On The Ethics Of Media And Industry Relations In Videogames

The past few weeks have left me incredulous; we’ve gone from being otherwise indifferent or relatively optimistic about the coming months in gaming, to ridiculous amounts of infighting and attacking anyone with an opinion about anything, and I can’t help but note that it all started after a German event… just saying.

In all seriousness though, after coming off E3 and the whole sexism debate surrounding Assassin’s Creed: Unity, and then having to endure the whines of console gamers over Rise of the Tomb Raider during Gamescom, I have to admit that when the whole Quinnspiracy scandal arose, I had reached a certain tipping point in the amount of positivity I could hold onto (but hold onto it I did).

Now we’ve already discussed the allegations raised against Zoe Quinn and I’m not here to rehash that discussion — read: this is not an article about Zoe Quinn or sexism — but rather, I’d like to address possibly the most interesting and pertinent debate to come out of that messy saga, and probably the biggest missed point of a lot of the noise being made by SJWs and MRAs; that of the relationships, ethical or otherwise, between videogame developers and journalists in the industry.

Some might argue that as readers, all of this is not really your business. I disagree. You all have a vested interest in what goes on behind the scenes because, after all, we exist for you guys and we try to cater to you guys. In our own style, certainly. But still with the intention of entertaining and providing solid, informative content for you guys. Our reviews exist to inform you and allow you to make somewhat educated purchasing decisions, and if those reviews were influenced somehow then you deserve to know as much. This is why I’m doing this article and putting it out on the internet. This is why I’m daring to talk about otherwise sensitive stuff that might possibly get me into some trouble.

Let’s first go over a few things that were mentioned in the article linked above. I don’t consider gaming websites — especially local ones for reasons I’ll come to in a bit — to be strictly ‘journalism’ because for example, a political journalist is not a politician and a war journalist is not necessarily fighting in the war. Games journalists actually play the things they talk about. Games journalists, then, are writers with opinions that others care to read about. And that’s it, really. Here in South Africa a lot of our content is either paraphrased news from international websites or original local content including events, opinions and reviews (and the odd eSports outrage). This is more or less true for every local gaming website and while some might purport to be legitimate journalists, whether they have degrees saying so or otherwise, for the most part it’s usually just a bunch of people who know some stuff, writing about a thing.

Not necessarily very well in a lot of cases, I have to say, but they do try.

In that sense, it is no different to a political journalist, or a war journalist, or any other kind. We are writing about something for someone else to read. And since we cater to a community of readers, we owe it to them to remain ethical and honest. Integrity is a big deal for journalism, whether we call ourselves that title or not. And as anyone on the eGamer EGMR team will tell you, I am quite headstrong in my views on integrity, to the point that I find it difficult to respect a person who would speak on behalf of a community and then work in a job that peddles to that community, ie. PR. I do however say this as an Xbox Promotions Coordinator, albeit one who never actually outwardly ‘pushes’ console sales himself, but rather exists as a presence as part of his job, and still answers questions honestly (always awkward when asked which console has the better exclusives).

So with all of that said, we can establish that while games journalism might not be strictly journalism, it is still liable to journalistic ethics and accountable to its community of readers. That means people who write about games should do so with transparency and honesty.

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Now there are certain perks to this job, as there are perks to any job. For example, if you’re working for a big company then you have a retirement fund, medical aid and perhaps a fuel allowance over and above your salary. Likewise if you’re on Top Gear then you get to drive some of the coolest and most expensive cars in the world. As games journalists, we get to play the latest games on the latest consoles, sometimes before launch. This is not a boast, but rather a statement of fact. It is part of our ‘job’ so to speak. Why? Because we have to cater to our audience and just like how it benefits a company to give an employee who is considered an asset, a fuel allowance, it benefits both us, the industry and the gaming community (that’s you guys) for us to have these games and consoles early.*

After all, would you rather wait for us to purchase and play a game on release? Why, when we can get it a week early and play it and have a review out for you to read and be informed by, come launch day?

