Game journalism is a disgrace

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Brother None, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    I used to be a hardware reviewer for a small site in the Benelux. Unless the item was something that you "spent" while testing it (kinda stupid to rebottle liquid cooling fluid for instance), the items tested were either to be returned or to be bought at cost (or slightly above production cost, but definately below market value). Sometimes there were no provisions to let you keep it, even at a price.

    Big things (cases, motherboards, gfx cards, RAM, CPUs,...) were only very very rarely free. Happened maybe once or twice over a span of 10 years that I can remember, but never to an item that I was reviewing.

    Hardware companies are more likely to let you just keep it if you're a large review site, but that also makes sense since you might want to reuse it in another comparative test in the future. Yet these same items are likely to disappear into private possession, obviously.

    Is it a pay off? I don't know, because if done right it's hard to say if someone is genuinely impressed with a product because it's good or just because his review was "bought".
  2. Briosafreak

    Briosafreak Lived Through the Heat Death

    Dec 18, 2003
    Well an almost complete time frame of events, courtesy of Role-Player, that showed me this:

    Jessica just said that people should fact check when they call her journalist or reviewer because she isn't. That's true, except she does reviews and pseudo news all the time, so implicitly she confirms to be just a content producer for hire with no ethical bonds attached, which was exactly the point of the article.

    Ah and Corina, Laurens facilitator and helping hand was just hired by Bethesda last week. Ok then.
  3. Jarest

    Jarest First time out of the vault

    Sep 13, 2012
    The almost hilarious discrepancy between critics' scores and user scores on Metacritic for Diablo III sealed the deal for me: there is no way that can be the result of anything but extensive bribing.
  4. Lexx

    Lexx Testament to the ghoul lifespan
    Moderator Modder

    Apr 24, 2005
    Just forget about metacritic. If "the horde" is in rage, they vote down or up everything, even if undeserved.
  5. Sub-Human

    Sub-Human -

    May 31, 2011
    Modern Warfare 3 has an even larger gap.
  6. Grotesque

    Grotesque It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Oct 16, 2006
    Maybe you should stop telling how Beth$ is not one of the worst out there.
    We got it the first time and repeating it is making things worse for you.

    Gaming journalism is as good as the target audience is, a majority of adolescents that don't give a fuck about integrity.
    So what to expect?
    Things will just be getting worse as the money and interests involved grow bigger.
    In 10 years from now, all will be a farce
  7. PlanHex

    PlanHex Legislative Senator oTO Staff Member Admin Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Nov 4, 2007
    It's a farce now and it's been that for a while.
  8. UncannyGarlic

    UncannyGarlic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 6, 2008
    I'm glad that you decided to post this. I read the articles in the original thread but didn't have time (I kept my girlfriend up as it was) to respond to encourage you to news post them until now. It's relevant simply because this is a problem that reaches across the whole video game industry.

    Well the good news is that we know exactly what they gave to all who attended the event. She outed corruption by being so corrupt that she failed to realize that it is corrupt and so was completely transparent in that matter.

    Uhm, what? I think it's good that he related it back to Bethesda because some people might feel that their is an implication by being posted here that they are one of the bad guys. Bethesda is so good at building hype that it's not necessary for them to do some of the more sleazy things, especially since the review staff seem to also do a lot of news coverage.

    That news coverage involves going to prerelease events and sneak peaks, something publications probably shouldn't have the reviewer of the product be attending. In fact, to keep things more cleanly divided by having a seperate news team and review team would be the most ethical approach.

    That said, I remember reading that a few journalists got flown out to a 5 star hotel to review the game in a hotel room with someone (I want to say a PR rep but I don't remember clearly enough to do so) helping them deal with bugs and with the game. The publication should really be paying for the trip (though it should make no difference to the journalist) and the journalist should not have someone to consult about the game. They should have access to someone to help them deal with crashes for practical reasons but that person shouldn't be in the room the whole time.
  9. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all

    Apr 3, 2003
    Worse for me? Why? Because people don't want to hear it? It's still true.

