Should Kotaku be blacklisted? A smaller video game site’s perspective

Tom from GamersFTW writes: "In case you haven’t heard, the Editor-in-Chief for giant video game site Kotaku has recently declared that Kotaku have apparently been blacklisted by Bethesda for the past two years, and Ubisoft for the past year.

As Feature Editor for GamersFTW, I will extend Kotaku the courtesy of being honest and transparent in my thoughts on whether Kotaku should be blacklisted for their reporting activities, and if they should have gone public with their complaint."

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MrsNesbitt2252d ago

Nobody should get too big for their boots - this includes developers. Privileges should be respected, and they need each other. Ultimately, it's all very immature.

Peace_Love_and_FPS2252d ago ShowReplies(15)
rainslacker2252d ago

Game sites are a dime a dozen. Kotaku is one of the big ones no doubt, but the reality of the situation is is that there are plenty of other big sites not willing to put their relationships with the publisher at risk for the short term gain of leaking some juicy leak.

Granted, I would prefer to see less collusion between the publishers and game sites, as game sites can barely be called journalism, but at the same time, too many times game sites play fast and loose with sensitive insider information which can easily be misreported(very rarely do these sites seek comment), and many times, PR/marketing departments have to work harder to get the correct information out there.

I don't pity Kotaku. Gamergate started because of the actions from those like Totillo, and he, among others believe that they are some sort of god-like liaison between the publishers and public, when really all they are is nothing more than sensationalists hit-mongering wannabe's. Totillo's own article saying he released the information for page hits with no concern for the publisher proves what many have been complaining about for years now.

This article talks about how there needs to be mutual respect between the game sites and the publisher. I agree with this. But at the same time, these sites need to decide if they're going to be journalists or enthusiast press voice pices for the the publishers(which most of them are now) and stick to it. It's not possible to be both enthusiast press and real journalists.

My advice to the game sites much as it pains me to say...stick to enthusiast press, because I see very few that are good at journalism, and the chances of getting enough meaty stories to report on is pretty slim.

To Totillo I say, stop complaining. Great you told us you were blacklisted. I assume it's a tactic to put the pressure on Ubi and Bethesda to get them to acquiesce. You made your bed, now lay in it.

DragonKnight2251d ago

Here's a good video I saw that's only about a minute long and explains the whole situation very well.

Crimzon2251d ago

Remember when GamerGate leaked that journalists had their own blacklists, and Kotaku themselves were one of the sites that was contributing to and making use of this blacklist?

Funny how the tables turned there.

rainslacker2251d ago


Yeah, it's not really a hard situation to understand.

I watched the video, and I found it odd that the comment by Scheirer is nothing like the article from Totillo explaining the situation. For what Sheirer says, I can actually support Kotaku and say it's wrong to blacklist a company because they happen to give bad reviews.

But in the end, that isn't why Totillo said they were blacklisted.

Seems they're both saying different things about the situation...maybe either to muddy the waters, or get the different groups to support them.

I applaud the Infinity Ward developer who called them out on their mask of integrity though. Don't get me wrong, I think integrety is a great thing to strive for, but I doubt editorial decisions at Kotaku are based on that, but rather on the number of hits principal.


You know what...I had actually forgotten completely about that. Such a big deal that was, and it's really no different than what happened to Kotaku. You don't follow this consortiums view, you get blacklisted from a bunch of major sites.

Totillo is so hypocritical it's almost laughable he even tries to defend it. He should just embrace it and be what he is. Maybe doing so would allow them to have open comment sections again without having to pick and choose which comments are beneficial to them.

3-4-52252d ago (Edited 2252d ago )

Kotaku doesn't care if it lies to you or misleads you, as long as they get the hits.

Occasionally there is a well written article but there is no oversight or quality control.

Any random person can contribute something and it's mostly just uninformed speculation and opinion.

Kotaku is whining because people are finally sick of their BS, and they can't handle it.

It's like they are arguing that they should be allowed to just make stuff up, and we are supposed to accept that.

I'm glad they've blacklisted that site.

Kotaku has no integrity,morals or shame at all.

2252d ago
solar2252d ago

who owns Kotaku? Gawker Media. Who formed them? Where do they get there money? That will reveal the true answer of who Kotaku is.

GamingIVfun2252d ago (Edited 2252d ago )

I blacklisted Kotaku a long time ago. They are a shot site, they consistently have screwed the gaming industry and the gamer's. They act like they are gorilla journalist in a industry that doesn't need it, no entertainment media needs gorilla journalism.

