What do you honestly expect from games journalism?

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Posted by BurningStickMan (244 posts) -

This is a piece of GamerGate I've yet to understand. What journalistic integrity to you actually expect to see from your video game news sites? The concept seems flawed and foreign to me. I'm not at all looking to argue the point (and really am just throwing this out there for you guys to discuss), but if someone can explain it to me, I'd love to hear it.

Gamasutra is the best example that I know of a site that offers solid articles on game development, interviews, critical analysis, and retrospectives. It is what I would consider to be some active, intellectual journalism. But I don't think that's what we're talking here - those seem to be the kind of "Patrick articles" (sorry, Patrick) that appeal to a smaller group.

If I had any criticism of the site or others like it, it's that any deep articles into the decisions that shaped the final game are about games that are often decades old. For example, I would have loved to have read a complete "tell-all" on what happened to Colonial Marines (back when it was relevant) but I understand that's never going to happen anytime soon due to NDAs. Those emails, meetings, and even the final decisions are protected company property. To get any kind of current expose on any game, you're asking someone to break the law and/or ruin their career. Do you really expect to ask someone to do that? Would you really support a whistleblower's GoFundMe to make it worth sacrificing their job (if not future in the industry)? Most rational people, especially with families or other responsibilities, are going to just move on to their next game.

Same applies to any concept of investigative journalism regarding upcoming games. Do you expect Jeff to throw on a ski mask, break into a popular game developer, steal the latest build, and throw down a 2 hour QLEX? Okay, you might want that, but again, this is a company's protected intellectual property. We're all at the mercy of that company's information release schedule. Remember Gizmodo and the iPhone 4 found on that barstool? Apple took them to court over the article and lost, but the guys that found the phone still got charged with possession and "misappropriation" of stolen property. Since the code of Uncharted 4 isn't gonna show up on a barstool anytime soon, assume it was the games industry and an inside job - think those guys would ever work in games again?

Simply put, I see no way that you are ever going to see a hard-hitting exclusive reveal over a piece of software without that company's express involvement. The nature of the industry and the law makes it so impractical as to be impossible.

Ok, what else does journalism do? Report on the lives and habits of star players in that field? Do you honestly care? Do you want the TMZ of the games industry? Would you even bother clicking on the Steve Ballmer "Where Are They Now?" report?

So what does that leave? News reporting? Again, that's down to the information released at the sole discretion of the PR department of that publisher or developer. This is a company's property and product, and they're completely in the right to control information, restrict it as they see fit, or even "play favorites" among media outlets. You know what's absolute bullshit? Embargoes. You know what can be done about it? Dick. The first embargo a rogue game site breaks is the last early release copy they'll get. That's not journalism's fault, that's a company using the protections the law rightfully affords it.

That just leaves the big one - reviews. To which I ask, don't you already, as in right now, have enough options to render any claims of "payola" moot? Aren't there other sites to go to if one starts to seem shady? User reviews to trust? Metacritic to get an average? Some friends to ask? YouTube video to watch and form your own opinion? Even if somehow every. single. professional reviewer is on the take, isn't the information that Game A is boring or Game B has broken mechanics going to get out somehow? Why is that particular issue worth death threats?

I do believe that journalistic integrity in games is legitimately important to some people, and I'm not going to criticize them for that. All I can say is that I don't understand it - I mean the practical, real world shape that integrity would take in games journalism, and why it matters. How is complete integrity and transparency going to make all of game journalism noticeably different than it is today?

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#1 Posted by BurningStickMan (244 posts) -

I should caveat by saying that, to me, absolutely every last game journalist functions as an extension of the marketing arm of a game publisher. Not because they're corrupt, but because that publisher holds exclusive rights on the only information I care about (what a game is like, and how it will play), and the only information a games journalist can possibly "report" on. That situation just is, and to change it, you'd have to change some fundamental privacy laws - laws and IP protections that I don't believe are worth changing just for some hot gossip over a video game.

On a side note, I think the -Gate suffix explains most of this. Watergate changed journalism. The news is no longer sitting down and having Cronkite condense the day's events into a 30 minute program. Watergate gave us a peek behind the curtain at things we were never supposed to see, made us feel powerful and included, and we loved that feeling. Loved it so much, that we can never go back to simply being told what "those in charge" want us to hear. I think legitimate investigative journalism has produced some world-changing stories and done a benefit to our society, but I think actively looking for, expecting, and jonesing for the next "-gate" in everything is a sad perversion of news and the very expectations of true journalism.

