Gamespot Issues "Gerstmanngate" FAQ

Gamespot Issues "Gerstmanngate" FAQ

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After a week of vague and empty statements in the face of rampant rumors, Gamespot has released an official FAQ about the firing of Jeff Gerstmann, addressing the various whys and wherefores of his termination, his Kane & Lynch review and Eidos' role in the affair.

The FAQ claims that statements regarding details of Gerstmann's departure from Gamespot were not made due to both CNET internal policy and California laws, which led to a "void of information" resulting in "conspiracy theories" suggesting that Eidos had pressured Gamespot into firing Gerstmann following his negative review of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. Rumors were further fueled by the removal of Gerstmann's video review as well as edits made to the original review text.

"In the spirit of full disclosure to our readership, Gamespot News has been authorized by management to answer the following questions regarding the circumstances surrounding Gerstmann's exit," the FAQ says. According to the post, Eidos "voiced displeasure" to their contacts at Gamespot, but not to the editorial staff directly, and their reaction had no bearing on the decision to release Gerstmann. Questions about changes to the text and video reviews, the Kane & Lynch advertising campaign on Gamespot and other topics are also covered. The full Gamespot on "Gerstmanngate" FAQ can be read here.

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I'm really trying to give Gamespot the benefit of a doubt here, but that FAQ just reeks of Fox News style spin. It really feels like they're insulting the intelligence of the Gamespot community here. Altered the review text to be more "in line" with the score it was given, took down the video review due to "mic issues", Gerstmann being let go due to "internal reasons".

This big ol' coincidence angle is pretty pathetic. I just don't buy it, especially after the fake reviews Eidos posted earlier on it's own page.

I'm with Icarus. There's a lot of stink here - Eidos has proven themselves to be liars, and then for the review to have "issues" just when the mic has "issues" at the same time that the employee has "issues" -

Even worse, when no other Gamespot employee knew of any issues from the reviewer until they were fired.

Something stinks here, and it could be easily resolved. If both Gerstmann and the company approved, they could easily say "Here's why". There's no reason for the secret. And until they resolve it, I'm certainly not stepping food near Gamespot any time in the future - and perhaps I should avoid Gamestop as well, just for good measure.

This is my favorite part:

GameSpot:
For a special report on Jeff Gerstmann's dismissal and a tribute to his legacy, tune in tomorrow to GameSpot's weekly live webcast, On the Spot. For a personal look at Gerstmann's exit, listen to the latest HotSpot podcast in which host Vincent Caravella discusses the controversial event with longtime Gerstmann colleagues Ricardo Torres, Ryan MacDonald, Alex Navarro, and Ryan Davis.

The man didn't die - they fired him. Holding tributes and special reports on someone you fired is, at best, tacky. Way to try to milk this for everything you can!

Q: Why was the Kane & Lynch video review taken down?

A: Both the text and video reviews of Kane & Lynch went up on Tuesday, November 13. The morning of Wednesday, November 14, the video was taken down due to concerns of quality. Specifically, its audio was deemed inferior due to a faulty microphone. There were also concerns about the limited amount of footage, which was unrepresentative of the game in the review.

Q: Why wasn't the video immediately reposted?

A: Due to the crush of high-profile games being released the following week, there were insufficient resources to reshoot and re-edit the video review.

For pity's sake...

I like how they've admitted an abitrary score is way more important than any text that may be in the review. It seems as if they pick a score for a game then try to write a review around it to fit into that score.

First they claim Gerstmann was late and as a result the video was rushed, footage only from the 1st level blah blah, now the mic wasn't good enough. I don't remember noticing that anything was wrong with the sound when watching the review. If they're telling the truth they're making a very good job of seeming like a bad liar.

Are they even TRYING to seem honest about this?

Preposterous.

At least the video review still lives.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBD0cUeeEQc

Problem: The review text doesn't fit the score.

Solution: Change the score, NOT the text.

I can't believe this... any of it...

I love how "up-yours-cnet" is on the most popular tags list.

If Gamespot were smart they'd just shut the hell up and wait for the internet to jump onto some other controversy next week.

