#GamerGate Sped Up The Demise Of Video Game Journalism


The recent layoffs, closures and job shuffles come at a time when no one is safe and everyone is trying to do what they can to maintain their positions. With the rumors about Joystiq shutting down, as reported on sites like TechRaptor, one has to wonder how long the old guard will be viable before the juggernauts of video game “journalism” bite the dust?

Before Dale North resigned from Destructoid and Casey Johnston took flight from Ars Technica… before Matt Clark had a public meltdown and IGN’s moneymakers slithered onto Patreon… before Jim Sterling called it quits at The Escapist and before Hamza Aziz stepped into the void, video game journalists and content creators in the interactive entertainment space were already standing on fragile ground.

If we rewind back to February, 2013 – around the time of the infamous Aliens: Colonial Marines fiasco [backup] – the private group known as the Game Journo Pros had a discussion about the brittle nature of their professional structure, in which they resided. It all started with IGN layoffs



As you can see, the video game journalists that many of the consumers rallying under the GamerGate hashtag have been fighting against were absolutely clueless to their own demise.

Two years before more massive layoffs happened and two years before #GamerGate came to clean up the incestuous viper’s den of corruption and unethical behavior, these very journalists were already standing on the precipice that led to the pit of extinction… they just didn’t know it.

Before hubris dictated defeat and incompetence secured them failure, ignorance paved a way toward their obsolescence.

They didn’t even understand their own audience anymore.

The reality is that traffic isn’t shrinking, it’s migrating.

Anyone with their finger on the pulse of the market would be at the cusp of reader attention and gamer enthusiasm. Alternatively, anyone wanting to push for social agendas and spread misinformation would only see their audience dwindle, fade and… migrate.

Great features can make money, just not at sites where audiences begin to feel as if they don’t belong. This rang true for Polygon when they had to cut some staff in the long-form journalism section.

The thread from June 17th, 2014 goes on about how the long-form editorial is dead; that Polygon wasn’t turning a dime on those projects.



Editor-in-chief, Christopher Grant, further explained the site’s move away from long-form editorial content in a thorough but concise update on Polygon, stating…

“We need to find the right balance of interest and resource expenditure, so we can continue to produce the kind of longform work that you’ve come to know us by, while making sure that, when we do, you never want to miss it.”

Polygon seems to have filled that void with more editorials from Ben Kuchera.

However, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier was interested in the metrics, stating…

Sadly, even switching away from the long-form editorials and letting go of some individuals still hasn’t completely stopped the bleeding. Alexa Rae Corriea recently left Polygon in early November, 2014 to pursue a position at GameSpot, as documented in a forum thread on Giant Bomb.

The recent rumors about Joystiq biting the dust under the AOL banner comes at a time when the industry was already on wobbly legs, and the continuous pokes and pries from #GamerGate’s Operation Disrespectful Nod only adds to the deconstruction of the traditional oligarchy of video game journalism.

In fact, Extra Credits’ James Portnow has run into some problems securing ears and support for his Games For Good project due to the highly volatile nature that has become the games industry – thanks mostly in part to a lot of the misinformation and toxicity spread from games media regarding their very own audience. Portnow, in his update to his Rockethub supporters from back in October, 2014, stated…

“This has been a project of great joy and innumerable frustrations for me. This last year has probably been the most stressful of my life, and these last few months have been a daily deluge from all the press and political people I’ve met backing off from their support or, in a few cases, pointing to recent events and telling me I’ve lied to them and that nothing good can come from this medium.”

Those “recent events” wouldn’t have transpired had the games media simply addressed the concerns of their audience back in August, 2014.

However, as the e-mails from the Games Journo Pros list indicate, many of the individuals running major websites and tech outlets in the interactive entertainment industry were oblivious to what was happening right under their noses; from the financial tide taking a turn in the media industry to their audiences fleeing to fresher pastures – they were dinosaurs who didn’t hear or see the meteors falling.

(Main image courtesy of Peter Arnold, Inc./Alamy via National Geographic)

[Disclosure: I was a former member of the Game Journo Pros e-mail group]



About

Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Contact.

  • destroy_all_monsters

    Thanks for another great article William. 🙂

    I’m looking forward to their utter extinction.

    • I’m looking forward to their utter extinction.

      It can’t come soon enough. Hopefully all the new wave sites will use the closure of the old guard as examples of what not to do.

      • Niwjere

        History inevitably repeats itself. The price of freedom, as the old adage goes, is eternal vigilance.