Okay, said my piece. Take it how you will.

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#2 Posted by IndridCipher (76 posts) -

i understand and enjoy how gaming journalism works before Gamergate. I get that they have to deal closely with publishers. How else would they get to show me a game early? I understand that the people who want to buy a gaming sites advertisement space is obviously going to be a Gaming company. I also understand that as a person in the gaming media you build relationships with people who make, market, and cover games. None of that stuff effects my opinion on what a site shows me. Even if they were paid under the table to slant their coverage, which i think is widely inaccurate and not even a part of the debate. Even if it were though, it wouldn't effect what i think of a game. Alien Isolation in the 9.3 PC Gamer review and Alien Isolation in the 5.9 IGN review looked like exactly the same game to me, and it was one i didn't want to play.

What I want is opinions, lots of em. I want to know everyones opinion. The more opinions i have the more i can weigh what the game is doing and how it effects certain types of people. I think a lot of people who have trouble with reviews and gaming journalism just don't get involved with it. I know about what Jeff likes in comparison to Brad. I know what they like in comparison to Greg Miller and Colin Moriarty. What those guys like compared to the Joystiq crew, or the Rebel FM crew etc. So when 1 person gives a game a 5 and another gives it a 9.5 i can usually see why. Some people who are just scanning scores and dont read context or know who the person behind the score is have problems separating the opinion from the quality of the game. Seeing people compare a sites score of a game from 2011 written by one writer to a sites review of a game in 2014 written by someone else and being upset over it. Its just frustrating.

As for investigative pieces... i dont much care for them honestly. Digging up dirt about games before they are out or while they are being marketed or reviewed.. whatever. I just don't see the benefit of that to me. I like what GB does with developers. I like the big shows at events and the after party they so for GDC. I maybe would like more retrospective stuff, even if it was for older games. A premium series that just did sit downs with developers about old games or breakthroughs in the medium would be incredible. Sit down the guy who made GTA3 and ask him what it was like before that game came out to know what they had made. I really love Colin Moriarty's History of Naughty Dog series. More stuff like this would be amazing. Problem with that stuff is its hard to sell, and its hard to show people that when you have a front page whizzing by everytime a cast member changes in the next Transformers movie, or Vinny and Alex do a silly quick look about Duck Dynasty. There is a real problem between what people want out of this medium and what a site can do. Ive spent some time trying to get a read on what the Gamergate community wants out of their movement and honestly im not sure. They have great ideas, and no ideas to implement them. It seems their whole cause is to burn everything down and then someone better will rise up in the place of what is currently there. Which is a terrible plan...

Yea I am not sure what Games Journalism or even YouTube and Streamers and everyone who can market games for publishers are supposed to do. They will always have to work with publishers to get information out to the people who want it early. Their is a audience here that wants that and will follow that forever. If IGN or Gamespot doesn't do it, someone else will. The only way to truly cut yourself off from that is to be late by days, weeks, and months on all information on your site and try to build a community around that model. Which is a perfectly reasonable thing to try and do. I'd love a start up sight to pop up with those intentions to never deal with the industry and review and cover games with the intent to be for the People and by the People! It would be great and they could do some How to build a Gate features and i'd be down to follow that

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#3 Edited by TruthTellah (9822 posts) -

Gaming writer: "What do you honestly expect from games journalism? Do you expect us to bend to your will?"

Guy on Twitter: "haha. No, Games Journalism, I expect you to die!"

No Caption Provided

It's a joke. I know a few people feel there are still some reasonable concerns worth discussing.

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#4 Posted by GetWoody (8 posts) -

I honestly just don't care about it anymore, it all just feels like marketing nowadays. We're in an age where we can follow our favorite creators and see up to date game play videos as they're released. Why the middleman of "game journalist" still exists is beyond me.

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#5 Posted by bybeach (6385 posts) -

I just want a simplistic honesty, though it might veer into opinion.

Jeff got it right all those years back.

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#6 Posted by csl316 (15000 posts) -

Entertainment, to be honest. And some information about the games themselves so I know what's coming out. If you need daily news to cover, it's at the point where people just have to dig too deeply into things to find articles to write, like Entertainment Weekly or TMZ.

