Games journalism has been under fire for years, with good reason: it’s been viewed as corrupt because of stories like:
- Doritosgate, a complex controversy that involves blatant product advertising by games journo Geoff Keighley; a Eurogamer article about conflicts of interest faced by certain journos; and legal action by Lauren Wainwright, one of the journos mentioned in the article.
- Gerstmann-gate, where games critic Jeff Gerstmann was terminated at GameSpot due to pressure from publisher Eidos over the website’s low Kane & Lynch review score.
- GameJournoPros, a private mailing list of games journalists and industry insiders who discuss what to cover/ignore, and how to handle said coverage.
Some may scoff at the idea of ethics in games journalism – maybe because they think the idea of consumers pushing for honesty in games journalism isn’t that important, especially when compared to other global issues like armed conflict and poverty.
Others may even laugh at the very concept of games “journalism” because ever since its inception, members of the press were more fans than journalists, and that the medium functioned mainly to promote games, as opposed to actual journalism which is essential in helping democracy function.
Clearly, games journalism doesn’t hold as much weight as key international problems. This, however, doesn’t mean that games journalism doesn’t matter because it does.