Not that this always happens; in fact lots of times there aren’t really as many perks as you would think. The odd review copy (remember that reviews are shared between teams of five or more, on local websites), press event invite or closed screening (assuming you stay near where it’s being held, or get ready to splurge on fuel or flights) and of course, some ad revenue of which there typically isn’t enough to go around — and that’s kind of the problem a lot of the time. At least locally, the gaming journalism thing is not very lucrative; very few people locally exist on just their pay from writing about games. In a way, these so-called ‘perks’ that help us to do our jobs are actually all the recompense we get. Remember that, next time you’re hating a game reviewer for getting a game early.

Mix this in with having other employment because again, gaming can’t pay the bills in South Africa (mostly), and you get what is effectively someone writing part time and trying to play games (not for leisure, in most cases, but with purpose and while being critical) that take forever, and have a relevant and helpful review out on time. It can be a job sometimes, a proper slog at other times. And yet people like myself do it with smiles on their faces.

With all of this in mind, you start to see why sometimes, emphasis on sometimes, the ethics will slip.

You need those extra views. You need to impress sponsors and create more ad revenue. You need to build up a healthy readership. And you need to make it profitable at the same time, so that you at least get something out of what is hours upon hours of hard work. So you accept some favours and give some cool reviews because fuck it, why not? Other sites are going to do the review anyway, so why not get something out of the deal? And then the slippery slope becomes a full-on avalanche and integrity is forever lost in the depths below what was once a peaceful mountain… of… journalism stuff.

You needn’t look much further than Kotaku’s coverage (or lack thereof) of the Quinnspiracy and subsequent post-coverage of the accusations that have followed. One of their writers has been implicated and they’re not saying much (at the time of writing this). Why, when they typically bury their noses into everything? Is it because they’re too close to this matter? Is it because they don’t want to now be outed as a biased website?

But how much of it is wanting to save face, and how much of it is genuinely corrupt dealing? Through the Quinnspiracy a lot of just plain disgusting practices have been revealed, and I really hope that we in South Africa have not been guilty of this ourselves. Oh there are certainly some common beliefs amongst local websites and even their readers (judging from conversations I’ve had with gamers), of how things work here.

bAs2ifQ

I’ll go ahead and risk talking about it: It’s a common belief that Megarom and LazyGamer are close to each other, likewise that El33tOnline (RIP) and Ster-Kinekor had a solid partnership given all the giveaways they had that involved SK games. It’s a common belief that some sites get preference based on either their proximity or the people involved. But it’s nowhere near on international level, to my knowledge, and for the most part we kind of get why things are this way. For example, LazyGamer has an undisputed amount of views compared to other local sites, so of course a distributor looking to push its content will look to LG. In that same respect, we at EGMR also get a lot of cool things from the likes of Megarom, SK, Apex and Xbox — hands-on play sessions, interviews and the like. But it’s mostly just because locally we have a very small and close-knit community and there is a lot of love and mutual respect (for the most part) amongst the websites and distributors here, because we all understand that we’re trying to do a job and the only way to do it properly is to work together. Why there are press events for some events like game launches and just because lol, I don’t really know, but there is no ‘corruption’ so to speak, although I do stand corrected because I’m speaking only from what I know.

*hugs to all my SA games journalists*

Anyway back to the international scene, it’s not nearly as close-knit in this case. There are just too many people involved in any particular place for this to be a thing. And there is therefore a lot more competition, and when there is competition you really need an edge above everyone else. This is typically why I cannot respect, for example an Electronic Arts game reviewed by IGN when they’ve been doing a month of EA-exclusive coverage. But how do you work around it? Further, how does this tie into favourable coverage, or is that more in the realm of journalists simply losing their ethics and engaging in illicit practices because they can?

