Sign in to follow this  
sephfire

Lengthy 1UP editorial detailing the Gamespot/Gerstmann mess

Recommended Posts

http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=8587828&publicUserId=4561231

For anyone still interested in the Gamespot/Gerstmann issue or game reviews in general, you'll probably want to give this a look-see.

1UP's Same Kennedy wrote a lengthy blog examining the whole incident and the possible consequences it could have for game journalism as a whole. It's really something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's an interesting page in gaming and internet history, but as it's pretty much over and done with now, it's time to slip it into the big binder of angry nerd obsessions and put it back on the shelf for good.

In related news, Jeff is going to start a new site with some other reviewers.

And as a final note, I was thinking this when I read the article. What if Jeff knew how this would play out? He knew all the people at Gamespot and what they would do if he quit. He could just quietly plant the seeds of the story anywhere he wanted, and they would spread like weeds. It wasn't even a a day afterwards when half of the internet knew about this, and only a few more when mainstream media started picking up on it.

And all the while, Jeff just sat back and watched the whole thing happen. Whether he wasn't allowed to speak or he just didn't feel the need to speak at all, his activity in the whole event was pretty much nil. Could he have anticipated things to well that he didn't need to do anything at all?

Think about it:

1. He knows the people at Gamespot. He's been working with them for years, and he knows what kind of reaction he will get from a review. He might also know what kind of plan they have, should bad publicity start drawing attention to their marketing practices. They will shut up, and deny everything. And flat, general, repeated denials ill only make you look guilty as hell.

2. He thinks to himself, that he's got two possible outcomes: one, he makes a big name for himself, and he's as good as gold to the next employer. Just imagine the traffic you'd get for having THE Jeff Gertsmann on your staff! Such integrity! You can trust every review he writes! Hell, you can trust everything on this site! We have THE Jeff Gertsmann!

Or two, he fucks it up, people lose respect for him, and after a while, he gets hired by someone else anyway. It's internet game review, not the NY Times. Maybe he gets a little bit of fame for the whole thing and that works to his advantage. Either way, he's got work afterwards.

3. He knows how people on the internet work. He knows what they will do when the very notion of him being fired for a negitive review hits the wind and we all get a whiff of it. Like blood in the water, we're instantly fixed on it and nothing short of an even bigger outrage will draw us away.

4.Knowing all this, he sees a game that he (rightly or otherwise) thinks isn't that good, and that the publishers have spent some serious money promoting on his site. It's a perfect opportunity. It's been hyped, there's traceable money flowing around, no one would take Gamespot's word over his... come on! Money-hungry site filled with ads versus a lone bastion of journalistic integrity? Who do you think the public is going to side with?

I have to wonder, did Gertsmann plan this? Even a little bit? Maybe he had it all thought out from the beginning. Maybe he only thought about it after the review, which was legitimate. Maybe he didn't plan anything at all, and this is all a happy little coincidence. How can we be sure?

But it's an interesting idea, don't you think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it's an interesting page in gaming and internet history, but as it's pretty much over and done with now, it's time to slip it into the big binder of angry nerd obsessions and put it back on the shelf for good.

In related news, Jeff is going to start a new site with some other reviewers.

And as a final note, I was thinking this when I read the article. What if Jeff knew how this would play out? He knew all the people at Gamespot and what they would do if he quit. He could just quietly plant the seeds of the story anywhere he wanted, and they would spread like weeds. It wasn't even a a day afterwards when half of the internet knew about this, and only a few more when mainstream media started picking up on it.

And all the while, Jeff just sat back and watched the whole thing happen. Whether he wasn't allowed to speak or he just didn't feel the need to speak at all, his activity in the whole event was pretty much nil. Could he have anticipated things to well that he didn't need to do anything at all?

Think about it:

1. He knows the people at Gamespot. He's been working with them for years, and he knows what kind of reaction he will get from a review. He might also know what kind of plan they have, should bad publicity start drawing attention to their marketing practices. They will shut up, and deny everything. And flat, general, repeated denials ill only make you look guilty as hell.

2. He thinks to himself, that he's got two possible outcomes: one, he makes a big name for himself, and he's as good as gold to the next employer. Just imagine the traffic you'd get for having THE Jeff Gertsmann on your staff! Such integrity! You can trust every review he writes! Hell, you can trust everything on this site! We have THE Jeff Gertsmann!

Or two, he fucks it up, people lose respect for him, and after a while, he gets hired by someone else anyway. It's internet game review, not the NY Times. Maybe he gets a little bit of fame for the whole thing and that works to his advantage. Either way, he's got work afterwards.

3. He knows how people on the internet work. He knows what they will do when the very notion of him being fired for a negitive review hits the wind and we all get a whiff of it. Like blood in the water, we're instantly fixed on it and nothing short of an even bigger outrage will draw us away.