If a site talks about developers, make sure they're in the room with you. I'd much rather have someone like Swery or Dave Lang on set or on a call to discuss their projects and life in the industry. That stuff's always fascinating and you're getting stuff straight from the source. It's harder to schedule, obviously. But if someone's just writing articles about other people's lives, it feels like fucking fluff. It's pointless. I'd rather have 1 good discussion than 100 bullshit pieces.

Discuss games, play and commentate on games, and when there's a lull in releases do a live stream of the Genesis or something. Chat with developers or people in the industry. Coincidentally, this is what Giant Bomb does. And I happen to frequent this site more than any others.

Granted, the guys here admit all the time that they're not really "journalists." Being comfortable with what's become a different role is what helps a site like this stand out. Of course, what happens on the forums is a completely different story.

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#7 Edited by Zella (1275 posts) -

I think a distinction needs to be made between video game journalist and commentators. I think the best example is pro sports in North America. There are classical journalist who do reports on teams, investigate different issues surrounding leagues, break news such as player transactions, etc. There are also outlets such as ESPN which focus heavily on commentating on sports, with much of their content being based around discussing current events. Sites such as IGN, Gamespot, Giant Bomb, etc. would be like ESPN or Fox Sports. Yeah there is bias and tons of corporate involvement in networks like ESPN but that is clear and there purpose is to entertain. The reason I mostly go to Giant Bomb for game stuff is that they do take much more of an entertainment driven approach.

I think there is a place for a more classical journalistic approach to the video game industry but that viewers should start differentiating between it and a more entertainment driven approach.

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#8 Posted by Mortuss_Zero (744 posts) -

This is exactly what I've been asking. What is there to gain here? More honest review scores? Big friggin' deal. I thought "gamers" had already learned that they don't matter in the face of going to Youtube and searching for gameplay vids.

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#9 Edited by Hunter5024 (6706 posts) -

I don't need an ethical standard because I found dudes I trust, and they present games to me in a really honest format.

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#10 Edited by sammo21 (5975 posts) -

ly want to be told when you are best friends with a game developer and you give them favorable coverage. I want to know when you financially support the person you are writing about. I want to know if you are in a sexual relationship with the person you're writing a story about, no matter how small. I don't think these things are tall orders, and the fact that someone has to ask for them shows where we are at. GamerGate in its entirety could have been killed, BUT it wasn't. The games media, largely, decided to fall into the role of the highschool jock stereotype and make fun of nerds and gamers and declare them all dead. They take to twitter to bully people, make death threats, doxx individuals, and more. They egg people on, they instigate, and then a hashtag flourishes that isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Had they not been so militant then it wouldn't have gotten anywhere. Anyone with a brain acknowledges that industry reaction to GamerGate was negative and poorly handled.

That being said, to say its entirely farcical is also a bit of a "head in the sand" approach, in my opinion. Especially when you look at the conversations the industry has had in past years of ethics and honesty in the games press. GFW radio had extended conversations about this, GiantBomb has, and so have others. To suddenly act like its all peachy and cool is dumb and makes matters worse. There is corruption, there is unethical activity going on (even if in small doses), and there are trolls in the industry that have proceeded to merely confirm what I thought about them. To see Leigh Alexander, who I once respected and followed on Twitter, basically tell people that she can destroy their career and that she "IS GAMES JOURNALISM" only proceeds to make me unfollow her and all of her work. To see dozens of people, within hours, take the high school jock approach of telling me that I "am dead" (being a gamer) and that all of us are neckbeards who live with our parents and have nothing to add to the conversation only makes me think less of them. The only positive might be that I don't go to those sites for anything anymore.

TL;DR = I want more honesty and I want fewer trolls in the industry. I already get that (honesty, not trolls) from GiantBomb, which is why I elect to financially support them every year with store purchases and a membership. However, when I see them complain only about one side then it worries me. Boogie and TotalBiscuit have been doxxed and given death threats before...no one cared or reported. I have no interest in GamerGate coverage as most commentators on the issue have proven to me they don't really care and they aren't interested in reporting the truth and having an open dialogue about any of it. I also don't want a site to tell me that the reporting of a game developer's personal life is over the line just weeks after they run a story about about Max Temkin's alleged rape of a girl (that has 0 evidence and is entirely hearsay). Then in the comments of that news story have a staff writer say that Max Temkin probably is a rapist because of "statistics". That shit is 100% over the line.