I think we can all unanimously agree that accepting sexual favours, money and any other kind of, let’s say extra-curricular perk, in exchange for favourable coverage, is an absolute no-no. But what in your eyes constitutes a fair and ethical relationship? After all, you as the reader can benefit from some of the relationships between the industry and journalists. For example with hands-ons, early impressions and developer interviews — on that note, I’m still awaiting the South Park: The Stick of Truth interview I sent through a while back… it had such cool questions.

With a corrupt police force (typically) you get internal affairs officers who will basically police the police, to ensure that they’re doing not just a good job but the right job. So who are these people for games journalists? Who comes in and draws the line between industry and journalists and says, “That’s it! Enough is enough. Take that dick out of your mouth, sir.”? Is it our readers? But how would they even know if something was amiss? I mean, look at the whole Quinnspiracy thing and some (stressing: some) of the evidence provided of illicit dealings.

I can certainly tell you who it’s not, and that’s Social Justice Warriors. Really, sometimes they are just as bad as the people they speak out against. Sometimes.

I don’t care to discuss sexism, feminism or the so-called white-knighting any further, but accusations of taking money from a Game Jam are quite serious and have nothing to do with sexual favours. Why are people not talking about this more? Although I suppose that’s the problem with society; we mull over the wrong parts of a problem. For example, if a building is on fire, do we blame the hot and dry weather, the person who started the fire, the person who contained the fire, or the person who designed a building without fire protection? What is really the problem here? Certainly not sexism. It’s not just Zoe Quinn; she was absolutely just a victim of a nasty breakup. But she is not the first and won’t be the last developer to have had any kind of relation with a journalist (I don’t give a fuck about what else she’s done with Phil Fish though, developers are free to frolic with each other) and gained from that relation.

So how do we now draw the line?

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It’s a very difficult question that I think can only be answered in one way: Full disclosure*. I think it’s vital to the close relationships that we build with our readers. Fair enough, a lot of the internet is filled with vile and atrocious people who exist simply as cave trolls, spreading hate and animosity online and feeling better about their loneliness through the vitriol they bring. These types of people cannot be avoided, and so there will always be people who take issue with the way that things are run. But I do think that if we are 100% honest with each other, then we can at least earn the respect of our readers and try to do our best for them, and if you don’t approve of a particular practice then you are welcome to call us out on it.

It’s a very trusting and perhaps even naive thing to consider. Who would even play along with such a notion? But right now it seems like all we have and like it or not, if a website or journalist wishes to engage in unethical, corrupt dealings — for example, defending a game they know is shit, because they’re close to the developers involved — then there’s really nothing we can do about it unless we somehow find out, and what are the chances of that happening? I’d like to find out what you guys think, so please hit the comments and share your thoughts.

For what it’s worth, I love doing this job and I know a lot of others who do to. I’ve actually been accused of wanting to ‘date’ EGMR because of how fervent I am, about it. You guys just don’t know how many hours I spend on here, sometimes, in the background, doing background things. It’s a passion as much as gaming is, and it’s almost never about reward to me. When I first started writing, one of our older writers told me that the feeling would fade and I’d become cynical like the rest of them. I’m happy to say that four years later, it just is not the case. Oh I’m not as into gaming as I once was, but I love writing and I love this site and its readers… most of them. It’s such a crying shame that some of the other less ethical journalists in the world are giving the rest of us such a bad rap.

* Full disclosure: Last week the local XBOX ZA crew held an event in Joburg in which a selection of local gaming websites were handed free Xbox Ones, as well as a bunch of games to play. We got one too. Now while this might irk some local gamers — please consider that we at least did not plaster social networks with pictures of the thing, because why do that to your community — we see it as a thing everyone can benefit from: We get an Xbox One for review purposes, Xbox ZA gets exposure for its games and an install base amongst websites, and you the reader can get Xbox-relevant reviews the likes of Sunset Overdrive and (sigh) Halo, in the coming months. Everybody wins, in this case. (Reviews coming soon.)

