Close
Report Comment to a Moderator Our Moderators review all comments for abusive and offensive language, and ensure comments are from Verified Users only.
Please report a comment only if you feel it requires our urgent attention.
I understand, report it. Cancel

The Games Media Must Renew the Trust of its Audience

The Games Media Must Renew the Trust of its Audience

Fri 02 Nov 2012 7:56am GMT / 3:56am EDT / 12:56am PDT
Media

A culture of casual corruption has become ingrained in the games media - but this week's scandals give us a golden chance to change

It's been a pretty rough week for the games media. For those not keeping tabs, in the wake of an article on Eurogamer by writer Rab Florence decrying cosy relationships between games journalists and PR people, one of the writers named in the piece, Lauren Wainwright, threatened the site with legal action, resulting in the editing of the article - an act which led, predictably, to it being vastly more widely read and disseminated than it would have been otherwise. Reactions have been intense and polarised, from those taking this as proof that all games journalism is deeply corrupt, through to those accusing Florence of effectively bullying the writers named in his piece and of making a mountain out of something which barely qualifies as a molehill. Mud has been flung. Names have been called. It's all been rather depressing and squalid.

The sad thing is that in this silly, completely avoidable storm of outrage, Florence's original point seemed to have been lost - much to the relief of a cadre of games media who react aggressively to any accusations of impropriety, precisely because they know their actions would not stand up to the slightest scrutiny. A few people have wondered out loud why on earth Wainwright's industry colleagues did not talk her out of actions which anyone with media experience would have recognised as a path to disaster; I cannot help but consider how convenient it was for many people that Wainwright foolishly and unfairly became cast as the sole villain of the piece, providing a focus away from the industry's wider practices.

Florence himself is a divisive figure - abrasive, sometimes to the point of skirting on being abusive - and his decision to "name names" in his article, even though those names were cited based on their public pronouncements on Twitter, has also been deeply divisive. Perhaps his critics are right to say that he went about this the wrong way. However, one thing is perfectly clear to me, at least - whatever about Florence's methods, the point he was making was absolutely straightforward and completely correct.

"There is a deep and fundamental lack of professional ethics in the games media."

There is a deep and fundamental lack of professional ethics in the games media. It is not overt corruption, of the "you give us this review score, we'll give you this advertising deal" style conspiracy so beloved of suspicious commenters on Internet forums - that happens, but it is rare, confined to a certain minority of publications, and utterly despised and decried by the vast majority of writers and publishers. Rather, it is a matter of culture - a culture of how writers and publishers deal with PR people, and of how permeable (indeed, non-existent) the barrier between those professions is. It is a culture in which writers vie to win places on the most lavish press trips (and those PR people who always lay on great side entertainment and keep their cards behind the hotel bar until the small hours of the morning are well known and well liked), brag about their most beloved freebies and exclusive swag, and cultivate personal friendships with PR people, going for nights out with them, or to concerts or football matches.

It is a culture that is so absolutely ingrained in this industry that a great many writers (and PR people) would probably read the above paragraph, eyes rolling in their heads, and say "yeah, so what?". We are, as an industry, like a third world country where corruption has become so endemic that it's "just how things are done", and where the locals look at you askance if you suggest that their practices contravene some kind of morality or ethics. "It's just how we do things." As if that excuses anything.

Plenty of other excuses are trotted out. A common one is that "we're clever enough not to be influenced by any of this"; there's often a sense within the games media of back-slapping over getting as much as possible out of a PR person's credit card and access to gaming swag, of "getting one over" the publisher. It's nonsense, of course; publishers are canny, and they account for every dollar, measuring the influence it buys, the swings in positivity in press coverage, the boost in Metacritic scores. The entire reason they're willing to spend so much on PR is because it's a subtle form of influence, but an entirely measurable and valuable one all the same.

"Publishers are canny, and they account for every dollar, measuring the influence it buys, the swings in positivity in press coverage, the boost in Metacritic scores."

The reaction to Rab Florence's piece from within the game media has been telling. Initially, it was also very depressing. The loudest voices were those essentially shouting down any debate or discussion - and some of them were from very senior figures in the games media. Social media feeds filled up with snide comments which rarely addressed any of the issues head-on, but rather attempted to deride the discussion itself. "It's just games journalism, it's not important, can't you focus on something that's actually important?", went one common line of argument. "Oh god, more games media navel gazing," sneered another regular stalwart of discussion.

Let's get this clear. People who make these arguments are saying, in a nutshell, that games media - a multi-million dollar field in its own right, one which employs a lot of people (in the thousands worldwide, I'm sure) and which in fact pays the salaries of the very people making these comments - isn't important enough for its ethics to be worthy of discussion. In other words, the games media is just important enough to pay their salaries (and quite bloody large salaries too, in the case of some people who hammered at this line of argument), but not important enough to warrant any scrutiny. How terribly convenient! What a wonderfully useful middle ground this profession falls into, in which it is serious enough to pay your wages but yet so frivolous as to warrant no discussion of your ethics!

Besides, the games media does matter, even if sometimes it wishes, perversely, that it didn't. In financial terms alone, it matters gravely. The tone of coverage around a forthcoming release in major publications can shift the share prices of publicly traded corporations by tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. Review scores, aggregated on Metacritic, not only influence retailer stocking decisions and publisher share prices, but can also trigger payouts of bonuses for development staff. This isn't all abstract stuff; most publishers give their rank and file staff share options. Words written on sites like IGN, or Gamespot, or Eurogamer, can directly impact the finances of other people working in the industry, or even their future prospects of employment; media coverage is also taken into account when publishers make their crucial decisions on which studios to shut and which to keep alive. Anyone arguing that the ethics of an industry with such wide-reaching effects aren't worthy of discussion is someone whose motives need to be questioned.

"The games media does matter, even if sometimes it wishes, perversely, that it didn't. In financial terms alone, it matters gravely."

Something worthy of highlighting in the preceding paragraphs is this - we're not really talking about newcomers and wet-behind-the-ears kids here. In fact, I have a large degree of sympathy for Wainwright, who has had her professional practices and ethics ripped open and dissected by an often abusive and unpleasant band of self-styled Internet sleuths over the past week. She is a young and inexperienced writer, and honestly, young writers who come into this culture haven't got a hope; when all of your peers merrily eat, drink and holiday on PR cards, post pictures of their latest swag on Facebook or Twitter, and occasionally saunter down to a trade-in shop to cash in the stacks of free games they've accumulated, when all of this is seen as perfectly normal and reasonable, what hope has a young writer of emerging without a jaundiced ethical viewpoint?

This is why the discussion which emerges from this has to be about culture, not individuals - because the culture which permits and encourages this action comes from the top. Indeed, it is often the older, more experienced and more senior staff - often, in fact, those who have left behind journalism and moved into publishing roles - who are most to blame. They're the most egregious abusers of the system, the most enthusiastic consumers of corporate hospitality and the countless bounties of PR credit cards; in some cases, even the most willing to accept outright bribery, in the form of genuine free holidays, press trips to exotic locations where they are not even expected to turn up to the events or write any copy. They encourage staff further down the chain to mirror their lack of ethics, because otherwise their activities would stand out and be commented upon. What, did you really think that in an ethical, honest media company, a young writer could simply take it upon themselves to accept gifts, freebies and lavish trips? The decision to endorse and encourage that comes from much higher up, and it is much higher up that culture must change.

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"; I've heard plenty of variations on that this week, too. It's a useful term when trying to stop a village of backwards peasants from murdering a woman, but in the hands of those who stand to lose from whistleblowing and honesty, it becomes an odious and weaselly defence. Sometimes those who have sinned are the only people who know where to aim the stones. We are truly speaking of a pervasive culture - few writers could claim to have a clean report card. I certainly can't. I've been on trips that were much too lavish for their purposes, attended plenty of launch parties and eaten a fair few free dinners. It took exposure to the wider world of journalism, and how codes of ethics work elsewhere (especially in financial journalism, which some of my work now borders upon and which has especially strict standards) to realise that this wasn't normal, wasn't acceptable, and was in fact outright wrong in many cases. Withdrawing from this kind of culture hasn't always been easy; it's meant turning down a fair bit of work, and I know few of my peers ever have the luxury of doing that. Hence why this culture must change, not just individuals.

"Withdrawing from this kind of culture hasn't always been easy; it's meant turning down a fair bit of work."

After the storm, there are rays of sunlight through the clouds. A few days ago I feared that nothing would be learned from this utter debacle; positions seemed too entrenched, hearts too hardened. It has been wonderful, then, to see some journalists and publications openly stating that they have come to understand how important it is that they should at least consider the public perception of their actions, and that their practices must change. There will be a struggle for those practices to settle into something acceptable; I think, for example, that some people go too far in calling for outlets to buy their own copies of games or their own flights to events (these are things which are requirements of the job; teachers aren't required to buy their own blackboards), but perhaps there are middle grounds to be reached on such issues. What matters is that there must be a discussion of them - a clear, public, transparent discussion, where writers and readers alike engage and rebuild a spirit of trust that's better than what came before.

