Great Moments in Game Journalism: A Stone-Throwing Contest in A Greenhouse

A kefuffle has erupted in the gaming media as gaming site takes on gaming site and games commentator takes on game “journalist” in a no-holds barred contest of “No, I Am Riding the Higher Horse!”. The media finds stories about the media endlessly fascinating (plus it lets them air the dirty laundry usually only talked about round the water cooler aka pub) and something as inbred as the gaming press is going to find it extra fun to publicly throw things at each other.

Plus outrage equals eyeballs, so a bit of controversy is good business.

Things got started with Rob “Piracy is Just a Word, like Ethics” Florence writing an article on Eurogamer about how the relationship between the gaming press and gaming promotion is much, much too close. However, Florence managed to completely obscure that message by naming some names, which immediately made them the focus of the story.

Geoff Keighley surrounded by Doritos and Mountain Dew that is in turn wrapped by Rob Florence's column that is in turn surrounded by ads for current video game titles.

I just can’t get over how meta this is: Geoff Keighley surrounded by Doritos and Mountain Dew that is in turn wrapped by Rob Florence’s “gaming promotion is insidious” column that is in turn surrounded by ads for current video game titles.

Florence made the comment that “I have a mental list of games journos who are the very worst of the bunch[;] The ones who are at every PR launch event, the ones who tweet about all the freebies they get” but that “I won’t name them here, because it’s a horrible thing to do.” He didn’t feel it horrible enough to not call out two people specifically though – Dave Cook of VG24/7 for accepting a PS3 won in a Twitter hashtag competition, and MCV staff writer Lauren Wainwright for not seeing a problem with this arrangement.

Florence calls out Wainwright for looking too close to the new Tomb Raider game, which made him “suspicious” that she could be in the pocket of the Tomb Raider PR team, since she clearly doesn’t understand ethics as well as Florence does. He doesn’t want to SAY she’s being paid off, but the “doubt is there”.

Someone complained to Eurogamer about this particular line – Eurogamer names Wainwright as the source of the complaint and then apologises for it, but it also looks like Intent Media (owner of MCV) possibly said something too. It doesn’t appear that legal action was explicitly threatened, despite a lot of reports to the contrary and it appears to be what Florence was told.

UPDATE 30 October 2012: Both Eurogamer and Rock Paper Shotgun indicate that the legal threats came from Wainwright herself, not from Intent Media.

UPDATE 20 November 2012: Wainwright indicates that she didn’t talk to any lawyers before having a “short communication” with Eurogamer, but suggested that the comments could be considered libellous. Her view is that Eurogamer then spoke to their legal representatives who suggested they remove names from the article – both hers and Cook’s. Wainwright says she regrets her actions – they happened because she started to get abuse once the article had gone up and wanted it to stop.

Eurogamer's Editor's Note: No mention of Dave Cook here.

Hey Eurogamer, you also scrubbed Dave Cook out of the article too. He was the gaming “journalist” who won the PS3 in the hashtag contest and now it looks funny about why he’s apologising in the comments section below.

In response, Eurogamer edited the article to remove reference to both Wainwright and Cook (although only cites Wainwright in their note about the update). As a result of this edit, Florence decided to stop writing his column for Eurogamer although clearly blames others for the decision to do so.

You can read the full original article text here,

Here’s the Problem: Florence Was Wrong To Mention Wainwright As He Did

In the rush to blame Wainwright for destroying game “journalism” forever, there seems to be a large issue overlooked: Florence could have written the entire article and not ever mention Wainwright. Or if he mentioned her, he could have said, “And here’s the kind of gaming press attitude I’m talking about, the one that can’t even see the problem”. He didn’t need to mention his suspicions and doubts based purely on a single other tweet.

Intentional or not, that was mudslinging.