4.Knowing all this, he sees a game that he (rightly or otherwise) thinks isn't that good, and that the publishers have spent some serious money promoting on his site. It's a perfect opportunity. It's been hyped, there's traceable money flowing around, no one would take Gamespot's word over his... come on! Money-hungry site filled with ads versus a lone bastion of journalistic integrity? Who do you think the public is going to side with?

I have to wonder, did Gertsmann plan this? Even a little bit? Maybe he had it all thought out from the beginning. Maybe he only thought about it after the review, which was legitimate. Maybe he didn't plan anything at all, and this is all a happy little coincidence. How can we be sure?

But it's an interesting idea, don't you think?

First of all, he didn't quit. So you contradicted yourself and mooted most of your points...

I don't think there's a second-of-all!

EDIT: Besides, I'd assume that if sales is rubbing up the collective dangles of every jack & jane videogame corporation from here to bumscrew, saskatchewan, they'd have QC'ed his editorial pretty blatantly BEFORE it got out. The biggest issue here is that post-review, after the masses had seen it (although I had no fucking clue who this Jeff Gerstmann character was before he was unceremoniously snuffed out - in the professional sense - so I don't even know if "masses" is the right term, and any dumbwit with half a brain cell might be avoiding a title such as "Whatever & Kane" or anything that has the letters E, I, D, O, and S, in that order), he was unceremoniously snuffed out - in the professional sense. And it created a havoc-level CBC-documentary-class shitstorm!

EDIT2: And in regards to the non-action/petty response by cNet...they should already know the deep shit they're in, and yet nary a retraction, apology, or admission of complete and udder balderdashidiocy. Which is exactly the definition of balderdashidiocy, perpetuating the velodrome of feces the company pretends to be cycling in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: The Damned

You're on the right track, but you've unfortunately thought things through one level too low. Everything you said is true, however it was actually Gamespot that masterminded this all along. Gamespot knew that if they canned the reviewer, that all you wrote would play out, and that although some would see through it all and know he was canned, most would be tricked by the double-bluff and think it was all Gertsman's scheme.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You know, for the two or three of you who give a shit.

Tread lightly: there are still people pissed at you for your actions in both the BT thread and the Reuben Kee thread.

On topic: an Australian gaming magazine did something on this as well, and it said similar stuff. Only it was more general about gaming journalism.

The summary of it was basically that people have their opinions, and they are exactly that: opinions. If you like/dislike it, too fscking bad. Deal with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
First of all, he didn't quit. So you contradicted yourself and mooted most of your points...

You don't have to resign to quit. You can force them to fire you. It's the same in the end. But it's a moot point; not because of what you said, but because whether it was planned or not, it's over and we'll never really know now.

EDIT: Besides, I'd assume that if sales is rubbing up the collective dangles of every jack & jane videogame corporation from here to bumscrew, saskatchewan, they'd have QC'ed his editorial pretty blatantly BEFORE it got out. The biggest issue here is that post-review, after the masses had seen it (although I had no fucking clue who this Jeff Gerstmann character was before he was unceremoniously snuffed out - in the professional sense - so I don't even know if "masses" is the right term, and any dumbwit with half a brain cell might be avoiding a title such as "Whatever & Kane" or anything that has the letters E, I, D, O, and S, in that order), he was unceremoniously snuffed out - in the professional sense. And it created a havoc-level CBC-documentary-class shitstorm!

EDIT2: And in regards to the non-action/petty response by cNet...they should already know the deep shit they're in, and yet nary a retraction, apology, or admission of complete and udder balderdashidiocy. Which is exactly the definition of balderdashidiocy, perpetuating the velodrome of feces the company pretends to be cycling in.

Looks like someone got a word-a-day calender for christmas. And it's a Chinese knock-off to boot! Googling "balderdashidiocy" gets you exactly one result, and it's this thread. :<

Any way, my point is that I don't think Gertsmann was really a victim here, and I don't really think the outcry on his part was warranted. If someone else had been fired under the same circumstances, would anyone had really cared? He was a fairly big name at the site, so I have have to wonder how much of the whole backlash was just because he was "famous" enough to garner attention.

Even so, it's game reviewing. It's as biased and bought-off as movie reviewing. People just don't know or don't care about it any more. If ever. I personally haven't bothered with reviews for books, movies or games for about five years, simply because I saw news reports about paid reviews and I could see it happening with each new movie.

Which brings up another point; has anyone changed their opinions on reviews? Maybe switched sites or just gave them up entirely? How much of a fallout has the whole Gertsmann thing created in that regard?