Some will argue that it's only the good, trustworthy writers and outlets who are engaged in this process anyway, but that's fine. If they can place more clear blue water between themselves and the murkier end of journalism - the end where endless PR hospitality really does often go hand in hand with dodgy deals over scores and exclusives - then that's all for the better. And if they create a culture where new young writers entering the media who accept a lavish night out on a PR credit card receive from their editors a slap on the wrist rather than a pat on the back, they'll have achieved something which I, being a cynic, never thought would happen in this industry. I'd raise a glass to that - and I'd pay for the beer in it myself.

60 Comments

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,593 1,448 0.9
Cool.

Good to see that GI.biz has finally posted an article about this. (Though the term "this week's scandals" in the by-line seems to say that it was meant for last week?).

A couple of points (had this happened last week, it would've been more, but I feel I'm just repeating myself on different sites now (*cough* botherer.org *cough* :) ).

Clive Gorman, in the comments for this piece http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-10-31-careers-in-games-pr-and-journalism said:
I had the good fortune to work with Dan G at Future (if memory serves) before moving to Bastion PR where I had a great five years in tech and videogames PR. That then led to an opportunity to work at EA SPORTS...
Now, not picking on Clive, but as I note in the comments there, this seems to be a very common career trajectory. Get into journalism, which leads to PR, which leads to working for a publisher. No doubt there are many journos who stay in the journalism-side of things, but it does seem that the only reason some get into journalism is so that they can get into other parts of the industry. I also find it fairly shocking that that article lumps two careers which should be entirely opposed - PR and journalism - into one article. That says... Something about the culture of gaming media, surely?

The New York Times has what's known as the Public Editor position ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/26/margaret-sullivan-new-york-times-public-editor ). I noted in a Facebook conversation with someone who's been watching the Florence/Wainwright/Eurogamer situation that it would be asking a lot of any gaming magazine or website to have this position. Even having a rotating authorship - where column inches were given to a staff-writer wishing to upbraid the magazine in question - would appear pretentious. But I think this would give readers a clearer insight into why an article was written, or why a viewpoint was pushed forward. "Pointless naval gazing" maybe, but it would start to hold-to-account reviewers and reporters. Which is a step in the right direction to changing the culture.

For example, the Public Editor position would be useful in responding to the criticism in the comments in this piece: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-04-18-call-of-duty-transcends-entertainment-in-such-a-massive-way

I actually use this article as an example when complaining about the state of journalism and PR.

Further thoughts when they come to me, but a lot of what I consider should be done within the industry is said by Steven Poole over here: http://www.edge-online.com/features/the-trials-and-pitfalls-facing-the-modern-game-journalist-and-what-it-means-to-be-a-critic/

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 2nd November 2012 8:45am

Posted:A year ago

#1

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Amazingly Stuart Campbell has written a really incisive timeline on this: http://wosland.podgamer.com/the-wainwright-profile/

The problem with console gaming is that say $10 million is spent over two years making a game that will have to make back the investment in as little as two weeks. In a rapidly declining market. So the stakes are immensely high for the publisher and so spending tens of thousands on "bribing" journalists is a good investment. There is also the symbiotic relationship whereby acquiescent journalists are more likely to get good content.

The good news is that there is a revolution in game journalism. The first is citizen's journalism, where a blogger or other amateur online commentator can gather an audience by being more honest than the professionals.
The second is that the rapid advance of the FTP business model is making reviews largely redundant. People can review games for themselves for free. Obviously reviews were important when people were making a $60 buying decision.

Modern technology journalists could learn a lot from Guy Kewney who had impeccable journalistic standards and was immensely respected by everyone. His Guardian bio: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/apr/27/guy-kewney-obituary

Posted:A year ago

#2

Antony Johnston Writer & Narrative Designer

112 18 0.2
Great piece, Rob. Let's hope all this resolve to change we've seen over the past few days stands the test of time.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

450 423 0.9
Popular Comment
In a rapidly declining market
Let me have a crack at this one.

1: Normalized console sales (from PS1 to XBox-360): notice how this generation swallows the last
2: Console install base: in marketing we like to use a term called relevant market, hardware sales fall as more the relevant market is served
3: Video game revenues 1995-2007: now here is the kicker, notice that massive 80% increase between 2005/2007, given that this is disproportionate to the typical inflation in each generational cycle and the extended time period of the cycle which typically sees a decline after 4-5 years anyway it stands to reason we will see a decline associated with the cycle combined with a decline attributed to the over inflation of the market

So when I see articles like this, I have to wonder if people are suffering from amnesia because anyone with a memory that spans at least ten years would question the competency of someone who is fearful and didn't expect the types of declines we are seeing.

You will notice them mention a massive fall in April 2012, which is actually nothing to be fearful of. Observe the trends of individual series because people don't just blindly spend into the industry, they buy into series and explore games within their genres of interest, which operates in conjunction with their spending habits. Before jumping to conclusions the prudent and competent economist, analyst and marketer would quantify all of the relevant variables involved. Even a rudimentary course in finance and marketing would have introduced the concept of trend factorisation - probably through a much more accessible phrase but that's what it is: trend factorisation. You isolate various periods, cycles, event triggers and measure the response to them, not just one big graph watching the whole, otherwise you miss the parts and miss any opportunity for actual understanding and end up spewing out novice generalisations.

Having said that I would never doubt the advent of mobile gaming and cloud computing will some day change the landscape, but it's vividly clear to see the presence of presumptuous interpretation of sales figures.

Posted:A year ago

#4

Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University

436 496 1.1
Popular Comment
((I'm going to ignore Bruce's usual tricks, because the issue at hand here is far more pressing than Bruce twisting every article into his narrative.))

The fact that the vast majority of games media have wholly ignored this debacle, not even reporting that an editorial on a major website (Eurogamer) was forced to be edited due to outside legal pressure, tells me everything I need to know about the situation. The games media's collective silence on this matter is a damning indictment of where the power really lies, of who really constructs the narratives of the news and articles that we as consumers of games and games media, consume. As Rob points out, with the financial future of entire companies at stake, with the welfare of tens of thousands of developers and designers at stake, this implicit, accepted corruption (let's call it for what it is) isn't acceptable, no matter where or to what extent it takes place.

There are too many people with vested interests, their hands tied into PR and games journalism; fields which should (although overlap and friendships are acceptable) hold each other to account, on a professional, ethical basis. Journalists should force PR to work harder to promote their games, digging around, posing criticisms and asking tough questions. PR and publishers should ensure their marketing messages, their products are up to scratch; they shouldn't be making sure they've lined the pockets and rubbed the backs of the people who should be holding them accountable and making them feel uncomfortable.

That's the real issue here, a lack of accountability. Who are the games journalists accountable to? Their readers? Their editors? The Eurogamer reaction again tells us what we need to know. Are we really to believe that Lauren Wainwright alone was able to exert enough legal pressure on Eurogamer to edit the article, and retract several paragraphs? Does one young games journalist have that much sway? Did she have that much of a legal leg to stand on, despite Eurogamer being assured no libel had actually taken place? No. The editor didn't have the power here, the readers (supportive of Rab and Eurogamer's stance on the article) didn't have the power here, Lauren Wainwright didn't even have the power in this situation. As Rab has gone on to imply on a blog, the publishers and PR agencies who have been outraged by this article, they had the power and the legal sway over Eurogamer to force changes they wanted.

And that's the problem. I'm not saying every games journalist is a parasite sucking at the teat of swollen PR, that wouldn't be fair and that wouldn't be true. But it is, as we see in the aftermath of this article, a pervasive problem with far too much power in the industry, powers to make or break journalistic careers, power to swell or dent the bottom lines of companies, and most worryingly for me, the power to harm the financial safety, the careers and the well-being of the people who work hardest to construct and design the games we all love and consume. Twitter accounts that frothed at the mouth when this article broke, that bragged of their free PS3's or their free holidays, have gone silent or gone private. The people who need to be held accountable are scuttling into cover, and the powers-that-be have smoke-screened their exit, interrupting what should have been outrage with sheer unrelenting silence. They've ensured the man who spoke out against them questioned his entire career in games media, and quit the post he used to try to bring them to account.

I'm not wearing a tinfoil hat here, I'm just a passionate consumer of both games and games media, but I have to ask the question: "What is the point of all of this? To destroy a man who seeks the truth, or to destroy the truth so no man can seek it?"

Posted:A year ago

#5

Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer

482 293 0.6
Sadly I've been saying this for a while now. The intelligent gamer no longer trusts any AAA review to be honest. You can often see the struggle in the reviewers writing. The readers will comment things like "He's given it an 8 but the review reads like a 5!"

It's as if the writer is trying to tell her/his readers the truth but, has promised or been told to give no less than X to the game in question. I'm a long time reader of Eurogamer and am often one of the vocal minority screaming about AAA games that have been given 10/10 while having bugs that make them unplayable simply glossed over by the reviewer. The corruption doesn't seem that hidden in those instances as it's plain to see when playing the games in question that absolutely no honest reviewer would have given a 10/10 let alone a 5/10 with such game breaking bugs.

Something needs to change or games journalism is in danger of killing itself off with it's own gun!

