How Broken is (Game) Journalism? An Analysis of Three Gaming Sites

Not really overclocking related, but I found this to be quite an insightful article. Just like Game Journalism, the vast majority of the Hardware Journalism consists of enthusiasts who now make a living of their hobby. As a hobbyist reviewer myself, more than once I found myself being angry at another 'review' of a product I tested because the article was nothing more than a reworded press release.

The introduction often comes it the shape of a summation of what the company has done in the past, the first two to five pages very often a list of specs with a couple of pictures of the product and then the rest of the article is filled with a dozen of standard tests (which are all very similar to each other). Of course, any product receives a 'highly recommended'-sticker which is then used by manufacturers to prove how good they are.

Top ten lists, objectification of women, and the wholesale copying of press releases; these are some of the unfortunate trends in gaming journalism today.

Some would call game journalism a kind of enthusiast press, and on many counts I find it hard to disagree with them. Like with other forms of enthusiast press, big gaming sites rely not only on strict gaming news, but also an array of gaming-related stories to flesh out their coverage. Sometimes these related stories fall within acceptable levels. At other times some of the content posted to gaming blogs makes me feel simply terrible for the state of the field.

Jim Sterling, review editor at Destructoid, says that calling game journalism a form of journalism at all is usually incorrect.

“I think calling it ‘journalism’ is wrong most of the time,” Sterling said. “Publishers have way too much power over outlets, the review scoring system is mired in backwards thinking that says anything below a 7/10 is unacceptable, and we have some websites writing purely for Google Trends and not for their readers.”

Stating that “we’re in an industry ruled by PR bullshit,” Sterling went on to discuss how outlets are under the thumb of publishers when negative coverage comes to light.

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