Sadly there are more Ben Kucheras (troll) in the world than there are Eric Kains (decent guy). Do I think everyone in the industry is "on the take"? No, but I do think this industry is full of people who thrive on relationships with people. That's completely different than building contacts...they build relationships. Tell me if you didn't think it would be a breach of ethics for a New York Times reporter to financially support a candidate for office and never disclose it while they are writing favorable coverage about that candidate. So how is it different when people support others through Patreon? At least GiantBomb was open about certain things like with Bastion where they refused to review the game because of their close ties to the developers. Sites like Kotaku wouldn't do that...and its clear over the past 2 months that most writers in the industry wouldn't do that either.

And to boil it down that the "enthusiast press" is made up of only video game reviews is idiotic.Unfortunately, its proven difficult to have an actual conversation about these things. Like the comments section of Jeff's letter to the community, most of the responses equate merely to butt kissing. I respect Jeff's opinion and glad he made it known, but to tell him he's "being brave" is laughable. Twitter is full of the same type of response. IF we had more people talking and less people trying to get one over on the other person, we might actually get somewhere. That being said, I have lost all respect for plenty of people on both sides of the aisle in this and only gained more respect for people like TotalBiscuit, Boogie, and Eric Kain (who have gone largely uncovered during this).

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#11 Posted by Quantris (1313 posts) -

Re "gamers are dead" and the "high school jock approach", are you talking about this: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/224400/Gamers_dont_have_to_be_your_audience_Gamers_are_over.php

It seems like there are many people who utterly misunderstood the point Leigh was trying to make, some of whom have proven that same point by their childish and shameless reactions.

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#12 Edited by Tirion (200 posts) -

Great journalism uncovers the truth to the public and helps with creating democratic societies. Ironically I have a heard time seeing how games journalism can do that besides when it comes to issues like for example sexism against women in video games. The only real consequence for me if I buy a game based on reviews that was "corrupted" is that I would have a little less fun with the game I bought then I was lead to believe. That would happen once and then I can simply choose to never thrust those reviewers again and there's nothing the company selling the game can do to fool me like that again if they don't start their own new undercover games press. You could argue that it's unfair that good developers loose their job because they couldn't get the support of corrupt game journalists, but that happens all the time regardless of what kind of reception their game gets in the media.


@sammo21 said:

Tell me if you didn't think it would be a breach of ethics for a New York Times reporter to financially support a candidate for office and never disclose it while they are writing favorable coverage about that candidate. So how is it different when people support others through Patreon?

The politician can make decisions that change society and have a huge impact on peoples life. The game developer can make a game that isn't that fun to play.


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#13 Edited by deactivated-5a923fc7099e3 (534 posts) -

I think a lot of responsibility lies on the shoulder of the reader. You have to be skeptic about all press. You always have to ask questions. You have to be critical. The reader is regarded all to often like a passive information sponge.

As for what I expect from the games press? Well this is trade journalism for the most part. Sure they have close ties to the industry, they simple wouldn't be able to do their job otherwise. This not a problem as long as they are open about it and disclose their position as much as they can. When it comes to personal relations it should be clear that that lies totally in the private domain. I'm not interested in who sleeps with who. It is common sense that in a close nit community like the indie games scene people will sometimes end up in bed with someone who happens to be a member of the press. We should not be naive about this nor should we worry to much about it.

The bigger issue I have is that recently the industry has been taken for a ride by radical feminism and there was hardly any journalist who dared to speak up about this. They simply followed the industry in it's reaction to Anita Sarkeesian without raising any questions. The whole critique she has put forward is based on the same false premise that Jack Thompson used in his attacks. They both put a direct correlation between the content of a game and the behavior of the player. She also misrepresents games constantly, cherry picking certain scenes and such. This is BS and the gaming press should have called her out on that. Instead they are lauding her as a hero. In light of all the abuse she has gotten I understand why at the moment it may not be the best time to start this debate though. All I'm saying is that journalists have missed the ball and they will have a very hard time correcting this.

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#14 Posted by promanari (14 posts) -

I would prefer if gaming journalism was not an advertising tool to publishers.

Seeing how this site was created as a response to journalism corruption, what's to be expected of gaming journalism has to be in this site's core.

Unless we've gone full circle and we're becoming a parody of ourselves.

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#15 Posted by Draugen (982 posts) -

@sammo21: Dude, your TL; DR is just as long as the main body of text.

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#16 Posted by promanari (14 posts) -

This is exactly what I've been asking. What is there to gain here? More honest review scores? Big friggin' deal. I thought "gamers" had already learned that they don't matter in the face of going to Youtube and searching for gameplay vids.