Posted:A year ago

#6

Matthew Handrahan Staff Writer, GamesIndustry.biz

124 115 0.9
For what it's worth, this whole affair does seem to have inspired change for the better. Both VG247 and Videogamer have publicly updated their codes of conduct in an effort to be more transparent about how they find and produce their content. This is admirable, and I really hope that other sites follow suit, because I can only assume that these new practices will put VG247 and Videogamer at a significant disadvantage to competing sites that carry on accepting lavish hospitality and freebies. Unfortunately, those things are often the price of access, so it would be easy for less scrupulous sites to benefit from sticking to the old ways.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Matthew Handrahan on 2nd November 2012 11:43am

Posted:A year ago

#7

Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

450 423 0.9
I think scores are a big part of the problem in trying to quantify a game with a single numerical value as it will never do a thorough review any justice. For example, Deadliest Warrior gets a fairly low metacritic score, but I've had more fun with that game than nearly any other fighting game, and I'm very much into SF, Tekken and SC, it would be difficult to give it a high overall score because it loses production value points, but it's just so fun to play against your friends with.

I've also seen many excellent films with great depth get low Rotten Tomato reviews, but films that are far from being groundbreaking receiving high ratings like Looper. I really enjoyed the film but it is just not in the same league as The Matrix or Inception, and when you think about it, it's like trying to give a single score to art on a scale of 1-10, but the moment you score an a4 portrait that took four hours with 8/10, all the great masterpieces can't be fairly judged.

I did like the way Nintendo Magazine System would rate the games mastery and other aspects of production quality as well as give a summarised figure of lifespan and completion time, etc. Those are crucial numbers that could influence a purchasing decision.

I like the fact that reviews can evoke excitement, nostalgia, loyalty and a sense of community. But at the end of the day there is a bit of give and take, magazines need to sell, games need to sell, publishers need positive exposure to sell more/enough games and magazines need to cover the hot topic. So there's a massive contention there that might not exist if overall scores didn't exist.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University

436 496 1.1
Surely one of the solutions is that readers start paying for games media content? If games media is reliant on advertising which is in the hand of PR firms, who are tied into publishers as well, then that's the source the writers are beholden to. Games media will serve the sources from which it gets revenue and therefore continue in this state. Readers don't contribute any revenue towards the vast majority of game website these days, where as fifteen or twenty years ago many people would pay £5 a month for a videogame magazine, which could exist comfortably without advertising if it needed to. Perhaps the rot set in when 'Official' magazines appeared, and started to tell readers what they wanted to hear: that their game and games console was the best, which is an attitude we see all too often online. If x game doesn't get 9/10 or 10/10, and doesn't conform to a readers expectations (guided and molded, often, by PR and publishers), then reviewer of x game is uninformed and stupid, and reader will buy the game anyway, because they already know the game is good, thanks to PR! People paid for that service with the 'Official' magazines, advertisers and publishers loved it, and that's how games journalism on the net began and has continued, beholden to advertisers and publishers who supplied the money and revenue that keeps them going, that in many cases simply supplies the content, and not to the readers who consume their content.

All writers and journalists should really be beholden to their readers. If we want a better standard of games journalism, games journalism that genuinely critiques games in a professional, ethical and at times academic manner, in 'high culture' ways, then perhaps we need to start paying for it. That way, readers become the source of revenue and profit for games websites, and the websites, obliged to serve the sources of revenue, becomes beholden to readers.

Edit: Again, I'd like to note that I don't believe this is the case across all games journalists, nor across all readers of games media, but it has become pervasive enough and widespread enough to be an influential and powerful part of the culture of games media, and therefore a powerful part of the entire culture of the games industry. My concern isn't with finding an effigy to burn, but with finding alternatives to the current model which is ripe for abuse and exploitation by powerful publishers and their PR firms. Power to the people!

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Daniel Hughes on 2nd November 2012 12:10pm

Posted:A year ago

#9

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,184 979 0.8
I knew there was a problem after this;

http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox/halo-2/critic-reviews

My trust in professional reviews and articles dropped considerably. Especially after playing what was actually a pretty bad (and short) game. Back in the N64 days games struggled to get 8.5/10 or even 9/10 when they were amazing. Reviews are just a start in what is becoming a serious problem with video game journalism.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,593 1,448 0.9
One of the things that I strongly dislike about mainstream gaming media is that everything is so poorly written. I've done a degree (Social Sciences discipline). I've written First Class essays, and I've written... not great essays. There's very little written that is of a high or even medium standard. Press-releases are regurgitated, without question. Hate EA though I do, their control of the Origin/Steam situation was masterful. Every single mainstream site out there followed EA's narrative, unquestioningly. Criticisms of companies and faults with games are ignored/brushed aside. Investigative journalism in the games industry effectively doesn't exist. Writing of an academic or real-world standard - sourced, referenced, with a coherent argument - is hard to find.

Bedroom journalists are one thing - not everyone has gone to University, or wants to go there, even. But professional writers and reviewers? If the thing that you're reviewing genuinely has no faults when I play it then I will be shocked. Edge's recent review of Most Wanted, for instance - http://www.edge-online.com/review/need-for-speed-most-wanted-review/ There's apparently nothing bad about that game. At all. Not one single thing. 9/10. Yet go back and play Mario 64 (Edge's first 10/10 review), and wonderful though it still is, there are things that irked then, and annoy and aggravate now. So how can I trust a review that says there's nothing wrong the latest in the NFS franchise?

Writers need to start from the point-of-view of the public, which means not finding things that are good with games, but finding the faults with them. Until that point, reviews are essentially meaningless.

Now, I say mainstream media up there. And it is unfair to tar all media with the same brush. RPS has some fantastic writing. Beefjack's editor wrote a stirring piece about teaching journalistic ethics to his staff ( http://beefjack.com/news/games-journalism-ethics/ ). Penny Arcade review. Good writing exists.

Finally, to come back to Daniel Hughes' point regarding paying for media - it's something that has to be done. When even the New York Times is faltering due to a lack of revenue, then what hope gaming media? RPS has paypal donation/support, which is one way of doing things. Perhaps the best way?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 2nd November 2012 1:05pm

Posted:A year ago

#11

Caleb Hale Journalist

155 231 1.5
A lot of problems could be fixed if gaming sites would simply purchase copies of the damn games at retail like everyone else. I get that doing so would ruin the perfect cycle of glowing game reviews dropping a few days before a title hits the stores, but I can't help but think gaming journalists are allowing themselves and their reviews to be used as a step in the marketing of a game leading up to its release.

Buy the games yourselves and you're free from publisher constraints on what you can and cannot say about it. I think any respectful reviewer would have the common sense not to spoil stories, however it seems some publishers want reviewers to keep quiet about more than the plot.

As for the "swag" journalists get - are you a bunch of 9-year-olds? Is a Borderlands statuette really that cool? Reject it. Send it back to the PR departments. Gaming journalists carrying swag around the E3 floor makes them look like a bunch of tourists, not media professionals tasked with offering sound consumer advice.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Antony Johnston Writer & Narrative Designer

112 18 0.2
Daniel, revenues from subscribers have *never* paid for media, of any kind. Even in traditional print newspapers and magazines, the money from sales alone was never enough to actually pay all the expenses required to produce the work. Sad but true, and this is why print media has always carried advertisements.

(Yes, there have been occasional exceptions, but these are so rare, and sales required so enormous, that they're outliers.)

That doesn't mean it's impossible in theory, especially online. But it would require so many subscribers, and/or such high subscription fees, to render it effectively impossible in practice.

Posted:A year ago

#13

David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers

359 78 0.2
Writers need to start from the point-of-view of the public, which means not finding things that are good with games, but finding the faults with them. Until that point, reviews are essentially meaningless.
I understand what you're saying to a degree, flaws in games should be called out. Frankly, some games (particularly console exclusive games) tend to be reviewed by fans, and these are people reluctant to criticize games even when they deserve it. However, I don't think the public would be served by every review being a litany of a game's flaws. Different reviews on different sites from different writers serve different purposes - to some people they would prefer to hear a critique, others would want to hear what's fun about a game. There's enough sites out there for everyone and the nice thing about the Internet is if you don't like what a site represents, you can simply stop going there.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Christopher McCraken CEO/Production Director, Double Cluepon Software

111 257 2.3
Popular Comment
A lot of problems could be fixed if gaming sites would simply purchase copies of the damn games at retail like everyone else.
This. This is actually how the consumer union here in the states reviews cars. They buy them off a dealer lot. Restaurant reviewers often hide their identity, and guard it fiercely. There is an unhealthy dilution between "blogger" and "journalism" here, and it needs to stop. Bloggers often *need* the stuff the game companies want to hand out for good press. They're not established (for the most part). A lot of them are not traditional enough to be a journalist with a recognized entity with ethical standards. But what the journalists, if there are any, need to realize is that the game companies *need* you. It's why they attempt to ply you with freebies. They need you to get the word out. However, somewhere along the line, the lines were blurred, and game journalists were made to *need* the game companies, for ad spending and revenue. This unhealthy vicious circle is where we are today.

Journalism works best when it's adversarial. It does not work when you allow rampant advertiser bias. When you blur the line between journalism and PR, well...there's a word for that: being a shill. A journalist, at least when I was in school (30 years ago) was described as the witness for the public, someone who describes events and things for the public without bias. In order for the public to trust the stories and the writers, they have to be untainted by the baubles. This is what has been lost.

