I was honestly hoping to have a more balanced persona on making fun of the whole thing but... pro gg is now after someone over religion while the most I can make fun of the anti-gamergate people for is not staying with a consistent hashtag.
#Gamergate's supposed message isn't a bad one, and some of the changes to transparency policies from websites is not bad at all. However, it's becoming harder to argue that that is what Gamergate it about.
For example when Polygon.com posted their Bayonetta 2 review, #Gamergate pretty much went on a riot asking Nintendo to boycott Polygon and pull any and all ad support from them. I'm sorry, isn't using monetary pressure so that websites provide favoritism what #Gamergate is should be against? Now we have people using that banner to promote a company to actively hurt a company unless they give a favorable review?
Then we have the whole Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor issue. I mean this just seems rife for the people under #Gamergate to hold up the banners right? Fight the good fight because now we have a publisher purposely giving out early review codes for the game only if no negativity is said about the game and the videos are submitted for approval first. I mean this is what #Gamergate is supposed to be fighting against. This is about ethics in video game journalism? Nope... barely a blip on #Gamergate's radar. I understand that this was primarily for twitch people and youtubers, and not traditional media outlets. But to say they aren't traditional journalists is just dodging it since they also hold influence themselves. Remember at one point blogs like Kotaku were not traditional journalism either. Sorry, too busy rallying against Anita because she's a true threat to journalism ethics.
I don't think most would consider them journalists, but they do have a huge following, especially among gamergaters. So the idea that they would just be like randomly exempt from having to follow ethics is a bit odd.
Really though the huge issue to me there is the PUBLISHER. They should be heavily taken to task for that. The Mordor thing was total bull.
Yeah, the specificity of the YouTube deals is quite distasteful, but it's not too dissimilar to letting game sites publish reviews before embargo if they're good reviews, which I've heard of before, and I'm not terribly bothered by.
I don't get terribly bothered by much of anything in video games, but I think the problem with that is some sites want early reviews so bad it creates a huge, huge incentive to tow the line on the review so you can post it up early and get those hits. The ideal situation, from an ethical standpoint, would be no outside influence on review scores like that.
@Koovaps Yeah, Youtubers are not really journalists in the traditional sense but do not doubt their influence. Youtubers in fact have a huge following from Gamergaters.
@Anand Going to agree with Anand here. Perhaps we don't agree with their practices, but it's their job to really get people to promote their stuff. However, #Gamergate should take the Youtubers that agreed to these demands to task, despite their thoughts that "well, we were kind of hyped about this game and were sure was going to deliver so we agreed to it." After all, this is about ethics in videogame journalism right?
That also leads to the point that Gamergate should be attacking Nathan Grayson more than Zoe Quinn. After all Grayson is the article writer here and not Quinn. But yet Gamergate pretty much ignores Grayson and centers their attacks on Quinn (in their defense they did attack Kotaku as well, but far less than their attacks against Quinn). If anyone should receive death threats and have their addresses leaked to the public shouldn't it be Grayson and not Quinn? After all, this is about ethics in journalism.
@Anand Well yeah. And I'd also say it is the obligation of gamers to do their own research and not just blindly trust Metacritic and such, because reviews will always be a bit shady.
But when you have a huge mass of people who are claiming to be about ethics in gaming and such well... this is definitely something worth looking at because it is shady as heck. And I do think corporations have responsibilities beyond just making money. Or to be more specific, I think individuals do, and corporations, at the end of the day, are just large groups of individuals. I've never quite supported the idea that we shouldn't expect anything more from corporations beyond them just viciously heading towards money like a rabid dog would head towards meat.
As far as the Youtubers and what we can expect from them, it depends. Youtubers who pop up and flash in the pan and disappear, probably can't expect much from. Youtubers who have a long history and large following and have been doing this for years... maybe they can have some accountability.
@CPA Wei That's an interesting point about Grayson, but did he ever actually write any opinion articles about Quinn?
It really does seem weird that some dude's tell-all blog has resulted in an ethics debate. I'd like to just say, "Who the hell cares? You should be forming your own opinion, anyway." But that does ignore how suggestible the masses are. I mean, how many fields these days are true meritocricies, in the first place? People with money skew everything to benefit people with money. Surprise!
I have to say, even just narrowing the field down to the consumption of art/entertainment, of all of the examples of corruption and unfairness in the world, gaming journalism ethics might be the thing I give the least of a shit about. Seriously. I'm not anywhere near the same page of even the most honest, straightforward critics, anyway. I'm in an entirely different book. A really old one! And the last six years have led me to assume all AAA games are shit unless proven otherwise.
