Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gaming Journalism Corruption

First off I want to make something extremely clear. There will be no name calling here, and their will be no direct mudslinging of any kind. I'm not some politician looking for votes, and I'm most certainly not some gaming journalist who wants to be paid for what I have to say. I've personally been a part of the gaming journalism community for four years now, and I feel it is my right to discuss what is taking place in regards to gaming journalism corruption as it greatly effects my future in the biz. In case you don't know me by now I'm a freelance gaming journalist who has always provided reviews, and articles on my own time without getting paid for them. My opinion is not for sale, nor has it ever been. Hell, I don't even monetize my blog with Adsense for that matter. My motives were completely honest from the start, and I have always given facts within my reviews regardless of whether they were negative, or not before delivering my personal opinion so that you could build your own opinion of the game without relying wholly on me.  For those of you curious about my sex life you can rest assured that I do not !@#$%^ to gain favoritism in the gaming industry. Just sayin' ...

In this article I will go over my thoughts about the undeniable corruption that is taking place in gaming journalism as well as where I stand in the grand scheme of everything. I will also make it a point to drop a few suggestions as to how the corruption can be fixed. This of course will be directed more towards the game developers, console makers, and people who produce products within the gaming industry. As bleak as the corruption situation my seem at this point it is not hopeless yet. It will be up to the main industry creators to do the right thing, and seek out the right journalistic outlets in order to right the wrongs they are very much a part of ...

As many have so rightfully said gaming journalism, in general has become an oversaturated outlet filled with opinion pieces, biased opinions, and rarely ever the cold hard truth. Some of the opinions coming from certain gaming journalists are even bought outright by the product/content creator for the hope of gaining gaming community favoritism. There's no denying that some shady underhanded things have gone down in regards to the big time gaming journalism sites especially when you see them giving out obviously biased opinions on a regular basis. It's not only the journalists of these sites that are at fault though. Some of the gaming content, and product creators are so desperate to gain the favor of the gaming community that they'll willingly pad the pockets of gaming journalists who are willing to forsake their credibility for a price. It's an all around sad ordeal that is not only affecting the lowlife scum who delve in such dealings, but also legit journalists such as myself who are trying to do the right thing by our readers.

I've personally seen a developer, and a big time outlet display signs of such conduct this year. In fact if you follow me on Twitter you might recall me defending my stance regarding my negative opinion of a certain PS4 shmup (shoot 'em up). During my Twitter conversation with the developer he brought up the fact that some big name gaming journalism site had praised his game, and had given it a high rating. He even mentioned that he didn't care what I had to say. My opinion, of course was the exact opposite of the biased journalist's, and obviously did not bode well with the developer's ego. Without being a total prick I had typed up a review in which I had stated that I'd seen better $1 indies than the game in question. I was just being honest, because I had really reviewed much more impressive indie shmups which only cost a dollar. I followed up the Twitter chat by checking up on the video review of a bigger journalist outlet, and sure enough the guy I researched gave the game unreasonably high praise. For a good ten minutes he talked out his ass about how great the game was as if it were the next best thing. I felt so pissed about the whole Twitter episode I left a comment on the guy's Youtube video with a link to a $1 indie of a similar design that was much better than the game in question. I felt compelled to expose him, and the developer for the frauds that they were. Needless to say I've not seen a Tweet from either since.

The reason I bring this to your attention is that sometimes you can't believe what you read online, and sometimes there are journalists out there who will lead you astray just for the sake of making a quick buck. You as a reader have to discern on your own as to whether, or not what you are reading discloses enough facts, or if it is a full-on opinion piece. Here at the Inferno you will always find reviews that lay out the facts first, and end with my personal opinion based on the facts. Sometimes when I'm undecided myself I'll even go so far as to lay out only facts, and leave the verdict open ended for you to decide. One thing you need to know when visiting my blog for reviews is that I'm not getting paid off in any shape, or form. While I do get games for review I go out of the way to make sure I earn them with the review I release to you guys. By that I simply mean I don't like handouts, and would rather not leave you, or the developer with a short review. I make it a habit to be as thorough as possible, and as unbiased as possible when delivering to you the latest news regarding products you might be interested in. I've told you before that my motive behind requesting games lies with the the fact that I could not produce as much content for you if it weren't for developers, and PR who were willing to take a gamble with my talents. Even with their contributions though I do not in any way feel that I must praise their game, or suggest it for a buy simply, because they gave it to me for free. That is not the way I do business. My opinion, as I said earlier, is not for sale. If a game isn't worth a damn I'll say so. If it's good enough to recommend I'll be sure to let you know.

What can one do to combat gaming journalism corruption, or journalism corruption in general? Simply do not pay the funded sites, or channels attention if you suspect that they are unfairly biased, or show a pattern of favoritism for products that you would otherwise deem unfit for purchase. Whether you want to believe it, or not there are some smaller sites, and gaming bloggers such as myself who will not lead you astray, and who do not get paid a dime for their work. It's journalists such as this who you should seek out, because more often than not they are providing reviews for a hobby that they truly love, and have spent a lifetime engaging in. I for example have been gaming since the Atari 2600, and know the gaming industry more than most. The added fact that I worked my way up from doing just indie reviews, and moved on to retail releases speaks a lot on my behalf. My dedication to gaming, and journalism is unwavering, and in my time I have posted more reviews than journalists from most mainstream review sites.

Aside from trust, and distrust (which are both good tools in the battle against gaming journalism corruption) you can also do some detective work on your own. Don't just settle on one site's opinion as being "Gospel", but instead look around the internet, and form your own opinion from the game trailers, demos, and developer press releases that are made available to the public by those who created the content, or products in the first place. Knowledge is king when it comes to shopping of any kind, and at the end of the day you have to shop wise, because your hard earned money is at stake.

As for all you game developers, and PR you'd do good to get smart about game promotion, and journalism dealings. When you associate yourself with journalistic outlets who are doing shady sh*t you are going to get labeled as a developer/PR who deals in shady sh*t. Give the lower none paid gaming journalism outlets a chance for a change as they will be your only saving grace when the depth of the corruption is revealed. Trust me when I say that there are still gaming journalists out there willing to give your games, and products a fair chance without being paid off. With that being said do not expect a biased review from me, or other like-minded journalists, because we don't work that way. I personally do what I do for the love of the hobby, for the writing aspect, and for the readers who are willing to hear me out. I know of several others who do the same, and who have a similar stance on the current gaming journalism corruption fiasco. Choose wisely who you trust with reviewing your game/product, and how you go about reaching out to the gaming community through them. I have no doubt in my mind that by the end of it all corrupt journalist will be called out for what they are as will the developers, and PR who associated with them on a regular basis. Don't be caught red handed.

You're Last Samurai,
Brad Carver (OtakuDante)

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