The Dirty History of Games Journalism

Games journalism is dirtier than you ever could've imagined. This timeline is based on http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/343871/Corruption-consumer-hate-and-bad-journalism-in-games-journalism/ and created to provide a faster rate of updates. All links and the timeline itself are archived multiple times as a protection. Remember that the events listed here are only the ones that have leaked to the public. Click "find out more" on the events to open the primary source.

1995-09-01 00:00:00

AMIGA POWER CALLS OUT GAMES JOURNALISM

Looking at the future section, they truly were the Nostradamus of their time.

2001-09-25 00:00:00

TRIP HAWKINS THREATENS GAMEPRO OVER PORTAL RUNNER REVIEW

Trip Hawkins threatened to pull advertising from GamePro after Portal Runner received an unfavorable review.

2004-01-01 00:00:00

EDGE MAGAZINE DECLARES THAT THE AGE OF THE HARDCORE GAMER IS ENDING

EDGE writes that the days of the hardcore gamer are over.

2004-07-07 00:00:00

DRIV3R IS GIVEN BLATANTLY HIGH SCORES BY FUTURES PUBLISHING

Threads discussing it on the GamesRadar Forum are eventually deleted, though too late to hide the news that 9/10 reviews were given to an unfinished game.

2005-12-15 00:00:00

1UP EDITORIAL CALLS OUT GAMES INDUSTRY CORRUPTION

Many other outlets attack the editorial. It is later reposted in January 2008 and some specific companies are called out.

2007-03-01 00:00:00

SONY TRIES TO SILENCE KOTAKU

Kotaku does actual journalism and investigates a rumor. Sony doesn't want Kotaku to release the story and later blacklists them. Archived is the last live version found before the article's deletion.

2007-09-07 00:00:00

NCSOFT PROMOTES TABULA RASA WITH ZERO-G RIDE FOR JOURNALISTS

Each ride was worth at least $5000 per person.

2007-11-30 00:00:00

JEFF GERSTMANN FIRED OVER KANE AND LYNCH REVIEW

Jeff Gerstmann was fired from Gamespot for giving a less than glowing review for Kane and Lynch: Dead Men after its publisher Eidos threatened to pull advertising from the site.

2008-12-09 00:00:00

IGN REVIEWER GIVES FOOTBALL MANAGER A 2/10 BECAUSE IT WASN'T LIKE FIFA

Yes, and then came the justified backlash.

2009-04-29 00:00:00

IPHONE GAME REVIEW SITE SELLING FAVORS

Want an expedited review service? That'll be $50.

2009-05-05 00:00:00

EUROGAMER GIVES DARKFALL A 2/10, BARELY PLAYS THE GAME

Eurogamer's journalists didn't even spend a meaningful amount time on a game before reviewing it. This is a common phenomena in games journalism that you can confirm yourself by looking at games' achievements pre-release. Allegedly 31.9% of people with a pre-release copy completed one hour of gameplay in Total War: Rome II by the time most reviews were out.

2009-06-05 00:00:00

EA STAGES A FAKE DANTE'S INFERNO PROTEST

Fake christian nutsos hired for a marketing stunt.

2009-09-11 00:00:00

EA SENDS OUT $200 CHECKS TO PROMOTE DANTE'S INFERNO TO JOURNALISTS

EA sent $200 checks to journalists to promote Dante's Inferno.

2009-11-24 00:00:00

ACTIVISION SENDS OUT IPODS WITH WORLD AT WAR: ZOMBIES

For a $10 game.

2010-03-18 00:00:00

IPHONE APP AND GAME REVIEW SITES OUTED FOR CORRUPTION

This isn't the first time one of the sites, AppCraver, is called out. Another site is even asking for money to do the reviews in the first place.

2010-04-25 00:00:00

FAMITSU GIVES MGS: PEACE WALKER 10/10, IS ADVERTISED IN GAME

Not only did Famitsu get promoted in-game, an executive also starred in advertising for it.

2010-05-03 00:00:00

JOYSTIQ EDITOR JUSTIN MCELROY LITERALLY RUNS AN "I RAGEQUIT" REVIEW

Instead of actually reviewing the game (Nier) and writing about it, he drops a few short paragraphs about how it was hazardous to his sanity.