        Mark August 28 on your calendar. Remember it as long as you live. Let that day live in infamy. Let it represent everything that is wrong with modern media. Let it serve as a chilling reminder every year that there are those out there who would willingly suppress information in the name of money and power.

        The moment we forget is the moment they are allowed to get away with it again.

        Never forget.

      • Fenrir007

        Do you fear you might be swept by the journocalypse? I mean, we like you and all, but the sustainability problems were already present before gamergate, and it wasn’t entirely due to the agenda pushing or unethical practises either.

      • Meh, as a freelancer I’m not beholden to the games industry. If push comes to shove there are other more sustainable industries.

      • Fenrir007

        Glad to hear that! Never put all your eggs in the same basket and all.

      • Mr.Towel

        Hell yeah!

  • jlnod15

    Do you hear that? The Drumming? XD

  • CM Dubya

    Soooo if these guys were already getting anxious about the state of their sites back in 2013….what in the actual FUCK made them all think going on the attack on the very people that could’ve saved their BS sites would be a good idea?

    What.

    Fucking.

    Dumbasses. Good riddens to these clueless dorks…

    • EscapeVelocity

      Ideology trumps all. They arent going to abandon their religion, it’s all they have left.

    • Misogynerd

      They were trying to summon a new audience or shame the old one into being compliant.

    • Garaad

      they’re betting that non-gamers who are sympathetic to their ideology will see them valiantly fighting off “evil muh-soggy-knees” and swoop in to save them from destruction.

      In other words, they intend to go out with a bang, rather than a whimper.

    • Probably cause it caused a view spike, yet it might have caused a crash shortly after.

    • kingemocut

      “if we’re going down, we’re taking you all with us and going out in a blazing fire of glory” is the likely mindset they had.

    • Dawn Blast

      *Hands them their Darwin Award*

    • Blarty

      The existing audience of readers isn’t young anymore, they’re no longer naive and they’re clued in to the click bait ‘controversy sells’ pieces or regurgitated press release filler that many of the outlets have become overrun with. And that whole 1.2bn gamers, 50% female statistic may be true enough, but the majority of those people are neither engaged with games journalism or even playing on the platforms that are majority represented by the journalists – they wanted to after the ‘cash cow of the day’ mobile gamer market.

      Mainstream games journalism can only be saved if a) the sites have reasonable enough costs (or have writers generous enough to give time and articles gratis) that they don’t have to cover ridiculous costs, or b) the profit margins as generated in web media and advertising deals are increased to cover costs such that the overall writing quality improves

    • ThePete

      Ms Megaphone seems to think there’s some other audience out there for these sites. The others must too with all the hubris they demonstrated with the gamers are dead articles. But that was just the culmination of two years worth of disrespecting their audience.

      I’d love to know the proportion of people using adblock going to these sites now

    • SiliconNooB

      And these fossils had the audacity to declare gamers to be dead!

  • Javier Vega

    We might as well make Corrupt Game Journal Pro.

  • WTF Magazine

    It’s sad to see how these journalists don’t see nor embrace the future of media coverage which is Youtube and Twitch.
    Print media is done.
    At least the shitty clique print media is done for sure.
    The new strong ethical sites that are trusted by customers will thrive n survive
    The old guard is throught. Their time is passed
    They’ve lasted long enough. Time to root em out

    • Javier Vega

      Your right about that remember EGM or Electric Gaming Monthly?

      It was is almost 2 decades old they no longer have magazine but they they are depending on a website which called EGM NOW Is still around.

    • Mr.Towel

      The “new media” (youtube adn twitch) is not a holy grail saint of ethics for your information. There has been a lot of controversy regarding ethics and disclosure in the youtube/twitch community, and while there are some good big names on that front like TB, there also some very bad big ones as well…

  • pixel

    they were dinosaurs who didn’t hear or see the meteors falling.
    loved the bit

  • Eagleeye595

    Haha this is what makes it worthwhile all the hours we spend daily digging and finding dirt, emailing advertisers etc etc. As long as these kurvas bleed a slow but certain death i will be happy. Not because i hate them, but because they lost their way, they forgotten their jobs, and they spat on the faces of the very same people who made them what they once were. Never forget who pays your bills. Some may think it’s the boss, the advertisers and whatnot, but the consumer knows that without the reader the ads wont get seen the site wont get paid. The boss wont have money to pay anyone, and that will be the end. They started it now we will finish it, i am not stopping until there is either nothing left, or they all change their ways and start writing apologies publicly.