A lot of places are rushing to scream “FREEDOM OF SPEECH! FREEDOM OF SPEECH!” (which gets US gamers all outraged and thus pushes the story along further) and blame UK libel laws for what happened, but it was the way that Florence wrote his statement that caused the issue. It doesn’t follow that because someone can’t see an issue with a gaming reviewer entering a contest to win a PS3 that they in turn are “in the pocket” of a publisher’s PR team.

A man putting a bribe into his pocket.

Allegedly.

That’s a pretty serious statement. I’m sure whoever at Eurogamer okayed the original version of the Florence column will be having a serious think about how they let that one slip through. A little bit of tweaking and there would have been no problem. The point that it looks bad for someone writing about a title to be too close to it is one thing, but naming someone as being possibly bought is another.

It is a serious issue that many in the enthusiast gaming press let their love of games cloud their role of information distributor to the public. There is also the very serious issues of games PR / marketing having a lot of power over which people / sites in the gaming press get access to the previews / free copies / free loot / exclusives, and thus increased eyeballs and revenue. And then there’s the issue of people moving on from the gaming press to the game development side, or perhaps to the gaming PR side. There are conflicts of interest all over the place.

To whit:

Please Ignore The Sound of Breaking Glass

John Walker of Rock Paper Shotgun has been very vocal in his defence of RPS stable mate Florence and how Eurogamer has behaved here. He takes the moral high ground, saying, “[Wainwright] vociferously defended a journalist’s right to promote a game for personal gain – in supporting the PS3 competition – on that Twitter page, and yes, if you were the sort of person who wanted to get threatened, you might mistakenly conflate the two”. He also goes after Wainwright for having a Twitter page (now locked to the public, which unfortunately makes it hard to see how ‘vociferously’ Wainwright did anything) covered in Tomb Raider pictures and for having listed Square Enix as someone she’s worked for as clear conflicts of interest.

A lot of broken window panes.

I prefer to only rent glass houses.

My problem with all of that is that Walker is near equally as compromised when it comes to the Broken Sword games. Yes, Walker declares his conflict – he worked on the Director’s Cut of Broken Sword and apparently doesn’t review Revolution Software (who are behind Broken Sword) titles.

But he’s not above publishing article on Rock Paper Shotgun telling people that the game he worked on is now available for purchase (in 2010) and then that there is a Kickstarter for Broken Sword 5 that perhaps the readers of Rock Paper Shotgun might like to support, plus a few interviews to help support the Kickstarter process (in 2012).  I honestly can’t comprehend the hypocrisy that sees Walker call out Cook for a hashtag when he’s helping a former employer solicit crowd funds or even sell a title where he’s got a writing credit.

Is there no-one else at Rock Paper Shotgun who can take that particular title off Walker? Because if it is a conflict of interest for Wainwright who has worked in some capacity for Square Enix to write about Tomb Raider, it is definitely a conflict for Walker to present a title he’s had a direct relationship with to the public and help with their fund raising. Yes, Walker does disclose this conflict with Revolution Games in the post from 2010 and the Kickstarter one in 2012, but I don’t see it mentioned in the 2012 interviews (but will update this if I missed it). If Wainwright is a fan of Tomb Raider, then Walker is most certainly a fan of Broken Sword.

Walker’s own comment about this is, “I declared my interests in the posts – that’s a good thing to do in such circumstances. But such circumstances probably shouldn’t come about.” And yet they do. Repeatedly.

The Relationship Between Eurogamer and Rock Paper Shotgun

The bride's hand is on the groom's back in black and white.

For things to be above board, keep your hands where we can see them at all times.

One thing that came out of this for me was the knowledge that Eurogamer and Rock Paper Shotgun share a relationship for ad sales and business development. Which isn’t something I see mentioned when Rock Paper Shotgun links several Eurogamer articles on a page (and in this case including one of Florence’s), potentially driving eyes that start on Rock Paper Shotgun to Eurogamer and thus boosting overall adviews for both sites.