  • blimble

    The problem is we really can’t know a journalists intentions even if friendship is disclosed. They may be close but also really like the game. They might actively avoid articles on a game as they dislike a person. They might completely lie and force other coworkers to write good things.
    Even if we know there is some sort of relation going on has the problem really been solved? All that changes by saying “yeah I am friends with X” is a tiny banner at the start of articles no one will notice anyway. Boxes will still use the quotes, people will still see articles titled “X is the hottest new thing” and no push for better writing will occur

    • http://egmr.net/author/cavie Caveshen Rajman

      I think it at least offers us the opportunity to make up our own minds. For example if I said that I was a fan of BioWare games (which I am) and that I love the Mass Effect series (which I do) then would you trust me review of Mass Effect 3? Sure, some slight bias but otherwise if you think I’m an honest and respectable writer then you’d read it, right?

      But what if I also said (but not by boasting via social networks) that I was personally acquainted with Casey Hudson (I wish) and he sent me some cool Mass Effect t-shirts before the game came out?

      Then it’s up to you to then decide; do you still want to read my review or do you think it’s going to have obvious bias because of what’s gone on?

      Unfortunately personal preference and the like is something that we’re just going to have to work around. It would be so awesome if there was a testable, falsifiable and scientific way of approaching this, that would result in a perfect method of execution. It frustrates me that there isn’t.

    • blimble

      I have problems with that. One is most people will scroll past the message anyway, we all know most people look at the scores and maybe the last paragraph of a review. It’s just what they do meaning the message goes ignored. There is also going to be no mention of it when the review or preview is quoted in adverts or on the box. This means adding that would really only effect the more diligent reader who lets face it aren’t a huge number and they already know about the corruption and don’t trust reviews much any more, at least not ones from major sites.

      The issue at large also hasn’t been tackled. It reminds me of when there was concern around censoring music. Frank Zappa wished to help educate people on music so there would be no problem, what happened is we got a naughty words sticker on albums. With the disclaimer on reviews we haven’t tackled the issue, just put a sticker on it. A sticker that will end up being ignored as every review will have it anyway.

    • http://egmr.net/author/cavie Caveshen Rajman

      Excellent point. How would you do it differently then? I mean, would you consider this article to be a good starting point on educating the world, or is there a better way to do it?

    • blimble

      I think higher quality articles in general will help. More educated writing spur more educated discussion. If people see others acting clever they pay attention when before they wouldn’t have

      The problem comes with causing this shift and if devs and publishers will accept any change to the system. The way it is benefits them too well so them changing is unlikely. The past week and a bit has shown just how resilient to change they can be. I do believe if we can start to cause a shift things will find their place and a better industry will emerge

      We also need for stigma for devs and journalists fraternizing. They obviously can’t be separated completely but the idea of a journalist and dev living together needs to become looked down upon. Though I’m not saying any established families should be ripped apart. I think more investigative journalism may help this, if you are scrutinizing instead of advertising a professional relationship will emerge instead of being overly friendly

      Stuff like previews which are just mini ads, companies sponsoring weeks on sites like EA has done, E3 awards for fake demos and the current rating system for games needs to all die. In fact I think getting rid of reviews and replacing it with Quick Looks (something giant bomb has done for a while) may be a better system. It encourages watching the game instead of just a number.

      I think my point is this is a cultural thing that can’t be solved with labels

    • http://egmr.net/author/cavie Caveshen Rajman

      Those are some great suggestions… where were you all my life? :P I really like the idea of Quick Looks, and I agree that a lot of times people barely even care about the content in reviews. Here on EGMR we do at least try to allow for both audiences, with a Quick Rating system and then our fully written review. And with regards to Previews, here too we add in bullet points for potential pitfalls just in case there actually IS something to look out for, all in the hopes of helping readers to make informed decisions.

