Joystiq is closing and I'll miss them like hell

The death of a gaming news website is a terrible thing.

It weakens the video game industry. It weakens video game journalism in what are still important, formative times. It hurts gamers and, of course, those talented writers who write about games.

Every time a gaming website downsizes, every time a bean-counter closes a home to gaming journalism, we all lose a little.

Joystiq's closure is by no means the first of its kind; news of sites shutting down, downsizing, staff moving have been at a steady beat for years now.

But this particular closure is important. Important, perhaps if only because it is a good time to reflect on just how far game journalism has come.

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Geobros1417d ago

I will keep the first sentence of this article: "The death of a gaming news website is a terrible thing. "

brish1416d ago

There is an old expression "Don't bite the hand that feeds you".

What it means is you shouldn't attack the people that you depend on because they will stop supporting you.

After the smear campaigns against gamers that "gaming news" sites have launched those sites shouldn't expect to survive.

rainslacker1416d ago

Seems the writer of the article, from polygon, feels that game journalism is much more important than it really is.

It affects the industry? Hmm...according to N4G's mods game journalism does not affect the industry whatsoever, and it is not part of the gaming industry. I would say if all game journalism went away then he'd have a point, but one website? Not so much. Even if IGN shut down this instant, someone else would rise up to their mediocrity.

Weakens game journalism? Well, that's a good thing since game journalism in general is pretty crap now, and yeah formative times are great and all, but not when they collude to decide what to tell the audience. The only thing it weakens is the narrative of industry issues that they are currently trying to push.

It hurts gamers? Not really. One site is hardly the end all be all for any gamer. If any one site, no matter how big went down, the news would still get out there, particularly since they all get sent pretty much the same press kits.

It hurts those talented writers? Would have to agree with that. Unfortunately though there aren't too many talented writers for gaming anymore. Most of them left long ago, and Joystiq hasn't had them for years. Feel bad for the staff in general though, as it does suck to lose ones job.

How far game journalism has come? Yeah right. Game journalism was actually meaningful and provided everything we needed long before it became the hit mongering tabloid-esque, self-righteous, self-important, agenda pushing, hate filled reporting that it is today.

Polygon needs to get over itself and it's friends. Game devs won't care that Joystiq went down, and publishers will just look for the next person on the list to send their press kits too. Very few dead sites or old game writers are remembered, and more often than not, no one really cares which site they get their news from. That's why news aggrigators have become so popular.

Want game sites to stick around and be important? Then be there for the readers, and not yourselves.

coolbeans1416d ago

"Seems the writer of the article, from polygon, feels that game journalism is much more important than it really is.

It affects the industry? Hmm...according to N4G's mods game journalism does not affect the industry whatsoever, and it is not part of the gaming industry."

Even over a week after that controversy has passed, the points have been made, and everything else, you really think this kind of digression is the best course of action to make?

rainslacker1415d ago

I've taken no action with this comment. I sent an email to the powers that be to express my distaste of the decision that was made after my last comment in the blog and left it up to them. That was about the only action worth taking, and it still is.

I was making a counter point to the article's assumption that game journalism is somehow important to the industry, and by N4G standards it's not. I don't feel its out of place because we are all on N4G.

I don't mean to sound upset about this, because I've always liked you, although I don't see you comment nearly as much since becoming a mod, but the controversy only went away because the mods made it clear in no uncertain terms that the current decision is the one you all would adhere to for the forseeable future. I'm willing to see how that plays out and said so in the blog. But just because it's not being discussed doesn't mean that the controversy is irrelevant.

That being said, while my comment may have been passive aggressive, as mods I still believe you should be willing to stand by your decision and not give out what to me seems like veiled threats of censoring me because I happen to digress from the mods decisions.

I made plenty of reasonable points in my comment, and I do so in many of my comments. I am cynical, and often don't tow or even trust the company line. If that's a problem for you or the mods then just ban me now and I won't bother anyone in the forums anymore.

coolbeans1415d ago (Edited 1415d ago )

I wasn't aware of your commenting activity regarding this since Chris' 2nd blog went up, and it's good to know you've taken more appropriate methods of airing your discontent on this subject. Even still, using that author's point as a platform to bring up that controversy again just strikes an uncomfortable cord. It's not about relevancy in essence but instead in being just an opportunistic jab that's just petulant. And I also don't appreciate the straw-manning within that part of your text I previously quoted.

"That being said... the forums anymore."

Sheesh... "censorship" really is just being more and more misused as time goes on. Okay...