You say reviews don't matter when you are subscribed to a review site.

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#17 Edited by sammo21 (5975 posts) -

@draugen: Was actually a joke but that's frequently lost in type...

@tirion: Ethics are a thing you just turn off? Both things could potentially effect my pocket book. I think people give game industry people passes because of the celebrity effect, which was definitely shown in the comments section of Jeff's letter. I'll take the side of ethics before I resort to "lol video games".

@promanari: The industry is a parody of itself. Many people tell us reviews scores don't matter but they also don't get rid of them. They desperately cling to ad dollars and a relationship with the reader and the industry which they heavily criticize. Then they also criticize you if you decide to boycott or get ads pulled; its no-win situation. Honestly, the industry would do good to have 0 advertisements and sponsorships with game companies, but that will never happen; it doesn't help when a portion of the base takes a position of "lol video games" that many people have, even in this comment section. Just because they don't care doesn't mean others shouldn't.

@quantris: No, I didn't think Leigh was being a jock in that article, but she was wrong. I was referring to other people from the industry, on twitter and in articles, who claim most gamers are neckbeards and have begun the marginalizing bs many of us put up decades ago. I do understand what she was 'trying' to say...however, like Erik Kain said, she poorly chose every word she put down in that article. She claims to be a professional, but frequently chooses not to act like one, especially on Twitter (not even in @ replies or RT). In her own words, "I am a megaphone...I won't mind making an example out of you" or telling people that she can basically kill an individuals ability to get work in the gaming industry. Then again, comparing the average GamerGate guy and gal as being worse than ISIS seems pretty reasonable, right?

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2014/10/twitter_is_broken_gamergate_proves_it.htm

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#18 Posted by Draugen (982 posts) -

@sammo21: In that case, I didn't get it, and I apologise.

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#19 Posted by Rasmoss (580 posts) -

For me the problem is that gaming has grown to be a big industry, but is still largely ignored by mainstream culture and by association mainstream media.

The gaming press as we know it is an enthusiast press, grown by people enthustiastic about games, and thus live in a symbiotic relationship with game publishers. Other kinds of media also have enthusiast presses, movies for example, where most of the advertising comes from movie studios. The difference here is that mainstream, classic journalism also cares about movies. So if something untoward is happening in the world of movies, the big established mainstream media will cover it, with their capacity for investigative journalism, and their not relying on the movie studios for income. But you wouldn't expect, say, Empire Magazine to be the one carrying out that kind of journalism.

If say the Avatar blu-ray was released with the first 10 minutes missing, it would cause an uproar in the mainstream press. But since the mainstream press largely ignores games outside of a few exceptions, gamers as consumers don't have the same kind of watch dogs as consumers of other media have. Therefore we have seen often that game publishers are able to release faulty products without any serious repurcussions, other than some isolated consumer backlash. This is not a fault with the gaming press. It is what it is. It doesn't have the capacity or means to upset the companies they make a living off of.

So I think both sides of the gamergate argument are yelling at the wrong people. Games "journalists" are not really equipped to carry a serious discussion about equality in the world of gaming at large, and as a press it was never intended as an equivalent to the big news institutions whos values transcend their entire organisation and who has as their explicit goal to be society's watch dogs. For the same reason, it is not really possible for them to distance themselves from publishers and yell out against them when they treat their consumers wrong. The publishers have too much power in the relationship for that.

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#20 Posted by Tirion (200 posts) -

@sammo21 said:

@tirion: Ethics are a thing you just turn off? Both things could potentially effect my pocket book. I think people give game industry people passes because of the celebrity effect, which was definitely shown in the comments section of Jeff's letter. I'll take the side of ethics before I resort to "lol video games".

You can call it celebrity effect, but I just think people agree with the letter Jeff wrote. Giant Bomb exists because Jeff puts extremely high value in being honest with the audience and a lot of people here appreciates that. You asked what the difference was between journalists covering politics and journalists covering video games and I think there's a huge difference. It doesn't come down to "lol video games". It comes down to one thing being entertainment and art and the other one not. If you don't trust review sites you can stop following their purchasing advice and simply spend your money elsewhere. If you don't trust political journalism you can stop following their coverage of politics but you might have to move to another country to not get effected by their dishonesty.

@mortuss_zero said:

This is exactly what I've been asking. What is there to gain here? More honest review scores? Big friggin' deal. I thought "gamers" had already learned that they don't matter in the face of going to Youtube and searching for gameplay vids.

