E3 2013 Reveals Gaming Journalism Is Bulls#!t And Other Secrets You Didn't Know

FleshEatingZipper writes: "So you run a gaming web site. You have a decent following and good traffic and while you’re not an internet celebrity, you are willing to travel halfway across the country (or further) on your own time and dollar to cover the latest and greatest games for your readers. But even after building a network of contacts, you’ll simply be shut out by the biggest companies, even lied to. Coverage of the expo’s biggest events are ruled by an exclusive few, an inner circle – the IGNs, the GameTrailers and the Giant Bombs – and everyone else is shut out entirely. Unless you’re in the business of covering indie titles by small developers, gaming journalism boils down to being in an established circle of friends – the touted 300-400 full-time gaming journalists that this industry can support – having a lot of financial backing to kick your way in or being a major news outlet like ABC or Fox News. If you’re not any of those, you’re iced out of coverage at the highest tiers. Let me explain how getting your gaming site into E3 works."

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kellykarnetsky1923d ago

It sucks being low on the totem pole.

TFXR1923d ago

Yeah, it does. Yet so many people make the trek and get treated so badly.

Abriael1923d ago (Edited 1923d ago )

Sorry, but there's only one solution to this. Instead of complaining about being treated unfairly, put your head down and work, work, work until you either burn out or get the recognition you think you deserve.

If you burn out before you get there, then maybe you simply aren't as good as you think. If you work on your site less than ten hours a day, you probably aren't doing enough.

(and I'm using "you" as a generic you, I don't know you, so don't take it personally).

Yes, game journalism is not a huggly, easy, friendly place for the faint of heart or the easily discouraged, and yes, some people have more access than others. Guess what? Most of those people earned it the same way everyone does. By getting doors slammed in their face over and over and over.

I've done it for 16 years, both on print and web, up and down, and I still get doors slammed in my face at times. It's entirely normal.

We're dealing with companies that are at E3, Gamescom, Tokyo Game Show and other conventions to gather visibility and ultimately make a buck. Their time is limited. Their developers can't see everyone in four days. So they'll give access to those that will give them the most visibility in return first, and then the others if there's room left.

Sounds cold and harsh and unfair? It is. It's called the reality of business.
Roll with the punches or don't roll at all.

jsslifelike1923d ago


What a cop out. If you're a company and you accept appointments, you should be held to keeping them. Actually, more articles should be written/published like this so then end-consumer can learn to avoid the products of companies that can't even help being shady at the middle of the process. Now, if we could just get gamers to have any kind of balls to skip over these products out of principle, maybe this would change.

Abriael1923d ago (Edited 1923d ago )

@jsslifelike: if you think the "end consumer" cares about the woes of a few writers, you're naive. Even more so to the point of avoiding getting the game they want.

That's an entirely laughable statement.

"hey gamers! boycott the game because they didn't let me into the booth!"


As much as I can sympathize with the predicament, part of being a professional also involves accepting that problems happen and taking it in stride, instead of taking it personally and shaking one's angry fist at the "privileged!", while thinking that saying " I'm media!" should open all doors.

DragonKnight1923d ago

@Abriael: Have you ever once worked in gaming journalism? It has little to do with hard work today and more about partnerships and contacts which is why it sucks. Seriously, don't talk about what you don't know.

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Garethvk1923d ago (Edited 1923d ago )

While it is true the big guys get special treatment, we had EA, Microsoft, Activision, Bethesda, Konami, Disney, Sega, Sony, and a few others extend us invites to their events and well as proivides us booth tours. If you build a good reputation the invites will come.

But they are dead on. Not just at E3 others shows as well. I remember one company who promised and interview and full review. So we did site, radio, magazine and other coverage. Only after they got coverage did they say oh we cannot do that the person at the booth at no right to offer that. So I cut them off from all reviews and promotion. A year later they asked to meet with me at PAX. I sent an intern.

TFXR1923d ago (Edited 1923d ago )

It wasn't so much the invites, it was the malicious fibbing, thinking we had a chance of seeing stuff. Then not being able to get on the show floor early to make the appointments you do have? C'mon...

Garethvk1923d ago

You are dead on. We tend to make sure to do meetings with those who have treated us right in the past and new companies. I prefer drop ins for most but the top flight stuff. PAX is a good one to get to as it caters to press and fans. There are so many fans they often are more receptive plus being in Sep, this is often their last chance to get coverage from you before the holiday releases.

TFXR1923d ago

@Gareth Unfortunately, since this was a banner year with so many big unveilings, it was especially frustrating to not see many of those top games.

kellykarnetsky1923d ago

It's really tough building a rep sometimes with the bigger companies because they want you to email a general PR email and you get a new person responding every time.

Garethvk1923d ago

Big issue now is that so many use PR firms and they have their list of must sends and then their favorites. They are famous for oh we do not have enough to go around. So thats why if they pull that three times in a row, they are out until it changes. No matter if your small or not, if you stop covering them they will come around. But the way the pr reps change so much makes it tough. When I started, even before the site you dealt with one or two people at the company directly. For some I have two or three agencies and about 6 contacts so its a pain to get things done.

TFXR1923d ago

Yeah, it's frustrating when even different games have different PR agencies at the same studio. It's just weird how they buffer all that now.

HarryMasonHerpderp1923d ago

I don't know why you had those problems. You would think they would be eager for EVERYONE to see their games and get as much exposure as possible, it makes no sense. Some of the suits running things behind the scenes just have no clue what they're doing and have no place in the videogame industry.

Garethvk1923d ago

I had started a Orginization/Union of sites for film reviews years ago. Big and small present a united front, share resources and such. Those who took part did well but sadly many took the resources, would not share and oddly enough, are all gone now. I would be up for doing this though for games.

TFXR1923d ago

Would be interesting to even set up an "indie media" booth, but I know those are crazy expensive.

Garethvk1923d ago

The key would be getting some sponsors who would pay to be shown. Like how some games or hardware share a space. See our new game X while taking a tour of the Y hardware booth.

You could always do what some indies do and hold meetings in a hotel near the venue.

clank5431923d ago

Do we need that many more gaming journalists? I mean, I get everything I need to out of either Giantbomb or IGN. I never really go wanting for much else, honestly.

Virtual_Reality1923d ago

Just saying, but Giantbomb and or IGN does not cover entirely all the details in the industry of gaming.

MikeyDucati11923d ago (Edited 1923d ago )

lol man when it comes to IGN and Giantbomb, I rather have the little guy. You know why? Cause I know IGN is getting treated nicely and paid nicely to be nothing more than a big advertising site for the games they cover. An IGN editor get all pissed at me for comments I made about his co worker (or co-editor, however you want to call it) review on Dust 514. I felt he judged Dust 514 unfairly due to him being used to easy, pick up and play shooters like COD. This guy begins nitpicking my posts as if I was some 13 year old child. No, I've been around since Atari and it was quite apparent he had prerequisites for Dust that were formulated through previous FPS titles who follow each others' trends. He didn't judge it upon its own merit. So yes, I can appreciate a little variety instead of having the "big dogs" sell me a dream just so they can still get insider industry access and perks.

HarryMasonHerpderp1923d ago

Yeah you can't trust the big sites anymore.
There's just too much money involved for them to be 100% honest.

nismo151923d ago

Xbones reveal was Bulls#!t know that much having to edit in clapping for its conference , desperation is a stinky cologne

Bathyj1923d ago

that wasn't necessary at all. totally off topic.

but I do like the super troopers reference.

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