    Yip, Bethesda does do that, and event-like things as described by Walker in his article.
  10. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    I believe her response was that she's a TV host and entertainer, not a writer. Which, really, is at least somewhat of a fair point. She's just a pretty girl for the audience to stare at while she goes "woo!" and chats up industry people. As long as she (and her audience) understands that she's not someone to take seriously, I'm not sure about labeling her as a fraud, per se.
  11. .Pixote.

    .Pixote. Antediluvian as Feck

    Sep 14, 2009
    Games need journalism - what the fuck has the world come to... :roll:
  12. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all

    Apr 3, 2003
    Only partially. Guys like John Stewart and Steve Colbert are TV host/entertainers. Do you think it'd be ok if they both worked for and made ad appearances for the Democratic party?

    Sure, I don't think anyone takes Chobot seriously anyway, she's just a face, and that's a fair defense, but it isn't a blanket defense that exonerates her from walking a vague line between PR and reporting.
  13. Ilosar

    Ilosar Vault Fossil

    Apr 20, 2010
    Especially when she gets some pretty preferential treatment from pubilshers. Her getting a role in Mass Effect 3 (complete with a modeling) despite having next to no voice acting skill and standing out like a very, very sore thumb among the experienced cast always bugged me.
  14. smejki

    smejki First time out of the vault

    May 26, 2009

    Interesting info about Bethesda. I am one of admins of czech-slovak fallout fansite. Previously to release of New Vegas I contacted local distributor and asked them to send fan's questions to either Beth or directly to Obsidian. In order to add a importancy I wrote the interview would be shared with NMA. The request was rejected by Bethesda for "the website" is on their blacklist because of negative campaigns against their games. So we only interviewed the local distributor in the end.

    That for Bethesda being nice and not blacklisting.
  15. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all

    Apr 3, 2003
    They don't do interviews with any fansites. That's their promotional policy, and it includes fansites that are positive towards their games or more open to working with them. I think even Planet Fallout, which is as close to an "official" fansite as the franchise got, didn't get much in the way of interviews.

    You can agree or disagree with that, but fansites aren't journalists, and they're kind of separate from the discussion topic of this thread, and the specific point I brought up Bethesda for. The topic here is relations between professionals, PR and journalists. Fansites are a topic of relations between professionals from PR and fans from the community. That's more community relations than PR.

    I haven't really even tried to get any interviews or access for NMA since Fallout 3's release. What's the point? But as a journalist, I still have some level of access to them. Despite my ties to NMA.

    I think the only non-fansite I know of that Bethesda showed any "blacklisting"-type behaviour to was the RPGCodex, and well, y'know...who can blame 'em?
  16. Briosafreak

    Briosafreak Lived Through the Heat Death

    Dec 18, 2003

    We got all the interviews we asked during New Vegas at Planet Fallout, and NMA was on the black list, making it forbidden for Obsidian and Bethesda people to talk to this site. Their PR was very professional in their relation with us, and not at all pushy, except regarding Interplay news, they kept the pressure up in order to prevent us from talking about Interplay or Fallout online and got it, something that brought quite a bit of tension between one of our guys and IGN/Bethesda at the time.

    All in all you are right about their relation with fansites, we were an exception for a while since we got a million uniques for quite some time, and three times more clicks than all the other Planet sites that existed, and even a deal with Games for Windows about sharing content that surprised the Bethesda folks, so Beth had to take us seriously. We got the same swag as all the other mainstream sites, namely free reviewing copies and T-shirts of New Vegas (mine was stolen on the IGN headquarters...) but weren't really invited to large PR events, because IGN had priority for those.

    Again Corina was just hired by Bethesda, and she was the mentor for Lauren, so I wonder how things will be in the future.
  17. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all

    Apr 3, 2003
    Huh? Planet Fallout never even began to approach even a fraction of the traffic NMA pulled in, let alone sites like the Vault and Fallout Nexus. The Nexus sites have always been snubbed by Bethesda despite their massive size. There was no traffic or clout reason to take Planet Fallout seriously.