Re: The Damned

You're on the right track, but you've unfortunately thought things through one level too low. Everything you said is true, however it was actually Gamespot that masterminded this all along. Gamespot knew that if they canned the reviewer, that all you wrote would play out, and that although some would see through it all and know he was canned, most would be tricked by the double-bluff and think it was all Gertsman's scheme.

The problem with that level of thinking is that once you start getting into that level of deception, it's too easy for everything to fall about. It's like a conspiracy. The more people involved in it, the more likely it is someone will spill the beans. I could see one person (Gertsmann) thinking it through to this level, but for Gamespot to be the ones doing it is too big a stretch. It's just not plausible in comparison.

And when you factor in that Gertsmann had a pretty good understanding of what would happen, and that Gamespot would lawyer themselves up right away and not comment on what was going on, it makes more sense. He knew that they would have to follow company policy, while he was free to do what he wanted to. His plan was more flexible for being a single person. His rules were the ones that he could follow or even make up on a whim.

(please forgive any typos, I have one thumb bandaged up from an unfortunate incident with a hotel door's unexpectedly sharp edge, and I can't seem to type easily with it)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You don't have to resign to quit. You can force them to fire you. It's the same in the end. But it's a moot point; not because of what you said, but because whether it was planned or not, it's over and we'll never really know now.

I fail to see how this is any 'particular' incident where Gerstmann got himself fired. All this created a firestorm because this just was not the norm though we saw signs of this for years in places like IGN though they never really shelled the IGN reviews for having a 'negative tone' about them.

Any way, my point is that I don't think Gertsmann was really a victim here, and I don't really think the outcry on his part was warranted.

He was fired, there was an unnecessary controversy and Gamespot was literally put in a spot and basically buckled under pressure. He wasn't the only victim but he certainly was one. Why single him out when all the major game reviewers have the same kind of 'negative' tone to reviews dealing with bad games? What part of 'warranted' do you not understand?

If someone else had been fired under the same circumstances, would anyone had really cared? He was a fairly big name at the site, so I have have to wonder how much of the whole backlash was just because he was "famous" enough to garner attention.

I'm pretty sure most of the internet community would have cared even for a lesser known blog/website if its opinions were silenced by a gaming company. If you read the article, Kotaku and other smaller sites have went under siege by major gaming companies but most incidents led to a proper compromise or the websites held fast to their right to their opinions. I don't think his popularity is the only issue like you keep saying it is. I don't see why that is any part of the conversation.

Even so, it's game reviewing. It's as biased and bought-off as movie reviewing. People just don't know or don't care about it any more. If ever. I personally haven't bothered with reviews for books, movies or games for about five years, simply because I saw news reports about paid reviews and I could see it happening with each new movie.

Game reviews has been pretty consistent and you never had the totally blatantly obvious 'bought off' aspect of many movie reviewers (especially on smaller markets). Some lesser scrutinized game reviews might have been, but that definitely was not the norm I would think.

And I totally disagree that game reviews are not influential. Just about every gamer I know usually don't do it entirely out of word of mouth but with the general buzz they get from collective reviews and general consensus online, whether it's from blogs or message boards or major game reviewers. And if Eidos really thought it was inconsequential, then this whole mess would not have happened.

Which brings up another point; has anyone changed their opinions on reviews? Maybe switched sites or just gave them up entirely? How much of a fallout has the whole Gertsmann thing created in that regard?

That's a fallacious line of reasoning since we ARE talking about opinions of games here. And I don't need to mention how varied the gaming opinions amongst reviewers tends to be even in magazines like Nintendo Power or Xbox Magazine. Apparently Gerstmann's was out of the line and for some unspeakable reason, they singled him out.

Overall though, I don't think it has anything to do with the reviewer himself in Gerstmann or even Gamespot. It's just the lack of the whole transparency from the website that you would think you would get out of the candid form of media in online journalism (game journalism as well, but like I said, I doubt the actual reviews themselves are the issue here. Even Nintendo Power can get critical about Nintendo games at times).

It's just that we all know that gaming journalism has never been a perfectly open and separated from corporate interests, but it never seemed to get entangled in it no matter how bad the publicity for a certain game. When we're confronted with an actual case, I think it has long since become a real issue with it all. To dismiss it as trivial just because it's 'bunch of guys reviewing games' sounds callous to me. Written media? Movie media? You almost expect the corporations shoving their thumbs in. Online media? I would have a problem with that out of the philosophy alone.

PS- That 1UP article is a yet another amazing 1UP article. Durr. But I think that article raises the biggest point: The change in top ranking personnel. That further cements my view that the issue isn't really about Gerstmann but the whole organization itself. Hopefully, it doesn't lead to a slippery slope where individual bloggers get undue pressure if their site has a little ad sticking up for it. Eidos just strikes me as badly managed for a decade now so I'm not surprised on that side of the issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this