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Posted by liquiddragon (3322 posts) 1 year, 8 months ago

Poll: Do you still see the Bomb crew as critics or are they more personalities akin to "influencers" now? (511 votes)

Still more as critics 19%
Right down the middle 45%
More personalities now 36%

I first started paying attention to the industry and became an enthusiast in the process near the turn of the century when I discovered Gamespot. I played just as much games before then but wasn't so interesting in the happenings outside of the screen. Moving from Japan to the States, my thought was that the press mainly acted as shills. However, when I saw my first video review, which was the GTA3 review by Jeff, I totally got a different impression. Him, along with Greg and everyone working there at the time, went about their business in a somewhat dry, authoritative manner that I felt very comfortable trusting.

Fast forward 16 years and we are in a different landscape, not just where they're at as a site but the whole industry. Of course, you don't need to be reviewers to be critics but it certainly helped when they were in the trenches, evaluating game after game. For me, that's how the trust was built, and that's where the trust kind of lies.

I love the guys but for different reasons now and it's something I've had to come to terms with. They're not about what they were anymore, they're not about what I first knew them as, they're more about fun, laughs and having a good time and they want us to come hang out.

How do you see the veterans of gaming press that is the Bomb crew?

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#51 Posted by Mirado (2557 posts) -

This was always a personality driven website ("make the byline matter again"), but the personalities were always capable of switching between thinking critically and being primarily entertaining, often at the same time.

I also think the emphasis on integrity (actual integrity, not "integrity") always casts the site in a critical way; even when they are fucking around, I know they are reacting in a genuine way because Jeff got a raw deal borne out of a conflict of interest and that's part of the core identity of the site. They don't go to launch events or do some of the coverage that you see on a lot of YouTube channels because it blurs the lines too much, and that commitment to honesty transitions over to the less serious stuff as I never have to worry about taking a video in any way other than at face value.

So I'd have to go with number 1, although if you remove the "influencers" bit then I'd be more inclined to pick 2 with the caveat that the critical angle isn't diminished just because they aren't afraid to let everyone have a unique voice.

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#52 Posted by Brendan (9212 posts) -

Pretty much "influencers" at this point. Nobody on staff does enough consistent reviewing for their job to be about evaluating video games, and nobody on staff writes critique or goes in-depth about games enough to be considered a critic. Even quicklooks are mostly secondary now. Their job is to come up with fun playthrough style shows (basically just Endurance Runs with marketing skin) and put those out on a consistent basis for subscribers.

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#53 Posted by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

Does it matter? They get preview and review builds of games and review them to their audience similar to what every critic does. YouTubers basically do the same at this point. There is no longer a real distinction, other than YouTubers often specialize in certain games or area's of games and have way more meaningful things to say.

"Influencers" implies a degree of corruption as if the GB staff is trying to convince us to buy certain products at some company's behest, and there is no evidence to support such an idea.

If it does then we need a new word for YouTubers. The ones I follow are the least corrupt and have way more accurate information than the GB crew does.

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#54 Posted by Teddie (2137 posts) -

I started following because of the P4 Endurance Run, after already following some Youtube Let's Players for a while. I've never thought of them as critics. That said, when the current GB staff are all gone from the industry, I'll probably feel like the entire industry ended with them (if it's even still a thing by then). For me, they're the only big gaming site where the reviews exist beyond a numbered score.

Also, is "influencer" actually a term that's picking up steam outside of marketing teams? Does any Youtuber actually sincerely use that to identify themselves? It sounds nasty like a "Monetizing Teens" in the evening.

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#55 Edited by mems1224 (2505 posts) -

I used to come to GB for their suggestions on games and for discovering something new I didn't know about but thats changed the last few years. I can't remember the last time I used their opinions to buy a game. I don't even really watch quick looks anymore unless its a game I already bought just to see what they think of it. I've definitely shifted to coming here purely for the entertaining premium videos they do. So yea, to me they're more youtube personalities than video game critics now.

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#56 Posted by Slag (8157 posts) -

I feel like they really are entirely personalities now. Honest personalities for sure, they definitely aren't influencers or super fans of a series. They retain that ability to critique and be impartial. I completely trust that their opinions are honest

but ever since Ryan's passing, the sale to CBSi and especially the new blood came on board it feels like there has been a decided shift away from a place that mixed info & entertainment into a site that's primarily about entertainment first and foremost. Now that Austin has left and basically hasn't been replaced it definitely feels like that's basically 100% of what GB has become.

I wish I could find it, but I thought I read somewhere that Dan doesn't consider himself a critic as much anymore as much (unlike his time at Game Informer) as a personality. I assume he knows what his job is.

That's ok and that's what I think most of their premium subs like more, so probably the right thing to do business wise. You gotta change with the times to survive and adapt to what people want. Not sure that's for me though. That being said I still really like all of them, but I do watch the content considerably less often.