      I agree that it’s extremely difficult to cause any kind of meaningful change, and why would anyone when a site and industry relationship can yield excessive benefits for both, and to then take that and create a rift would be tough to do, and those of us who push for it would end up being ostracised. It’s such a slippery slope, and you start to see why more sites don’t really tackle or address the issue. And in the end it typically becomes an ‘us vs them’ story rather than what the purpose of these articles is, which is to breed discussion and facilitate better relations with everyone.

      I do at least want to try, though. Your excellent suggestions aside, I want to do everything possible to ensure that it does not become a case of site visitors going, “Yeah we’re only here for the news because we can’t trust the rest of it.” Oddly, we get attacked a lot for having strong opinions that some consider anti-gamer, yet if we were more positive we’d be called sympathisers or fanboys or whatever. It’s a strange and tricky thing to get right.

  • Valshen

    “I don’t consider gaming websites — especially local ones for reasons I’ll come to in a bit — to be strictly ‘journalism’ because for example, a political journalist is not a politician and a war journalist is not necessarily fighting in the war. Games journalists actually play the things they talk about. Games journalists, then, are writers with opinions that others care to read about.”

    I think you are missing what journalists are completely. What war journalist is a soldier and what political journalist is a politician?

    • http://egamer.co.za Dean Oberholzer

      I think that’s what he said. However, motoring journalists. They drive cars. They are journalists and do it. Like gamers. So, gamers can be games journalists even if they play games. I think the difference comes in where they are developing a game and then become a ‘journalist’ for that specific game. Then there’s a line that is being blurred.

  • Valshen

    I’ll go ahead and risk talking about it: It’s a common belief that Megarom and LazyGamer are close to each other, likewise that El33tOnline (RIP) and Ster-Kinekor had a solid partnership given all the giveaways they had that involved SK games. It’s a common belief that some sites get preference based on either their proximity or the people involved. But it’s nowhere near on international level, to my knowledge, and for the most part we kind of get why things are this way. For example, LazyGamer has an undisputed amount of views compared to other local sites, so of course a distributor looking to push its content will look to LG. In that same respect, we at EGMR also get a lot of cool things from the likes of Megarom, SK, Apex and Xbox — hands-on play sessions, interviews and the like. But it’s mostly just because locally we have a very small and close-knit community and there is a lot of love and mutual respect (for the most part) amongst the websites and distributors here, because we all understand that we’re trying to do a job and the only way to do it properly is to work together. Why there are press events for some events like game launches and just because lol, I don’t really know, but there is no ‘corruption’ so to speak, although I do stand corrected because I’m speaking only from what I know.

    Are you taking a jab at other sites or not, and are you hiding behind ‘sources’ or is this from your mouth and more accusatory? You seem to be playing both sides of the fence.

    • http://egamer.co.za Dean Oberholzer

      I think you are missing the point. Is there a reason that this needs to be:

      1) A jab;
      2) Hiding behind sources; or
      3) Accusatory?

      I don’t think so.

      I think it is fine to play both sides of the fence because it is something that is being stated fairly for everyone and everything. Yes, I understand that the source of this is important and probably even where these ‘facts’ came from, however, I don’t think it is problematic to play “both sides of the fence” whatsoever because it shows that there is no jab being taken rather something stated. The facts of which will therefore become the ‘questionable’ part of the comment made. That will be for you and/or anyone else to be determined as true.

      Please clear up what you are trying to get at, because your statement of “playing both sides of the fence” does not fit the previous question. It seems you are offended then confused, at the same time.

    • http://www.lazygamer.net Gavin Mannion

      of all people to stab me in the back… It’s Lazygamer not LazyGamer… cretin…. :P

      Also everything else you wrote is true, I think.. have to admit I didn’t finish the article

      Oh crap.. I fucked up.. sorry Garth…

      Dean is the cretin

    • http://egamer.co.za Dean Oberholzer

      And again :P

  • Valshen

    Not that this always happens; in fact lots of times there aren’t really as many perks as you would think. The odd review copy (remember that reviews are shared between teams of five or more, on local websites), press event invite or closed screening (assuming you stay near where it’s being held, or get ready to splurge on fuel or flights) and of course, some ad revenue of which there typically isn’t enough to go around — and that’s kind of the problem a lot of the time.