You say reviews don't matter when you are subscribed to a review site.

The majority of the content Giant Bomb produce isn't reviews and none of the subscriber content is reviews.

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#21 Edited by promanari (14 posts) -

@tirion said:

@sammo21 said:

@tirion: Ethics are a thing you just turn off? Both things could potentially effect my pocket book. I think people give game industry people passes because of the celebrity effect, which was definitely shown in the comments section of Jeff's letter. I'll take the side of ethics before I resort to "lol video games".

You can call it celebrity effect, but I just think people agree with the letter Jeff wrote. Giant Bomb exists because Jeff puts extremely high value in being honest with the audience and a lot of people here appreciates that. You asked what the difference was between journalists covering politics and journalists covering video games and I think there's a huge difference. It doesn't come down to "lol video games". It comes down to one thing being entertainment and art and the other one not. If you don't trust review sites you can stop following their purchasing advice and simply spend your money elsewhere. If you don't trust political journalism you can stop following their coverage of politics but you might have to move to another country to not get effected by their dishonesty.

@promanari said:

@mortuss_zero said:

This is exactly what I've been asking. What is there to gain here? More honest review scores? Big friggin' deal. I thought "gamers" had already learned that they don't matter in the face of going to Youtube and searching for gameplay vids.

You say reviews don't matter when you are subscribed to a review site.

The majority of the content Giant Bomb produce isn't reviews and none of the subscriber content is reviews.

That doesn't negate the fact that reviews are an innate part of GB's existence.

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#22 Edited by sammo21 (5975 posts) -

@rasmoss: I largely agree with everything you said, however I think the enthusiast press is well equipped to decry and criticize those publishers/developers/companies. Hell, Patrick (on Twitter) essentially said there is no such thing as objective coverage, so...shouldn't that mean its easy. I think one problem is that the enthusiast press is largely made up individuals who come from the exact same perspective and that's why its so hard to find meaningful coverage of anything; its an echo chamber, which is why we get something like 10-15 "gamers are dead" articles in the short amount of time we did. There is no collusion, its just people who have surrounded themselves in an echo chamber for their entire professional career.

@tirion: I feel like you're avoiding the actual topic: ethics are ethics. You can choose to decide that ethics in one industry doesn't matter but in another it does...that's your choice, but it is still a matter of ethics. I do think the "celebrity effect" of Jeff's article kept any actual discussion from happening. Not because of Jeff, even if I disagree with some of the things he said, but because the comment section largely became a pat on the back session.

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#24 Edited by Humanity (18938 posts) -

Not much

ba-donka-donk!

Honestly I expect them to talk about videogames in as much as how fun they are to play and what technical problems they may exhibit that would hinder the fun of the gamer. All the other stuff on the side is really very inconsequential to me. I'm not looking for social critiques and I'm not interesting in hearing the political viewpoints of the reviewer as such. If it somehow serves the review itself then I'm all for it but more often than not it turns it into an unlikely soapbox, which is something I don't need. I guess you can't always neatly separate one from the other in this new age of personality driven content where half the person and the game share equal footing on the critique scale.

Online
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#25 Edited by Rasmoss (580 posts) -

@sammo21 For me the problem has more to do with the fact that game journalists aren't journalists in the classical sense. Most have probably at most a flimsy educational background in writing and journalism, they never entered the field because they have true journalistic aspirations, but because they like games and want to write about them.

I think in the current situation where some of these writers are forced to fall back on their journalist bachelors and debate classes to try to articulate a serious debate on a subject, it mostly falls flat. I've read a lot of well-intentioned but poorly argued and constructed articles on the subjects under debate these past few months.

I also feel like this is the reason why it is so easy to hijack the discourse about gaming for nefarious ends. The discourse is weak because the people most in a position to carry it out are poorly equipped to do it. And it falls under the radar of the general society, where these issues would be debated with greater depth and nuance. I feel this is the reason that this issue has gotten the attention of certain people with political agendas who have little interest in video games. Gaming is an easy place to establish influence, because gaming's sphere of influence is much larger than the attention it gets from general society would suggest, and you won't get countered by opponents of the caliber you would meet in other areas.

All that being said, I agree with you that it would help if the gaming press came from a more diverse group.

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#26 Posted by Firepaw (3136 posts) -

I expect entertainment and information related to performance of said video games, and that is all.

