On Wednesday 24th October, the video game industry was shocked by an article written by comedian and avid gamer Robert Florence on the Eurogamer website. The article looks at modern day gaming and how the industry works nowadays with public relations, journalists and sponsors. Everyone is now feeling the need to insert their two cents into what now seems like a never ending arcade games machine. As the dust has not yet settled with many people feeling offended by the article and many people agreeing with the article, I take a step back and view on an industry which was once a hobby shared between friends but has become a way of life for a select, lucky few.
The first point raised in the article prods the state of AAA games which we find are a regular occurrence at this time of year and the hype which surrounds them. The latest example of this was also released earlier this week when top games journalist Geoff Keighley was photographed with a Halo 4 advertisement in the background and, more alarming, bottles of Mountain Dew and packets of Doritos on a table next to him. This may sound like a regular gamers setup for some late night gaming but displayed on the Halo 4 poster are Doritos and Mountain Dew logos to coincide with the games release and to also promote Master Chief on each of these two products. Money is the biggest factor in gaming today. We have so many massive games being released (no thanks to you Mr ‘only release sequels’) these days and once a series becomes popular, everyone wants to be part of it. Another example of this recently within the entertainment industry is with the new James Bond movie. Bond was always renowned for drinking martinis but now Mr Heineken has shown up, flaunted some cash and, as well as appearing in a Heineken advert, Bond now drinks beers instead of his famous martinis.
As long as games continue to have as much money thrown at them from sponsors out-with gaming, promotions such as the Mountain Dew and Doritos circus will continue to happen. This may be frowned upon by ‘hardcore gamers’ but does this really affect the way in which the game is viewed by the gaming community? In my eyes it does. The sponsorship deals spoils what you feel like is an exclusive experience. Sponsors out-with gaming merely using the brand to promote their product and jumping on the back of a popular game. This is something which will continue to happen as long as Call of Duty: Black Ops 75 and Halo 1000 are still being released.
Another large issue which was mentioned in the article was the relationships between gaming public relations and gaming journalists. The gaming community normally seems friendly and everyone shares the same passion for games which also improves relations with one another. Each member of the gaming community, normally, has so much in common when it comes to games. There will always be people who wish to shoot you down though when you think you are doing a great job and this comes with the job as part of being in the media. I don’t understand though why PRs and journalists cannot be friends. Some of them have worked together before with different companies and have ended up in journalism or in PR. To say: “Why are they all best buddies?” And say they shouldn’t be friends just isn’t plausible. It is always my view that journalists and reviewers be honest with the public. If they are reviewing a game it is to review the product for what it is, not what the PR wants it to be. It is possible for journalists to be huge fans of games such as Tomb Raider, FIFA or Halo and highly anticipate a game. These games don’t always have to be viewed professionally as ‘work related’ but instead be viewed as a chance for journalists to join in with the public’s anticipation of a title. People within the gaming media are gamers too.
The GMAs are a good chance for the gaming community to see who is considered the best in the industry but in an informal way. In my opinion I believe that the Gaming Media Awards reflect well on the gaming industry. These awards aren’t like the Oscars, Grammys or the MTV Music Awards, these awards aren’t about rivalries or who made the most money, it’s about who had the best content and who has had a great year in the gaming media. It is great to see that an awards show is not tainted by individuals stealing the spotlight from deserved winners and being overshadowed by those who didn’t win. Most people in the games industry are friendly!
What the article suggests.
Of course, these are only some of the points raised in this highly debatable article. Even today, Friday, people are still discussing the events in aftermath of the realisation on how the gaming media circuit operated or how it was viewed by some. Personally, I am with the majority of people who have read this and have understood both sides of the story. I can see why so many people are annoyed and angry over some of the comments but I can also say fair points being made and I believe that the text contained in that article can change the gaming industry… Even if it is only the smallest of changes, it will still have had an effect.