Gaming Journalist Loses Job Over Corruption Article

So...

A Journalist at Eurogamer (one of the larger gaming journalism outlets) wrote an article highlighting the rampant corruption in the gaming industry right now, and more specifically the corruption in the "top tier" of gaming journalism websites, and those they employ.

http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Eurogamer-Joins-Light-Side-Blasts-Shoddy-Gaming-Journalists-48563.html

The above is an article about the article because Eurogamer have since amended the article and fired the journalist because of pressure from another source.

http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Eurogamer-Writer-Loses-Job-Pointing-Out-How-Much-Video-Game-Journalism-Fails-48600.html

In this article, the dude on Gaming Blend updates to tell us that the journalist lost his job over it, and provides a link to the original article.

To me this seems like Gaming "Journalism" has learned nothing from the Gerstmann fiasco, and learned nothing from the "Gamer Entitlement" fiasco in regards to the Mass Effect 3 endings (where Forbes Magazine effortlessly and wonderfully ripped the main gaming journalism sites apart).

Yikes.

What do you lot think?

EDIT:
Unsurprisingly Forbes has gone after them all again lol.

Heres a linky:-
http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/10/26/all-the-pretty-doritos-how-video-game-journalism-went-off-the-rails/

EDIT2:
Another article about it, from an RPS journalist...

http://botherer.org/2012/10/24/games-journalists-and-the-perception-of-corruption/

And yet, not a word from The Escapist as of yet... Kinda surprised about that tbh.

Forbes needs to just go ahead and spin off a gaming site, complete with community forums. I know I'd use it.

As for the story, yeah, that's games journalism for you. The Forbes article did a pretty good job of explaining exactly what the problem is here.

He was fired for that article?

Wow. That really sucks for him, the whole thing seems to hinge on mentioning another journalists' tweet as suspect, and her inevitable legal action over the quote, otherwise Eurogamer would probably have had no problem with the article and let it be. But I don't know the specifics, I just look forward to the inevitable uproar when the reviews scores of 11/10 come out for the next Call of Duty game, although this time it may actually be warranted because Treyach seem like they're actually shaking up the formula quite vigorously for once.

This isn't just bad for him, it's bad for the industry. I'm unhappy.

The journalist probably shouldn't have named names but Eurogamer could have simply edited the article to not say who he was talking about.
Or take out that section entirely.

But according to what ive read, apparently the amended article is vastly different from the original. It looks like he was sacked for the article itself and not the libel threat.

FitScotGaymer:
The journalist probably shouldn't have named names but Eurogamer could have simply edited the article to not say who he was talking about.
Or take out that section entirely.

But according to what ive read, apparently the amended article is vastly different from the original. It looks like he was sacked for the article itself and not the libel threat.

Rab wasn't sacked, he resigned after his article was edited to remove the paragraph that quoted another journalist's Twitter feed.

Also the amended article isn't vastly different, it's the same article but with one section removed.

The sources you've read seem to be a bit confused as to what has transpired, or are embellishing things to make it seem more sensational.

This site probably has the best coverage of what has transpired over the past few days:

http://wosland.podgamer.com/a-table-of-cowards/
http://wosland.podgamer.com/the-wainwright-profile/

FitScotGaymer:

EDIT:
Unsurprisingly Forbes has gone after them all again lol.

Heres a linky:-
http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/10/26/all-the-pretty-doritos-how-video-game-journalism-went-off-the-rails/

"Jeff Gerstmann was fired after giving a low review score to the game 'Kane & Lynch'"

What a load of crap. Jeff himself has said that it isn't true. He wasn't fired just because of the low score. There were other factors. People just jump on the bandwagon without thinking.
Getting tired of that old run down myth.

Bacaruda:
"Jeff Gerstmann was fired after giving a low review score to the game 'Kane & Lynch'"

What a load of crap. Jeff himself has said that it isn't true. He wasn't fired just because of the low score. There were other factors. People just jump on the bandwagon without thinking.
Getting tired of that old run down myth.

Considering those other factors basically amounted to a marketing department that didn't have a clue how to handle threats from advertisers saying they'll pull ads in response to low scores, and them bitching him out on other occasions for it prior to the Kane & Lynch review, yeah, he was pretty much fired for giving low scores. The Kane & Lynch review was just the final straw.

Sure, you might be able to say that it wouldn't have happened if the marketing department weren't inept, but the fact remains that inept or not, they fired him for giving low review scores which prompted threats from publishers. Calling it a myth seems incorrect.

Vivi22:

Bacaruda:
"Jeff Gerstmann was fired after giving a low review score to the game 'Kane & Lynch'"

What a load of crap. Jeff himself has said that it isn't true. He wasn't fired just because of the low score. There were other factors. People just jump on the bandwagon without thinking.
Getting tired of that old run down myth.

