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Editorial Entertainment Games

Game Publishers Contribute To Bad Journalism 16

Posted by Zonk
from the can't-write-what-I-don't-know-about dept.
AmpedIGO writes "1up editor-in-chief Sam Kennedy finally decided to comment on the ongoing discussion of games journalism. The interesting twist is that Kennedy's comments don't revolve around 'editorial integrity,' but rather delves deep into one of the issues that game journalists have known about for quite some time: developers and publishers don't help. 'That all said, I find our industry's reluctance to actually help push journalism forward a mighty shame. I can't tell you the number of times I've worked on potentially incredible stories that just fell apart because of the uncooperativeness from a publisher. Perhaps this speaks to Aaron's editorial in some manner, but it seems as though a lot of companies are simply reluctant to give you access to their talent unless it's directly tied to the promotion of a game.'"
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Game Publishers Contribute To Bad Journalism

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  • by potus98 (741836) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @02:28PM (#14456326) Journal

    > I can't tell you the number of times I've worked on potentially incredible stories that just fell apart because of the uncooperativeness from a publisher.

    Assuming "publisher" refers to a game publisher... Since when were the subjects of journalism required to cooperate on a story? The mainstream media (I hate that term) have been publishing solid, thought-provoking stories for hundreds of years -and not always with the cooperation of their subjects.

    Assuming "publisher" refers to a game magazine publisher... Since when were the publishers of journalism required to cooperate on a story? Many journalists have been publishing solid, thought-provoking stories for hundreds of years -and not always with the cooperation of publishers- thanks to the Internet, copy machine flyers, and printing press pamphlets.

    • Assuming "publisher" refers to a game publisher... Since when were the subjects of journalism required to cooperate on a story?

      Bingo. I was going to write the same thing but you beat me to it.

      This strikes me as nothing but an excuse, and a whiny excuse at that. "Waaaaah, we can't write our stories because the publishers don't give us access!" Well, dammit, then get access. Wait around the elevators pretending to be a freakin' janitor until you see the guy you want to talk to, then corner him. Real jour
      • Disclaimer: I used to edit a videogame magazine, and I currently work at a videogame company (and I didn't RTFA; just commenting on the comments).

        You are being far too hard on the 1up guy, and it could come from a lack of understanding. Sure, a game journalist could forgoe the publisher cooperation and call up a game developer directly to talk about something. But its extremely unlikely the developer is going to say ANYTHING unless the contact (if not the content) is approved by the publisher. Doing so co

  • ... bunging IGN a few thousand to tell us games like Halo 2, KOTOR 2, Madden 06, Burnout 4 are must haves games when in fact they have bugs or aren't finished is hardly how you contribute to good journalism.
  • This is ridiculous (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Irish_Samurai (224931) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @02:51PM (#14456583)
    I have never heard a journalist whine that their sources weren't cooperative as a justification for why they are mostly advertainment.

    The real problem is the underlying business model, if you need advertising to generate revenue you're going to leave out stories and content that has the most journalistic integrity in favor of profitable material. That's just a fact of life. That having been said, don't try to defend the position as something else.

    Journalists must posess a certain amount of leverage in order to get sources to talk, video game media doesn't have that leverage. What are they going to do, tell a publisher that they won't print a story about thier product in their magazine? Hideo Kojima would laugh that shit off in a second. Go ahead and take the loss in sales that month while I give exclusives to the competition.

    Game publications have no leverage in the game world other than the review section, and even that is pretty minute and after the fact. Until a publication gains the subscription base to influence the market, getting good content will be an uphill battle. Unfortunately, alot of publishers think the way to get that base is by serving up content using demographic information - which causes a catch 22. How do you gain credibility and market influence when the only way to do it is by providing polished marketing fluff?

    Peole like magazines like "US" because their trash, not because they're chock full of journalistic integrity. It's the same thing with video game mags. Publications with a percieved journalistic integrity will publish stories that will outright piss off the population with their content, but it will also cause the reader to think. All it takes is one game mag revealing a "travesty" in the gaming world to gain this type of credibility. They have passed on multiple opportunities (EA and the NFL; Jack Thompson) because they didn't want to loose advertising revenue or the ability to do reviews (EA).