There are lots of very good reasons for Rock Paper Shotgun to link to Eurogamer pages as Eurogamer has some great articles. But surely there is a potential conflict of interest in driving eyeballs towards the site that pays their ad revenue? Shouldn’t that conflict be stated at the very least on the Advertise With Us page, which doesn’t mention any commercial ad arrangement with Eurogamer at all?

Because if we are going to get serious about looking at potential conflict of interest and who’s-influencing-who, then it has to be looked at everywhere.

UPDATE 30 October 2012: Rock Paper Shotgun have made several recent statements about the nature of the commercial relationship they have with Eurogamer and how they keep editorial arms’ length away from the advertising.

People Stopped Reading 600 Words Ago

Shut up, I’m almost done.

Blah blah IT'S ALL LAUREN'S FAULT blah blah

If only there was someone to scapegoat for this whole issue… if only there was someone we could blame…

Since the publication of the article and the targeting of Wainwright a lot of things have been written. Florence has been critical of Wainwright for complaining and asking for the article to be revised – for doing “one of the worst things one writer can do to another” – while also sympathising with what has happened since.

Lots of mention of the Streisand Effect and that Wainwright shouldn’t have asked for the retraction, but there was no way of knowing how things would blow up (and that she would become the focus of the story in large part thanks to Eurogamer naming her twice in the Editor’s Note). Would it have been better for the article to remain unchanged and that every time someone googled ‘Lauren Wainwright’ there appeared an article appearing that said she was in all likelihood open to bribes? Plus I’m not sure writing a response to the allegations – as suggested by a few commentators – would have had much effect, given that the “accusation” article usually gets a lot more coverage than any “response” article.

(Destructoid’s Jim Sterling’s view on this is that you should just let those negative articles stand because you get used to them after a few years.)

It also raises a nasty precedent for games writers to write what they want about people in the future, safe in the knowledge that if they get called on it, then they can rely on the Internet Outrage Machine (Pat. Pend.) to scream “CENSORSHIP!” and drown out any criticism in a wave of fury. And that wave of fury is driven by people with the time to dig through a lot of rock to find any dirt – real or imagined – that might be hiding there. Post-facto justification of an accusation is very ugly territory to enter into.

There is a very strong case that Wainwright should have made her working relationship with Square Enix much, much clearer in her work. If she’s going to list something publicly (such as on her Journalisted.com profile), then it would have been best to be open about that everywhere. (And she certainly shouldn’t have edited her profile there to remove Square Enix as a previous employer – too late, too late.) Exactly what she did for Square Enix remains a big, open question, but she should have mentioned that potential conflict of interest.

UPDATE 20 November 2012: Wainwright indicates that she wrote two mock reviews for Square Enix that weren’t covering either Tomb Raider or Hitman titles.

Unfortunately, ‘catching’ Wainwright has become a lot of the focus now. As a result of the removal of a few sentences – and arguably the least important sentences to the overall discussion on the relationship between the gaming press and games PR – the message has been lost in all the noise of a witch hunt.

And given that these gaming press and PR conflict of interest is everywhere, I can’t help but see a lot of the finger pointing as nothing more than the throwing of hard objects within a glass-encased enclosure.

15 thoughts on “Great Moments in Game Journalism: A Stone-Throwing Contest in A Greenhouse

  1. “Here’s the Problem: Florence Was Wrong To Mention Wainwright As He Did”

    No he wasn’t. All he did was point out something she’d said in a series of public tweets. He didn’t give away any secrets, and he explicitly said “I’m sure she’s not corrupt”, merely pointed out that what she’d said could plant seeds of doubt in people’s heads. It would have been hard to do that without giving a specific example by way of illustration.

    It was completely legitimate comment, and I’m tired of people calling out practices without identifying the guilty parties. Name and shame, because otherwise why would anyone ever stop?

    • The issue I see was that this was a case of taking two tweets and then turning them into a pattern of behaviour. It went from “Wainwright doesn’t see an issue with a games journalist promoting a game of chance on Twitter to win a PS3” to “doubts” about if Wainwright could be in the pocket of the Tomb Raider PR team. The two are very different things – the way the contest was run is certainly questionable, but the second raises concerns about Wainwright getting something under the table which would be completely unethical.

