Internet reviewing climate report.
November 29, 2007

In light of all of the recent malarky with Jeff Gerstmann and Gamespot, it'd be really easy to just make a disparaging comment about where certain parts of Eidos's anatomy are in relation to certain parts of Gamespot's management, and call it a day. However I like to think I'm classier than that, so instead I'll take a trip up the ranty high road.

For those who don't know, you can pick up the story here

I guess it was inevitable, capitalism being what it is. Advertisers want to protect their investment, and when their hands are so far in your pocket that you have to store your keys somewhere else, there's a certain amount of interest in protecting your own investment. Still, the idea that one can be fired for posting objective content on a site that's supposed to be about objective content is disturbing at the best, and outright infuriating at the worst.

Infuriating indeed. And the most infuriating part of it all is that opinions on the matter are mixed. What could potentially be the death knell of the credibility of online reviews is being obscurred by the cheers of overzealous fanboys. You see, Gerstmann is the one who gave an 8.8 to Twilight Princess. It's an injustice, they cry, he's had this coming for a long time.

Yeah, the injustice isn't that a reviewer was fired for a perfectly decent review on the account of money. It's that he wasn't fired earlier for a different review that they didn't like! And when did 8.8 become such a horrifyingly bad score, anyway? Last time I checked, that's still far above average.

But that's another rant for another time. Right now, it's all rumors, of course. Though it's been all but confirmed that Gerstmann has actually been fired, the reasoning is still 'in question'. But the timing is so suspect that it seems dense to not be skeptical.

And I'm nothing if not skeptical. Is that what the reviewing community has become?

Well, mayhaps not. One of the reasons I stick to this little corner of the net, aside from the fact that I actually like most of the community, is the fact that it seems more...well, honest. Borderline sap aside, I think that the kind of work seen here is what the internet needs at times like this.

Maybe I'm not so much distressed as I am resolved. If Gamespot can't do it right, then someone else has to. And before I turn into a coach giving the boys a halftime pep talk, I'll just say that honesty is important, and it's something we have.

It's something we should hang onto as well.

Note: Edited after cooldown time for general coherence.

EmP EmP - November 30, 2007 (05:01 AM)
Interesting bit of news.

It's now my goal to get myself fired. If attacking the webmaster's favoutite PSX RPG isn't going to do the job, I need to start spreading the hate.

But, really, a move like this does a lot more harm than good for the likes of Eidos and Gamespot because they'd have to be retarded to think assumptions would not be made and black marks slung before their names. I think we're pretty fourtunate that, aside from a couple of situations (one of them leveled at DoI, no less), publishers are happy with our reviews, even the negative ones. However, even if and when the big boys start kicking up a fuss about how we may have scored things below their liking, I'm confident that knee-jerks reractions like 'spots supposed bumble will not be an issue here.

But which are we to be sadder at? The clout publisher's cheque books seem to carry with the more exposed review sites or the whiny, pathetic 'fans' out there who are happy to see a man on the unemployment line because he was shy to the sum of 1.2 of giving a game they liked a perfect review score? It's the latter where my worry lays and why I have an inbox full of hatemail and a 200+ post topic on the CC board calling me all manner of names.
wolfqueen001 wolfqueen001 - November 30, 2007 (08:48 AM)
Man... the day I get threatened because of the way I express my opinions is the day I leave. Seriously, what the hell is up with that? All business cares about is money these days (pfft - like they cared about anything else before) and it make sme sad.

I'm glad for this site - even if I haven't done much here, I at least feel that here I can express my beliefs the way I want to. I really hope this place doesn't get overrun by big-name companies and what not... That'd just be sad, and bad for our reputation. Seriously. What happened to free speech, anyway?

This country disgusts me sometimes... We should do something about it. >.>;
Felix_Arabia Felix_Arabia - November 30, 2007 (09:32 AM)
Wolfqueen, let’s look at what happened.