In no way is my first comment or this discussion a means of me posting a 'veiled threat' against you or your future here b/c of your stance on this whole #GG debacle/N4G submission stuff. By all means, keep posting to your heart's content here+forums (which is wide open for various non-gaming discussions). You know to keep things clean + on point. Why would I, or any mod/admin, want less of that over some disagreements?

That's an extreme that never even crossed my mind upon responding; in fact, I figured I'm on the defensive end since I'm really just attempting to refute a single point you made. Not the most noble of means of arguing, but I just find it to be a "bit of poison ruins the whole well" instance. The rest of the comment is fine, if sprinkled with stuff that I'm 50/50 on.

Edit: "I've always liked you, although I don't see you comment nearly as much since becoming a mod."

Thanks. The feeling is mutual. A lot of things have changed since becoming one, especially in regards to this year + last year. From the times replying with passive aggressive comments to another poster's passive aggressive comment and getting the "the high road" response because I was a mod to people bringing up "please don't ban" pleas for really innocuous discussions (your's here is a bit more understandable given the subject matter), my enthusiasm for main page commenting beyond my work is often deflated. Not to mention that I want to pour at least some energy into moderation and my time is limited to do that with work, writing, and entertainment. Plus, I need to watch my time since I currently rely on renter's laptop after mine was stolen.

rainslacker1415d ago

I feel we've gone pretty far off topic, although I appreciate you responding, and honestly, your response makes me miss the times when you used to comment all the time, because you are one of the intelligent ones.

Few quick things,

Never felt I was straw-manning, I'm just rather snarky more often than not.

When I used the word censorship it was in the vein of the lack of context to your first post(or mis-read comment more appropriately), which could be seen as a veiled threat. However, I will be the first to admit that context can often be lost in written form, particularly on forums, and even more particularly after I just got home from working 12 hours(and it was a rough day so probably led to my more defensive stance on it all). Re-reading it, and applying the context of your 2nd comment, and never seeing you be malicious to any user over the years, I do believe that you weren't making any kind of threat.

All the other stuff is beyond my reasoning ATM, and I want to go plat infamous:First Light before bed.:)

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OrangePowerz1416d ago (Edited 1416d ago )

Was it still a relative website? I think I didn't visit it since 4 or 5 years.

It's a bad thing, but the people will find new places or open new websites.

It's a bit overly dramatic to say that it's weaking the industry. As for weakening game journalism, compared to the BS that a lot of journalists do this will have very little impact if any.

Number-Nine1416d ago

I liked joystiq. Unfortunate. Hopefully they all find employment elsewhere

sweetSWAGGER1416d ago

Almost clicked the link again.

Oh, Joystiq, I will certainly miss their narrative pushing, as well as their pretentious opinion pieces like "gaming while black". I don't know how I'll be able to live without female-written reviews getting swarmed by white knights every time the review is legitimately criticized.

Where else will white knights go support and defend women in gaming for all the wrong reasons?

I suppose there's still Polygon and Kotaku...

morganfell1416d ago (Edited 1416d ago )

Thankfully someone comprehends the true nature of Joystiq. Last generation they were even worse and this time around they have fared but a little better. Arrogance combined with the self appointed SJW attitude was bound to wear thin sooner or later.

If only more publishers would correspond directly with the public we could be rid of a great number of these sites that wield undue power over our hobby as they post publisher and dev provided information filtered through their own personal and often adolescent bias.

Fortunately more gamers seem to be growing weary of the rhetoric and just want the news sans prejudice.

With some luck, we will see Polygon shutter its digital doors soon.

ginganinja1416d ago

So, do you want all gaming sites to vanish in favour of only getting information directly from publishers or do you just want the sites who have opinions you disagree with to disappear?
I can't say either option sounds particularly healthy to me.

And considering the bump in traffic Polygon has received over the last few months, I doubt they're going away very soon.

OrangePowerz1416d ago (Edited 1416d ago )


I guess he wants his information from sites unbiased and without pushing their specific agendas. If you look on sites like Kotaku or Polygon there is a lot of stuff where they are biased and/or want to push their own agenda in articles.

There is a difference between opinion or criticism compared to pushing your specific agenda on others.

sweetSWAGGER1416d ago (Edited 1416d ago )


Publishers giving us information directly doesn't sound like that bad of thing really. I mean, think about it,

why even support these sites anymore?

I can get all the official publisher information from Youtubers, the same youtubers who're also willing to signal boost and report on any shady happenings as well. I don't see that happening as much with video game journalists.

So I ask you, why keep them around at all?

They act as glorified PR (ruining games like Destiny and Watch Dogs), refuse to report on shady happenings, write clickbait articles, and push false narratives (often times for clickbait sensationalism).

