As the video game industry continues its incredible financial and critical success amongst my generation, video game journalism has grown into an absolutely large importance. Reveals, previews, reviews, these journalists will always have something to write about, especially during the end of each year.
With Sites like IGN, Game Informer, and Kotaku, gamers are much more able to get quick, up to the minute news about their favorite genres and systems. However, this kind of visibility does come with a lot of scrutiny. With so many different companies being formed, big and small, making loads of different kinds of games, getting your name out there can be tough.
Kotaku’s head editor, Stephen Totilo wrote a great article about all of the flak that many gaming journalists receive.
Being a Public Relations major and hoping to get into the video game industry someday, I found this exposé to be very interesting, as he described many of the comparisons between PR and gaming journalism. One interesting quote from gaming journalist Robert Florence was “I think we’re in a horrible position right now, where most games coverage is almost indistinguishable from PR.” One stereotype of gaming journalism is that all it is meant to be is yet another advertising tool to sell games. Since all of these different companies are struggling to get their name out there and to get their games covered by these news outlets, they’ll even resort to a bribing the journalists with free content. The main difficulty that comes with covering this topic is staying completely neutral. Unlike movie reviewers, like one commenter noted, video game journalists are expected to write without bias, especially when it comes to console debates, à la PlayStation vs. XBox. However, to fully report the whole story, some bias needs to be included to express their full opinions and to express the whole truth.
Since gaming is still in its infancy compared to other forms of media, like movies and books, video game journalism will continue to be inaccurately perceived by the public. Time will tell if this trend will continue into the future.
by: David T. Engebretson