Doritogate is the culmination of something that has been in plain sight, but ignored for some time now. If game journalists want to fix the credibility problem, then the people taking the unmarked envelopes need to be outed. Immediately. Integrity is something you have to build. For those of you who need to understand it further: You build integrity with actions you take before you put the pen to paper.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Dan Whitehead Managing Director, Word Play Narrative Consulting Ltd

51 198 3.9
The second is that the rapid advance of the FTP business model is making reviews largely redundant. People can review games for themselves for free. Obviously reviews were important when people were making a $60 buying decision.

This assumes that the sole purpose of a review is to tell you whether it's worth the RRP, which is something I strongly resist. A good review should be a good review regardless of whether you play the game at launch or ten years later and whether you pay full price or play it for free. You can watch movies for free on the TV, but nobody says that film criticism is redundant.

Criticism of any artform should be an end unto itself. It's more than just a consumer guide - it's a way of contextualising and considering the medium itself. It's part of a healthy creative process.

One of the big problems with games criticism is that it remains stuck in the old "buyer's guide" model, where abstract concepts like "playability" are crammed into pointless numerical scores. This is why reviews tend to cluster around the same levels - not because of corruption, but because a certain level of production value all but guarantees a good score.

That's why it's great to see sites like Gameological ripping into Assassin's Creed 3. I may not agree with John Teti's withering assessment of the game, but by reading his review I get a different perspective on the work. Too many readers just want reviews to reinforce and validate their own opinion, or their own assumption of what a game is worth.

We need more dissent and disagreement.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dan Whitehead on 2nd November 2012 4:11pm

Posted:A year ago

#16

Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent

280 810 2.9
Popular Comment
You know, I wasn’t going to say anything, but this comment from Daniel has irked me with enough canker to write a personal response. So here it is. It is long, but no longer than it has to be. This is the quote:
The fact that the vast majority of games media have wholly ignored this debacle, not even reporting that an editorial on a major website (Eurogamer) was forced to be edited due to outside legal pressure, tells me everything I need to know about the situation. The games media's collective silence on this matter is a damning indictment of where the power really lies, of who really constructs the narratives of the news and articles that we as consumers of games and games media, consume.
First, though, Rob’s article.

I agree with 90% of it. Ultimately, he and I want the same things. There are many problems in this industry, and this is the one that upsets me the second-most. The first-most being the more-common-than-you-might-think practice of reviewing 70+ hour games the space of a few hours. But, that’s not today’s topic, so I’ll leave that one there.

So, the 10%. I don’t agree with the way Rob’s article, like some others I have read, seems to state with the kind of scientific certainty with which a physicist might announce the indisputable weight of a carbon atom (it’s 6 by the way, side-track fans), that it is impossible for a games journalist to write about something objectively if they have been treated to a meal, bought a beer, been given a goody bag and so on and so forth.

I dispute that.

And, I put it to Rob that it is an opinion expressed in this newly-created climate due to its popularity and not to its veracity. That the conditions set for today’s discourse dictate that people want to believe in a causal link between freebies and reviews scores or some other form of favourable coverage.

But what about you, Dan? How do we know you’re not just another of those freeloading arseholes we’re really into reading about at the moment? The ones who wouldn’t think twice about eating a burger they didn’t pay for then failing to write a news story about Far Cry 3 while not thinking about free burgers? How do we know you’re not one of those?

I cannot prove that I’m not as corrupt as a Kinshasa police officer, to be perfectly honest, but I will point you to this quote from an article from the BBC, in which I was asked to provide a quote post-2011’s awful Kinect-focused E3 presentation. It became the BBCs top tech story for that day. And I would ask you to bear in mind that I gave this particular quote barely two weeks after Microsoft themselves flew me to Seattle and gave me beer. What a bastard, huh?

“It promised to deliver to its core gamers, but instead it's filled their core titles with a bunch of Kinect irrelevances, and made 2011-2012 the best 12 months on Xbox 360 for eight year-old girls.”

Suffice it to say that I am a radically principled individual.

Now, moving onto Daniel’s assertion that we’re all staying schtum because we’re looking at one another, shitty-eyed, like kids standing about an empty cookie jar. Well, he only need take that analogy a little further to see the flaw in that. If the games media are the kids and the cookie jar is, well, the cookie jar, asking those with chocolate on their chins and crumbs down their shirts to explain themselves seems like a reasonable proposition.

But how reasonable is it to ask for a manifesto of change from those to whom the notion of taking anything at all from the jar never even occurred? Not reasonable at all.

Innocent parties should not have to explain themselves. It is in fact highly destructive to lump the principled with their opposites. It is proven to damage those with high morals, which is understandable. The world thinks I'm corrupt, so I might as damn well be. That's human nature for you. Funny little animals aren't we?

No, what is reasonable to expect from them is anger.

Rob’s article, in fact, in serially deflecting objections to accusations of corruption (many of which, admittedly, are quite poorly thought through), ignores a wealth of evidence that shows that when it comes to outright corruption, some of us just aren’t very susceptible to it.

And I think a lot of this comes down to how we think of people that aren’t ourselves. You know; the mass out there; the throng. We don’t know them personally, but we encounter them in plural when we read about how they’re all drugging their granddads or whatever be the controversé du jour. We’re clever, they’re stupid, and we should be the ones to decide what’s best while they – the witless bollards we see on street corners gawping into their copy of The Sun – should not be allowed to make that decision. Which is where both censorship and conversations at middle-class dinner parties come from.

The problem with thinking about ‘other people’ in this way is that it does not account for the individual. Broad generalisations are the realm of the lazy. There are swathes of games journalists who have said nothing on this subject as of yet and the majority of them are like me. To posit that this somehow proves their guilt is among the most asinine remarks I have ever comes across.

I work with some of them. And I know that some of them have not said anything because they are being asked to justify crimes they did not commit. Bunching people together and calling them all one thing is a dangerous pastime. Both this article, and Daniel’s comments are doing exactly that. And it is incorrect.

Many who have written anything at all on this topic have, somewhere within their rhetoric, passed comment that ‘most of the games journalist I know are good eggs’, or words to that effect. So first ask: If that’s the same for everybody, then isn’t this being blown a little out of proportion?

If those who say nice things about bad products because they were offered a Dead Island hammock at some presser or other are a minuscule minority, then isn’t it a little unfair to attempt to shame the lot of us? I, as a writer, don’t think about what either PRs or gamers will think about what's emerging from my fingertips, as you may have deduced from my candour. I – being mostly a self-important prick – think about what I think. Then, I write it down. The entire process, to me, is that simple.

I have noticed that many vocal gamers have been speaking up, pointing the finger and saying ‘no wonder game scores are so high’. As if it’s PR pressure that’s the dominant factor. I’m not going to say it isn’t a factor, since I cannot speak for the entire gamut of British games journalism. But it has long been my assertion that the rise in scores is primarily due to the unavoidable conditions inherent in having an internet. You know; the kind of conditions where affording Uncharted 3 8/10 leads to immediate death threats aimed at the writer who (rightly or wrongly – no such thing in subjective judgment anyway, but that's yet another conversation) gave it that score.

Like it or not, that kind of thing is likely to have far greater effect on said writer’s outlook than a free Hitman tie. So why aren’t we compelling the games press to cut off all relations with gamers? Our close, friendly, buddy-buddy association with them surely sets a poor foundation for objectivity, makes us perhaps fear destroying the sacred cows of the people to whom we are the most beholden. I’ll tell you why we don’t do that: because it’s fucking stupid.

If you care to have a look back through X360 Magazine’s Twitter feed, you’ll find comments of support to Rob Florence at the time before this all went shit-shaped and ultimately, that’s because we want the same thing. But just because we want it doesn’t mean we’re going to get it. I don’t believe that not eating mini-burgers at press events, for example, achieves anything. It won’t change the copy that’s been written and it won’t make the publishers change tack. Rather, it’ll make them concentrate on the more easily led among the press pack and be glad that those with greater principles have fucked off elsewhere.

Is it not better for us to be on the inside of these types of events, taking cold note of PR tactics? Would the gaming public not be more comfortable knowing that they had people on the inside whom they could trust not to be swayed by trinkets and false compliments and finger food? If we accept that publishers aren’t going to change the way they work, then yes, it’s absolutely preferable to declaring your immediate martyrdom at some altar strewn with Borderlands bobbleheads.

To cut ourselves off from it is to slit our wrists and to slowly bleed out.

And nobody wants that, especially the gamers I remain proud to be in the service of.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Dan Howdle on 2nd November 2012 5:16pm

Posted:A year ago

#17
Why is this news? There has always been much bigger corruption in the game media.

It was a well known fact for a long time in the industry that your rating for a game in certain game magazines was directly proportional to your ad spend for that game with said magazine.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeffrey Kesselman on 2nd November 2012 4:54pm

Posted:A year ago

#18

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

457 734 1.6
My own article on this drops soon, but the gist of it is that this really is a tired argument. All we saw was one person take it to the logical extreme, and because of her lack of integrity and her cowardice, we're having the same discussion we have every other month. Nothing will get fixed; MCV will still get hits - if anything, their hitcounts spiked because of this - and other terrible sites will get hits because of SEO, name recognition, or lazy articles that at least draw eyeballs and "what the hell?" clicks. That's literally all that matters. So we can complain about Lauren Wainwright - and she truly is an atrocious human being - but really, she will land on her feet. Hell, she might even land a plush job in PR for a publisher, like Nick Chester and Shane Bettenhausen.

