including our own Brad Shoemaker and Drew Scanlon) are going on later this week. That's because it still feels like everyone who writes about games is legally obligated (read: forced) to go to Vegas at least twice a year. Like any other city in the world, when you're going to Vegas for a publisher-run event, the city looks like a hotel room, a conference room full of game kiosks, and maybe a dinner event or two.

 Me mentioning this can on Twitter was enough to start an MVC3 rumor.
Actually, in Hawaii I set aside a bit of time to head down to the hotel lobby and buy a bottle of Pocari Sweat and a can of pizza-flavored Pringles. That is, as they say, how I roll.

For me, the travel aspect of this job has always been something of an annoyance, but it's part of the job. And, yes, it does present something of a moral dilemma. For us, the decision is usually pretty simple, because the choice is to either accept the travel and lodging or not go at all. Blowing our barely existent travel budget on overseas travel to see one company's lineup isn't really the best use of our resources. Since one of those choices deprives our audience of coverage, we accept the travel and move on with our lives, head held high.

To put it another way: does it make sense for us to suffer and miss out on potentially interesting coverage just because a publisher's event planning team wants to go somewhere with nice weather for a few days? I don't believe so. So that's why we do what do. I just felt that was worth explaining, since everyone tends to want to jump to the worst possible conclusion about things like this.
Staff
#1 Posted by Jeff (3580 posts) -

I occasionally glanced down and thought "man, I should really come back here on my own time." 
Last week, Capcom invited a pile of games press from around the world to Hawaii, where it held its annual Captivate event. Despite having a proper name, it's not that different from any other event designed to show off upcoming products. But that's sort of beside the point. The company showed off some newer versions of previously announced games and announced a couple of new products, as well.

The new products--Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Bionic Commando Rearmed 2--only appeared in trailer form, which, of course, you can view on the site. Dead Rising 2 also proved to be interesting, with a new closed-off demo showing a bit of story, as well as some interesting weapon combos. The DS was also represented with Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective and Okamiden.

I'll get into all of those games with separate articles for each. Most importantly, I just wanted to clearly state up front that, as always, the Giant Bomb travel policy is to accept travel and lodging from publishers for non-exclusive events. A few people like to make a lot of noise about event travel here and there. Actually, it only comes up when a publisher flies the press to someplace warm and slightly out of the way. For example, you probably won't hear anyone piping up about a trip to Nevada that a bunch of people (including our own Brad Shoemaker and Drew Scanlon) are going on later this week. That's because it still feels like everyone who writes about games is legally obligated (read: forced) to go to Vegas at least twice a year. Like any other city in the world, when you're going to Vegas for a publisher-run event, the city looks like a hotel room, a conference room full of game kiosks, and maybe a dinner event or two.

 Me mentioning this can on Twitter was enough to start an MVC3 rumor.
Actually, in Hawaii I set aside a bit of time to head down to the hotel lobby and buy a bottle of Pocari Sweat and a can of pizza-flavored Pringles. That is, as they say, how I roll.

For me, the travel aspect of this job has always been something of an annoyance, but it's part of the job. And, yes, it does present something of a moral dilemma. For us, the decision is usually pretty simple, because the choice is to either accept the travel and lodging or not go at all. Blowing our barely existent travel budget on overseas travel to see one company's lineup isn't really the best use of our resources. Since one of those choices deprives our audience of coverage, we accept the travel and move on with our lives, head held high.

To put it another way: does it make sense for us to suffer and miss out on potentially interesting coverage just because a publisher's event planning team wants to go somewhere with nice weather for a few days? I don't believe so. So that's why we do what do. I just felt that was worth explaining, since everyone tends to want to jump to the worst possible conclusion about things like this.
Staff
#2 Posted by VoshiNova (1693 posts) -

Pringles!

#3 Posted by stawnkald (40 posts) -

Pizza flavored Pringles are awesome.

#4 Posted by RBecho (21 posts) -

The only part about this that bothers me is that you had a Pizza flavored Pringles hookup and failed to alert me so that I could put in an order.

#5 Edited by Zripwud (247 posts) -

Oh no! Jeff Gerstmann is leaving the gaming industry and taking a job as Pringles PR! I knew it!

#6 Posted by nyuckelhead (165 posts) -

Ha the MVC3 rumor lol! that damn pringles can :D

#7 Posted by MattBodega (1906 posts) -

Yeah, yeah, going to nice places presents a moral dilemma about the way games are covered, blah blah blah. Now, tell us more about those PRINGLES.

#8 Edited by VicRattlehead (1398 posts) -

where yo curleh mustashe at?

#9 Posted by TerraDelu (501 posts) -

Fuck the haters Jeff! Keep doing what you do!