    NMA's pull and reach and coverage in third party media has always blown that of Planet Fallout out of the water, and PF died a predictable death. You got access because you were essentially in Bethesda's pocket. If you still want to deny that, that's no skin of my back, but it'd be pretty obvious to even a complete outsider: Bethesda doesn't do fansite PR, including for massive, influential fansites, and then suddenly for Planet Fallout they make an exception.

    I'm not going to praise them for their fansite policy. Heh, I remember when they seemed to give a bit more access to Duck and Cover coz hey, lesser of two evils. That was before attempting to just create a fansite they control, though. That's the problem for Bethesda. There's no control, no accountability, for fansites. That bothers them. But again, fansites aren't run by professionals, and the relations are a different question.

    Also not much to wonder about, Lauren will now start ranting and raving about how awesome Bethesda games are. Professional shilling!
  18. Eternal

    Eternal Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 4, 2008
    And in an ironic twist, both Stewart and Colbert are often better at the "journalism" aspect of what they do than many of the people who are actually journalists.

    I think a better example would be Rush Limbaugh who claims to be an entertainer when pressured, but is often approached as and mistaken for a pundit / journalist.

    The whole gaming "journalism" thing is pretty sickening. There is no real "journalism" going on in 90% of the sites. It's a ton of aggregation of people playing a game of telephone via retelling information that someone else posted that someone else posted somewhere else. Very rarely is there any sort of attempt at fact checking, or impartiality to advertisers/publishers.

    Plus gaming reviews/previews (which I'm not sure you could call journalism per-say) are even worse. Often being simply tip toeing around issues if it is a major game or publisher. I think one of the best ways to show this disparity is to see how much more harsh (and honest) reviews for small indie titles tend to be vs larger AAA games.

    Also when companies are mailing personalized swag to people who are reviewing your game: especially when you consider some of the swag sent out to reviewers can cost well over a hundred dollars were it a retail item, that is when you know there is an issue with how the relationship between critic and creator is skewed.
  19. Briosafreak

    Briosafreak Lived Through the Heat Death

    Dec 18, 2003
    Ok although there are confidentiality issues still pending I'll do my best to explain why this is completely wrong.

    We'll start by explaining how Planet Fallout came to be. IGN during the Murdoch years developed a policy of selling content space to publishers. They would make one or three years contracts where they would get huge sponsor deals in exchange for appraisals on IGN/Gamespy USA (the UK branch was more independent) and the support of fansites and modding/tools/art downloading supporting venues. The largest clients were Take 2/Bethesda/Bioware/EA and a few others.

    This way the metacritic ratings and general web buzz was guaranteed to be better for the publishers. Still with the exception of Planet Nintendo and the GTA site, the fansites themselves were pretty independent, like Planet Elder Scrolls and Planet Call of Dutty, since what was at stake was the promos and ratings at the motherboard sites, not the portal sites.

    That meant we were left on the three months it took to create PF on our own, with me having the only obligation of creating a team that mixed old fans (me, Marco and Dmitryi, that later worked for NMA) and two other guys coming from the console angle, that later became the harsher critics of the Interplay incident, ironically.

    Fallout had a gigantic launch, and in the first few hours of the site we were having 360.000 viewrs, so IGN took notice and gave us even more support. Still nothing changed from the Bethesda site, that gave us reviewing copies as they used to do to mainstream sites featured fansites, and nothing else. Absolutely nothing, they didn't pressure us, but they didn't gave us press site access or interviews or direct contact either.

    Now on the forae, the new social networks and other places Planet Fallout begun to be seen as the real official Fallout site. You and Pawel helped that misconception, but that was fine since, and here's the problem with your narrative, that gave us over a million uniques for the next three months. While you and Pawel were looking for the free Alexa numbers we were getting the internal NewsCorp/IGN numbers and corporate intelligence figures, that showed how your numbers were completely wrong at the time.