Assuming, the internal review is true, it's probably a reasonable step to believe it'd be their department as a whole getting audited. The fact that there's only been one person given the flick, is pretty ordinary.

Saltiness:
I love how "up-yours-cnet" is on the most popular tags list.

If Gamespot were smart they'd just shut the hell up and wait for the internet to jump onto some other controversy next week.

True true...but then these are the people that didn't (or were unable to) think that firing one of the most tenured reviewers on the internet after he disliked a AAA title which happened to be buying 100K+ worth of ad space; wouldn't be a big deal.

They say it is concidence, but i do not see the proof.

It seems they are more trying to get more attention via the controversy, or trying to shut it up, but it doesn't work really.

I got bored of the controversy, since i only see now, is that people are siding with gerstmann, yet don't freaking know what fired him. It's just that there is a void.

For me, i shouldn't have posted. also, you people you should look for an other about this, just to see what questions are still there.

Can yoou spell "spin"? Cause they surely can. Even if the stuff about internal evaluation is true they want to make us believe that Gamespot is dumb enough to fire G. because of an internal evaluation exactly when he shuts down Kane & Lynch? We are not stupid... but maybe Gamespot is...

Here's what I don't "get" about all this business: Everyone is talking about how Gerstmann took a dump all over Kane & Lynch, trashed the game up and down, called it every name in the book and all that, and then the thing gets a 6/10 score. Maybe I'm being unreasonably absolutist about it, but isn't that on the high side of average? Not "good," maybe, but a long way from a genuine steaming turd.

This is what I really don't like about the whole mess: It's an indictment of the review system in use at so many places (particularly large sites like, oh, Gamespot) that simply will not issue a <5 score to a game unless the development team comes over to the reviewer's house and punches him in the nuts. If K&L was truly as awful as Gerstmann seemed to think, then why wasn't it hit with a 3/10 or 4/10? Reviews that rely on numerical scores as the ultimate arbiter of value have become almost meaningless, because the scoring system appears to be both arbitrary and often completely unrelated to the actual review. Gerstmann's firing looks to have uncovered an ugly aspect of the biz, but from where I sit it's really just a symptom of a far more endemic problem plaguing reviews, reviewers and review sites everywhere: An instinctual "need" to award scores using a grossly-inflated baseline that end up having no relevance to the reviewer's actual opinions.

You hit the nail on the head.

When you look at it, 6 out of 10, objectively, means that a game is more good than bad. If it were a movie review on a 5 star scale it would still be getting three stars. I know I don't outright dismiss a movie that gets a 3 star type rating, if I know it's the kind of movie I like, that kind of review from a reviewer isn't all that bad.

But the resounding view is that a 6 out of 10 is horrible, and enough to let an employee go who gave a score like that (again, an overall positive score) to an advertiser. The fact that they've decided to go and edit the content of the review to make it more in line with it's numerical score, rather than vice versa is just further evidence that the system now in place has some fatal flaws. Advertising pressure aside.

The scoring system video games are based on these days is clearly broken, you don't see movies giving different scores for sound, special effects, story, and acting. Most reviews take the sum of it's parts then give you an idea on if the movie is worth it or not. It's not perfect, but it works better than what the video game industry has.

At this point, I would be more pleased with a review that is overall negative or positive that you may infer by reading the review; and if you want a scale, thumbs up or thumbs down, let the content of the review decide the rest.

I was a conversation with a colleague from a major game blog recently. The occasion was a feature they were running on the problems with the game review system. He and I were comparing their feature with one I'd written several weeks prior. We decided the two articles were two sides of the same coin, theirs concentrating on the scoring system, and how the reliance on scores breaks the system, mine on the ethics of the review process, and how that breaks the system.

My belief at the time was that one (pick one) was a cause for the other, and that fixing one, would make the other go away. I also believe that's what N'Gai was trying to say with his incredibly dense, self-indulgent essay on the subject the other day. But I realize now that it's just not that simple. I think the whole damn thing is flawed.

I think we've come so far on a vehicle that has no wheels, and now we're carrying so much money around on our backs, that there's simply no way we're going to see a revision of the process that addresses its many flaws. Because the flaws are the system, and it's not the system we thought it was.