#10 Posted by YoThatLimp (1911 posts) -

Get more merch for donations, your travel budget would increase :P

#11 Edited by deathstriker666 (1337 posts) -

Where's mah Endurance Run? D:

#12 Posted by kerikxi (542 posts) -

I don't think there's anything wrong with publishers paying for press to come to their events. That's not a huge part of their overall budget, you guys sometimes get a nice little trip out of it, and everybody wins from the coverage. No problems here.

#13 Posted by nukesniper (1312 posts) -

So, are pringles going to be a character in MVC3?

#14 Posted by danimal_furry (1453 posts) -

I wouldn't complain much about going to a conference in Hawaii that involved video games. :)

#15 Posted by TehBuLL (612 posts) -

Thanks for keeping it real Jeff and telling us your side of the deal.  I've seen this topic covered on many sites and there's always different ways to spin it, but as long as people are honest about what is going on, the situation is moot.

Online
#16 Edited by Winternet (8021 posts) -

I really enjoyed reading this article. Especially the part about covering events and travel policy. Very well put, Jeff.
#17 Posted by Crono11 (1650 posts) -

Oh man Pizza Pringles are my favorite and I haven't been able to get them for years. Guess I'm heading to Hawaii. Hopefully I don't end up on that Lost island....I mean the fake one...err the real....you know what, never mind.

#18 Posted by deadly_polo (471 posts) -

Excellent article, I think these sorts of articles are often ignored by organisations in your profession but it is an important thing to note who paid for what. As long as the companies don't then expect high review scores / preview praise then there is no reason not to do this.

#19 Posted by Reverseface (1221 posts) -

JEFF ROLLS DEEP AND HARD !

#20 Posted by Hamz (6846 posts) -

Tells what you know about the Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2 soundtrack and where who we must bribe to get our hands on it now.

#21 Posted by Zaapp1 (660 posts) -

I totally understand about the travel policy.  It's your job to go, nobody should hold it against you.

#22 Posted by TadThuggish (907 posts) -

If the boys at Giant Bomb can have their cake and eat it too, more power to them.

#23 Posted by Elazul (1327 posts) -

It's kind of a shame that Jeff thought he had to clarify his reasons for going to a press event. He must of really gotten a lot of crap from the community about it.

#24 Edited by darkjester74 (1580 posts) -

The fact that Jeff felt he needed to post this explanation is retarded.  Look at the vids inside the GB offices, do they LOOK like they have a huge budget to spend on travel expenses?
 
And yes, pizza flavored Pringles ARE awesome.

#25 Posted by SleepyDoughnut (1216 posts) -
@Metalideth said:
" Get more merch for donations, your travel budget would increase :P "
YES. I never got the chance to buy a smiling luchadeer shirt at the time and I want one so bad!
#26 Posted by solidlife (879 posts) -

I dont Blame you. Its apart of the industry and Unless someone who thinks it damages integrity should pay your Travel fees.

#27 Edited by Superfriend (1557 posts) -

I guess the question should be asked: Do people really care for previews of games, especially if there´s a ton of coverage out there? Don´t get me wrong, it is important to cover those games before they come out, but something like Lost Planet 2 has a demo out, for god´s sake.
In my opinion there should be more big events like E3 scattered around the year (maybe publisher specific, but only if there´s enough to show). More small stuff could really wears the guys out, when they should be focused on covering games that are actually coming out
 
This event might be a bit of a different thing, but I would much rather see Jeff reviewing more games than previewing Lost Planet 2 for the 10th time (I guess it´s gonna be like the demo??!)

#28 Posted by adoggz (2069 posts) -

well Jeff, the reason your tweet started the rumor was probably because you tweeted "OMG I just saw MVC3 ... oh and this can of pringles is cool too."

#29 Posted by Damian (1538 posts) -

If GB keeps publishing honest, in-depth coverage, I see no issue with how they get to this sort of event. It's a minor conflict of interests, but I wouldn't spend my own money to go to one of those either.
 
@Jeff: My question is this: will WB be flying you and/or Bradley out to Chicago anytime soon? 
 *krosses fingers*

#30 Posted by Jeffsekai (7034 posts) -

How did I not see this Pringles post.

#31 Posted by Brendan (7817 posts) -

Man it's really depressing that Jeff felt he needed to explain travel accomadations.  It really just cements gamers as the most jaded demographic alive.
#32 Posted by MarcusOfLycia (93 posts) -

Based on the comments here and my own, carefully crafted personal views on the matter: as long as you continue to endorse Pizza flavored Pringles, I don't think you can do any wrong.

