The Games Journalism Industry
I am pulling together two other smaller blogs I have done relating to the Gaming Journalism Industry over the past few days (over on Destructoid) and here I aim to pull some ideas together in a nice coherent piece of blogging. Or maybe not, I never really know how I am going to do these blogs. So onwards!
So the Games Journalism Industry (ok I can’t be arsed typing that out all the time, I’ll just call it games journalism) is currently in a state of flux and change.
Since the Jeff Gerstmann controversy came to light I have noticed some things changing. The respect and faith placed in the big games media sites like GameSpot has all but disappeared. I have noticed a rapid increase in people registering on sites like Destructoid and The Escapist, and many people are saying that they are joining because they are fed up with the big sites, especially GameSpot. Now while this is mainly just a reaction to the Gerstmann controversy, I think it is signifying a much larger shift in dynamics for the gaming media.
The time of the large corporate sites is coming to an end, and there is a rise in the popularity of what I am calling the ‘indie’ sites and the blog. People are fed up with the corporatism of the larger networks, they are starting to realise that other sites are out there providing fresh content and more innovative features and articles.
I realise that this is not necessarily a new thing, sites like The Escapist have been around for quite a while now, and blogging has been on the rise for quite a while, but I think that are boom period could be occurring in the next few months. I for one hope that these sites can capitalise on this opportunity and help start a new wave of gaming journalism and journalists.
So what am I trying to say you may ask?
I am saying that we have to support these sites during these times of flux in gaming journalism; we must show that we will no longer bow to the will of the networks. I also hope that the work of sites like The Escapist; Rock, Paper, Shotgun and Destructoid will also lead to an end of the focus on review ‘scores’ and awards.
Review scores are becoming something of a curse in games journalism as they are what game publishers and the gaming public focus on nowadays. I read earlier today that Eidos have placed false review scores on the PR site for their game ‘Kane and Lynch’ (incidentally the game at the heart of the Gerstmann scandal) a prime example of how focused people are on the final score at the end of a review.
This is a bad path for games journalism and is something that the big network sites are helping to promote. People are becoming so concerned with the final score, and end of year awards that they don’t care about what the reviews say about the game itself.
I am beginning to think that we should end the focus on the score and think more about what the review says about the game. The final rating of a game should still be used in reviews as it provides a snapshot opinion of the game. It is the content of a review that counts and the way it is written.
I would much prefer if reviews are written in an interesting and innovative way without the need for talking up a game purely because it has been hyped to death by the PR guys.
I feel that I am now rambling on so I will come to my conclusion!
Games journalism is and has to continue changing, games journalists have to become more innovative and stop pandering to the big money of game publishers. The content of reviews should be what matters, not the final score. The involvement of everyday gamers should be promoted further in games journalism. I hope that games journalists will continue to push the rigid rules that often seem to encompass their work and lead us into a new intellectual age.