  • Meittimies

    Baffling thing is why did they decide to cut off the long-form editorializing and insightful articles, when those were pretty much the only things youtube and twitch could not compete on. Youtube automatically wins with gaming press previews because people see footage of the gameplay immediatly. A youtube video about funny things in gaming spreads much further and much quicker than a clickbait article describing the video.

    Part of this upcoming crash is because so many of these gaming sites decided to compete with themselves over who gets to cover new games the fastest. When youtube stepped in, all of them lost that competition immediatly. It is no surprise that the few gaming magazines which survived the mass-death of gaming magazines, have trusted on consistent high quality writing and articles.
    It is also not a coincidence these same magazines are some of the longest lasting gaming media out there. Both the PC Gamer and the biggest, most popular magazine in Scandinavia called PELIT are over two decades old, with no sign of quitting anytime soon. PELIT in particular which has always had some problems reviewing and covering games the minute they were announced, because of the monthly release format. Best bet simply was to not join that competition.

    If someone’s gaming site does not provide writing that is insightful enough for people to pause their 10+ youtube tabs and twitch-streams, and to really make them read it with great concentration, then that gaming site simply does not provide anything that alternatives don’t already provide in a much better and faster way.

    • Mr.Towel

      My guess for the reason it didn’t workout is that Longform journalism doesn’t work without Investigative Journalism. They have to fill the article with content for it to be longform, but if they don’t have verifiable/sourced/related content, what they gonna fill in to complete the long form? Opinions. Without Investigative Journalism, Longform Journalism becomes only another name for op-ed madness, and that’s why it usually fails real bad since most of the opinions are ridicously one-sided or/and relativistic. This is the “longform” that Kotaku and Polygon have been running for years (and the whole Kinja Network actually).

  • Len

    This is the free market at its brightest. The ones who are honest, and have the best interest of the readers will survive since they will have our support. But these assclowns? Good riddance.

  • Anthony L.

    ‘Two years before more massive layoffs happened and two years before #GamerGate came to clean up the incestuous viper’s den of corruption and unethical behavior, these very journalists were already standing on the precipice that led to the pit of extinction… they just didn’t know it.’

    This.

    This is one goddamn amazing sentence.

  • MonsterGogo

    Here’s what I’m hoping for;

    1.Journos fold completely for a while either closing down sites or getting basically no visitor, eventually come back with a vengeance at some point, maybe.
    2.During the time they were gone all major companies already have set up their own “Nintendo Direct”-like services and everyone gets their news through those.
    3.Journos fold for good this time.
    4.Following the demise of clickbait, maybe companies start advertising their games more through actual gameplay, leading to less casuals who would buy just on cutscene graphics alone.
    5.Industry saved.

    Orrr just an industry crash again, could work too.

  • weaponized account

    Publishers are now using youtube, twitch and social media to spread news more efficiently and for free.

    Gamers are pissed off by journos and follow youtubers instead.

    The only who will be damaged by this situation are the journos and a part of the indie scene: the one metaphorically in bed with the corrupted journos.

    The rest of the indie scene is left without any coverage as it is now

    • Iers

      Gamergate is that coverage. That is, if it can get sites like Techraptor and Nichegamer going.

  • Ebalosus

    As I iterated on twitter, I’m glad you wrote this, since it helps me puzzle the trends that were acting within gaming journalism that were one of the causes of GamerGate; in essence, the trend that helped usher (no pun intended) in GamerGate, and is helping usher in a new form of games journalism.

    Some history first: I got to thinking of this idea when someone I follow on twitter said that (paraphrasing) “GamerGate caused people at Gametrailers, Escapist, and GameFront to get fired eh?” I responded with “I think it’s more of a chicken-or-egg type question.” This got me to thinking of a trend that would join GamerGate, the mass dismissal of mainstream games journalists, and the Mass Effect 3 ending debacle (which I argue laid the groundwork for GamerGate to happen), and the trend I came up to connect all three events is something I call de-concentration of games journalism.

    I call it that instead of ‘diversification’ or ‘decentralisation’ because ‘de-concentration’ because not only is games journalism becoming more diverse, both in sources and type, but also moving away from traditional sources of said journalism (think IGN and Kotaku), thus de-concentration.

    What do I mean by the de-concentration of games journalism? This website is one example, Total Biscuit is another, same with Feminist Frequency, and Jim Sterling, and MrBtongue, Allosaurus Rex, Instig8tive Journalism, Angry Joe, Extra Creditz, and thousands of other websites, people, youtube channels, streamers, bloggers, et cetera all over the internet. Instead of having traditional outlets like IGN, Kotaku, Gamasutra, Gametrailers, whathaveyou, we now have more options than ever to acquire information regarding video games and related topics. Instead of big monolithic one-size-fits-all sites that try to please everyone, we have outlets (like One Angry Gamer) that please whom they want to please, and do what they want to do instead of trying to conform to some lofty tradition of thou must do this to be considered a *true* games journalism website perpetuated by the very same sites that are ignorant or scornful of their own demise.