      The “I’m sure she’s not, but…” is a weak save. It’s a way of making the allegation while also protecting the author from the fallout because they didn’t actually mean any of the damaging statements they just mentioned. “I’m certain that this person is not , but here’s all the reasons why are appear to be ” is pretty base level muckraking.

      And as for “name and shame”, who’s been stopped here? There was no proof of any wrongdoing, just “doubts” and suspicions. Florence stated that he stalks a group of gaming “journalists” who appear particularly in love with swag, but he didn’t want to name them because that was too horrible. Instead, it was some comments on Twitter that caught his eye.

      So, in this case, the most allegedly guilty parties go unnamed and the focus instead went to Cook and Wainwright. They’ve learned some hard lessons, but the relationship between gaming “journalists” and gaming PR has been left pretty much untouched.

  2. Hi there.

    Initially ignoring the peculiar hypocrisy of beginning a post saying that it was wrong for Florence to have named names, and then going on to attempt to discredit me by name, I think your attempt was a little weak. You very selectively chose which bits of my posts to reference here, to attempt to make me look hypocritical. So let’s fill in that rather crucial missing element: I was acknowledging that I have made mistakes that compromise my integrity when I raised the Broken Sword matter.

    Odd of you to not mention that bit. I was highlighting how easy it is to be compromised in this industry, and making it absolutely clear from the outset that I was not claiming to be above or apart from it, and chose a series of examples that demonstrated mistakes I have made, or things I have done that could be considered problematic. Pretending that you’ve uncovered it like some super-sleuth, when you were copying it from, er, my making it clear, makes you look a touch devious.

    However, since what Wainwright primarily did wrong re. her Square stuff was a failure to disclose that she had previously done some freelance for them, and since I *did* disclose my interests regarding Broken Sword – well, your main prong of attack isn’t quite such a zinger. It was my mistake to fail to mention my interests in the two-part interview. I had done it so recently with the earlier post that I incorrectly considered the matter exposed. I should have added the same publicly disclosed disclaimer to those interviews too. Clearly I wasn’t trying to hide it.

    It’s also worth noting that I never condemned Wainwright for her Square work. I condemned her for her foolishness in making her Twitter page look like a Square advert. I also put forward the suggestion that she had never really been a consultant for them, but in fact likely just wrote them a mock review, which is hardly a matter of being compromised for a freelancer who is a writer for hire. I really don’t care that she previously worked for Square – the issue was only ever that she was loudly defending journalists’ right to promote a game for person gain, while looking an awful lot like she was promoting a game. So again, your angle of attack is pretty misguided.

    For Broken Sword I worked as a freelancer, doing some writing work on a per hour basis. I’ve no financial interest in the success of the game, and it makes no difference to me in any way how the new game does. I agree it looks poor for me to cover the game in light of having previously contributed to a different project by the same studio, but the reality was I was just doing my job as an RPS writer to report a news thing. I declared interests, and in the end, it’s not too big of a deal. I could have done better.

    Regarding our ads deal with Eurogamer, I am unaware how our linking to their site compromises us or them Their getting more hits isn’t in our interest, it doesn’t benefit us in any way at all. As you observe, The Sunday Papers is a collection of links to interesting articles around the web. Should we exclude EG on the basis that our advertising is handled by them? If we overly favoured their site above others, I could see an issue. We certainly don’t.

    So, I’m left wondering what your real agenda is here. Since you began with an argument based in the inappropriateness of naming names in an article you believe didn’t merit it, and then went on to spend the rest of your post naming my name and listing ways you believe I am just as bad as whatever, it makes it clear that you prefer to distract away from questioning real matters of ethics, and instead try to rubbish the person trying to ask those questions. That seems… problematic.

