June 8, 2015
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CANADALAND
#36 Is Video Game Journalism Corrupt?
Globe and Mail video game critic Peter Nowak on the "fucking nonsense" of the gaming press.

Episode Rundown

0:01 “It’s Fucking Nonsense. Welcome to video game journalism.

3:01 “I actually blame the mainstream media.”

3:13 “The mainstream media abdicated covering videos games”

3:32: “The industry (game journalism) is entirely dependent on access.”

4:12 “If you score a game low, you may not be getting games in the future”. (Here’s an example of PR threatening to punish sites (link)

4:30 Jim Sterling, a very well known game critic has been blacklisted by Konami PR (link)

6:25 “If you’re a video game news outlet most of your traffic is coming from reviews.”  (Here are two publications who disagree. (link)

7:02 “ Sometimes they send you an email saying ‘you’re a dick’” .

7:12 “They say ‘sorry we don’t have enough copies of that game’, and in a day and age where games are digital,that’s pretty much a big middle finger to you.” (Peter gave Dishonoured a 7, the lowest score it received.) (link)

8:30 Speaking of Metacritic,  Fallout New Vegas developer team Obsidian lost  their bonuses because they failed to hit an 85 on Metacritic. “It was a straight payment, no royalties, only a bonus if we got an 85+ on Metacritic, which we didn’t.” Chris Avellone, the co-owner of Obsidian (link)

9:12 “ Games are basically scored from 8 to 10…if your game gets a 7, forget it”.

9:52 Gamereactor Sweden gave Dishonoured a 9/10  (link) and Gamereactor UK corroborated that Gamereactor Sweden got Wolfenstein: The New Order early (link)

10:21 “The most popular video game site has more credibility and probably a bigger audience (of gamers) than the Globe and Mail” Jesse throwing down the gauntlet. (I’d love to see numbers.)

12:16 “He wrote a book or a really long essay on how he became addicted Grand Theft Auto 4 and how it ruined his life” Tom Bissell writes for Grantland (link). The book Peter talks about is Extra Lives. (link)

13:00 CANADALAND intern Chris Demelo does not agree that video game journalism lacks critical voices. There is Cara Ellison doing Embed with Games (link), Patrick Klepek at Giant Bomb (link), Jim Sterling at the Escapist Magazine (link), Leigh Alexander of Gamasutra. (link), Rob Rath at Escapist (link) and George Weidman at Super Bunny Hop (link).

13:07 “There isn’t a lot of money in writing about games in the first place, if you were to look at it per hour, it’s probably the lowest paying job in Western society.” Peter on the economic realities of game journalism.

14:45 Jesse talks about the incident with Geoff Keighley (link) and the game journalist tweeting for PS3’s. (link)

16:20 Jesse asks why some video game journalists would get sent on trips to review games that could be played digitally. Peter says it’s because of piracy concerns. This piece by Michael McWhertor sums it up best. (link)

18:41   “If you’re a staffer in mainstream media, your not allowed to go on these junkets.”

25:19 “It’s so cyclical, there was a point and time where Apple was almost bankrupt, chances are good it will happen again soon”. A bold prediction from Peter.

27:06 The word Jesse and Peter are searching for is Shrinkage.

30:00 “I’ve gotten angry phone calls writing about Bells, Rogers, Telus. They care very much what Canadians think about them which is interesting because of the amount of sheer hatred Canadians have for them.” Peter and Jesse on why the big three telecoms are such big babies.

35:47 “I think people writing bad things about technology companies is good for everybody because that builds your credibility, your credibility as a journalist, credibility of your outlet and it also adds credibility to that company’s product when your write something good.”

38:20 “ I couldn’t go from Journalism to PR.  I’m not that friendly”

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