#33 Edited by skrutop (3615 posts) -
@Elazul said:

" It's kind of a shame that Jeff thought he had to clarify his reasons for going to a press event. He must of really gotten a lot of crap from the community about it. "

Right, but very smart to put up a full-disclosure notice.  If they give any of those games a good score, nobody will suspect it's because they got to chill in Hawaii.  Of course, I have a feeling that people probably wouldn't think that about Jeff anyway.
#34 Posted by Elazul (1327 posts) -
@skrutop said:
" @Elazul said:

" It's kind of a shame that Jeff thought he had to clarify his reasons for going to a press event. He must of really gotten a lot of crap from the community about it. "

Right, but very smart to put up a full-disclosure notice.  If they give any of those games a good score, nobody will suspect it's because they got to chill in Hawaii.  Of course, I have a feeling that people probably wouldn't think that about Jeff anyway. "
Oh god, you had to bring that up didn't you? I guess it's good point, though. Jeff has proven to be a professional and scrupulous guy on more than one occasion and it makes no sense that he would go against all that just because he got to sit in a free hotel room for a couple of days.
#35 Edited by skrutop (3615 posts) -
@Elazul said:

Oh god, you had to bring that up didn't you? I guess it's good point, though. Jeff has proven to be a professional and scrupulous guy on more than one occasion and it makes no sense that he would go against all that just because he got to sit in a free hotel room for a couple of days. "

Yeah, I know.  That's been brought up about 1,000 times too many on this site.  But it applies.
#36 Edited by Bionicicide (1213 posts) -

Always assumed publishers paid for press to come out for their events while press paid their way to E3 and what have you. So long as everyone there doesn't compromise their normal routine in order to squeeze in some extra tourism time, I'm fine.
 
Edit: Shiiiiiit, this is Bombcast day. Not fine.

#37 Posted by RobJ (398 posts) -

I like the idea that you guys are able to go to events and show us what new things are coming out. Doesn't really matter to me if the publishers pay for it or not. I think everyone knows that the guys at GB will give us an honest take on things.

#38 Posted by Rhaknar (5939 posts) -

i didnt even know this was an issue until i saw Joystiq crying about not going to Captivate because it was against their principles or something... I always assumed game companies paid the expenses for the press to go see their games, especially if it was out of their way, since its basically free publicity when they report on what they saw... well, whatever, fuck the haters Jeff

#39 Posted by zabian227 (19 posts) -

Thanks for going to Hawaii Jeff!  Always like to get the GB perspective on these events.

#40 Posted by ColdsnapBryan (213 posts) -

Wow.. I was always under the impression that the companies paid for traveling expenses.

#41 Posted by buckybit (1455 posts) -

I had all the poisoned questions prepared to slip my tongue, but there's no need for that. Jeff Gerstmann knows how we think, what we think. 
 
Talking about it and telling about what and how things work in this business makes him Agent Honor and informs some of us, who did not know about this practice: flying gaming press around the world, lodging them, free booze etc... "until next time".  
 
This is common business. Duders like Jeff and others don't fall for that anymore. The previews and reviews will not sound any different because of this, because they know that we know that they know ...  
 
Kudos, for clearing that up one more time. 

#42 Posted by masterpaperlink (1843 posts) -

Its cool

#43 Posted by lead_farmer (1041 posts) -

Jeff's droppin knowledge.  Also Pringles

#44 Posted by MisterMouse (3554 posts) -

Good choice on the Pocari Sweat Jeff, Good choice indeed.

#45 Posted by pbhawks45 (736 posts) -

I know games journalism isn't traditional "journalism" per se, and I think Jeff, you along with the rest of GB are very open in regards to your editorial policy. I'm a journalism major in college, and our sports writing teacher said the same thing about "freebies". We're told not to accept any gifts (food, clothing, etc) in class, but our teacher told us that's not how things work in the real world. 
 
This seems like an extension of those things. It's not morally wrong; it's merely how the system works.

Online
#46 Posted by Cloneslayer (1632 posts) -

this is why Capcom is one of my favorite developers 

#47 Posted by erinfizz (1048 posts) -

Yeah, I would bet no one would say anything if y'all got paid for trips to Cleveland or something. Also, I wonder if some of the complaints come from people that don't totally understand traveling for WORK. It's generally a complete pain in the ass, and might as well be in a conference center on the moon for all the city one gets to see. 

#48 Posted by Bhouse563 (159 posts) -

I don't see Capcom buying you those Pringles!!!! Integrity secure.

#49 Posted by armaan8014 (5406 posts) -

Jeff and the team can never do anything wrong imo :)
NEVER

#50 Posted by ez123 (1966 posts) -

It seems unbelievably schmoozy but I'm not going to blame industry people for accepting the trip.

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