Posted:A year ago

#19

Todd Templeman President, Logic Factory

6 1 0.2
In a statistical sampling of 1, I may not be much of a source here, but it seems to me that magazines like Car&Driver are able to get a good percentage of their advertising from non-automotive companies. It's been awhile since I browsed a copy, but I could swear I saw ads for razors, travel, even clothing. Maybe our demographic has broadened enough to try a slightly less specific focus in the ads?

On the other hand, when I was more into backpacking, it seemed almost ridiculous to me to wade through a story with all the plugs for gear, just to get to the part where the intrepid journalist discussed the unique scenery of a particular hard-to-find locale. Every last bit of their advertising appeared to come from a relatively small list of gear makers and sellers. As I had no conflict of interest in the backpacking industry, I barely blamed the journalists. They were trying to do what they loved and keep abreast of the latest and greatest innovations. Consumers wanted the specialist magazine. Subscribers want nothing but stories and pictures of great outdoor treks, free of distraction ... an escape from disaster news headlines, politics, gossip. For the things I'm extremely interested in, I as a consumer demand some publications that allow me to escape into that interest. A Williams Sonoma catalogue fits the bill for me when it comes to cooking, and I hardly bother with the unreadable stuff in so many other foodie publications.

So, in games, I have a conflict of interest commenting on this topic, as an executive in a developer/publisher operation. That disclosed, I can tell you from experience that the very best PR people in the world have never come within a million miles of implying, hinting, winking that they might have a "special" relationship. The best I know have practically become motherly figures in the industry. I've heard third-party stories of journos going through a terrible breakup in their personal life, and calling the PR pro they trust the most, just to talk. Is this wrong? Well, then you'd better try to legislate the entire business of PR out of existence; i.e. your solution would be infinitely worse than the problem, and wouldn't work anyway. Some people were born to be great at PR. There have been times when NASA, for example, could have done much better in PR, and times when they had it perfectly right. I want that for NASA, and for any legitimate operation willing to pay a fair price for a job well done.

But I also see that these top PR pros who have actually built the relationships instead of just buzzwording about them, fight for their own integrity and that of "their" journos. They would not let their own bosses tell them to pull a nudge-nudge-wink-wink. They would call a journo at 2am to warn him if a train was coming down the wrong tracks, even if it was a career risk. Now, does that mean in all cases a large publisher doesn't lay down the law to all staff on a certain select product each year (or quarter)? Of course not. Even the best PR pro is going to get overwhelming pressure to perform. I'm not saying there aren't serious issues.

On the journalist side, I have met several who, when I first started in this business in my early twenties, got very edgy when I reached for my card to pay for coffee or lunch. I had to either let them pay, or give my word of honor that we would get together again soon, at which time they would pay for a like cup or meal. And we did. It was a great opportunity for a follow-up, and I am telling you, these guys kept track of pennies in their ledger.

One of them tried to burn a copy of our beta CD as he pretended to insert it into a hard drive for our preview demo. I said, "Um...!" and called the Marketing/PR girl (who eventually became my wife and had to take a pay cut), into the room. I just pointed at the CD burner and threw off a helpless look. She shouted the journo's name, he grinned, and stopped the burn. Had I shouted, it would have put a damper on the whole meeting. Was it unethical of him to try to get his hands on our beta? Well ... good journalists go for a story. I sure didn't like it, and had to do something to stop it, or my dev team would never have been able to trust me again. In the end ... he'd given it a shot, the PR girl (I mean, incredible, beautiful, brilliant lady professional) did her job based on her long-time relationship, and we had an excellent meeting.

Once he got the release version a month later, he didn't give our game the best review score, but he was known by his readers as a very tough grader, and I think the only thing that influenced his review was our product itself. We were thrilled with the score we got, once we understood how effective it was to his knowledgeable reader-base. On his scale we did end up with a very high score, but still far lower than nearly every other score we received. Each have their own system. But if there's a point to this, it's that the PR pro got us the meeting under cordial circumstances and took care of her responsibilities. The rest was up to our product, and my best efforts not to drool on his desk, although even that probably wouldn't have affected his score.

I don't pretend to know the answer. All I can say is there are professional standards and journalistic ethics. They actually exist. I bet somewhere someone even wrote them down! And it seems that across all media, especially including the mainstream press covering "hard" news, that certain old-school traditions of ethics seem tragically passé.

But we are not going to get rid of the consumer demand for specialized press in fan-favorite sectors. We are not going to "ban" journalism, or the profession of Public Relations. I know it sounds ridiculous to even say that. Call it reductio ad absurdum ... until some stupid fool calls for the banning somewhere, as history repeats itself in least expected regions, always. And don't get me started on committees and boards of standards ... gamers and game makers don't tend to do well with snooty authoritarians who like stuffy meetings, power, and who won't bother playing games.

Not sure if that was productive at all, but was fun to write. At least I entertained a statistical sampling of 1. ;-)

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Todd Templeman on 2nd November 2012 5:57pm

Posted:A year ago

#20

James Brightman Editor in Chief, GamesIndustry.biz

252 416 1.7
@ Christopher, calling Lauren "an atrocious human being" in our commenting section is not something we want to see here. Please watch what you say.

And the whole point Mr. Fahey was making here was that Lauren is young and inexperienced and got caught up in the corrupt culture formed by her higher-ups.

Posted:A year ago

#21

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

457 734 1.6
Popular Comment
With all due respect, James, I respectfully disagree, and stand by my comment due to the damage she's done. Lauren scrubbed her entire profile, and vanished it down the memory hole, when it came up that it was going to bite her in the rear. She lied about writing reviews of Square-Enix games, despite the fact that one of those games adorns her Facebook and Twitter profiles. She took an innocuous comment - really, all Mr. Florence was saying was that we need to watch what we do and who we associate with because perception is reality - and blew it up, threatened to sue someone - a journalist suing another journalist? - and then lied her way out of it, eventually dropping off the grid until the smoke cleared. Lauren is young, but not THAT young; I certainly knew better than to do the things she did after that article did when I was 25. I will concede that I did not have the grasp of what a separation between the press and the publishers are.

I said what I said about Lauren because her selfishness, and her bullheadedness, has rendered us unable to get past this silly argument. Again. I wonder what our next tired debate will be. Will it be the freemium debate again? And what stupid trick will be the catalyst for that?

Posted:A year ago

#22

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

457 734 1.6
@Dan Howdle - Can you not concede that perception is reality in this business? Can you not at least concede that it looks atrocious when, say, we write a review of Call of Duty, and it's not even disclosed that we reviewed the game at their headquarters, flown in on their dime, with PR in the room the entire time? Some outlets do this. We never have been able to say "we don't let PR affect what we say!" without anything more than a pinky-swear backing it up.

Posted:A year ago

#23

Paul Gheran Scrum Master

123 27 0.2
Why would getting a bunch of free stuff be a problem? Hurray for free swag and job perks.

Allowing it to influence you means you're weak and should be fired though.

Posted:A year ago

#24

Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent

280 810 2.9
@Christopher Brown

Not when, for example, you arrive back in the UK and give the game a 7 (as we did). No, I can't concede that, because to highlight it as an issue – to point out the review conditions and that they are efficacious – is to say, "We are weak. These are the review conditions and you know what, that may have affected what you're reading."

If your principles are that flimsy, get another job.

And if you want to talk about lost faith in games journalism, saying so that would end it all right there and then.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dan Howdle on 2nd November 2012 5:40pm

Posted:A year ago

#25

Mats Holm Technical Process Analyst, EA BioWare

55 50 0.9
Hate EA though I do, their control of the Origin/Steam situation was masterful. Every single mainstream site out there followed EA's narrative, unquestioningly.
Oh really? Last I checked almost all the headlines for that story was that EA "Pulled" their games from Steam, when it was in fact Valve booted them off Steam. Every story was up in arms over how EA had left Steam, and no one talked about how EA still has over 50 titles on Steam. Morville, you have some really effective blinders when it comes to focusing on anything negative about EA.

Posted:A year ago

#26

James Ingrams Writer

215 85 0.4
It's too little too late. The market has been, to all intense purposes killed by the gaming media. The obvious corruption has helped piracy grow. Supporting the industry rather than gamers has left user reviews on You Tube the de-facto "truth". New players in the market place have been kept out of the mainstream market by a nationalistic U.S. gaming media. With buggy AAA U.S. titles scoring 90%+ and less buggy European AAA titles in the low/mid 80%'s. In fact gamers now openly talk about 85% being a poor AAA U.S. title, whereas 85% for a European AAA title is a good score and therefore worthy of purchase. How have we come to this?

Gaming sites check reviews on other sites, so I see the corruption as being wider than just the odd site or magazine. Why does STALKER get 80-85% from nearly all the mainstream American gaming media yet 85%-90%+ in European media?