    And try not to base your understanding of a story on the tweets made by the company employing the person who made the complaint, and also just happened to be the people who run the GMAs that started it all. They might not be your most reliable source upon which to base you argument about whether legal threats were made.

    • Thanks for the response John.

      You’ve made a number of points I’d like to address.

      – About the “odd hypocrisy” about criticising Florence for naming names and then doing the same myself, my point was the Wainwright was a sideline to the issue of gaming PR being too close to gaming writers that Florence then used to raise his “doubts”. In order to raise the point of potential bias, he didn’t need to paint Wainwright as being potentially “in the pocket” of the Tomb Raider PR people.

      I named you because you have written a lot on this issue and hosted a guest post by Florence on the topic. You’ve been linked in a lot of different places for your views on this issue. Florence mentioned you as a “disgusted” tweeter in his article. You also stated that you should be called out for having worked on the Broken Sword franchise and also using RPS to promote it. As such, I saw it as fair to mention you as part of examining this issue. You are part of the story.

      – I believe that by quoting you in the last sentence and mentioning that you do declare your interest in the second paragraph of that section I’d outlined that you had acknowledged your conflict of interest about the Broken Sword franchise. I do apologise if you feel I wasn’t clear in this area.

      I don’t see any zinger in outlining your relationship with Revelation Studios / Broken Sword because I wouldn’t have known about it if you hadn’t mentioned it in your blog. That’s about as non-devious as you can get.

      But I am curious about when you decided you could do better, because up to two months ago you were helping this studio raise a lot of money by promoting it on RPS, with – as best I can see – that conflict only mentioned in the direct Kickstarter post, not in the interviews that followed which all promoted the Kickstarter as well. It would be best that any conflicts of interest are noted within every individual article in future, given that people often come to sites to read specific articles and aren’t always across the history of previous posts.

      There’s also an issue in noting that a potential conflict of interest exists, but still continuing to write on that topic. You do say that you can do better, but you never get to the ‘how’. I was being serious with my question in the original article – can’t someone else at RPS cover Revelation Studio titles and interviews? That would remove the perception that a conflict exists in your case.

      – I’ll make the point that while you don’t have a financial interest in the Broken Sword Director’s Cut, it looks good on a resume to have worked on a successful title rather than a market flop.

      – I agree that Wainwright could have handled things a lot better regarding her Twitter page, but I a lot of the issue being written here is all about conflating the issue. Is by saying that she doesn’t see an issue with a games writer playing a public game of chance to win a PS3 (in a likely off-the-cuff tweet) that she also meant that whatever swag a gaming “journalist” can get is a-okay with her? And that every tweet she makes she’s getting something for? That’s a very long bow to draw in my mind (and my original problem with Florence’s article).

      – Regarding the deal between RPS and Eurogamer, a large part of the issue with Wainwright is the perception of conflict of interest, that if she’d been more aware / public about where potential conflicts of interest could be seen, then there would have been less of a problem. In looking around the RPS site, I can’t actually see anything high-level on the RPS site that mentions the Eurogamer deal, which I do think raises a question given the importance of ad revenue to gaming sites such as RPS. Without searching, the relationship between RPS and Eurogamer isn’t clear on the RPS site. Not even on your Advertise page.

      This matters because it advantages RPS to be part of a strong gaming network with a lot of page views and that by sending people from RPS to Eurogamer it helps increase the overall eyeball numbers the network uses to help attract advertisers.

      I don’t think that RPS should exclude Eurogamer, but the relationship should be noted somewhere on the site. Because I don’t think that there IS any hidden influence here, but if you are going to call Wainwright out for unintentionally “making her Twitter page look like it’s sponsored”, then making RPS appear to be completely separate from Eurogamer when it really isn’t, it raises questions of transparency, fair or not.

      At the heart of this entire topic isn’t about what is actually happening, just the perception that something might be. I’m choosing to point out “that possible confusion”.

