VGM Watch reports, by way of the latest issue of EGM, Editor in Chief Dan Hsu has finally had it.
According to Hsu, Midway, Sony and Ubisoft have all sent him notices of late asking him, would he kindly not be so hard on their games. The companies in question suggested EGM would be "banned" from reporting on their games in the future. Setting aside for the moment questions of how, exactly, they'd go about "banning" a magazine from covering their games, Hsu reportedly responded by saying "Nuts!" He claims he'll continue covering games from these companies, and that they'll not receive any special treatment of any kind.
This isn't the first time Dan "Shoe" Hsu has gotten mad as hell over the interplay between publishers and the media. In his editorial appearing in EGM Issue 199, Hsu obliquely referred to having been offered money for editorial coverage of certain games, and said he'd flat out refused the offer before going on to condemn those with less accurate moral compasses saying "Those guys can kiss my ass." He didn't, however, name names. This year, the gloves are off.
What's interesting to note, however, is the timing of these "tough guy" editorials. Hsu seems to get most riled up after the holidays, during the post-December game release slump, when, it's assumed, magazines like EGM have their weakest showings at the newsstand. Hsu's previous tirade against the industry hit newsstands in the January 2006 issue. This January, he's up in arms again. Coincidence? Hard to say.
I hate the idea of publishers meddling in the review process as much as anyone, and considering how annoyed I still am over Gerstmanngate, any suggestion the big publishers are getting tough is likely to run me right off the rails into "power to the people" mode. But considering the dwindling relevance of EGM, one has to wonder if this is a case of the Editor who cried "payola." It will be interesting to hear what the companies in question have to say for themselves on this one.