    Someone is going to have to grow a pair and lay it out there.

    I don't frequent 1up because I don't like discussions consisting of "OMG! did u c the l8est scrns?" But, I do subscribe to OPM and their reviews tend to be pretty accurate and uninfluenced, so I think they're trying. Yet the harshest stance I could see on the EA and NFL was "It could stifle improvements and innovation." No shit. How about coming to the defence of the industry as a whole and calling EA out as the profit driven asses they are, then maybe a smaller game studio would see that you care about the industry in a more mature manner than fanboyism and would probably grant you some never before seen level of access. Rinse and repeat until you have leverage in the industry as an agent of journalsim.

    Unfortunately this will never happen until a publisher decides to sacrifice short term profits for long term gain.
    • I'd like to second one of your points and clarify a bit. I think there are a lot of real good games journalists. I think there are two problems though.

      a) they are scattered throughout a number of publications that have a lot of crappy writers. In an environment like that, it is easy to rise to the point of editor and then you're in charge of a bunch of no talent hacks but would you take a pay cut and a demotion in title to go work for another magazine? Probably not, so gathering up the good writers in t
      • I agree with both of your points, but it still doesn't defend the lack of "journalism" in th industry today.

        As far as your first point, I completely agree. Not alot of people are going to self demote and take a pay cut to gain "journalistic integrity". It will probably come from a grass roots movement that grows in numbers and credibility over time.

        I would like to add to your second point. I think you're correct in the fact that alot of gamers just want to know if a game is going to rock when it comes out,
  • Have you ever looked over the car magazines?

    I've never seen so many spelling and grammer mistakes; I can't believe they get printed.
    • Have you ever looked over the car magazines?

      I've never seen so many spelling and grammer mistakes; I can't believe they get printed.


      Coming from someone who can't spell "grammar", I'm not sure you're the right one to judge that. (Yeah yeah, you probably don't get paid to write and these guys do.)

      But it does depend on the car mag. Some of them are trash. Others pride themselves on quality journalism (i.e. Car and Driver), in addition to their standard product reviews/previews, and they have a real editoria
      • "There's no equivalent to this in gaming."

        EDGE in the UK, which has been doing it for over a Decade and shows no sign of dying.

        (EDGE being the magazine the US Next Generation was based off. But considerably more up-market)

        "a 12 page feature on a guy like Ralph Baer in order to satiate subscribers or selling 12 pages worth of ads"

        Worth noting that magazines, the more ads are sold, the bigger the magazine is. Sections are added if the Ads justify it, and removed if they're not. The healthier the Ad market, th
        • Why you can have EDGE in the UK, but not a version of EDGE in America

          In the US, great issues of great magazines, with great covers, sell about 30% of the issues they put on the newstand. So, if you want to sell 30 magazines, you have to print 100. This is not profitable. So magazines give away subscriptions (you know when they offer you 12 issues for $12 or even $20? That's not profitable either). So once you sell a bunch of magazines, at a loss, and convert some of those newsstand sales to subscriptio

  • Maybe the journalists should starting to take the developer more serious:

    When one of the journalists asked me the proverbial 'how many weapons in the game' my feelings about most game marketing started uncontrollably bubbling to the surface. [...] When they market films do they say 'Coming soon: Citizen Kane 2: Rosebud's Revenge: The Wrath of Kane, now featuring 10 actors, 13 sets, and 8 writers!'? No, they don't.
    Cliff Bleszinski [1up.com]

  • I think the problem with game magazine journalists is that they wait for everything to fall into their laps. When it comes down to it, what do they do all day? They wait for a package containing a new game to arrive. They play a while, then write what they thought about it. This is under ideal circumstances when they're not being influenced by a developer to give a positive review.

    The most I've seen from these publications, both online and in print is when they interview soemone, and even then its either a
  • He says:
    "The Japanese representative for Konami made the condition that we were not allowed to run the interview in the magazine until they were able to properly read/review it"

    and then just assumes that they intended their edits to be manditory as well.

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