    A review copy is not a perk or a gift,. the same way a press screening of a movie is not a gift. It is something needed to do one’s job.

    Advertising revenue is also controlled depending on: topics on site, control editor has over authors, engagement, reach and target audience.

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      wish I could upvote his more times. a review game is not a perk, it’s a necessity – it’s like calling it a perk that your office job gives you a computer to perform your daily duties or that check out counter employees are allowed use of a cash register.

    • http://egmr.net/author/cavie Caveshen Rajman

      I was calling them ‘perks’ in the context of what many (many) readers have called them before, when speaking to us about it. I obviously know that they’re not ‘perks’ but away from our high towers where we play games, that’s what our communities think of them as, and this article was meant to be addressing specifically them, hence my use of the word. As you might read in the full article, which is not nearly as framed, I explain that they’re not actually perks but necessary for us to do our jobs.

    • http://egamer.co.za Dean Oberholzer

      Other people think that it is a perk. Yes it is a requirement to do
      one’s job, however it can be seen as otherwise. In fact, the argument
      can be that to do one’s job the publication should supply the writers
      with the equipment/product to do so, as stated in @disqus_3ihQj32EWp:disqus ‘s comment about a computer at the office.

      You don’t see the suppliers supplying the company with the computer?

      It can actually go either way. Why should the publishers give the publications the tools to do their job? Because it benefits them that’s why, therefore it becomes a perk and benefit to the publication. Anything not paid for is a benefit.

    • Valshen

      Wait, so your argument to why it isn’t a perk is because they publishers don’t give you a PC to write the story on? That would be the responsibility of the company the person was writing for, not the publisher. Please get your ideas straight.

    • http://egamer.co.za Dean Oberholzer

      I am very glad you said “wait”, because that is the only redeeming factor in your comment.

      I commented and tagged Her Highness the Hipster because the comments need to be read together.

      Firstly, I have argued that it is a perk. That is important to remember.

      No, my argument is /not/ publishers need to give you a PC to write the story on. However, I am glad you see that point of the argument. Let me explain it to you in simple forms like I had to above.

      You do not believe it is a perk to receive games because it is a requirement to do your job.

      I am saying that it is a perk because the publisher does not need to do that.

      Her Highness the Hipster commented that she agrees, and that it is a necessity. I am arguing it is not a necessity that PUBLISHERS give you games to do YOUR job. It is a PERK that they do so, they DO NOT have to.

      Her Highness the Hipster then said that “it’s like calling it a perk that your office job gives you a computer to perform your daily duties”. That is not a perk that is a requirement of the job, I agree.

      With that in mind, the suppliers of work or the computer suppliers do not give the person or the company the computer to do the work because that is the company’s problem and job to make that available.

      With game writing, it is the same thing. The job of the publication should be to give you access to a computer (if necessary) to do the job. The giving of games is NOT the job of the publisher, it is the job of the PUBLICATION to ensure that they have it. Because it is for the PUBLICATION not for the PUBLISHER. The publication produces the article, and they receive the ad revenue, readers, etc. Therefore because it is THEIR content, it is THEIR job to supply the writer with the tools to produce that content. A tool to produce that content is the game itself, it should be the publication who then supplies it.

      I hope you have followed this so far.

      With that in mind it can then be said that, because the PUBLISHER gives the PUBLICATION the game, it becomes a benefit to the publication because they do not need to spend money on buying that item for review. Anything received for free like that is a benefit or a perk.

      Now before you try to be cheeky and argue: “the publication benefits” and not the “writer” then I am going to say: what if the policy of the publication is to ensure that the writer gets his own games, etc. Then it becomes a perk. Alternatively, if the publication has to fund the game for the writer then that writer will probably earn less money because money had to go to purchasing the game for the writer. Either way you look at this: it is a benefit. Whether it benefits through money or the game itself.