Considering those other factors basically amounted to a marketing department that didn't have a clue how to handle threats from advertisers saying they'll pull ads in response to low scores, and them bitching him out on other occasions for it prior to the Kane & Lynch review, yeah, he was pretty much fired for giving low scores. The Kane & Lynch review was just the final straw.

Sure, you might be able to say that it wouldn't have happened if the marketing department weren't inept, but the fact remains that inept or not, they fired him for giving low review scores which prompted threats from publishers. Calling it a myth seems incorrect.

It feels like people and media just thought it happened something like this:
Jeff gives low score to game.
Jeff gets fired.

It's not like his reviews are posted instantly and by himself. They go through a process. Multiple people see it before we, the public, do.

This is why I base my opinions on a game on my playing them. And also why I never pay attention to journalism of any kind. It's just someone's opinion, except more publicly known.

This is what happens when you get your money from the people you're supposed to be reporting on.

I think, as gamers, we could well do the medium a world of good if we refused to buy games until two weeks after their release. Eliminate the ability of companies to push games on flashy ad campaigns and pre-order incentives rather than substance. Lessen the chance that they can get favorable results by only offering "review copies" to reviewers viewed as sympathetic.

The Forbes article makes some good points, including the one that while corruption, both overt and more subtle, is real, it is also far less common than much of gaming media's audience tends to believe. Still, I think there's much to be said for doing our part to uphold and insist upon honesty and integrity both in the medium of games and the journalism that examines it.

That Forbes article was a fantastic explanation of the whole situation, perfectly illustrating both the problems with gaming journalism, both in it's relationship to publishers, and it's audience. Basically, all I could want to say and all the points I could make where already made and made well in that article. :P

I don't know why gaming is apparently believed to be a sacred standard which should be untouched by marketing. There is too much money to be made through marketing to gamers, so it should come as no surprise that this type of idiocy permeates through this medium. The only way to combat it is through knowledge.

You don't NEED to preorder the game. You don't NEED to get it at the same time as all of your friends. Just stop, wait a week or so, buy some health food from a deli or something and wait for the user reviews to come in.

I read all of that and wow, very interesting stuff. It just makes me wonder how much of this bile effects the Escapist too...

The comments on the original article actually do start going after Jim Sterling and they seem to be garnering a lot of support for those opinions.

I would like to think that the Escapist is beyond all this but the article has certainly put some niggling doubts into my mind. I don't know the facts though so I'll just say innocent until proven guilty.

For the most part tactics covered were what was being whispered about for ages, so nothing too surprising.

I'd just like to say that exactly the same stuff happens with any "enthusiast" press. Magazines and websites dedicated to music, rap in particular have the same problem. They're very one trick pony publications with little cross-audience appeal, the only willing advertisers are rap labels, and those guys expect concessions that no respectable publisher would agree to.

I agree with the comments about Forbes setting up a gaming website. It's such a massive, all-encompassing publication that gaming related advertising revenue would be a drop in the bucket, they'd be more willing to pull back the curtain and show all of modern gaming's problems squatting on a pedestal like a toad.

People actually look at reviews?? I've watched a couple Escapist reviews and they don't seem corrupt but I never put any stock in them when deciding whether or not to buy a game.

Pfft. Bloody Sheeple.

Some people are starting to wake up and see that all of this illusory bullshit just ends up hurting the industry more and more each day. The sooner this gets addressed, the sooner we can all help this industry get back on its collective feet.

Reviews used to be a good barometer about wether a game is good or not. In a general sense.

It used to be that if most sites were giving a 6/7/8/9 out of 10 (10s were very very rare) to a game then you knew you would probably (if it was the type of game you liked) enjoy it.

Once or twice where you would come across an article where the reviewer gave the game a really low score (say 4 out of 10), and a bit of investigation would reveal that the reviewer was biased against the genre he was reviewing (say he was reviewing a strategy game, and he was an FPS lover) and was only doing the review cos his boss told him to.

But that was rare. When games got a low score, (a real low score not a 7 out of 10) they generally deserved it.

Now though?

Games regularily get 10 out of 10 (10 out of 10 should be rare rare rare), and there has been a few that was awarded 11 out of 10 (Super Mario Galaxy apparently got 11 out of 10 - really?) and it creates this very real perception that reviews are now pretty much worthless.

Just look at the disparity between the metacritic critic reviews scores, and the user review scores for Mass Effect 3 as an examplar of this.
You would think that at least ONE reviewer somewhere would have picked on the fact that the ME3 intro/prologue doesn't do the job a prologue section needs to do, and picked up on the fact that the pre-EC ending was batsh*t insane.
The fact that not a single one did, is suspect to me.

