Ars Technica joins the discussion


You’ve read by now the Washington Post article about Gaming Journalism, and the reply by Kotaku to some of the ideas expressed on it.

Now Ars Technica joins the controversy, with a post in the Opposable Thumbs blog. Here’s an excerpt:

I had a knot in my stomach after reading this; while I knew this went on, it’s still not fun to hear about it laid out like this.

Of course, I’m jealous of things like trips to Vegas and Russia to promote a game, who wouldn’t be? But editorial policy at Ars Technica restricts us from accepting free airfare or accommodations though; it makes everyone involved look bad. Even if readers agree with what you say, it’s hard to argue how you say it isn’t affected by a nice flight, a good hotel, drinks, and food…none of which you paid for. There are lines of course. Everyone accepts review code for games, and I’m not going to turn down the occasional free drink at E3, but what’s described in the Washington Post article is excessive.

Here is what I would like to see from my fellow game journalists: if you feel like it’s ethical to accept these junkets, or if you think they honestly help your readers, great; but in order to make sure your readers have all the information, if your airfare or room was provided to you, simply say so in the article. That way it’s all above board, and everyone has the information about how the coverage was attained.

Any takers?

Yeah, any takers? Thanks Killzig through Meebo.


4 thoughts on “Ars Technica joins the discussion

  1. While I don’t like the whole “gift” giving practice that was mentioned, to be fair though, such practices are used much more often (and more covertly) in almost any other industry.

    Also, we have to becareful when labelling people. The game journalists unlike those of the print press (esp. the major ones like washington post) have far fewer sources of income.

    So, travelling for every new game preview would be very hard for journalists from smaller gaming sites.

    So what can these writers do? Maybe from now on, the game journalists should start asking for donations from their readership in order to cover their expenses? Would everyone be happy then? Ideally, doing so would lower the costs for the game developers, so maybe they would be less stressed about budget or maybe even lower the prices of their games. And smaller game companies can afford to get more coverage.

    But unfortunately the world is not ideal, readers will either cry foul for having to pay for coverage, or the top big game publisher (EA I am looking at you!) will captilize on the now reduced dev cost, and expect the game developers to make more games with less funding in the future in order to keep up with the increase in profit that they just experienced.
    (yes I am being cynical, but I have experienced enough of the corporate America to know that those at top will always want more, at the expense of the “small people” that work for them)

    Just my 2cent, before we all start to yell at the wrong people. 😉

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