If all the real important news is going to come from youtubers, while all the agenda-pushing and clickbait comes from journalists,

why do we need them?

All the exclusive reporting, the metacritic nonsense, the agendas, the censorship, the collusion. Gaming Journalism has proven to me that it only cares about itself. Not ethics, not the truth, and certainly not gaming.

Why do we need them?

ginganinja1416d ago

Or they want sites which agree with their own set of agendas and bias.

Why do you assume youtubers are somehow more reliable than traditional websites? If anything, due to smaller size, there's less accountability or need for transparency.
Would you trust someone who has worked their way through the industry, and whose work is usually vetted by at least one other person before it's published ?
Or, do you trust the young chap looking to be the next pewdiepie after seeing how much cash he's made?

sweetSWAGGER1416d ago (Edited 1416d ago )


"Why do you assume youtubers are somehow more reliable than traditional websites? If anything, due to smaller size, there's less accountability or need for transparency."

I don't assume, Ginganinja, I observe. And from my observations, it's been youtubers who report on shady happenings, while journalists sit and twiddle their thumbs. It's been youtubers who criticize anti-consumer business, while journalists defend it.

Journalists have colluded with each other, and act as glorified PR for the industry they're supposed to be reporting on. The only difference between them and youtube is that journalism entails going out into the field, making phone calls, doing interviews, and corresponding with insiders. However, the majority of modern game journalism seems more like blogging than actual journalism.

In fact, we're seeing just as much effort from both sides in terms of doing actual work. Plenty of Youtubers do reporting, interviews and investigations, but aren't afraid to touch certain topics. So again, why are these sites still relevant?

"Would you trust someone who has worked their way through the industry, and whose work is usually vetted by at least one other person before it's published? Or, do you trust the young chap looking to be the next pewdiepie after seeing how much cash he's made?"

First of all, I don't understand why vetting is important. Both sides are guilty of reporting on things, only to have to update their article or video later. In fact, I at least don't have to worry about Youtubers hiding something from me because they're held accountable by other youtubers. How many times do you see a site challenge one of their own? It doesn't happen.

That seems like an intentionally one-sided comparison, sir. I base my trust and support on what has been displayed. What modern game journalism has displayed is self-serving, agenda-driven, clickbait, PR nonsense. These journalists aren't the ones who informed me of corruption, or any shady, anti-consumer happenings. No, that would be Internet Aristrocrat, TotalBiscuit, MundaneMatt, Boogie, EventStatus, etc. etc.

I guess they were too busy writing clickbait, and warping the news to fit their agendas.

OrangePowerz1416d ago


I want sites that have informative news and reviews. Instead of that most of them are like Fox News. I just need to look at the latest reviews from Eurogamer where they behave like they are game designers and say how a game should be instead of how it is now. I don't care if they think that Life is Strange shouldn't have the time rewind feature or if the mansion in RE HD makes sense or in the case of Polygon slam TLoU because theh feel the need to push their anti violence agenda and mark the game down because of that.

I was a gaming journalist myself for many years and it's a joke when you get "suggested" by the PR department of companies what you should ask in interviews or when they threaten to not send you anymore review copies because you don't rate the games as high as what they expect.

In the end you have two choices of A give in so you can continue your work or B don't give in and don't be able to make reviews in time. Because you have to wait for the launch to get copies and your reviews will be late. At that point you won't get that many hits anymore for your articles and loose revenue and users. We had a fun way around it because a friend of mine has his own retail store so we got our copies from there since they would always arrive way ahead before release.

ginganinja1416d ago

"That seems like an intentionally one-sided comparison, sir."

Yep. I was exaggerating to prove a point. If someone writing for say IGN puts out something wrong, it reflects on them, their boss, the site, etc. Not only is there bad press, but possible legal implications, too. That's why stuff gets vetted.
It isn't necessary for a small youtube outfit to show the same diligence. If they get it wrong, all that's likely to happen is the video gets pulled. (then the savvy will claim they're being censored, or some such, and all will be forgiven)

Point is, if you think traditional sites are corrupt and unethical, I've seen nothing to indicate youtube vloggers should be any better.

Surely if a site can mark down and critice a game based on its own socio-political bias, then it's not that bothered about the pressure being applied by publishers.
I also don't see how removing traditional sites and relying on either youtube vloggers or publishers self-marketing would make the situation any better.

I don't think traditional sites are perfect by any stretch, but I've yet to be convinced the alternatives.
I also know I'll never watch another video from some of the youtubers sweetSWAGGER mentions that I find objectionable, but it doesn't bother me that they're still out there making content for those that want it.