2010-06-16 00:00:00

MICROSOFT GIVES OUT FREE REDESIGNED XBOX 360S AT E3

And many of the games journalists just loved it. Some other journalists? They called it bribing.

2010-10-25 00:00:00

ROBERT FLORENCE THREATENED WITH LIBEL SUIT AFTER POINTING OUT CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN PS3 GIVEAWAY FOR JOURNALISTS

Robert Florence raised questions in a Eurogamer article about a conflict of interest at a PS3 giveaway to journalists. Eurogamer was threatened with a libel suit and he left.

2011-03-10 00:00:00

GO!GAMINGGIANT CALLS GAMES JOURNALISM CORRUPT

Examples are posted. It is debatable whether the article contains proof of actual corruption, but the examples are still poor journalism at best.

2011-03-15 00:00:00

BIOWARE EMPLOYEE ATTEMPTS TO SNEAK IN PERFECT METACRITIC USER SCORE

A Bioware employee tried to sneak a perfect Metacritic user score onto the Dragon Age 2 page. Didn't go over so well.

2011-06-15 00:00:00

DUKE NUKEM'S PR THREATENS SITES OVER SCORES

The Redner Group states on twitter that sites that give low reviews will not receive review copies of future games.

2011-09-08 00:00:00

THE ATLANTIC POINTS OUT "GOOD SOULS CORRUPTION" IN GAMES JOURNALISM

Even if no one might be breaking the law doing so, it still stinks.

2011-10-19 00:00:00

EA TRIES TO MANIPULATE BATTLEFIELD 3 SCORES

EA sends out surveys to outlets asking about the reviewers before providing a copy of the game.

2011-10-27 00:00:00

IGN RUSHES THROUGH A GAME ON LOW DIFFICULTY, LIES ABOUT IT

IGN burns through PixelJunk Sidescroller on the lowest difficulty, say they did it on normal difficuly, and complain about lack of content. Their lie is revealed when it's pointed out that the additional content is available higher difficulties.

2011-10-31 00:00:00

DENNIS SCIMECA OF JOYSTIQDIVISION BLAMES GAMERS FOR THE DOWNFALL OF GAMES JOURNALISM

Because it's our fault that they have to write clickbaits.

2011-11-11 00:00:00

KOTAKU ATTACKS CRITICISM OF COD MW2, HAS MASSIVE MW2 BANNER ADS IN BACKGROUND

Like nobody would notice?

2011-12-04 00:00:00

FAMITSU REVEALED TO HAVE CONTRACT FOR RATINGS WITH SQUARE ENIX

Former games writer Hasan Ali Almaci reveals just how corrupted the games reviewing industry got. Among the tidbits is a note that Famitsu is contractually obligated to give Square Enix games 7 or higher.

2011-12-04 00:00:00

JOURNALIST POSTS A HUGE ARTICLE ON CORRUPTION IN VIDEO GAMES

The article is a translation of the original Dutch one from 2007.

2012-02-07 00:00:00

IGN RUNS ENDLESS ARTICLES ON MASS EFFECT 3 FOR NEARLY 2 MONTHS; IGN EMPLOYEE FEATURED IN SAID GAME

The same Mass Effect 3 that was widely derided by actual gamers. During this time the website was also plastered with Mass Effect 3 advertisements.

2012-03-02 00:00:00

CEO OF LARIAN STUDIOS DESCRIBES HOW BROKEN GAMING JOURNALISM IS

Among other things, he describes an example where a PR agent manages to bump a C-type game to a B-type game (79 to 81)

2012-03-15 00:00:00

METACRITIC SCORE COSTS DEVELOPER ITS BONUS

Obsidian is revealed to have missed their bonus on Fallout: New Vegas by one point on Metacritic. Such contracts are not rare in the industry and pressure developers into further pouching good reviews, despite Metacritic averages being described as "unbalanced".

2012-03-22 00:00:00

MASS EFFECT FANS CALLED WHINY DORKS FOR WANTING A BETTER ENDING

Really not much else to say.

2012-04-10 00:00:00

EA TRIES TO FRAME MASS EFFECT 3 HATE AS HOMOPHOBIA, SPAMS A PETITION WITH BOTS

After the backlash against Mass Effect 3 EA spammed an anti-homophobia petition with bots.