Want some spin?

In the spirit of full disclosure to our readership... the exact reasons behind his dismissal cannot be revealed.

Calabi:
I like how they've admitted an abitrary score is way more important than any text that may be in the review. It seems as if they pick a score for a game then try to write a review around it to fit into that score.

Roll a D10 dice, it's easy.

Actually, comparing several review videos, Gerstmann's last one really sounds like he's been filmed from inside a bathroom, or speaking through the flush pipe. You can hear what he says, well enough, but the sound reverberates in some kind of awful way.
It makes the whole thing sound amateurish. That's possibly the microphone problem.

I've checked around, to compare his video review to others. Some of them have the reviewer's voice perfectly audible. Sometimes, it's very low, and you have to crank the volume up to understand what he says.
In that regard, I'll thereby ask the video review for Odin Sphere to be removed. Seriously, the intro plays full throttle, then the review kicks in and it's almost like if the guy shouldn't speak too loud or he'd wake up the bloody kids.

As for the content, let's see. Gerstmann doesn't pause much, to leave the game reveal itself on its own. He keeps talking, so we never hear anything really safe Jeff. We can't hear the music, we can't hear the dialogues, and he doesn't show much of the features, actions and other systems available to the player. But what's sure is that he comments a lot on them. A damn lot.
I wish he had spoke a bit less, or illustrated his rant about the gameplay with some very conclusive examples.
He also decided to include some bits of the video were we see nothing at all since it's all dark, and that kind of stuff should have been cut out.

For example, the review of Assassin's Creed is better. It misses a couple of features (doesn't show enough of the mob reactions), but the sound is good, it covers plenty of other points, like the character's moves, a few camera features, the city layouts, some stuff about the backstory, and we do get a very well spirited understanding of the game's atmosphere. The music that plays behind is well mixed to the game's own VFW, and that's ace.
It's true that in comparison to this review, Gerstmann's K&L one really pales (safe on the background music part, which is good as well, but since the rest of the game's sounds are barely audible, as a whole, the mix is bad).

So maybe, after all, he was getting a tad lazy around the corners, really. I wonder if he tried to end on a sort of positive note just because of the advertising pressure though. It's likely.

For another example, look how he goes into the details, and offer very appetizing sequences, in his review of Gears of War.

On the other hand, Gamespot are pulling the legal card, as "we can't speak due to legal terms" and it's all about "internal reasons", which precisely mean it can only remain private.
I mean, if it's the video quality that sucked, then say it damn you ***s.
The biggest problem is Gerstmann's own silence. Not even an attempt to say something like "I can't talk, legal stuff and all that".

Besides, his case is so well known now that it's impossible to ever hope have him intervene as an anonymous without immediately being spotted.

I think we will never know.
What's nearly sure is how Kane & Lynch got some phenomenal bad mouthing.

It will be funny to see how sales go on.

Russ Pitts:
I was a conversation with a colleague from a major game blog recently. The occasion was a feature they were running on the problems with the game review system. He and I were comparing their feature with one I'd written several weeks prior. We decided the two articles were two sides of the same coin, theirs concentrating on the scoring system, and how the reliance on scores breaks the system, mine on the ethics of the review process, and how that breaks the system.

My belief at the time was that one (pick one) was a cause for the other, and that fixing one, would make the other go away. I also believe that's what N'Gai was trying to say with his incredibly dense, self-indulgent essay on the subject the other day. But I realize now that it's just not that simple. I think the whole damn thing is flawed.

I think we've come so far on a vehicle that has no wheels, and now we're carrying so much money around on our backs, that there's simply no way we're going to see a revision of the process that addresses its many flaws. Because the flaws are the system, and it's not the system we thought it was.

Well, I'm convinced that scoreless reviews are better, because you really need to read the stuff in details, if not only to get the sidebar with pros and cons, at least.

That said, how succesful scoreless reviews are? It's not a sided question. I really don't have any idea which side it swings in favour of.

On the paper, Edge delivers lots of speech, but still plaster a number at the end, and though they still try to be tongue in cheek about it, they don't get around it.

 

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