    Okay, so how does the de-concentration of games journalism link the ME3 ending debacle, GG, and the mass dismissal of journalists? By offering opportunities for dissenting voices to be heard, that’s how. Lets start with the genesis of GamerGate: The Mass Effect 3 ending debacle. Much to the dismay of ending (and game itself) critics like myself, the mainstream gaming sites like IGN, Kotaku, and Gametrailers sided with Bioware and said that “you’re just entitled,” or “your expectations were too high,” or “artistic integrity™!” Thankfully, there were dissenters like the more middle-of-the-road type sites like GameFront, and people like Shamus Young (from the Escapist) and Angry Joe, people with a prominent voice whom could make the dissenter’s claim heard instead of dismissed out of hand as it was on the major sites. That event (the ME3 ending debacle) not only catalysed a majority of people’s awareness of the problems within mainstream games journalism, but accelerated the aforementioned trend of de-concentration and a move towards more diverse sources and opinions. In essence, more diverse sources and opinions led to a stronger reaction to both the ending to ME3’s ending, and to the problems within games journalism, which in turn led to more wariness of journalistic corruption (think Doritogate and the Eurogamer censorship controversy), which in turn led to the event that broke the camel’s back, the Quinnspiracy.

    The trend of de-concentration of games journalism is now bearing its fruit, with what is talked about in the above article: The decline and fall of the “old guard” of games journalism, and all I can say is good riddance!

    • Very well said, totally agreed. There’s not much more I would add except maybe the groundwork for GG was poured with Gerstmann-gate and then escalated threefold with the ME3 ending.

      • Ebalosus

        I agree that the issue (ethics in games journalism) began with Gerstmann-gate, but in terms of an internet explosion over something, I use the ME3 ending debacle to denote the beginnings of GG. Note that there is no right answer about this, just different levels of pedanticism. You saying that the groundwork was laid for GG with Gerstmann-gate is no more or less right than me saying that the groundwork was laid with the ME3 ending debacle.

        I use the ME3 ending debacle because I was there when it happened, and I was involved in the discussions surrounding it; thus a lot of the controversies surrounding GG are disturbingly similar to people from within the Retake Mass Effect movement like myself:

        -Major sites and personalities siding against the consumer? CHECK
        -Major sites and personalities belittling and ignoring the actual complaints of consumers? CHECK
        -Attacking consumers with buzzwords and phrases in order to deflect criticism? CHECK (“gamer entitlement” and “artistic integrity™” for ME3; “harassment” and “misogyny” for GG)
        -Saying that the most egregious actions of extremist represent/are supported by the entire movement? CHECK

      • Kain Yusanagi

        It’s been subtly building at least amongst the older generation since early 2000’s.

  • Syltique

    Nice article. I think we’ll soon see some of these sites try and go for subscriptions and gated content. If they can even get 5,000 people to pay them money regularly, they make a decent amount, as opposed to having hundreds of thousands of views and nothing to show for it.

    Either way, they’re going to keep shrinking.

  • Ms_Fortune

    I can say for a fact that I haven’t visited a single gaming site since about a since this whole thing started, GamerGate in particular really destroyed Destructoid for me, not just because of the exposed corruption but the pushing narratives, the good writers leaving, the community being pseudo intellectuals dickheads from Tumblr, hell Destrucoid is still mocking GamerGate.

    I went to that place for 8 years, I was one of the founding members when it the place was in its infancy, I saw firsthand what ideologies and moral police horseshit can do a place, even worse since D-toid used to be about fun, their motto was literally also Cocks which to community members meant, stop taking things so seriously they completely went back on that in favor of clickbait bullshit and social justice issues, also funny thing, they removed the also cocks line from the front page the very day they interview Anita, funny little coincidence huh.

    • GtheMVP

      Same for me with Kotaku, I completely stopped going to them after they trashed gamers. I saw it brewing years previous with Patricia Hernandez-like clilckbait horseshit littering the pages. I just wound up subscribing to more youtube channels that cover games to get my news/info and haven’t looked back.

    • Fenrir007

      It’s funny, I also almost didn’t read gaming websites anymore (PC Gamer was the exception), but GG made me start reading them again (thanks to the alternative media I have been shown). Now there are some I visit daily, and to my surprise that includes IGN.