    Those figures came to the attention of Bethesda too, so when Microsoft contacted me to allow our content to be featured on Games for Windows and other places and I agreed to the deal, I just mailed Pete Hines and said it was time for them to take us seriously, give us press site access and PR booths access, something they agreed with no reservations except for paid trips (that IGN had on contract that we could not have, it was only for the motherboard people) and wider access to the devs and Beth in general.

    So you see our special treatment came from we creating some leverage by ourselves, not because we were on the take of Beth- that "honor" goes to IGN USA...

    After the first six months our traffic was more or less that of NMA, and the Wikia had more traffic than all the other sites together. That was ironic, since IGN almost got the Fallout Wiki, but our editor decided he wanted to make something on the inside and backed away, against our advice. Ausir independence was guaranteed too, like ours.

    That independence might have been a factor on us not getting a three year extension, when we were the second fansite on the network. That and the fact that I was very vocal with the policy of not getting in the way of regular NMA content, even with your boycott of everything PF, and leave the site to handle Fallout 3 console players, and our policy of not giving ratings on our reviews...

    Still we were brought back to New Vegas, and the fact that I knew Obsidian was forbidden to talk to NMA in every way led me to try to get the site going again, with the problem that all the contacts and interviews with Obsidian had to pass through Bethesda this time.

    Then Bethesda really begun pressuring us, in order to stop all coverage of fallout Online and Interplay. That was the seminal step that led to a war of words on the inside of IGN/Gamespy that led us to be way less motivated and focused, dragging the site to a third of NMA traffic, for instance. We were by that time the largest fansite on the network, but it didn't matter, IGN was sold and closed the fansites and download vportals, and is now morphing to be a content provider for the publishers, creating their sites content or even infrastructure, while keeping two major sites to continue to give high reviews to clients as a a bonus to their contracts.

    Nothing new on the eastern front.
  20. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all

    Apr 3, 2003
    Haha. I'm sure you were really big for like five minutes.

    Right. Because you were Bethesda's custom Fallout 3 fansite. You were de facto the official Fallout 3 fansite, owned and paid for, and had access and money to do promotional stuff. Money that came from Bethesda. Benefits of selling out.

    What misconception? Planet Fallout has never been relevant. If it was, it wouldn't be dead.

    For three days? Who cares.

    Nope. This is a lie. If you want to believe it yourself, go ahead, but it's a lie. You got access because you could be controlled, because you were in a controlled environment, and if you ever showed a backbone and dug your heels in you could simply be replaced. It wouldn't matter if NMA or any other fully independent fansite had ten times the traffic it does, Bethesda would still not work with us.

    Haha, what? There was no boycott. I just never read Planet Fallout, and I don't think anyone else on our staff did. Nothing boycotting about it, we don't read DaC either, because it's just not a relevant site. We always posted stuff when you had it, we just looked down on you, because there was no reason to respect what you guys were doing. None. Your existence was irrelevant to us.

    I'm not exactly sure with what you're thinking with "getting in the way of". How could you affect our content in any way? Again, I don't think any of us even read PF with any regularity, so I'm not even sure what you guys did. You had that failed map thing, no?

    Who cares? We just filtered interview questions through GameBanshee and other friendly sites, haha. There is always a way, and I did it without selling out my principles. I'd love to have more free access to Bethesda, or to Obsidian during the New Vegas development, but I'll never sell out for it. That's what sets you and me apart.

    See, everyone? This is an example of exactly what the articles are talking about. Briosafreak is basically a good guy, but he abandoned NMA years ago just can't deal with being shut off from PR, and he doesn't even bother to hide backstabbing us because oh no we're shut off. He prioritizes views and press access over integrity and loyalty, and again, makes no effort to hide that. It's a trap many journalists fall for, not because they're bad people, but because they don't have their priorities straight.