@Zero Honestly, the responsibility of a public corporation IS to make money. Individuals that form a group are no longer individuals. If anything, they'll become a bloodthirsty mob. Not a big, benevolent group entity. Being freed from the shackle of individual responsibility does not generally make a person more virtuous. Just look at the internet.
If you were in charge of a company and a certain outlet had slagged every single game that you had released, would you bend over backwards to give them a review copy? In that situation, to whom are you responsible? A vicious pack of internet dogs, who are just waiting for the opportunity to rip you apart to score some e-points? Or the employees who rely on you for sustenance and the stockholders who support you (maybe)?
I mean, Nintendo is pretty damned liberal, in terms of not trying to control the opinions of a finished product. What exactly does that get them?
Granted, it might be that they just don't want to go the extra marketing mile, but still.
Also, honestly, doesn't it behoove one to be naturally skeptical of Youtubers in the first place?
Wow, I've become a cynical old man! Oh, for the days when I was an angry young man...
@Anand I know that is how it IS. I'm talking about how it should be.
As for your question, it seems like an odd one to me because what is it based off of? I've never heard anyone, even these gamergaters, claim that there is a site out there who singles out a publisher and hits all of their games with low scores. Other than maybe some crap publisher who deserves all low scores. Usually they are attacking individual reviews / reviewers, like the recent Polygon Bayonetta 2 review. Like, there is actually a gamergate "operation" right now where they are all mass emailing Nintendo to tell them to not give Polygon review copies anymore. Over a single negative review. I imagine Nintendo will not comply.
Apparently "ethics" means reviewers not towing the line is wrong or something? Gamergate is so confusing.
But to answer it anyway, you kind of answered it yourself. I've never heard of Nintendo engaging in this shady stuff with reviewers, especially to the level of the Mordor thing where they were literally paying Youtubers not just with early copies but with actual money as long as they didn't say anything negative about the game. This stuff is insane. It's not necessary to do this stuff. Does it hurt Nintendo not to? I dunno. Maybe in some vague, short-term way? But they still don't do it, and good for them.
Nintendo's basic goal has always seemed to be "make games that are good enough that people will say good things about them on their own". It's debatable how consistently they succeed in this goal, but the theory at least is a good one.
I don't think reviewers / sites / etc. should ever be in a position where their two options are "only say good things" or "not get access to the game others are all talking about right now".
@Zero Well, that may be true, but the gaming media is a parasitic barnacle on the whale that is the games industry. Even moreso than in other industries. The main thing that separates a professional from an amateur is early/exclusive access. That's not a god(s)-given right. That's a privilege that publishers choose to bestow on them in exchange for publicity. If that publicity turns out to be bad publicity (assuming that there IS such a thing), it wouldn't be surprising for the publisher to think better of the idea. The media outlet could go truly independent and release themselves from the teat, but they won't, because it would be financially disastrous. And most gamers wouldn't really give a shit, anyway, hashtags or no hashtags.
As for my hypothetical scenario, it doesn't have to be that a reviewer has it in for a specific publisher. Maybe that reviewer just gives low scores, in general. Maybe they use 5 out of 10 as their mean score, so it brings the all-important Metacritic average down. Maybe they just don't play ball like other reviewers. Why let an x-factor like that into the equation, when people's livelihoods, including yours, may be on the line?
By the way, several publishers HAVE blackballed certain outlets/reviewers, based on their scoring history. Ubisoft, for one.
You asked "Does it hurt Nintendo not to?", and it definitely may, but another question is: "Does it help Nintendo?" I mean, instead of spending their marketing budget on sweet-talking the press, they've recently chosen to rely incredibly heavily on controlling their own message by releasing information themselves in controlled bursts and leaving the press to report on the scraps. It's obvious that they weren't particularly happy with their coverage from mainstream media outlets.
@Anand I know several publishers do shifty things. Ubisoft is scummy so using them as an example doesn't really convince me I'm wrong.
I think the "why" is the same question you could ask for why anyone would do any ethical act or avoid any unethical act if it doesn't directly benefit them, or may even actively work against them. I'm not sure that I have the answer for why should they other than "it's the right thing to do". Doing the right thing isn't always going to be directly beneficial to you. At this point though we're getting into broader ethical questions.
I have seen studies that the most ethical people are the happiest, whatever their financial situations. I think? So that might answer why do it even if it doesn't directly financially benefit you. Or maybe they are the least happy. I forget.
I do think though that "tricking" people into buying your product is never a good longterm plan. What you want is people who consistently enjoy your products, and you're not going to get that by tricking people into buying your crap. Probably?