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#27 Posted by Hunter5024 (6706 posts) -

@quantris said:

Re "gamers are dead" and the "high school jock approach", are you talking about this: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/224400/Gamers_dont_have_to_be_your_audience_Gamers_are_over.php

It seems like there are many people who utterly misunderstood the point Leigh was trying to make, some of whom have proven that same point by their childish and shameless reactions.

I never read that article, but if so many people misunderstood the point so bad, then that sounds like the article's fault not theirs.

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#28 Posted by Tirion (200 posts) -

@sammo21: I'm simply saying that the comparison to journalism covering politics is weird. Not only in difference of how it effects society but also because it's simple for the people to avoid being effected by the supposed lack of ethics in games journalism. I really don't see the need for a huge campaign. Are people really following these unethical publications purchasing advice and regretting those purchases yet still going back to the same source for next game they buy? That means people are stupid or they simply aren't being mislead by unethical publications.

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#29 Edited by sammo21 (5975 posts) -

@tirion: I'll just leave this.

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#30 Edited by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

Coverage of videogames as to inform my purchasing decision and give me insight to what's coming up.

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#31 Posted by rethla (3725 posts) -

I just expect people calling themself "journalists" to be honest and upfront abbout it. If they are an glorified marketing guy then say so and if you try to be an investigive reporter then say so. If you are gonna run shady business deals behind the scenes and call yourself an journalist then dont be surprised if people dislike you.

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#32 Posted by Jimbo (10472 posts) -

Consider the games press as no more than the marketing department for the industry and you won't be disappointed. To be fair, until we are prepared to fully fund the coverage ourselves then we shouldn't really expect any different. He who pays the piper calls the tune 'n all that, and currently that's the industry, not the readers who are consuming the content. Expecting 'journalists' to have their wages (mortgages, food) paid for by the industry and have them not be influenced by that at all requires an incredibly naive view of human nature.

I supported Giant Bomb in their attempt to break that mould and try and make a primarily subscription-based business model work, but in hindsight I suppose the failure of that attempt was pretty inevitable. And if those guys couldn't make it work then no one will.

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#33 Posted by emfromthesea (2262 posts) -

Honesty. I'd like to be assured that what I'm reading is the truth, or is at least clear on what is biased opinion and what is fact. And I feel I get exactly that with Giant Bomb.

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#34 Posted by Tirion (200 posts) -

@sammo21: Based on his viewpoint I would say that it's unethical for journalists to review games they get sent to them by developers as a favor. It's also unethical to write reviews of games you've purchased and given money to. That leaves us with journalists having to pirate every game in order to not cross that ethical line. Is that the solution?

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#35 Posted by rethla (3725 posts) -
@tirion said:

@sammo21: Based on his viewpoint I would say that it's unethical for journalists to review games they get sent to them by developers as a favor. It's also unethical to write reviews of games you've purchased and given money to. That leaves us with journalists having to pirate every game in order to not cross that ethical line. Is that the solution?

Well as always when theres money involved the ethics will be secondary.

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#36 Posted by sammo21 (5975 posts) -

@tirion: That's not really the case in this instance. You haven't given money directly to the publisher or to the developer for the copy. That's a false equivalency. Being provided a review copy isn't the same thing as that's a courtesy to the reviewer in this instance. There are many times Giant Bomb, and others, have had to go to a brick and mortar store to purchase a copy to get a review up in a timely manner. In the case of PC games they have access to most games because of their press accounts. I am unsure how this process works in total, but I know the press accounts have most of the games on Steam available to them. If Giant Bomb was paying money directly to Activision/Infinity Ward that would be different. This is why the Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor issue was important; it showed what YouTubers potentially have to wade through to be able to cover a game on time/early, aka "must show favorable coverage". This has come up in the print/review/site industry as well where a publisher will tell a company we will give you early review exclusively but it has to be favorable.

If this process was more personable and direct, as I mentioned above, then I would agree with you. However, as its been discussed before, there is no mold for how this process typically transpires. Jeff has brought up in the past that this is a tricky process that he's thought about before as it potentially brings up issues. His same thoughts about "mock reviews" are the same thing.

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#37 Posted by impartialgecko (1941 posts) -

Jeff Gerstmann. In his room. With a jar.

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#38 Edited by fisk0 (6952 posts) -

All I expect are their informed opinions. Nothing more, nothing less.

No bullshit "objectivity" or "consumer reports".