All you have to do is pay attention. In a review for the European AAA RPG "Two Worlds" on PC many U.S. gaming sites pointed out that the Resurrection Shrines "broke the story". Yet in the U.S. AAA Bioshock, the same Resurrection Booths "aided the story".

I could go on. But the corruption has just gone from bad to worse since 2005 and the "next gen" market appearing. As long as we had a strong PC gaming market the reins were held in, but now we have "streamlined" games; presumably for "streamlined" gamers, it has become so much easier for the media to "play their games".

Quite simply, it's easier for U.S. games companies to get into bed with U.S. gaming media on the same continent when compared to European companies. Hence the bias. I use this as an example as it's a generic situation with practically all U.S. media. This is one example to show how it's media wide, in my view, and why we are now moving to $5 phone games that cannot generate profit.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Ingrams on 2nd November 2012 6:02pm

Posted:A year ago

#27

John Bye Senior Game Designer, Future Games of London

481 453 0.9
Getting games for free is certainly a perk of the job, but it really shouldn't influence the reviews (unless you're 15 years old, "oh my god, they're sending me free games" isn't that big a deal), and in many ways it's necessary. If you have to buy the game yourself from retail then a) half your readers will have bought the game before you post your review, b) you won't have any readers anyway, because they'll all go to another site that posts its reviews earlier, and c) you'll be rushing to get through the game so you can get your review up as quickly as possible to minimise the impact of b.

Luckily the lead times on console games mean you should be able to get final code to reviewers a couple of weeks before the game hits the shelves, so if the publisher establishes an embargo until a day or two before the game is released, that should give everyone plenty of time to do a decent review of it without feeling rushed. This should result in the best reviews, and be most useful to your readers, without causing any serious ethical concerns.

It's a long time since I worked as a games journo, but back in the days when the dead tree media was still relevant, publishers often gave exclusive reviews to print magazines, which obviously is ethically dubious, as the publisher is clearly expecting a favourable and high profile review in return for giving you the drop on all your competitors with a major release. And the fact that the lead times on magazines were so long compared to websites meant that they were blatantly reviewing beta code in most cases.

I remember one particularly infamous case where a game (I think it may have been Unreal) was delayed at the last minute, meaning at least one magazine printed a big feature review of the game months before it eventually hit the shelves. Not to mention the story I once heard about a writer who was flown out to America to review (I think) one of the Command & Conquer games by playing it in the developer's office, with PR staff peering over his shoulder the whole time. This kind of thing used to happen all the time, and no doubt still does to some extent.

In my own experience, a magazine that boasted of its strict "we only review final code" policy once asking me to review what was clearly labelled as a beta version of "Sin". Within a minute of starting it up I'd encountered an amusing but pretty major bug - the massive chaingun mounted on the helicopter in the on-rails section at the start of the game stayed in your hands when you got out of the chopper! I'm not sure who at the magazine and the publisher thought this build was adequate for review, but it clearly wasn't. And yet I know for a fact that other UK magazines reviewed the game based on that build.

It's also worth remembering that gaming magazines and websites are largely reliant on revenue from games related advertising, and if you bite the hand that feeds you, it sometimes bites you back, hard. It's not unknown for a publisher's marketing department to throw a hissy fit after seeing a negative review of one of their games appear on a site that they're paying to advertise that game, demand that all their advertising is pulled from the site, and refuse to pay the bill. Particularly for small sites this can be crippling.

There's certainly plenty that can go wrong with games journalism, but being sent free games is the least of those problems!

Posted:A year ago

#28

James Ingrams Writer

215 85 0.4
The answer is always given - "NPD don't include digital downloads". But the question is, how have we had a gaming media for over 30 years that hasn't regularly demanded publishers release bonafide sales numbers? This is just a sign that for practically the whole of the history of gaming, the gaming media have been their to support the industry, not gamers.

Posted:A year ago

#29

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

457 734 1.6
@Dan - "Not when, for example, you arrive back in the UK and give the game a 7" - That's another debate altogether! I didn't know a seven was a slap in the face! And no, I don't think saying "these are the review conditions" is saying "I'm weak, and I am affected by comfortable conditions and the honeyed words of public relations". It's saying "here are the conditions I reviewed the game in". Period. It's the same as describing the gaming rig I would review a PC game on.

Posted:A year ago

#30

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,593 1,448 0.9
@ Mats.

EA agreed to the Steam ToS. Then, when they were asked to (please) place DLC for games on Steam, as every other company does, they refused. Then their games were removed. Both parties appear to be at fault, but EA broke Steam terms. I can find the interview where this is acknowledged when i get home. And i would appreciate ad hominem attacks were kept to a minimum Mats, especially when you're an EA employee talking about EA (it implies a certain amount of fanboy-ish bias).

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 2nd November 2012 10:31pm

Posted:A year ago

#31

Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent

280 810 2.9
I also taker issue with the following, Rob. Sorry, chap, not trying to make your life difficult.
A common one is that "we're clever enough not to be influenced by any of this"; there's often a sense within the games media of back-slapping over getting as much as possible out of a PR person's credit card and access to gaming swag, of "getting one over" the publisher. It's nonsense, of course; publishers are canny, and they account for every dollar, measuring the influence it buys, the swings in positivity in press coverage, the boost in Metacritic scores. The entire reason they're willing to spend so much on PR is because it's a subtle form of influence, but an entirely measurable and valuable one all the same.
I'm not sure how that's measurable. For that, you need a control group – the world to review your game with no PR spend. And nobody does that. That, of course, extends down as far as the individual. How do you measure the internal, psychological influence your free beer is having on a collection of people with broadly disparate attitudes, opinions and lifestyles? You can't. At all.

Posted:A year ago

#32

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,593 1,448 0.9
@ Mats.

Here we go. That whole DLC thing explained. Can we get back on topic now please. :)

http://uk.gamespot.com/news/origin-not-sticky-enough-ea-6382162

(specifically: "DD: But as games have fallen out of compliance with Steam's rules [my observation: as new DLC has been released elsewhere but not on Steam], they've chosen to take product off.... Certain titles have fallen out of compliance. Crysis 2: Maximum Edition actually brought, if you will, Crysis back into compliance by virtue of all of the content being contained within that product [my italics]. Q: So are Battlefield 3, Dragon Age II, and Mass Effect 3 not available on Steam for those reasons? DD: Yes.")

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 2nd November 2012 10:43pm

Posted:A year ago

#33

Jason Sartor Copy editor/Videographer, Florida Today

104 33 0.3
I am not interested in throwing gas on a fire or creating a flame war, but this article says Rob left, but he tweeted he was put out of a job by another writer:

https://twitter.com/robertflorence/status/261534104208691200

Posted:A year ago

#34

Patrick Williams Medicine and Research

93 61 0.7
@Dan, individually, I agree that is hard to measure. On a larger scale, patterns do appear. To quote something from my field, few doctors would admit being influenced by gifts from pharmaceutical companies trying to push their products. However, it has been shown that there is a correlation between where pharmaceutical companies spend their money and where their drugs are prescribed.

Edit: a review article is available for free at the JAMA website: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=192314 ; I really don't want to appear to be questioning any specific person's integrity and I mean no disrespect to Dan, his coworkers or other games journalists.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Patrick Williams on 2nd November 2012 9:01pm

Posted:A year ago

#35
Great, necessary piece. Peter Parrish has written a similar argument over at IncGamers today: http://www.incgamers.com/2012/11/the-florence-effect-fanning-the-flames-of-change-in-games-journalism/ celebrating the need for articles like this to keep the debate going and guide positive changes to the industry.

Posted:A year ago

#36

Tony Johns

520 12 0.0
Instead of having a game with a review score, I would love to have wanted some information of who is the target audience of this game and if I like one game similar to this genre, would this game be one that I might find interest in.

A game is worth more than just a review score, perhaps some detail of who this game appeals to is more informative to me.

Will the journalism in games industry change? I am not sure. But it is good to find one within the industry that is willing to speak out about this sort of thing.

Posted:A year ago

#37

Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent

280 810 2.9
@Patrick

That's really interesting stuff.

Totally fair comment, but I would reiterate; you have a control group in your example, but no control group in this one. I'm not saying there isn't a statistically significant effect, only that with no control group in this instance it can neither be measured nor by that rationale alluded to.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dan Howdle on 2nd November 2012 9:42pm

Posted:A year ago

#38

Benjamin Kratsch Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Games Network

22 4 0.2
Really interesting discussion here.

I would completely agree with this idea of "getting payed by your readers, not your industry". It would basically solve all problems, but the big issue will be that not the entire gaming media industry will work with a paywall. So if there is just 1 or 2 outlets in every country that is not doing any subscription model, you will loose a ton of readers in a short amount of time.

But there really is one thing that I completely dislike about this whole discussion: Gaming media is not rich!
It`s not like you can go out and say "screw you ea, I don`t need your advertisement money anymore". You would need other ad partners like Coca Cola or what ever that are not related to games but they are tough to get. And they probably do one or two advertisements a year, but not on a monthly basis. It`s also weird for me that everyone is saying "don`t do game ads, do different things" but when Gametrailers is partnering with mountain dew and doritos this is a scandal.

