Back to Gamespot: Full Circle
Posted by 8TrackMind , 27 April 2012 · 528 views
Gamespot journalism Giant Bomb Gerstmann
I just signed up for Gamespot Total Access, the paid subscription tier for the gaming website. The process of how this came to be is a weirdly circular one which I'd like to note because it's such a strange trip to take.
The reason I joined wasn't because I wanted to pay for the service. Nope. The reason I joined was because I was a Giant Bomb Premium member. You see, I was subscriber to Gamespot Complete back in the day, until what became known as the Gerstmann Affair. In 2007, longtime Gamespot employee Jeff Gerstmann, who by then had the Editorial Director spot at the video gaming site, was fired over his pushback against the steady influence of the marketing department over editorial content. This pushback game to a head after Gerstmann put up a fight over his review of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, which he gave a "Fair" rating, essentially a mediocre grade. Publisher Eidos threatened to pull advertising on Gamespot, advertising which had actually progressed to wrapping the entire site with ads for Eidos' game. For my part, I cancelled my Gamespot subscription in protest over Gerstmann's firing.
In the wake of the dismissal came the obligatory lawyerly suppression of information, a suppression that of course allowed naysayers to cry conspiracy, insisting that the whole thing had nothing to do with Eidos or Kane & Lynch. Gerstmann himself went on to found Giant Bomb, a competing video game website that has steadily grown in prominence, to which I eventually paid for subscribers access in support for Gerstmann's efforts. And here is where the story takes a hilarious turn. Recently, parent company Whisky Media has sold off Giant Bomb to none other than CBS Interactive, owners of CNET, who operate Gamespot. So Gerstmann ends up back with his former company, and I end up back with a Gamespot Subscription, converted from my paid access to Giant Bomb. Funny, yes? And all the while, the stakes in regards to big game companies eroding the editorial integrity of video game journalism keeps getting higher.
Via the terms of Giant Bomb's purchase by CBS Interactive, the gag order on the details of Gerstmann's firings was nullified, and he revealed that marketing's pressure against negative game reviews was indeed the reason for his dismissal. But the question remains: will game publishers continue to influence gaming sites' game ratings? And if so, will the public do anything about it?
- wastelander75 likes this