Maybe I should have changed the title to, “How Copy and Paste Ruined Game Journalism”. There’s so many ways to look at how we got here. It’s March 13, 2012 and we’ve just witness the most blatant use of copy/paste game journalism in the history of the business. If you missed it, it’s all here on NeoGaf.
Now usually the copy/paste behavior is a result of a small site looking to get traffic. They copy big stories and spin them their own way without even giving credit to their source for the most part. Last week however, all of the big gaming sites were guilty of copying the work of one site that wasn’t even factual, it was fake. First Eurogamer posted a story that several PS Vita games were available for pre-order on Play.com. The actual image was tipped to them from a 4chan user. It was photoshopped and therefore fake. Eurogamer is the first felon for not doing any fact checking. It must have been a slow news week because Kotaku, IGN, Joystiq and Gamespot all followed suit and posted the same story crediting Eurogamer for the news. It was later found out that the image was fake and Eurogamer updated their post. All the other criminal sites involved also updated their stories. Of course Kotaku’s Jason Schreier put up a fight before changing his story. In fact, Jason was so far in denial that he was banning Kotaku users for just linking tweets and calling him out on his mistakes.
Regardless of the apologies that were made and posts that were updated by these 5 major websites, I can’t give them a lick of respect. It’s bad enough that video games in general get a bad wrap, but now bad game journalism is fucking it up for us even more. I would expect that sites that get MILLIONS of hits of traffic would follow standard practices and FACT CHECK before posting a story like this. It’s always safe to put it down as a rumor, not fact, then at least you’re covered. These editors actually believed what they were
writing reading copying. I’m truly surprised that newly appointed EIC of Kotaku, Stephen Totillo, didn’t step in and fix the slip up. Especially considering the heat he got from a recent David Jaffe confrontation.
What went wrong with game journalism? I stated early on twitter that I wanted to take it back to its roots. I mentioned Ed Semrad, Arnie Katz and Dave Halverson as just a few editors who I respect in this business. They wrote real stories and because of print media, they didn’t rely on other outlets to generate content. They wrote with passion and integrity. Now, because of the web, everyone is farming for traffic.
Kotaku and the other sites mentioned are now no different than jobobsplaystationhaven.com. Small sites want access to E3 and free swag and games. Big sites want money. WHERE IN THE FUCK DID THE PASSION FOR WRITING ORIGINAL ARTICLES GO!? Why are we not engaging our readers with provocative editorial about games?! Why aren’t we teaching them to understand where this industry started so they have an even better understanding of where it’s at and where it’s going?
The industry has failed big time and it’s more fire for me to continue to focus on my next project. Fast food journalism needs to die. It should be like a well prepared meal that’s cooked with passion and skill. I want to change the face of games journalism and in the process, I will make a lot of enemies. The way I see it, we should be able to write about whatever we want to write about. If I’m not told something is under an embargo, why should I follow the embargo? The Wall Street Journal screwed Activision over on the MW3 announcement and nothing was said or done about it. Why should sites have to adhere to rules and standards set by publishers when other sites are breaking said rules? Why have we become unpaid interns for PR? Game publishers need us more than we need them. If we really want to cover a game, we can Purchase it ourselveS. And what’s the use of being invited to an evenT only to be silenced about it? If thAt’s the case, I don’t need to go to any game events. There are other ways to get inFo. Leaks are great, but yoU should leAk with some integrity. This is somethiNg we wilL practice. GooD things are coming folks. My barrels are fullY loaded and ready to fire. It’s going to be an exciting ride, are you coming with us?