Money really is the key factor of this whole problem:
Gaming outlets earn less and less money - budgets get dropped - editorial teams are shrinked to minimum - the fewer people you have, the less time they can spend on one game in this crowded christmas period.

For me personally there is way too much theory in this and no facts. What does it bring to you or your readers if you get less advertisement money, must fire editors and get closed down? There were some sites that tried out this "no ad, just donations" system and they are all gone.

Posted:A year ago

#39

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
I've been writing since 1998 and sure, have gotten my share of swag, but none of it has ever influenced my work because you can't play a coffee mug or a hoodie (I've tired, but they can't fit inside a console). I have been invited to fly in to see and play stuff, but that's a bit awkward form for a few reasons. As for games, free ones also don't influence my writing.

In general, I like good games (free or not), buy more games than I should and get to them when I can. I missed all this craziness going on this week because frankly, I don't care about anyone's work but my own, so I can't comment on any of that part of the story.

Posted:A year ago

#40

Benjamin Kratsch Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Games Network

22 4 0.2
Just to add this:
I think a lot of people believe that getting advertisement is like snipping your fingers. It`s not. You must be really, really big, probably the biggest outlet in your country that BMW, Audi or Coca Cola are even speaking to you. They have their agencies and if you don`t have a number of XY of unique visitors every day, they don`t care about you.

The only thing you can do is doing way more hardware. That`s a good idea - partnering with razer or console peripheral manufacturers. If you are a pc magazine there is also Nvidia, Intel and so on but I highly doubt that those companies will get you the same amount of money you get from the gaming industry. Maybe there is some marketing pro around here that could give us some more inside. Thanks! :O)

Posted:A year ago

#41

Jack Lee

60 6 0.1
@Dan

You're right in that there's not a good way to perform an experimental study on a test and control group for review scores, but you might be surprised at how much data bigger companies/publishers keep on the performance of their products. A large enough pool, and you can start to normalize and create benchmarks, even controlling for factors that undoubtedly affect results (genre, profile, platforms, etc). It's not as perfect a system as a clean control/test setup by any stretch, but dismissing the point because the research model is different than the usual is maybe a bit much.

To clarify, I'm a market researcher in and around the game industry, but I don't actually do the kind of research I'm describing here (I do other stuff). I'm just saying that there is a wealth of data on this subject, and a properly trained statistician can use that to glean real insights using different analysis methods.


Edited because I screwed up my post!

Posted:A year ago

#42

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,593 1,448 0.9
Re: Advertising and media revenue.

As Todd says, perhaps the demographic has widened enough that games magazines and sites don't need to rely on games publishers anymore. I have actually asked about this on various sites recently, and no-one can come up with a reason why Edge (as an example) doesn't advertise JD or Morgan's Spiced Rum; Clinique cosmetic products; Lush bath-bombs, etc. Surely the same person who likes Skyrim will enjoy the Mistborn series, so why not ask Orion Books if they wish to advertise? Men who game have girlfriends, and women play games, so why not ask Bravissimo to advertise? The list can go on. But it doesn't seem to happen.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 2nd November 2012 10:42pm

Posted:A year ago

#43

Jamie Knight International Editor in Chief, Playnation

55 24 0.4
@Dan_Howdle

Kindly refrain from bringing common sense and logic into this debate. Intelligent and articulte statements reeking of fact are something that just will not do. This is a thread populated by the self serving standing over the pummelled body of an innocent journalist like posturing priests all 'holier than thou' as they pour derisive scorn on all and sundry, tarring everyone with the same brush like some kind of maniacal Tony Hart with a carton of creosote and sackful of feathers.( whilst at the same time attempting to advertise their own potential as the next honest 'reevoower' who should be installed at these dens of fetid iniquity in place of the 'cookie stealing PR gimps' already in place )

So with that in mind please cease and desist with anything remotely approaching turthful, sensible or on topic even, ( Bruce 'The Usual Suspect' Everiss' take note ), anything other than blinkered agreement, nodding dog affirmations of which the Churchill pup would be proud or Salem styled witch hunting is not acceptable.

( I refer you to an earlier review of yours when stating that one title was, and I quote, " about as exciting as ' a sporkful of rancid gibbon shit " that very sentiment sums up my entire emotion to the vast majority of these Inquisitor comments )

Posted:A year ago

#44

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,593 1,448 0.9
@ Jamie
This is a thread populated by the self serving standing over the pummelled body of an innocent journalist
What? Are you referring to Lauren Wainwright, someone who threatened legal action against a website?

Also, I know you don't mean it to, but that whole comment comes across as someone who, in the words of Rob Fahey in the article above, considers gaming media "isn't important enough for its ethics to be worthy of discussion". Perhaps rather than pour scorn on the "self serving", you could add something of more... "useful" fare?

And
and I quote, " about as exciting as ' a sporkful of rancid gibbon shit " that very sentiment sums up my entire emotion to the vast majority of these Inquisitor comments
Tell me, is that what you think about the Public Editor position of the New York Times that I refer to in one of the first comments here? Self-criticism and self-analysis does not equal "Inquisitor".

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 2nd November 2012 10:53pm

Posted:A year ago

#45

Jamie Knight International Editor in Chief, Playnation

55 24 0.4
@Morville

if the cap fits

you seem to think I actually give a shit what you think, on any level...please do not delude yourself. you want to take a step back from the comment section that you populate and smell what you are shovelling. the very people on here who are trying to stand in defence of their chosen careers are the very people who are having to endure the raised eyebrows and accusing fingers of the same people who are trying to ingratiate themselves to an editor or an employer in that very industry by saying such drivel as 'look at me, look at me...I am so talented. I know so much about the gaming industry and...and...and..everything, but I cannot get a job in there for all of these immoral hacks "

as for Lauren Wainwright, the comment is directed not at any one individual but more as an example of the witch hunt fever of the uninformed on here trying to come up with four from the two + five cards that they have been dealt. you know what you know because of what...? the same journalists that you now purport to be so much better than.

as for the NYT? why would I want to read that piece when I was at the GMA's on the night in question and know the story first hand from actually being there and not from sitting in a basement connecting the dots from a twipic, facebook page or random tin hatters blog page

Posted:A year ago

#46

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,593 1,448 0.9
@ Jamie

Well. Where to begin. Let's start at the end and work back?
as for the NYT? why would I want to read that piece when I was at the GMA's on the night in question and know the story first hand
If you had bothered to read (either my comment, or the article at www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/26/margaret-sullivan-new-york-times-public-editor ) you would know that it has nothing to do with the GMA's, and everything to do with analysis. Here, I'll pick some bits out for you
Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times' fifth public editor, this week asked publicly whether company's incoming CEO – former BBC Director General Mark Thompson – was fit for the job.... The Times' public editor – a role more typically called "ombudsman" in other news organizations – has an almost impossible task. Not only are the publication's pages (print and online) under hyper-intense scrutiny, but so are the public editor's views. On the very early evidence so far, though, Sullivan has earned strong marks.... Early in her tenure, Sullivan took Times editors to task for their handling of a story about Mitt Romney's reaction to the attacks on a US consulate in Libya, where the American ambassador and three other Americans were killed. The Times did a major rewrite of a story it had put on its website, removing several quotes from Romney advisors and fundamentally changing the tone of the piece. In a polite but tough piece within hours of the second story's publication, Sullivan said these were effectively different stories and that both should have been preserved on the website.
Analysis. Informed, critical analysis of what the NYT publishes. To ensure that the very best journalism is attempted (even if it doesn't succeed all the time).
You know what you know because of what...? the same journalists that you now purport to be so much better than.
Let's see

http://wosland.podgamer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/wainwrightmedia.jpg

with

http://wosland.podgamer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/wainwrightlibel.jpg

and

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-10-30-editors-blog-lost-humanity-18-aftermath ("The answer is that Lauren Wainwright threatened us with legal action and made it clear she would not back down, at which point we took legal advice and ultimately made the decision to remove the paragraphs")

Also, I never purported to be better than a journalist at journalistic things. I said I was a better writer, but that's not the same thing.

From the article
In other words, the games media is just important enough to pay their salaries (and quite bloody large salaries too, in the case of some people who hammered at this line of argument), but not important enough to warrant any scrutiny
Scrutiny comes from everywhere. How readers perceive you and your writing. How publishers regard you and your website hits. PR. Fellow journalists and wannabe journalists.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 3rd November 2012 12:04am

Posted:A year ago

#47

Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University

436 496 1.1
@Dan

I'll say the following:

" I'm not saying every games journalist is a parasite sucking at the teat of swollen PR, that wouldn't be fair and that wouldn't be true. "

"Again, I'd like to note that I don't believe this is the case across all games journalists, nor across all readers of games media, but it has become pervasive enough and widespread enough to be an influential and powerful part of the culture of games media, and therefore a powerful part of the entire culture of the games industry. My concern isn't with finding an effigy to burn, but with finding alternatives to the current model which is ripe for abuse and exploitation by powerful publishers and their PR firms."

My point was never that yourself, or those in your profession, were entirely culpable and all villains. My point was that this incident is an exposure of a culture--whatever its extent--that should not be allowed to continue.