      So my argument is: it is a perk because the writer/publication receives it for free, therefore it is not a cost to them and becomes a benefit or perk. Because games are reasonably affordable and able to be purchased it does not need to be that way. It goes both ways, that the publication benefits and the publisher from the coverage. It is a win-win and that is why the practice exists. We are not complaining about it at all, just saying that yes it is a perk however a /very/ helpful one. However, it comes with obligations and that needs to be realised by the people who think that it is not a perk or we have things easy.

      It is not like the game cannot be covered or received without receiving the game from the publisher, because it totally can be. The game cannot be reviewed without a (1) computer; (2) place for publication (website/magazine/video); or console, etc. etc.

      Yes, I am being aggressive and abrasive towards you. I feel that this is treatment you need because you are not only attention seeking, but also being difficult for the sake of being difficult.

      It is not your own fault for commenting, rather not not being able to understand what is or what was being said.

      https://twitter.com/Valshen/status/505020684394045440

      Please get your facts straight with “all” comments calling you ignorant. That is a complete joke of a Tweet, and funny that you would say that in relation to this article.

  • Valshen

    to the point that I find it difficult to respect a person who would speak on behalf of a community and then work in a job that peddles to that community, ie. PR. I do however say this as an Xbox Promotions Coordinator, albeit one who never actually outwardly ‘pushes’ console sales himself, but rather exists as a presence as part of his job, and still answers questions honestly (always awkward when asked which console has the better exclusives).

    how do you think the PR people (such as the ones that gave EGMR an Xbox One, will feel when reading this?

    • http://egamer.co.za Dean Oberholzer

      You’re seeing this in isolation. The comment is basically: journalists work for the community and attempt to get the truth out there. They then generate a name for themselves as truthful, honest, objective, etc., and then they move over to a PR job where they peddle something across. Then using the view of them being seen as ‘truthful, honest, and objective’ becomes slightly abused for a single product.

      To make this easier to understand:

      You are the most honest and ethical journalist and would never say anything that is not the truth. You earn R1 per month in this job.

      You are then undergoing tough times, at home perhaps, and company ABC offers you a job of R5 per month, doing PR. Then you are like “Yes! I need this!” You move to that company and do the job. You then realise that you can no longer be as truthful and honest and object as you were in your journalist job because you cannot go and say the game that ABC developed is bad, because you are meant to promote it. The kicker is, when you were a journalist you had a ton of fans and followers because you were so honest and truthful. Now when you move across to PR they still follow you and then you start to lie to them because of the new job and its requirements.

      This is not a stab at the current PR people who have done PR forever, it is someone who was in that initial position of truth, trust and honesty who then moved over and uses/d their own name and position as a truthful and trustful person to mislead.

    • Valshen

      Are you noticing the issue that you just had to take over a paragraph to explain what the author meant, rather than the author writing it in a non-ambiguous way in the first place?

    • http://egamer.co.za Dean Oberholzer

      No, I had to write a full story because you cannot seem to understand what is meant. I basically had to spoon feed you like a child because that is how I feel I can help you understand so that you do not get offended by an article that is “on the fence”, another thing that you cannot seem to understand.

      Yes, I am being abrasive and rude, and it is because I forgot to care: just like you are looking for attention on Twitter.

  • Valshen

    You need those extra views. You need to impress sponsors and create more ad revenue. You need to build up a healthy readership. And you need to make it profitable at the same time, so that you at least get something out of what is hours upon hours of hard work. So you accept some favours and give some cool reviews because fuck it, why not? Other sites are going to do the review anyway, so why not get something out of the deal? And then the slippery slope becomes a full-on avalanche and integrity is forever lost in the depths below what was once a peaceful mountain… of… journalism stuff.

    Who is doing this, other than Kotaku? Why not spend more time on a single topic rather than hopping around?

