Daily Archives: December 2, 2007

Gamespot takes a hit to their credibility.

From Penny-Arcade:

For those that aren’t familiar, Gamespot is a site dedicated mostly to reviewing video games before their release and passing those opinions on to consumers so they can make more informed decisions.

Apparently one of the editors, Jeff Gerstmann, gave a sub-par review to a game called Kane & Lynch for the XBox360. The developer of the game has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars with Gamespot along advertising this one game. Coincidentally shortly after the review went live the video review was pulled and Gerstmann was promptly fired without reason. Say what you will but it looks like the stink of it is, you aren’t supposed to give a bad review to a game that is brining in lots of ad revenue.

I honestly hadn’t even heard of the Gerstmann fellow until this story came about. I just don’t run in the game editorial circles anymore I guess. Supposedly he’s had some pretty controversial reviews to high profile games in the past. Some people love him some people are glad to see him go. Fact of the matter is, this isn’t about Gerstmann. Its not even about the gaming industry alone. It’s about objectiveness in reviewing a product, be it a blender, or a new car. If an advertiser is able to pressure a company into fluffing a review in order to boost it’s sales of that product, and then the publisher in turn sells that review to the reader as an “objective” opinion, the review is nothing more than a long winded advertisement.

Its just another example of corporate mismanagement and bottom line thinking. You’re selling out the credibility of your publication if you fire the guy at all. And even IF you decide he must be fired, the timing has made the decision so transparent that you could have done more harm by letting the person go than if you hadn’t. Its long been a suspicion of readers that the people that review the products (or the publishing company) gets some sort of kickback, or incentive to paint a more colorful picture to the public. Unfortunately this event all but proves that it can and DOES happen.