2012-05-23 00:00:00

KOTAKU DEFENDS DIABLO 3'S ALWAYS-ONLINE, DIABLO 3 ADS ALL OVER PAGE

Says it makes it "a better game"

2012-07-03 00:00:00

NUMEROUS GAMING NEWS SITES RUN WITH A PHOTOSHOPPED IMAGE

A single photoshopped image causes Eurogamer, IGN, Gamespot and others to declare that upcoming titles for the PS Vita had been linked

2012-08-30 00:00:00

GAMING SITES THAT CHARGE FOR REVIEW SCORES GET OUTED

Also touches on the danger of publishers pulling ad funding in case of a poor review.

2012-09-06 00:00:00

BEN KUCHERA RUNS RAPE ALLEGATIONS (LATER PROVEN BASELESS) AGAINST MAX TEMKIN ON PENNY ARCADE

Not only was the suit dismissed with prejudice but the accuser later wrote a public letter of apology.

2012-10-10 00:00:00

FORMER IGN EMPLOYEE ADMITS REVIEW SCORES ARE SKEWED FOR PR AND MONEY

And they're not the only one.

2012-10-18 00:00:00

DORITOGATE.

Geoff Keighly of G4 and Kotaku fame talks about Halo 4 in front of a massive poster, while promoting both Doritos and Mountain Dew. The result is an outcry that makes consumers question of legitimity of games journalism. Another point of view on Doritogate is that it is an example of how to do advertising correctly. Mountain Dew and Doritos are not involved in the gaming industry and can thus be considered more preferrable to having, for example, games publishers as advertisers.

2012-10-29 00:00:00

RPG CODEX TACKLES THE INCESTUOUS RELATIONSHIP OF JOURNALISTS AND PR

While related to Doritogate, this article an important enough collection of events to deserve a mention of its own.

2012-12-10 00:00:00

FREELANCE WRITER RICH STANTON DETAILS JOURNALISM CORRUPTION

Stanton details more corruption examples in the industry, including GTA4 review tinkering.

2012-12-25 00:00:00

NEW STATESMAN: IF YOU LOVE GAMES, YOU SHOULDN'T CALL YOURSELF A GAMER

Simon Parkin, a former writer for EDGE, writes that "the idea of the gaming community needs to die"

2013-02-01 00:00:00

DEVIL MAY CRY FANS SLANDERED

Displeasure of DMC fans at the sequel is spun as entitlement by the gaming media during February of 2013. The following article is just one of several.

2013-02-12 00:00:00

IGN CRITICIZED FOR GIVING A 9+ SCORE TO 84 GAMES IN 2012

Because business comes before proper journalism and reviews.

2013-04-04 00:00:00

EA CLAIMS ALWAYS-ONLINE NECESSARY FOR SIMCITY

Even though that is patently false considering journalists had pre-launch access. Many journalists jump in to defend EA. Employees later admit that always-online wasn't necessary.

2013-04-04 00:00:00

MICROSOFT CREATIVE DIRECTOR ADAM ORTH: "DEAL WITH ALWAYS-ONLINE"

Gamers need to get with the times and accept ridiculous DRM methods.

2013-04-11 00:00:00

SEBASTIAN MOSS OF PLAYSTATION LIFESTYLE TALKS ABOUT RAMPANT BACKLINKING IN GAMES JOURNALISM

Talks about how sites like TechRadar collude to inflate their google search ranking.

2013-04-19 00:00:00

KOTAKU BLACKLISTS A DEVELOPER

Whatever your opinion is of David Prassel, the one-sided reporting of the event was only the tip of an iceberg. On the source see the part "Let's talk about blacklisting" to find a sum up of the events.

2013-05-13 00:00:00

DESTRUCTOID WRITER SUSPENDED FOR OUTING FRADULENT FUNDRAISING

Allistair Pinsof outs a trans woman who claimed to be fundraising for a life-saving operation but was actually using it for a sex reassignment operation. He is then suspended. Further evidence later comes up that people from various outlets colluded on the issue, something that is potentially very illegal.

The Dirty History of Games Journalism

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