    • http://egamer.co.za Dean Oberholzer

      Because it is a lot to talk about. Look at sites (GameSpot) who appreciated ad revenue over honest reviews, and the journalist who was fired for his review of Kane and Lynch. This happens all over.

      I think that you are very ignorant if you think that Kotaku is the only site that has been involved in something similar to this. Maybe for the exact Quinn case it is only Kotaku (at the moment), however other issues there have been more. Again, ignorant and very close minded to only that he is talking about this case here in isolation.

      http://www.gamespot.com/forums/system-wars-314159282/confirmed-jeff-gerstmann-was-fired-from-gs-due-to–29097920/

    • Valshen

      I am not ignorant, I am saying that the article mentions Kotaku and nobody else by name (except for later under another point).

    • http://egamer.co.za Dean Oberholzer

      Okay, if you are not ignorant then you are being outrageously difficult for absolutely no reason. Either that, or you are just commenting for attention. In fact, I think it is both.

      https://twitter.com/Valshen/status/505013705500024833

      “EVERY” comment? Nice work, you really getting attention with that tweet. It is a single comment that this happened because of you are being difficult. It is impossible to actually write articles with people like you around, who expects every single case about every single issue to be listed. You are nit-picking and it is becoming completely ludicrous.

      That tweet is completely ridiculous and attention seeking. I am glad that you act in that way and then comment on what this article says. Really shows what you are trying to prove here, that you, your opinions and your ego is most important.

      I am being abrasive and rude and I do not care. If you want to tweet for attention then I can say what I want too.

      The fact of the matter is, this happens and the comments made in the article is far. There is and was no need to mention every single case ever. Stop nit-picking.

  • Valshen

    Everybody wins, in this case. (Reviews coming soon.)

    Have you considered how silly this looks as the tail end of close to 3,000 words of waffling and fence-sitting?

    • http://egamer.co.za Dean Oberholzer

      Is “fence-sitting” a bad thing? I think that is exactly what he is trying to say with this article. Step back from the politics and see what is really going on. Fence sitting, from the higher point than fighting on either side on the ground allows you to see everything.

  • Valshen

    Now while this might irk some local gamers

    You mention this several times. Why not explain to your readers why you get provided with tools to provide a service for them, instead of leaving people angry?

    • http://egamer.co.za Dean Oberholzer

      See comment below. It does not need to be provided and therefore it can be irksome.

  • Valshen

    I’ll go ahead and risk talking about it: It’s a common belief that Megarom and LazyGamer are close to each other, likewise that El33tOnline (RIP) and Ster-Kinekor had a solid partnership given all the giveaways they had that involved SK games. It’s a common belief that some sites get preference based on either their proximity or the people involved.

    // Here you mention by name, with implication of closeness by proximity or friendship.

    It’s such a crying shame that some of the other less ethical journalists in the world are giving the rest of us such a bad rap.

    // Trying to appear above this all, squeaky clean.

    • http://egamer.co.za Dean Oberholzer

      OK?

    • http://egmr.net/author/cavie Caveshen Rajman

      But the question is, why are you taking all of this so damn personally? The second quote wasn’t even about local journalists, but about the international standards. I literally spoke about local for a few paragraphs before moving back to international. “less ethical journalists” because those guys implicated in the Quinnspiracy saga.

      What is with this ‘us vs them’ bullshit? I am not trying to start fights or poke bears or make accusations, I am trying to create discussion and rather than discuss with me, you are attacking my claims from a defensive standpoint because you feel I’m trying to start a fight that I am very clearly not trying to start.

      But that’s okay, because this article is not for you; it’s for our readers and our community. To think, I actually said in the article that there is mutual love and respect amongst local websites, and you come on here and attack me because you disagree with my article and cannot see the point of it. :(

      I want my hugs back.

  • http://egamer.co.za Dean Oberholzer

    Caveshen. Motoring journalists are the same as games journalists: both use, interact and play with their topic of choice.

    Developers and automakers on the other hand, they can’t be journalists..

  • bob

    tldr