Gamespot editor allegedly fired for giving a bad review
Jeff Gerstmann was supposedly let go because he gave Kane and Lynch a mediocre review (recent updates indicate the firing was a culmination of multiple reviews that angered sponsors). The story goes, Eidos was paying CNET a ton of cash to promote the title and threatened to pull future ads because of the review. It’s true that when this story broke yesterday, the Gamespot site was covered head to toe in stupid K&L ads. The people who say the firing happened because of the review range from Penny Arcade (who confirm the comic isn’t simply a joke in their forum), to a freelance Gamespot writer (who gave Shenmue a bad review…breath in…), to mods in the Gamespot forum who said things like – if we tell you what happened we will be fired, and don’t blame us, it’s all CNETs fault.
First of all, many people use this news to confirm “conspiracy theories.” That the idea that huge amounts of money changing hands can influence integrity is considered a conspiracy theory is absurd. Corporations are corrupt, the government is corrupt, why on Earth would game reviews be impervious to the pressures of power and money? Aren’t people who believe no one has ever been bought the conspiracy theorists?
Assuming this stuff happens is still less painful than finding out it actually did happen. We can add this travesty to the growing list – changed review scores (1up, Gamespot), reviews written from previews (Spider Man on PGNX), stealth edits (Assassin’s Creed review on 1up), front page stories purchased (confirmed by EGM to happen), and embargoes on reviews if the score isn’t high enough (Assassins Creed). Take a moment to think about the piles of dirt insiders have that they cannot reveal because they enjoy eating.
Jeff seems to be saying, “You’re next!”
I wish this were simply a sign of game journalism’s infancy, but lapses of integrity seem to be common place across the board. Pardon the soap box, but the real problem is that we are simply too short sighted and lazy to really care for more than a week. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been outraged by the government or a corporation and done absolutely nothing about it beyond giving them my continued support. I’ve pledged to never go to Gamestop again at least three times. I’ve pledged to bomb the White House at least twice. Yet I am too pacified by the convenience of life as I know it to do anything productive (assuming explosions are productive).
People say I’m being ridiculous for refusing to buy a 360 until they all work properly. Somehow it’s one protest I’ve managed to stick to, but once I have a few hundred extra bucks will I be as strong? And why do so few other people mind that Microsoft is basically selling them a time bomb? Some web forums discussed ways they could stand up to Gamespot and Eidos. A lot of people were willing to stop going to CNET owned sites (I will have to ween myself off Metacritic) but very few could cope with not buying Eidos games. Deus Ex 3 is more important than taking a stand.
So what are we to do about a lack of integrity and a lack of responsibility to customers? I figure I’ll pick which 360 I want on Amazon and hope I make some money for Christmas.
Changing direction, there were many stupid people celebrating Gerstmann’s termination. This seems like an excellent litmus test for fanboys. If you value a stranger attaching a good number to Twilight Princess more than reading reviews that haven’t been bought, you are a fanboy. And an asshole. And quite frankly one of the things wrong with the world. You are bitter, spiteful, and have arbitrary ethics based on furthering your own agenda. You are also ugly and I hate you.
Finally, a lot of people have said the Eidos is just acting in its best interests and should bear no burden of the blame. I am a radical hippy who believes companies should not do as much as possible tear apart families and destroy the earth within legal bounds. A company that doesn’t respect freedom of opinion does not respect you or me. It’s amazing how frequently self declared patriots defend a corporations right to opinion and speech. If the ideals of our government are beautiful, why should we not expect them to permeate throughout all of our society?
Keep in mind blame is easy to throw around and requires no effort on my part. Thus, blaming is much easier than any actual protest.
The other side of the argument.
ESRB rating breakdown for systems
These pie charts are intriguing but ultimately somewhat misleading. Sheer numbers would be more useful than percentages because a system with 10% Mature games can have more Mature titles than a system with 20% Mature games.
The Wii and PS3 breakdown jumped out at me. Nintendo’s console has a huge amount of games rated Everyone. This can somewhat be tempered by the fact that it’s currently winning the hardware race and is thus acting as the garbage can of the industry. Crappy licensed games and shovel ware make up a significant portion of the Wii’s titles and those class of games are almost always aimed at 5 year olds.
Still, shovel ware is not a sufficient explanation for the Wii’s percentage of Everyone games. The PS2 had more Mature rated games than the Wii despite being the big system last generation and being home to hundreds of terrible licensed games for retarded children. If Nintendo is interested in changing their ratings breakdown, they need to court more third party exclusives and more third party support in general. Of course, they may not want more Mature rated games. They seem to have turned their “kiddy” image into an “everyone” image and it’s paying off for them.
On the opposite end of things, Sony has more Mature games this generation. This can possibly be explained by the fact that the system is still in its infancy – it’s been said many times that general consumers adopt a console much later than the hardcore, and the hardcore are more interested in violent, bloody games. But the trend may also feed into Sony’s apparent goal of not being the popular console maker this generation. As I’ve said before, the PS2 and PS1 sold because they were positioned as the everymans console. A low cost combined with breadth of games appealed to people across all demographics. A lineup heavy on Mature titles seems to follow Sony’s new angle of alienating the mass market.
How’d that work out for you, Bernie?
Trilogy Studios hires Satan
Just kidding, they hired Hitler. I mean Bernie Stolar.
Nintendo has no plans to increase Western development
I will take the unpopular position on this one – Good, I am glad. Nintendo seems to expand very slowly and deliberately. Rare and Retro work/ed because top guys from Japan seemed to have a good amount of input in the design process. Talent is something that must be taught sometimes, so the idea that they should use their mountains of yen to hire great people only sort of works. That said, they should probably be expanding slightly faster than they are. Not Sega “we buy any shitty company for no reason” fast, but more than one new developer every few years fast.
Also, I like Japanese games. If anything, more companies should make explicitly Japanese games, not the other way around.