In his career as a game reviewer, Ghislain Masson has been to Russia twice, and once to Chernobyl for a promotion of a computer game set in that area's nuclear meltdown zone.
His other junkets include trips to India paid for by Microsoft and a five-day extravaganza in Las Vegas funded by Midway. There was also the shindig near his home base in Paris to promote a game in the Rayman series that included juggling lessons from circus performers.
A little validation from Masson, a writer for the French game magazine PC Jeux, and others like him can help tip the scales in the competitive game industry, where a cutting-edge title takes many years and millions of dollars to develop. That's why game designers, like movie studios, have learned to lavishly court such tastemakers, the guys who write for the major blogs and magazines and play a key role in today's big-bucks video game industry.