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#57 Posted by matoya (775 posts) -

Seeing as they review about 4 games a year, they're definitely influencers now

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#58 Posted by Quarters (2658 posts) -

More as an influencer. They are way too critical and jaded about everything to really look much into their reviews.

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#59 Posted by cikame (2789 posts) -

When i tell a friend about a cool game i don't run through the bullet points, i tell them about the awesome moments, the parts which appeal to me, where the fun is, that's the approach i get from the GB crew.
Video games are mostly about having fun, and it's really the rise of internet videos which has allowed that message to be conveyed, back when there was more text than video this wasn't an avenue that could be explored, but now it's almost the defacto way of covering games.

I respect the crew's long history with the industry, and Jeff in particular has plenty of behind the scenes journalist experiences to share, but really it's all about having fun.
I don't like the term influencer, it implies that someone is receiving money or support to act as marketing, we support these guys so that they can cover this industry in whatever way they please, they don't have to cater to publishers or scrounge for views, it's all about the community and their personal love of games.

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#60 Posted by an_ancient (306 posts) -

I'm prepared to take flack for this, but because of the entertainment not being to my current taste, Jeff, Brad and Alex are way more critic like. Jeff especially has a very "seen it" kind of vibe, that I'm really digging lately.

As far as entertainment focused. I thought I remember them mentioning that was their primary goal for a good while.

Games overall have slowed down and given people with insight more time to really analyze them. The result is that nobody seems surprised by much anymore. If you want a concrete example of what I mean, look at how the Starcraft 2 coverage changed over the years. So if you ask me, they are more and more becoming critics and I am ok with that. But that might be a problem in this "real reactions by real gamers" type of entertainment model is concerned.

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#61 Posted by Nux (2890 posts) -

I see them more as personalities than critics but I still respect and, in some cases, seek out their opinion on things. I still love reading their reviews and listening to the Bombcast, especially the news segment, but I don't think I have ever came to this site expecting to find a story about hard hitting industry news or learn what the inside of game development looks like. To me Giantbomb as always been a place where I can relax and unwind while watching my favorite internet people be themselves weather it is an endurance run, UPF or any of the other great features they have.

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#62 Posted by Atlas (2739 posts) -

Generally, I see them as personalities, and have done for a long time, and that's mostly because far more of my time on this site is spent watching video than reading reviews, and I haven't regularly listened to the Bombcast for a few years now. Also, over the years my taste in games has strayed quite far away from the games that GB usually covers, and it's rare that I'm actively on the fence about buying a game at launch and seeking out critical opinion to help me make a decision. But when I am looking for opinions, such as earlier this year when I was considering buying Horizon: Zero Dawn (a game that I ended up absolutely loving, easily one of the best games I've played in years), Giant Bomb is one of the first places I'll look - if GB isn't the first place, then it's the second place I'd go after Jim Sterling.

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#63 Edited by BisonHero (11575 posts) -

They're mostly critics, but Dan is definitely a brand siren.

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#64 Posted by elmorales94 (370 posts) -

I would like to stay away from the word "influencer" since I find the idea of Dan ever influencing anyone in any way to be existentially terrifying.

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#65 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9107 posts) -

I mean I really don't like the words used or exactly the mindset but I don't really go to them for games advice at all at this point. Reviews aren't important to me and usually I disagree about a lot of games and feel very differently than the GB people do. I'm more into stuff like sports games, strategy games, and RPGs and even in genre I don't often like what they do as much. So it is more just about entertainment, information, or an experience value for me with the site now. That's definitely different than how I felt about GB when it first started. It was always a personality thing but it has shifted even more in that respect.

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#66 Posted by ArtisanBreads (9107 posts) -

@slag: Dan definitely does not basically handle himself as a critic at all and many out there already don't at all anyways really is the thing, they just aren't honest.

I have seen him get called out by an indie game developer type once on Twitter because he said he was excited for the next Red Dead game. The guy said Dan shouldn't be a fan of any game series and Dan said basically oh well I am.

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#67 Posted by Pezen (2374 posts) -

I don't see them as influencers because I mostly see that as a term used for a type of content I rarely consume (at least when it comes to video games). I would say they are mostly critics even if what I consume their content for would actually be more appropriately called entertainment. So.. entertainers with a hint of critics?

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#68 Posted by tds418 (465 posts) -

I voted straight down the middle. On one hand, I followed Jeff and crew over here from GameSpot in large part because I respected their opinions and professional approach towards criticism, and came to GB because I trusted them to tell me like it is. However, at this point, I mostly come to GB to have a good time. I definitely learn about games through watching/listening to GB content, but that's almost just a beneficial side-effect to the entertainment of the content itself. If I want interesting and critical written analysis of games I'm more likely to go to some place like Polygon or other websites.

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#69 Posted by optimalpower (264 posts) -

Definitely personalities. They barely review anything these days and the game coverage is quite narrow. That being said, I think they are the best at what they do entertainment-wise. I do hope at least a little that the next hire has a differing taste in games. Jason has that going for him but it kinda feels like his games/opinions on games fall by the wayside. More Jason content please? :)