    • JCTXS

      It was a shame to see that place die. I also remember when they removed “fap this” or w/e to the community articles. Everyone would have fun with each other and then it became more and more PC compliant.
      Then, Holmes would always retreat to his twitter hugbox whenever he was called out on his bullshit.

      • Ms_Fortune

        Yep and that kinda crap attracted pseudo intellectual SJW’s in droves and it all went to shit, a huge shame.

    • Jack

      I know Holmes isn’t the only reason that place is going downhill, but he’s the worst offender. Sterling leaving the site mean’t that he’s the only one left who writes feature articles (Seriously, why do they need so many writers if all they do is copy/paste gaming news the got from quicker outlets?) and became Destructoid new star-player. Now the community I cared about has left the site and been replaced with Holmes SJW fanboys.

      At the very least, he’s has been fucking up in his new role as Editor-in-Chief. Holmes created this Badger character so any game dev who wants to spew venom at GamerGate can post an anonymous blog on the front page, but it backfired. The current Badger used the last two articles to publicly shit on Dtoids own readership and writers. Lots of backlash.

      https://archive.today/OqZIy

      https://archive.today/QQutm

      Here’s the Badger’s response when asked about mocking journalists by one of Dtoid’s writers:

      “I’m not afraid. I was asked by Holmes to write under The Badger name, and the whole idea is for The Badger to be anonymous, like Batman or Michael Myers or some shit. I could be anybody, therefore I am everybody and nobody. I guess The Badger was the guy who started Destructoid’s idea? Looks like he’s pretty smart, because from what I’ve heard, I’m the most popular writer on the site going by pageviews-per-post Math. That’s either a sign that I’m really good at this or the rest of the writers at Destructoid are really bad. Maybe both.

      Here I thought you were going to ask me for tips on how to write more interesting posts.”

      • Ms_Fortune

        Holmes seriously created someone just to spew shit at GamerGate? Wow that guy’s petty.

  • greenghost2008

    Only so it can make a come back without radicals in it.

  • Fenrir007

    In a time where any publication is having a hard time staying afloat on the internet, it is really baffling to see these journos scaring away their already squandered audience (and prompting some of those who begrudingly stay to adopt adblock) while thinking this won’t impact them at all.

    I guess gamers were really underestimated – perhaps due to so many “gamer boycotts” that were vociferously called in blogs and forums alike only to have everyone playing those same villified games on day one. They just forgot one little detail – a game is not superfluous to a gamer, but a website that lies, pushes an agenda, colludes, slander and ultimately fails to report on GAMES certainly is.

    The site “yellowadvertising” released a great 4 piece analysis of GamerGate from an advertisement point of view. Their 4th piece included some interesting, sourced insights on how badly newspapers were faring on the post-internet world:

    https://www.yellowboxadvertising.com/blog/2014/12/gamergate-matters-advertising-ad-agencies-part-4/

    Amongst the sources, there is a particular chart showing Google’s ad revenue soundly beating the shrinking ad revenue for newspaper, which include both online and offline sources! I linked the chart for you guys to see, but do read the article, it’s very interesting.

    Adland also released an interesting article on the theme:

    https://adland.tv/adnews/gamergate-insulting-consumers-shrinks-market/1027025677

    Obviously, the exact same scenario applies to gaming news.

    Truly a winning formula – you have an audience that is too small to sustain you and is already shrinking, and what do you do? You go and antagonize those same people!

    Rest in pieces, gaming journalism.

  • Misogynerd

    Releasing the “gamers are dead” articles, no matter how well-intentioned or if they were intended as a shaming tactic was a pretty terrible idea. Something similar to GamerGate would’ve happened eventually.

    Ever since the 2010’s there had been a growing distrust between consumer/reader and journalist/developer:
    1. Reader’s felt reviewers were not giving proper reviews. A lot of reviews of The Wonderful 101 show that the reviewers barely understood or tried to understand the game’s depth. Same happened with Metal Gear Rising: Revengance.
    2. Similarly Journalists engaged in the entitled card too much. Especially with the Mass Effect 3 ending debacle.
    3. Similarly they demonized DMC fans for not liking the reviews and again demonized them when the game failed to sell.
    4. Gamers felt they weren’t being protected. Barely any journalist had any problem with Dead Space 3 micro-transactions, Kickstarter games being promoted, and hell we had one Kotaku article praising the microtransactions of Plants Vs. Zombies.
    5. They also indulged Gone Home a little too much with high review scores, one of which could be considered by many a conflict of interest.
    6. Clickbait and low hanging fruit articles on these websites also don’t help.
    7. Doritogate happened in 2013 and still was fresh, no journalist did anything of note or really condemn the practices Square Enix was participating in.
    8. General fear mongering, sex shaming articles like the Dragon’s Crown debacle. A nebulous group of gamers were constantly being told they were misogynist, racist, homophobic if they didn’t 100% agree with the author’s POV.

