The N4G decadence
Usually, I don't comment much on N4G nor do I write blog posts (this is even my very first time), for two reasons: first, I'm not a native English-speaker (I'm French), so the longer are my comments, the more I'm susceptible of doing vocabulary or grammatical mistakes. So if you read this blog post and find out any kind of mistakes, please apologize me beforehand. I will do my best to keep this blog post understandable, you have my words.
The second reason is N4G's bubble system. Not that this system is right or wrong, bust most people on N4G abuse of it. Simply because one does not have the same opinion as another, the other can get pretty quickly upset and "punish" this opinion difference popping his bubbles. And with the PS4 and the Xbox One coming, discussions on N4G can be pretty hot pretty quickly, and popping bubbles can be very distracting.
But disregard that, I still felt the need to write this blog post, because I'm noticing N4G's content quality is going quite downhill.
I browse and use N4G since 2007, I even used to be a pretty active contributor. Not a top notch contributor, but when I had the occasion, I posted some news, mostly from Gamasutra and indie websites. I remember when N4G's comment section was separated in two categories, a "barely normal" section, and a "obvious trolls" one. I remember HipHopGamer's Show, how he used ridiculous flamebait titles in order to get attention, and how people felt how degrading it was for N4G's content quality. I remember when people were considering Surfer Girl as an actual source of trusty rumors. I remember intense discussions because some people were posting cosplay articles, some people argued how was it newsworthy and how other people didn't see what was wrong as it was video game related.
I stopped using N4G few weeks after its design change, simply because I was feeling that content quality was going downhill, but as you can see I'm back after a bunch of months / years, because disregard that lack of quality, N4G was still the best place to get video game news. And I'm here today, writing my blog post and hoping there are people out there seeing what I'm seeing. How since a bunch of months N4G's content quality got much worse.
The main reason is the Next Gen debacle. For years, Playstation fans have been mocked by Xbox fans because the Playstation 3 was expensive, had no games and got poor multiplatform ports. In my opinion, it is pretty stupid to swear allegiance to one console manufacturer. I mean, I'm a gamer, I want to play games, so why would I close my mind to a single console to enjoy games? Wouldn't it be more rewarding to open up your heart and your mind to all the platforms so you can as much enjoy Gears of War as Uncharted, as Starcraft, as Super Mario? But whatever, fanboys exist since ages and today's fanboys are mostly the same as yesterday's.
But with the PS4 and Xbox One announcement, things changed dramatically in the fanboy community. We are now in a situation where Sony are under a good light thanks to Microsoft's mistakes with the Xbox One announcement and mindset. And of course this totally changed the tendency of the fanboy war, which you can pretty much feel in N4G's comment section, but not just that.
There are multiple websites that profit of this active fanboy community to submit tons of flamebait articles, spec comparisons, game comparisons, fud articles, intangible rumors, etc... The Next Gen hasn't started yet but you can still feel a rampant poisonous atmosphere on N4G, feeded by fanboys wars, and they get even stronger thanks to those click-hungry sites that take no consideration to journalism quality and post non-stop cr@p just for the sake of click hits.
The other reason I feel N4G's content quality is going downhill is the exact same reason why I left N4G for a while: the lack of content quality supervising and the lack of sanction for those who do not care much about the quality of what they submit on N4G.
Back then, N4G members who wanted to be contributors had to read and respect N4G's contributor rules and were tested with a quick quizz to verify members understand those rules (and filter those who were stupid enough to not be able to lie). This didn't stop people to post crap articles or outdated reviews. There were even N4g members that opened blogs on Wordpress so they can write their opinions on this or that, and submit it on N4G to satisfy their ego.
Today, I see the system is even simpler, as you don't even need to correctly answer few questions in order to check if you're a "valuable" contributor. Now, you just need to click, click, click, click and voilà, you're a contributor. What do we have now on N4G? You have duplicate stories everywhere, sometimes from stories that are a week old, you have Kotaku-like garbage, you have "OMG look at that tweet!!" posts...
I mean, I can totally understand that Mr Yoshida is a respected person in the video game industry as he is the CEO of SCEWW, and unlike most of the persons in the industry, he doesn't feel that much under PR control, but is it really necessary to post a full N4G story because he posted "???" on his Twitter account? Do you seriously think it was newsworthy? Considering the circumstances (the Adam Sessler debacle about how he and his pals couldn't have a free debug PS4), it could be barely newsworthy if you put a minimum of journalism analyze, if you explain what it was all about and what the tweet of Mr Yoshida meant. But just don't post a story with barely three letters to read. Seriously.
The tweet stories are just the tip of the iceberg, N4G is now more than ever a place where actual good news are flooded with garbage, opinion blog posts, preposterous rumors, tech analyzis from people that actually know nothing about tech and development, gif news (I mean, really? Judging a game with a gif, in 2013? What will it be for the post-PS4one generation, thumbnails? Midi sounds?), fud, flamebait articles... All that powered by blind fanboys and pointless console wars, sensationnalism in major video game websites, journalist wannabes, teh pixel comparisons, out-of-context quotes, click vampires,... and among all that decadence, a website that gives barely any interest to quality control: N4G.
Let's be honest: N4G didn't change. Back in 2007, there were already flamebait news, trolls, fanboys wars, garbage articles and contributors without any consideration for journalism quality. But not that much. Not in those proportions. And the Next Gen haven't started yet...
N4G could have been the video game equivalent of Reuters, but due to a real laxity in quality control and other community-wise factors, the site looks more like the video game equivalent of Fox News, and I can only feel sad about that. But don't get me wrong, there are still quality articles that are submitted on the site, they just are less and less apparent, more and more forgotten.
Thank your for reading. Hope you riked it.