OrangePowerz1416d ago

In theory you wouldn't be bothered by the pressure they try to apply, but in that case it would very difficult to keep the site working. You don't grt your review copies, invited to press events and so on meaning the content you can provide to your users is either not up to date or not there in the first place. Any semi professional site has to pay their staff and the money comes from partnerships with companies and ad revenue. If you don't have the content you won't have the users so your ad revenue goes down and your partners will find another side to partner with where they can reach a userbase they want to reach. Basically the publishers would hold all the cards. Sure a website could come out and say what is really going on, but that wpuld probably bring that whole house of cards down that has been constructed over the years buy larger websites and companies. Just look back at the Gerstman incident. You fall out of line and your job is gone.

I didn't say to get rid of gaming websites, but there is something inherently wrong with the system that is going on in the background out of view of the users. I have serious doubts that in the case of bigger websites there is anymore any independent reporting going on without outside factors taking influence on what is reported and how. I actually trust smaller sites and personal bloggers who don't make money on it and don't get event invitations and copies and swag a lot more over Kotaku, Gamespot, Polygon, IGN and co.

rainslacker1416d ago


I don't think most people have anything against editorial. The problem comes in with regards to the format of the editorial.

Here's how proper journalism works.

1. Present the story
When a company releases a press release, or something happens that's newsworthy, that's all that gets reported in any one article. Different sides can be presented in the story, but only in the most basic of fashions, usually a quote for counter arguments or whatever. I"ll get back to this later to say why game journalism is doing it wrong.

2. Editorialize

Make an opinion piece on the subject at hand with a different article based on research of the possible ramifications or outcomes of said story using factual data or overriding consensus to the topic if it is a subjective matter.

3. Clarify and follow up on story as new information comes out. Step 2 can be repeated from here if necessary.

That's all there really is too it.

Here's where game journalism gets it wrong.

1. They write an article, and before the end of the article, they interject their opinion, comment on how people are already pissed about it despite them breaking the story, then throw in some hyperbole about why it's bad(or on rare occasions good), then they go so far as to ask the reader what they think, which is silly because people know that's what the comments section is for.

2. Repeat until people stop clicking.

Editorial, when done right is not about reciting what other people think. It's about looking at a subject and giving an argument about why it may be a good or bad thing based on certain criteria. For "professional" game site editorial, I rarely see the criteria being presented before the argument is made, and I almost never see any real research not based off the authors gut reaction to the topic at hand. More often than not the editorial is just plain stupid and serves only to extend controversy instead of informing the public.

I'm not against devs/pubs talking directly to their customers at all. I don't think that means that game journalist have to disappear though, but it means they'll have to try harder to actually be meaningful by doing some real journalism and reporting instead of parroting a company line. The President of the US speaks directly to the public, but that doesn't negate the need for journalist to question/research, and present what is said to a broader audience.

ginganinja1416d ago

Then how are EG, Polygon or whoever else marking down games for SJW reasons, if the publishers are blackmailing them to give high scores?

Sorry ?! Are you implying there's no bias is 'proper journalism' ? I suggest you read the same story from a variety of different sources and compare the different ways they subtly, or otherwise, imbue it with their own bias. Even those who try to attempt to stay impartial and objective, such as Reuters get accused of it.
Maybe gaming journalisms problem isn't that some of them have certain views, but that they aren't subtle enough for you not to notice.

morganfell1416d ago

"Instead of that most of them are like Fox News."

No. Most of them are like Fox News OR CNN OR NBC OR CBS OR ABC. Fox News is not the sole innaccurate service in the US. Anyone that thinks the news on the left has some informational or moral high ground has quite simply fallen victim to that particular brand of propaganda. All of these services are pushing an agenda and all of them void the truth at least half of the time. Sometimes this is accomplished through stating matters untruthfully and often it is handled by simply pretending a story does not exist and intentionally avoiding any mention of an item.

rainslacker1415d ago

"Are you implying there's no bias is 'proper journalism' ?"

Not at all. There is certainly bias in proper journalism. But even with bias, the facts and the opposing views are still put out there in the original article and in such a way that an intelligent reader can critically analyze what is needed to understand the story. The writers or editor's view is not always part of a proper article, but I do know that the writer's have the power to subtly influence the reader based on the tone of their text. More often than not in these cases, these are made in the counter views of the topic at hand.

In game journalism though, the bias is blatantly obvious, and counter points are not discussed except to downplay the people that feel counter to the author's or editor's views, if they're discussed at all.

There is a clear line between what is reporting and what is editorial, and most gaming sites do not know where that line is and make the original articles in such a way to push their views before the entire story is presented.

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