I apologise if it came off in any other way; as you note yourself, in cases such as this, emotions run high. My disdain is for those and that culture which does allow itself to be influenced (however subconsciously, or on occasion, however willingly) by free gifts and the like; the purpose of a true media is to remain above and beyond such influences, reporting in an ethical and professional manner. I'm not saying a free meal corrupts everyone; if that were the case, my university days would prove me an irredeemable soul; I'm saying enough of the system is corrupted already to corrupt relative newcomers such as Lauren Wainwright. The fault doesn't lie with the individual, so much as it lies with the systems already in place, which make individuals such as Lauren believe they are perfectly entitled to defend their actions with over-blown legal threats, leaving themselves in a job after lying, and the truthful party out of work.

My over-all feeling on this is that people get the media they pay for, and I'd like to see a games media that is more heavily funded by readers themselves. Not because everyone is corrupt or beholden to publishers, but because it would place a greater value (from gamers and consumers of games media) on writers and journalists themselves. If I came across in the other extreme, I apologise. I'm not as simplistic as that; but I did want to, and still want to, stress that readers should be willing to invest more back into the profession they rely on for their game coverage. If we aren't investing when we can and where we can, we should not expect (whatever the intentions of individuals or even companies) that all journalists and writers will act in the best interest of consumers; to do so would defy human nature. We should pay for the content we consume and rely on, rather than leave journalists and writers searching for other means of income while sections of the fanbase debase and insult their work.

As it is, it is rather late. I hope to continue the discussion over the weekend; I will stress though, that I never meant to portray a belief of the games media as 'shills' or whatever. I do firmly and wholeheartedly believe, that these events portray a media that is, at times, unwilling to confront its own problems and unwilling--in certain sectors, not in a broad, sweeping entirety--to act in the best interests of its broader readership. Such discussions are always tied to generalities, but I never meant for generalities to obscure my points.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Daniel Hughes on 3rd November 2012 1:06am

Posted:A year ago

#48

Keith Andrew Editor, PocketGamer.biz, Pocket Gamer

31 28 0.9
@ Dan
So, the 10%. I don’t agree with the way Rob’s article, like some others I have read, seems to state with the kind of scientific certainty with which a physicist might announce the indisputable weight of a carbon atom (it’s 6 by the way, side-track fans), that it is impossible for a games journalist to write about something objectively if they have been treated to a meal, bought a beer, been given a goody bag and so on and so forth.

I dispute that.

And, I put it to Rob that it is an opinion expressed in this newly-created climate due to its popularity and not to its veracity.
This is spot on, both in terms of Dan's assessment of the bits of Rob's piece he agrees with, and in terms of the bit he doesn't.

This idea - almost presented as fact by many - that having a beer bought for you or eating out with someone means you can't be objective about either their company or their products is daft. If we're all that weak willed, then it's a wonder this industry manages to survive in any form in the first place.

It might sound like I'm trying to dismiss the debate, but in general, most of the people I know working in this field really aren't that stupid or easily swayed. Those that *are* - well, people tend to know they are. Their reputations go before them.

Anyway, in general, I agree with Rob's take. I think some of the rules put out by some sites are a over-reaction that miss the point and are, in some cases, unworkable, but I can see why they exist and ultimately some balance needs to be found.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Keith Andrew on 3rd November 2012 2:31am

Posted:A year ago

#49

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,593 1,448 0.9
@ Keith
It might sound like I'm trying to dismiss the debate, but in general, most of the people I know working in this field really aren't that stupid or easily swayed. Those that *are* - well, people tend to know they are. Their reputations go before them.
It really is perception, though. You say "Their reputations go before them". In journalistic circles, sure. In PR circles. In publisher's circles. But what about the readers? Do they know who are... questionable, shall we say? I mean, before this whole mess, did any reader of Lauren's think she'd be the type to threaten legal action against a website? And once this occurs, the reader is left pondering who else could or would do that. This is why the culture as a whole has to change. Heaven's, I've read elsewhere of limits on gifts, why can the games media not do that? $20 limit on gifts, so that you can go and have a friendly beer with a PR and try and get some news, but they can't buy you a bottle of Bollinger instead.

And I certainly don't think most journos are corrupt, btw, or that they're weak-willed. I do, however, think that the media can be so much more than it is. This is why this situation both angers and motivates me.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 3rd November 2012 8:19am

Posted:A year ago

#50

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,138 1,179 1.0
Journalism is based on the idea of one person doing all his readers a favor by reporting the subjective truth.

PR is based on the idea of one person doing their employer a favor by trying to establish a subjective truth within a target audience.

For any journalist evaluating his options, it is a red pill / blue pill sort of deal. Between going up against publishers/fanboys and your own feelings of integrity, either path will be unpleasant. Will you start to look at your readers the same way PR does? Sheep and cattle to be herded to the cash registers of retailers making purchasing decisions with pre-orders long before they had the chance to get the faintest idea about the actual quality of the product? Or will you alienate publishers by not playing into their hands, thus facing an uphill struggle when it comes to being "up to date".

Current games journalism is focused on being first, on knowing everything first and telling their readers first. In doing so, they have made themselves mortally dependent on publishers. You need the full support of publisher PR to pull off the type of reporting games magazines do and reach an audience trained to be obsessed with the latest and refusing to buy any game older than a week.

If your magazine is focused on being first, then it doesn't matter what you think you are, you will always be an extension of a PR plan. If a game is good, you will get it early and things run their course. If a game is bad, you will not get a version to review prerealease. Nobody on the publisher side is foolish enough to believe a games journalist was the only type of person to know whether a game was good or bad.

Posted:A year ago

#51

Keith Andrew Editor, PocketGamer.biz, Pocket Gamer

31 28 0.9
@ Morville
It really is perception, though. You say "Their reputations go before them". In journalistic circles, sure. In PR circles. In publisher's circles. But what about the readers? Do they know who are... questionable, shall we say?
That's probably a fair point. As I tried to suggest in my own piece on all of this, though, I'm always of the view that - in general - readers tend to be more savvy than editors give them credit for. I'm not going to name names, but a lot tend to catch on quite quickly if a particular site has a bias, perceived or true.

It might be harder to pin down to specific writers, of course.
This is why the culture as a whole has to change. Heaven's, I've read elsewhere of limits on gifts, why can the games media not do that? $20 limit on gifts, so that you can go and have a friendly beer with a PR and try and get some news, but they can't buy you a bottle of Bollinger instead.

And I certainly don't think most journos are corrupt, btw, or that they're weak-willed. I do, however, think that the media can be so much more than it is. This is why this situation both angers and motivates me.
To be honest, if I was given a 'gift' of anything worth $20 by a publisher's PR, I suspect I'd turn it down anyway. Anything I've received from games PR tends to of little actual value - branded mugs, occasionally, or creative things designed to help their games stand out and bring them to the attention of people, rather than actual 'goods', as it were. Actual 'gift' gifts would feel wrong and most definitely like an attempt at a bribe, even if it didn't work.

Posted:A year ago

#52

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
Good article, and interesting. As a writer on gamrReview I've never really been "big enough" to be privy to these sorts of things, other than the odd bits of (almost never valuable) swag given out at trade shows and the occasional party invitations at trade shows. Most of the swag is given away to the readers, though I have kept bits and pieces over the years. That said, I have been aware of them for other, much larger, sites. I'm sure these things have some effect, although clearly big games can still get hit much harder than publishers want (Assassin's Creed 3 being a recent example).

Still, you've inspired me to write my own article for my site about this, explaining in detail how things tend to work for us and others in the industry and what affects it may have on our articles and reviews.

Posted:A year ago

#53

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
I think ALL journalists bend under PR pressure. Subconsciously in most cases.
If a good looking boy/girl with great social skills gives you lots of attention and gifts then human nature means you are hardly likely to let them down. However objective you might feel that you are being.
Only journalists who refuse the attention and gifts can possibly be neutral.

Guy Kewney had the journalist's code on his office wall and kept to it. He told his readers the exact truth. Which made him very highly respected, to the point where he had Steve Jobs' and Bill Gates' private phone numbers, as well as those of most senior people in the industry. Whenever I went for a pint with him he bought his rounds instead of just standing there expecting me to pay. The code he had on his wall was something like this: http://media.gn.apc.org/nujcode.html

Posted:A year ago

#54

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
Speak for yourself, Bruce. I personally never get taken in by any good looking guy giving me lots of attention:)

I've been off the last fortnight with a sinus infection, so not been around to read all this - a brief scan through the comments though, some good points there. You lot are awesome.

Posted:A year ago

#55

Jed Ashforth Senior Game Designer, Immersive Technology Group, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

111 198 1.8
Great piece, Rob. Some interesting debate on here.

The end result across lots of forums covering this is that we're all talking about, and sometimes deeply questioning, our personal positions on this. There's no bad side to that outcome, IMO.

Posted:A year ago

#56

Keith Andrew Editor, PocketGamer.biz, Pocket Gamer

31 28 0.9
@Bruce

I'm so handsome, it's me that corrupts the PRs.

Posted:A year ago

#57

Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent

280 810 2.9
@Keith

I'm not the only one then.

Posted:A year ago

#58

Login or register to post

Take part in the GamesIndustry community

Register now