Moderator
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#39 Posted by Univarn (38 posts) -

@fisk0 said:

All I expect are their informed opinions. Nothing more, nothing less.

No bullshit "objectivity" or "consumer reports".

This. This is it. I think everything beyond that is an attempt to apply a set of rules, structure, or absolutism that just cannot and will not exist in any capacity that those same people will enjoy.

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#40 Posted by amafi (1497 posts) -

@fisk0 said:

All I expect are their informed opinions. Nothing more, nothing less.

No bullshit "objectivity" or "consumer reports".

Yup. Also drink reviews and talk about bad pizza.

I'd love to see more long form pieces of all kinds, but those take time, effort and skill and probably don't bring the page views to justify the expense, but that's online and ad supported journalism in general, not specific to games.

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#41 Posted by chimpchamp (49 posts) -

I agree with the problems raised in the OP. Before I had expectations of integrity, balancing inside status with honesty for the readership. Now I just want to watch Dan and Vinny and not hear Jeff, Brad, Alex and Patrick berate me indirectly on twitter or tumblr or the GB site because I don't like Zoe Quinn. All I want is to be entertained for a few hours a week on the commute home after work, and that's what I thought my subscription was buying. I didn't realise I was supporting people mouthing off their social politics - not just at anyone, but at me, the consumer.

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#42 Edited by Karkarov (3385 posts) -

Gaming writer: "What do you honestly expect from games journalism? Do you expect us to bend to your will?"

Guy on Twitter: "haha. No, Games Journalism, I expect you to die!"

No Caption Provided

It's a joke.

It is also a good joke, I know I laughed.

What do I expect from games journalism? 1: To stop taking itself so seriously, it is about games not terrorist attacks in Iran. 2: To be a bunch of people writing their opinions about games. 3: To get back to the basics of reviewing based on one question.... "Did I have fun playing this game and enjoy playing it?" Cause if I am not going to have fun playing a game it isn't worth playing regardless of it's social message, politics, or revolutionary whatever.

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#43 Posted by EuanDewar (5160 posts) -

The moon on a stick!!

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#44 Posted by Milkman (19303 posts) -

I expect them to give me their opinions about video games.

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#45 Posted by cyberfunk (180 posts) -

Trailers, Screen shotz and Cheat codes!

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#46 Posted by BradBrains (2274 posts) -

@milkman said:

I expect them to give me their opinions about video games.

exactly. games "journalism" really doesn't exist. its a perceptive form of media. outside of a few undisputed technical things its all opinion based.

if you take that into case what i want personally from a personality is for them to give me enough information about what they like and don't like and to provide their view on the subject in an entertaining manner.

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#47 Posted by Brackstone (939 posts) -

@rasmoss said:

@sammo21 For me the problem has more to do with the fact that game journalists aren't journalists in the classical sense. Most have probably at most a flimsy educational background in writing and journalism, they never entered the field because they have true journalistic aspirations, but because they like games and want to write about them.

I think in the current situation where some of these writers are forced to fall back on their journalist bachelors and debate classes to try to articulate a serious debate on a subject, it mostly falls flat. I've read a lot of well-intentioned but poorly argued and constructed articles on the subjects under debate these past few months.

This pretty much perfectly describes my feelings on current games journalism. Being able to talk about all these social issues is great, but so many people talking about it aren't doing a great job. There are people are making some pretty bad arguments, and very few people within games journalism itself are actually calling them out on their missteps. There's an overall lack of actual discourse and debate when it comes to social commentary in games media, very little back and forth, very little criticism of each other, which I think is why the term "echo chamber" gets brought up a lot.

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#48 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5924 posts) -

I just want videogame bloggers to stop referring to themselves as journalists.

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#49 Posted by mellotronrules (2623 posts) -

@milkman said:

I expect them to give me their opinions about video games.

exactly. games "journalism" really doesn't exist. its a perceptive form of media. outside of a few undisputed technical things its all opinion based.

thirded! and that extends to all entertainment "journalism" - be it film, music, or games...shoot from the heart, that's all that matters. i honestly don't care who you know are what your relation is to them- give me a reason to doubt your motives, and i'll move on. but a sure as shit don't expect you to be a conduit for the unfettered 'truth,' whatever the fuck that is.

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#50 Posted by JusticeJanitor (538 posts) -

I just want them to stop insulting me and calling me a sexist nerd and perpetrating stereotypes because I enjoy video games. I had enough of that in high school.