      – Regarding my agenda: I didn’t see anyone else making comments on this topic that I felt reflected my viewpoint. If the implication is that there is something greater than that going on, then know that isn’t happening. No-one is paying me anything, I don’t personally know anyone involved in this event and I didn’t start blogging about MMOs years ago just to launch my secretly-planned-all-along strike against John Walker / RPS now.

      You said yourself that you should be open to criticism. This is exactly what I’ve done. If you want to talk about “real matters of ethics”, then dodge or downplay any queries about your behaviour or what appears on RPS, then nothing changes. You may feel (and probably do) that I’m off base and that these issues are “not too big of a deal”. But Wainwright obviously though the same things right up until Florence raised the issue in putting two tweets together and had “doubts” about her integrity.

      If you want to raise real matters of ethics, then raise them. The whole Florence / Wainwright event has been a complete distraction from that area, despite game writing ethics being a key part of what Florence was trying to raise (and I’ve been part of that distraction). Is there an RPS set of ethical guidelines that are followed / available to read? Because I’d like to know what the ethics are on topics such as:

      +What is an acceptable conflict of interest to acknowledge for a game / topic and still write about, and what isn’t?
      +Should hard-core fans be assigned to cover franchises they love, or is that a liability?
      +How close is too close to a studio to write articles on them?
      +Should conflict of interest be noted at the topic, within or at the bottom of an article? Or is it up to the author?
      +Is it acceptable to base an article solely on comments made in tweets, or should that person be contacted directly to flesh out a statement hard-limited to 140 characters?
      +What is it acceptable for games writers to accept from game companies and what crosses the line? What should be made public and where?

      And so on. I see people lamenting the lack of ethics in games journalism, and people such as yourself and Jim Sterling making comments that you did things in the past that in retrospect you probably shouldn’t have, but I’m yet to see someone actually point to any written standards. You can’t just say the word “ethics” and expect everyone to know what you are talking about in detail (especially since, as you and Sterling note, it’s only after the fact that you might ponder what you should have done instead of what you actually did.)

      If the approach to ethics in games writing is either making it up as you go along or hoping any ethical land mines you step on don’t go off so that you’ll know better next time, then Wainwright / Florence is just another speed bump on the road to the next time a gaming “journalist” makes a mistake and gets crucified for it.

      – Regarding basing my understanding of a story on tweets: the whole narrative this event has now taken is based on tweets. Tweets that Wainwright made. Tweets that Florence made. Tweets that you made. Tweets that MCV’s representatives made. So, do I trust Florence’s tweet that legal threats were made or MCV’s that they just made a request for the article to be adjusted? If evidence comes to light that legal threats were made that refute what the MCV account says, I’ll adjust the article.

  3. For some time I’ve avoided the professional games media and relied on fan blogs and sites to keep me up to speed – yours among them.

    While I appreciate a fan might be biased fans are usually aware of this and attempt to mitigate it. The journos on the other hand…..

    Anyway thanks for fueling my confirmation bias that sites like RPS and Eurogamer simply aren’t worth reading.

    • It’s a tough issue. The gaming press is mostly made up of fans who really want to make a career in gaming. There are lots of them, which makes competition tight and therefore vulnerable to manipulation from a variety of sources (PR, fans, their own organisation). A lot of these writers freelance in other areas and sometimes cross the line from “journalist” to industry and back again.

      This creates a lot of potential conflicts of interest that are often not managed well (which is true of a lot of media).

      Unfortunately in this case the issue of conflict of interest has been sidelined by an allegation and retraction that has been turned into a major beat-up on one person.

      I’d say that RPS and Eurogamer are worth reading at times, but I always try to keep in mind where their biases possibly lie (e.g. RPS: completely pro-PC).

  4. It’s rather annoying how the Florence article was ordered in such a way as to say “here’s an example of what I don’t like” (the Wainwright and Cook part), and then later, “I stalk journos and keep a list of the worst offenders, but I won’t name them”.