    The release of the artices plus the events the previous weeks where the straw that broke the camel’s back. Never interact or support anyone who is demonizing you even if they claim they aren’t pointing at you. At best this person is a demagogue.

    So yeah, go to Youtube find some gamers you like, they won’t demonize you, chastise you, hate you, and will be more willing to discuss ethical and disclosure issues. They won’t also coddle you and treat like a dummy, well most of the time.

  • Van

    And what is so amusing is one can already see the corruption going into the Youtubers, bloggers and whatnot that GamerGaters purport to support. Definitely amusing from the sidelines.

    • Tom Raft

      The major difference between YouTube and the print media is that the gamers can see the games being played and can form their own opinion and not have to totally rely on what the person playing has to say.

      In print, you are totally reliant on the professionalism of the article writer, I should use ‘journalist’ but unless you adhere to journalist code of ethics you are not a journalist.

      • Van

        Unfortunately, as too many game buyers have shown, even seeing the game isn’t enough to change things, though. Look at the ton of games broken up on release from the AAA studios especially (Ubisoft…ugh).
        Some equate GG as a consumer movement, and it isn’t. I’m not denying games media was too in-bed with the industry, but let’s be honest, the exact same thing is going to happen with the next generation…and some of that has already happened. For every person with the credibility of Totalbiscuit, there are 10 completely opposite…and this doesn’t count if they get offered a truly large amount of cash, or if a situation arises where they do make a deal with the devil.
        So, let games media die if it will; it was already going that way before GamerGate. As long as developers are large enough, they will always weasel their way in.

      • Tom Raft

        AC Unity received mostly positive reviews, 73/100 critic metascore, 3,6/10 user for Xbox. 70/100 critic, 4.6/10 user for playstation. The worst, 71/100 critic and 2.4/10 user for PC. This from a game in which Ubisoft is afraid of a class action lawsuit. Gaming publication average of 71.3 and user average of 3.5, they are more than double the user average which highlights their grading system is way off base with what consumers think.

        After reading positive reviews I went to Total Biscuit’s video review and that was the only dose of media sanity I received and am thankful to him for saving me time and angst.

        I do agree that when it comes to YouTube there is no industry standard, so you have to look at the job people are doing and if their reviews resonate with your personal experience or not. Those who are corrupt will share the same fate as corrupt gaming media.

        I just don’t think those reviewing do a good job understanding what they are reviewing. Another example is Diablo 3 which I often use as an example, Polygon gave it 100/100 and claimed “Diablo 3 is the first game to render Diablo 2 obsolete”

        “And every game from the last 11 years, even the Torchlight series, created by veterans from Diablo 2 developers Blizzard North, failed to build a loot system as persistently rewarding and aggressively addicting.”

        Diablo 3 while made a lot of money due and sold a lot of units thanks to linking it with World of Warcraft was one of the biggest disasters of all time, their loot system and game balance was horrendous, Blizzard have spent 3 years and one expansion, sacking the lead developer and it is still a poor game and there are numerous more Diablo 2 public games today than Diablo 3 games.

        It received massively favourable reviews yet most players stopped playing within days or weeks for a genre where D2 players have been playing for 11 years.

        It is this type of being out of sync with players which has caused readers to migrate. If you are going to review an ARPG you have to have a strong grasp that early impressions mean very little, you have to understand what it is about ARPGs that make people want to play them over and over and this genre is not suited for the type of play who comes in spends 40 hours and goes to the next game.

        You have to know what your consumers want and what they are looking for. One youtuber described it best when he gave a short video on how to play Diablo 3 and do well (before the loot overhaul), he showed a video of logging into the auction house and buying upgrades.

        Games this fundamentally flawed shouldn’t be pushing 50 let alone 100. They should be looking at their past reviews and analysing what goes wrong, if they are so far off the user reviews time and again then there is something wrong with your reviews if you are not in sync with your community.

      • Great comment, but this here…

        Games this fundamentally flawed shouldn’t be pushing 50 let alone 100. They should be looking at their past reviews and analysing what goes wrong, if they are so far off the user reviews time and again then there is something wrong with your reviews if you are not in sync with your community.

        This here nails it on the head so much.