Eidos and Gamespot formed a contract – one that could have any number of provisions. Eidos paid Gamespot to advertise Kane & Lynch, and they probably had to pay a nice chunk of change for two reasons:

(1) The site was pimped out with the K&L motif
(2) Gamespot has a lot of traffic, so advertising space costs a lot more since a lot more people will see it and potentially click on the ads.

In this partnership – and this is just speculation – Eidos and Gamespot may have agreed upon future benefits for Gamespot assuming the site gave K&L a favorable review. It’s certainly may not be an honest thing, but it shouldn’t be a surprising concept in this business.

So when Jeff Gerstmann gave the game a 6/10 and described the game with a harsh tone or whatever, Eidos must have felt betrayed. They spent all this money only to get their game thrashed by some reviewing lackey. Maybe Gerstmann honestly didn’t think there would be repercussions, maybe he did – though I don’t see him as some sort of crusading force hoping to spread honesty across the Internet.

The point is that Eidos got screwed in the deal. They could have retaliated by threatening to revoke any future benefits promised to Gamespot, or they could have threatened to sue. Who knows, who cares.

Whatever happened, Gamespot fired Gerstmann because it was far easier to get rid of him than stand by their already strongly disliked employee. Sure, a 6/10 may not be a bad score, and the review’s tone may not even be unfavorable (I haven’t read it), but perhaps Eidos knows that the average Internet gaming nerd thinks even a 7/10 score is nothing to write home about.

A 6/10 must have seemed like a dagger in the back.

This is not the first time something like this has happened in the world of electronic media, and it most definitely won't be the last time. This country doesn't need to be changed because some lousy Gamespot reviewer got sacked.

Please don't make accusations that all corporations are greedy. They like money, who doesn’t? When you say that they’re simply in it for the money, you imply that all the people within corporations are greedy. You imply that I am greedy (I am an accounting and finance major) – humans are naturally greedy and risk-aversive. But there is more to us than just money. It is true, corporations do care about profits (unless they’re non-profit), but there is a whole laundry list of items that they also care about. I won't go into those right now since that's not the point of this post, though I will gladly tell you what they are if you are curious to know.

Just please try to understand the potential reasoning behind both parties.
wolfqueen001 wolfqueen001 - November 30, 2007 (10:26 AM)
Hm... Well, I certainly didn't mean anything against you or every individual in the business world, so I'm sorry if it came out that way. I know there are some honest businessmen out there, but when things like this happen, it's perhaps more than a little disturbing.

Granted, presenting the argument the way you did does make sense, and perhaps the company was justified in its actions, but I still feel they were a bit unfair, but then again, perhaps not.

Although, I suppose you could as Gamespot some questions concerning this manner. Why have this fellow review the game if he's been known to be contraversial in the past and they want a solid review for the game? Also, this might sound kind of childish maybe, but why not have someone else review it on top of that? Granted, that doesn't change the damage that's already been done, but at least multiple reviews for a game won't look so biased.. ...unless the site works like here where if the game's being reviewed before it comes out or something, there's only one staff member who reviews it... Least I think that's how it works here... Nothing wrong with that, though.

Either way, maybe I just presented my frustrations the wrong way. I could (and probably should) have said "Yeah, what DoI and EmP said!" but I felt like adding something else to the argument or at the very least expressing it in my own way.

Sorry if I came off as some sort of anarchy-loving, capitalism-hating communist (I'm really not o.o) or something - I really didn't intend to. It's just that sometimes I get frustrated with the system.
Felix_Arabia Felix_Arabia - November 30, 2007 (01:57 PM)
Thank you.

As for why Jeff Gerstmann reviewed the game, well, who knows why. Anything from poor communication to busy workloads could have contributed the game falling into his lap. We may never know, but one thing is certain:

Eidos and Gamespot relations certainly have been strained.
zippdementia zippdementia - March 06, 2009 (03:13 AM)
Yeah, it's a rough position. What if someone offered Honest Gamers all sorts of money in return for a decent score? Well, in our case it would definitely be against policy... that's why we're called "Honest" Gamers.

But you can imagine the enticement. And Gamespot doesn't even have Honest in their name!

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