    Yet most of the critiques of the article are happy to turn that around, putting the second part before the first, thus pretending that he was naming names he said he wouldn’t name, and that he was calling out Wainwright and Cook as the worst offenders.

    If anyone deserves charges of libel, it’s the ones pulling that little quoting-out-of-context stunt. But then, Florence doesn’t have an army of corporate lawyers behind him, so I guess it’s open season on him, huh?

    • The problem there is that in naming Cook and Wainwright, he made them the focus of the “how PR gets into bed with games writing” angle. He wouldn’t name people in one part because it was “a horrible thing to do”, but he did in the other part right before.

      So which is it – is naming and shaming okay, or a horrible thing to do?

  5. I’m seeing a lot of talk about ethics in games media in the wake of this controversy, and that’s great. However, I’m not seeing a lot of conversation about what “ethics” means. If one wants to insinuate that others are behaving ethically or unethically, then it would behoove he or she to define what is considered ethical. Everyone has a different conception of what constitutes ethical behaviour; it isn’t self-evident.

    I fear the lesson games media will take from this imbroglio is “Don’t underestimate the power of the Streisand effect” or even worse “Cover your ass and get defensive.” What we really need is a substantive discussion of ethics in games writing. Maybe we’ll come to the conclusion that games media need a universal code of ethics. Maybe we’ll agree to let each writer define his or her own code of ethics. But until we actually have that discussion, I fear that all we’ll see is mudslinging and retaliation.

  6. Dear anonymous coward. I have been a friend of John’s for many years. We record a podcast together. I know his psyche very well. Sometimes better than he knows it himself. And I can tell you that there’s *nothing* that makes him more panicky than in thinking that he might be compromising his own ethics, in strafing his own standards. Indeed, he can be a nervous wreck about this, hairshirting himself every time he thinks he might be treading into the smallest shadow of a perception of duplicity or cant.

    Wainwright et al, though, seem little more than cynical husks, opportunistic bottom-feeders, relying on White Knights like you to defend their chimerical honour when they have rightly been shamed, so that you can focus rather on waffly process than naming those antonymous moral agents who have brought an industry into disrepute.

    If you want to attack anyone ex the RPS stable, focus on Kieron Gillen, who accepted one of the Corruption Awards the other evening. I am happy to say that John has called him out on this.

    • I was going to let this slide as the anger of a friend, but I will take 100% issue with the term “white knight”. Did at any point I mention any issue relating to Wainwright being a woman at all in the above article, outside of personal pronouns?

      No, I didn’t. So please take the argument you are having with other people to them and not me.

      Also, were the GMAs the Corruption Awards in 2010 and 2011 when RPS took home the trophies, or when they were nominated this year? It’s completely within RPS’ ability to refuse the nomination. If they are looking for a template, Nick Cave wrote a good one when refusing his MTV award nomination (http://www.youaintnopicasso.com/2011/08/20/nick-caves-1996-letter-to-mtv/).

  7. I have no doubt that conflicts of interest are endemic in the mainstream gaming press. Self-preservation alone dictates that RPS and Eurogamer need to keep pushing the latest titles as ‘the next big thing’.

    For this reason, most gamers are more likely to use aggregate ratings (Metacritic) and word of mouth to make their purchasing decisions.

    For all the people involved in conflicts of interest, they need to be aware that showing bias will ultimately hurt their credibility with audience they are writing for, further alienating readers from mainstream websites.

    • One of the big issues that occurs is if you agree with their bias or not. If you agree with it, then they were right and the other side was wrong and that is that.

      I’d also suggest that the reader is quite happy to benefit from these conflicts of interest most of the time – the exclusive, the glowing pre-launch interview, the early thoughts about game play experienced at a press junket written by a friendly reviewer – and only gets upset when someone points out the problems.

  8. Pingback: Crisis in Games Journalism Over: Everything Back to Normal « Vicarious Existence

  9. Pingback: A Short History Of Players Versus Gaming Journalists | Evil As A Hobby

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