        I love gaming and I read a lot about the games, from the design process to the news to the final review scores. So it’s easy to spot when — as a consumer and gamer — that a reviewer is BS’ing around and didn’t put in the proper time.

        When the lot of reviewers have basically given up on their own community and throw out trash articles just for the pageviews and lowly amounts of clickbait income, it’s insulting to the fans, it’s insulting to the developers and it’s insulting to the community.

  • dilly b

    So… do I have to be the one to point out that the first image said “Gaming journalism could seriously use more light homoeroticism”?

    • Good spotting, friend. I’ll avoid actually checking that thread and just assume Kuchera was the one who started it.

      https://i.imgur.com/bLT4fkf.jpg

      • Tom Raft

        If anything bad was written at Polygon it is reasonable to expect it to be written by Ben. 😛

  • Javier Vega

    They were losing money to so they started this to gain clicks?

  • Tom Raft

    Brilliant article.

    Games Journalism has been the frog in the pot of heating water, that pot has been on the stove for a decade. If the water was boiling 10 years ago then the frogs would have leapt out of the pot.

    I use an adblocker, but I do not block ads on this site or sites that I support, if you notice all your ads are being blocked then it says a lot about what you are producing. I had blocked ads from all major gaming sites, I never go to them but now and then I am linked to an article and I happen to end up at these places before quickly leaving.

    The problem, in my opinion, has been there has been an over-saturation of gaming media publications, who do not produce enough quality content, and have not for a long, long time. This has seen the demise of many respected permanent journalists and has seen freelancers and bloggers who flood the market. The problem with freelancing is you do not have the support structure that normal journalists do, the standard of journalism has declined year after year. Many of these publications have been attacking the core gaming demographic, that is meant to be their demographic.

    I went through an exercise visiting many of these publications and look at their senior personnel, most do not claim to be journalists or have had a significant background in journalism or are a member of a journalism body which provide on-going education and guidelines of ethical standards.

    Gamers have seen numerous article after article written about shoddy games which receive unrealistic praise, they have destroyed the trust that once existed between service provider and consumer and rather than seeing the last warning (GamerGate) to shape up or ship out, they chose to attack their demographic. The result is Karma. When people with business and marketing backgrounds tell you the consumer is always right, it is not a brown nosing comment, it is reality. You piss off your consumers enough then your organisation is going to die.

    The sad part is there are some quality people who are going to go down in the flames, that is pretty sad.

    This last hurrah is them trying to manufacture a political indie based demographic for their publications, whoever was the mastermind behind that strategic play has the blood of countless journalists on their hands, they will not survive unless they change their course of action.

  • scrumpmonkey

    “They were dinosaurs who didn’t hear or see the meteors falling”.

    Personally i think they didn’t WANT to see or hear it. I’m not some pundit with my ear to the ground but even i could tell you people were tired of the same shit. People don’t like long form editorial? That isn’t true in the slightest. Hell the only notice I’ve got during GG was from long-form pieces both text and video.

    People are HUNGRY for that stuff. Look at the most popular output of Nice Gamer or The Escapist before the angry mob neutered their coverage. Long form editorial of a hot-button issues pulling in massive traffic.

    Look at how many people want to read your stuff or Ralphs, hell you could call what Sargon does long-form video editorials. And that’s the thing: people like video essays and have done for years.

    Giant Bomb and Total Biscuit show us that unfiltered impressions of a game (without a numbered score) is also very popular when it’s done to coincide with release. Personally i think if you created a site that focused on video content and cut out youtube as the middle-man you’d be rolling in it. The Escapist almost had that going a while ago.

  • Wonderkarp

    it makes sense. they painted Gamergate as this harassment movement to keep their jobs. Its job anxiety thats pushing them

  • epobirs

    If the sites had some standards about how advertising was executed, I might consider turning off AdBlock. Autoplay video, worse, autoplay audio, popups that block my view of the content, and the biggest of all, malware. Ads are the #1 channel for malware infections nowadays, by a very big margin.

    Until sites manage their ad channels to the extent that they aren’t the primary distribution point for malware, give me a ring and I’ll consider not using AdBlock.

  • epobirs

    The real problem is that even if they don’t go out of their way to insult their audience, the business model is dying. It’s a transition that started in the late 90s and continues to this day as more and more of the population absorbs what the web really means in terms of their relationship to content about products, especially products that are themselves content. And entire generation of young adults now exist who grew up with this.

    The ease with which a self-motivated amateur can jump in and put their material out before the world is unparalleled in all human history. It is wildly different from where we were a mere twenty years ago and is a greater change than any previous technology has wrought.