Granted some of them get away with it because they didn't actually finish the game by the time the review was due and only reviewed "what they had" and thus gave the game an 8 or a 9 out of 10. Which okay cutting off the ending the game is probably worth an 8 out of 10 in spite of its flaws.
But there were many reviewers who DID experience the ending, and either called it "highbrow" because they didn't get it (just like we didn't get it) and assumed that because of that, that is what it was, or completely avoided the issue by saying something like "some might not like the end" and then justifying it by saying that people wouldn't like the end of Shepard's story regardless. And then turning round and giving the game a 10 out of 10 regardless of the ending.
That to me is HIGHLY suspect.

And thats just one triple A title. It raises the question about every single other big title and big review site.
It might be unfair, and untrue, but it doesn't mean the perception is any less real or that the question that it raises is any less valid.

The last few weeks have been really shocking, haven't they? Really, really bad for the industry.

Oh dear.

I personally love when shit like this happens. To be clear though, its tough that that guy had to basically fall on his sword to save face for his website.

Lets be honest though, any sane person who has ever visited a gaming website knows this shit goes on. Its been going on since being a games journalist has been possible. Every time it gets dragged into the open, the "journalists" start falling over themselves trying to convince everyone that its not an issue. The wider the gulf of mistrust between gamers and journalists gets, the closer the collapse of the triple A industry looms.

Indeed.

I find it really sad.

Also, sometimes it seems like I am the only person bothered by stuff like this...

First, regarding the "no word from the escapist" thing, this site is usually pretty slow with the news...

I personally don't agree with the guy's corruption article. Well, I agree with the problem, just not the degree in which he says it. The "higher-tier" sources being corrupt ain't just a problem exclusive to game journalism, but journalism in general (it's a sad truth). That being said, he should not have been fired for it. While I disagree with how he sees the problem, I do agree that there is a problem, and it is certainly a discussion worth having. Eurogamer's response was completely unnecessary and really only makes them look bad. I think people are taking one site's overreaction as an indication of the entire profession. And yeah, gamers should be wary of the bigger gaming news and reviews sites. But there are plenty of credible sites to go to.

Also, the whole Mass Effect 3 nonsense is a terrible example about the "corruption of games journalism".

@Mr.Omega

The ME3 thing is only an example mate, to illustrate my point. I could point to other games on both sides of the coin.
Triple A titles that the critics rave and rave and rave about, and then user scores/reviews are starkly and significantly lower than the "critical reviews". And more indie titles that get pretty low scores from the "critics" and yet get much higher scores from user reviews.

Just search metacritic, you will literally fall across dozens of both.

As I said, it doesn't "prove" the industry is corrupt but it does raise a very valid question about the whole thing.

I wonder if anyone has an actually workable answer to this.

Metacritic: Supposedly I can't trust the "pro" reviews, because they are paid off. But I can't trust user scores because the majority have no idea (or don't want to do it) about how to rate a game fairly/neutrally.

In the end, I vote for always judging things for myself. I don't let myself down...usually.

What i find most interesting is, according to the links, the writer mentioned, Lauren, had working at Square Enix on her resume (now removed), and a Tomb Raider filled Twitter page (now locked), which only goes to support Rab's accusation.

I haven't read Forbes' game content since the ME3 fiasco. Looks like they haven't lost their charm :D

He didn't get sacked, they edited part of the article and he quit.

Still, it is ridiculous. He picked out a particular journalist and discussed how she was presenting herself to the outside world - as someone who was on the take. Whether she was or not was besides the point, it was about how they conduct themselves and where they should be drawing lines. There was nothing unreasonable in the piece whatsoever, but now there's a bunch of shit head "journalists" baying for blood of anyone who dares criticise them for misconduct.

FitScotGaymer:
@Mr.Omega

The ME3 thing is only an example mate, to illustrate my point. I could point to other games on both sides of the coin.
Triple A titles that the critics rave and rave and rave about, and then user scores/reviews are starkly and significantly lower than the "critical reviews". And more indie titles that get pretty low scores from the "critics" and yet get much higher scores from user reviews.

Just search metacritic, you will literally fall across dozens of both.

As I said, it doesn't "prove" the industry is corrupt but it does raise a very valid question about the whole thing.

That's really only particularly useful in looking at how shit and worthless scoring systems are.

@Woodsey

There is that too.

The industry has really taken a beating these last few months hasn't it?

EDIT:
I shouldn't have said Sacked I apologise. That wasn't completely correct.

Intent and their employee Lauren Wainright apparently abused the UK libel law system to frighten the staff at Eurogamer, and as a consequence to protect his friends and co workers the guy figuratively fell on his own sword.

It amounts to almost the same thing. And it still fricking sucks, for both the guy AND for the industry as a whole.

At least, as near as I can tell that is how it went down, anyway.

 

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