    Back in the 90s, many of us thought micro-payments were going to be the Next Big Thing to enable journalism. A system like DEC’s MiiliCent would allow someone to buy an article to read for as little as a fraction of a cent. Advertising could be allowed to wither and die because a direct relationship would exist between writer and reader. That never happened. It was opposed outright by the existing credit card companies and just the difficulty of getting people to wrap their heads around it. It had to filter into the public consciousness at their pace rather than being thrust upon them.

    But we are headed that way. There are now many thousands of writers making a good living with e-books that have never seen the offices of a major publisher. While not micropayments in the original sense, the means of moving money around has very effectively allowed independent content producers to take their work directly to the market rather than seeking a publisher to shield them from the less glamorous aspects and take a good chunk of the revenue along the way. (Which is a legitimate service but far too many of the established players have their minds locked into dead tree publishing and price things absurdly high as a result.)

    As a result of choice expanding so rapidly, those who prompt a major portion of their audience to say, “Screw you, too,” are going to find themselves lacking a large enough audience to survive as anything other than hobbyists. Which is how very many of them started and should have remained.

  • Great article

  • Private_Eyescream

    Isn’t it odd that the clown-haired Feminist Social Justice Warriors manage to get funding despite their “games” being lousy lazy garbage? Odd how they get hired for expensive salaries despite having zero experience programming or designing well-selling games? Odd how these women lack even the most basic of artistic talents… and then when these oddities discovered, the agencies that “employ” these “game makers” go on full psychopathic assault to ban message board posters by the hundreds of thousands across 4CHAN (a place that does not censor), and REDDIT, and many other websites?

    Oh, you thought the spies were SEDUCING – INFILTRATING – BLACKMAILING – CONTROLLING these game design & review sources “to control TERRORISTS”? Hahahaha! Zoe Queef… a COINTELPRO or MONARCH SPY. Think about it, you’ve seen the spy dramas, read the spy novels, played the spy videogames, how is this not fitting that pattern EXACTLY? Do you remember how the public takes down Spies and other dishonest creeps? Use that knowledge. Clear the cobwebs, reclaim your power.

    Revealed: Spy Agencies Infiltrated, Tracked World Of Warcraft, Other MMORPGs
    Dec. 9, 2013

    That vision of spycraft sparked a concerted drive by the NSA and its
    UK sister agency GCHQ to infiltrate the massive communities playing
    online games, according to secret documents disclosed by whistleblower
    Edward Snowden.

    The files were obtained by the Guardian and are being published on Monday in partnership with the New York Times and ProPublica.

    The agencies, the documents show, have built mass-collection
    capabilities against the Xbox Live console network, which boasts more
    than 48 million players. Real-life agents have been deployed into
    virtual realms, from those Orc hordes in World of Warcraft to the human
    avatars of Second Life. There were attempts, too, to recruit potential
    informants from the games’ tech-friendly users.

  • Private_Eyescream

    Only the idiots believe the “ETHICS IN JOURNALISM” fraud-lie.
    Only the idiots believe that this is about “ADULTERY WITH GROSS FAT UGLY CLOWN-SLUTS”.
    It is about CONTROL – MONEY – POWER – SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE MANIPULATION.
    Brianna Wu = SPY (Cover Blown!)
    Zoe Quinn – SPY (Cover Blown!)
    …and the list goes on and on.
    Know someone in “Game Design” or “Game Journalism” or in a “Social Media Website Forum” that has no employable job skills, no provable talent for the job, and mysterious sources of income which seem endless with people vouching for them for no humanly logical reason?
    S…. oooo now you know

    P…. recisely the truth behind the many

    Y… ellow Journalism Lies.
    SPIES.

    The NSA document, written in 2008 and titled Exploiting Terrorist Use
    of Games & Virtual Environments, stressed the risk of leaving games
    communities under-monitored, describing them as a “target-rich
    communications network” where intelligence targets could “hide in plain
    sight”.

    Games, the analyst wrote “are an opportunity!”. According to the
    briefing notes, so many different US intelligence agents were conducting
    operations inside games that a “deconfliction” group was required to
    ensure they weren’t spying on, or interfering with, each other.
    If properly exploited, games could produce vast amounts of intelligence, according to the the NSA document.

  • Private_Eyescream

    The operations raise concerns about the privacy of gamers. It is unclear
    how the agencies accessed their data, or how many communications were
    collected. Nor is it clear how the NSA ensured that it was not
    monitoring innocent Americans whose identity and nationality may have
    been concealed behind their virtual avatar.

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