They do the things they do for cheap hits and have been for years.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 2251d ago
bunt-custardly2252d ago (Edited 2252d ago )

Yes they should be Blacklisted based on the fact that why expect to be treated with respect when you've leaked information that wasn't ready for public viewing? Bite the hand that feeds you springs to mind here. The motives behind leaking info has to boil down to more than "we're serving our audience" but rather we're gunning for clicks.

Bethesda and Ubisoft had every right to act accordingly and no crying about it is going to change that. Kotaku no matter how big they are should think about their ethics when it comes to leaked information.

On the other hand, had they been blacklisted because of negative reviews/previews then that's a completely different ballgame.

BlackPanther2252d ago

But that makes little sense when it comes to journalism though. There was no NDA that they signed or anything. If journalist can get blacklisted for breaking news before it was intended there would be no news.

They obtained the information on their own merit and wrote articles about it, it isn't as if Ubisoft or Bethesda told them. And of course they leak the information for traffic to their site, that is kinda how the news work.

This really raises a bigger question on the publishers having huge pull on the news thus would bring into question how the this all plays out. News can't be afraid to say something from fear that publishers will blacklist them. Then we aren't getting real news.

bunt-custardly2252d ago

That's fine Blackpanther. Every publication has a right to publish news how it sees fit. But if you piss off the people who also give you the breaks then don't expect them to be warm and friendly when you go against them in this way.

In this instance it really shows a lack of integrity from Kotaku to cry about this publicly. They should have held their heads high and proclaimed "we'll continue being on the cusp of breaking news stories".

garrettbobbyferguson2252d ago

"There was no nda"

And they didn't have to leak information about games that they shouldn't have. Their consequences for doing so is blacklisting from the respective developers/publishers. I may strongly dislike Bethesda, but they're in the right.

rainslacker2252d ago (Edited 2252d ago )

I wouldn't doubt that some NDA was signed. The standard boilerplate for sites that have access to this stuff is along the lines of, "You don't report insider information without contacting us first".

It's irresponsible to report such things by an enthusiast site, because these publishers spend millions of planning their marketing campaign.

You say, "they obtained the information on their own merit...". What merit is that? Someone from Ubi or Bethesda told them? Well..that falls under NDA agreements, because it's an official source because it comes from an employee. Plain and simple.

Kotaku did not do any deep hard hitting research to create their articles, they never do. They just wanted to push a big story to get Totillo's own admission, so it's kind of hard to defend his actions.

There's a fine line between reporting the news as a journalist, and reporting what the publishers are giving you that they want to give you. Kotaku has rarely ever been on the side of actual journalistic work to create their stories, and it's only gotten worse since Totillo took over.

Do publishers have a pull on the news we hear about? Absolutely. It's like that with any kind of press for a hobby or interest. Does that mean that real journalistic stories can't also happen? Not at all. For a good example, just look at how well Kotaku did during the Xbox One reveal, where they put the screws to MS hard on their DRM/online policies. There is a right way and a wrong way to do things, and this time, Kotaku did it wrong. When you screw up, there are repercussions you have to live with. You admit fault, own up to your responsibilities, and don't make matters worse by trying to start a hate campaign against those that you pissed off in the first place. You'd think they would have figured out that lesson after a year of GamerGate.

@Time below

How exactly was Ubi or Bethesda taking advantage of Kotaku? By giving them early release copies and access to insider information with enough lead time to make proper stories. OMG...those oppressive publishers.

I think that people forget that Sony blacklisted Kotaku for the same reason these other publishers did. They did it near the beginning of last gen. If other publishers had also done it...because they've leaked info from EA, Square, and Akklaim, and done what these three publishers were willing to do on principal, then Kotaku would be the podunk site which very few people visited like it used to be, and maybe they'd actually go back to when they were a quality site serving a niche within the industry.

Timesplitter142252d ago (Edited 2252d ago )

I'm not saying I like Kotaku but "don't bite the hand that feeds you" always comes off as something extremely ignorant to say.

It's like saying that if you depend on someone but they are taking advantage of you, you should always accept it and never say anything.

bunt-custardly2252d ago

No ignorance here. If Kotaku want Bethesda or Ubisoft to supply them with preview ops or early review code then stepping on their toes by publishing leaks isn't going to be favourable is it. So why should they entertain them especially when Kotaku is fully aware of how sensitive gaming leaks are to publishers. If anyone is ignorant, it's them for leaking the info and expecting no come back.

If Kotaku didn't care about review codes, preview ops etc. then there's no issue is there and they would have carried on as per usual.

rainslacker2252d ago (Edited 2252d ago )

The real nitty gritty of it is, is that the information was likely given under NDA agreements. If so, Kotaku is lucky all they got was blacklisted, because a huge lawsuit could have been a real possibility. It's only a matter of time before it happens, and then I'd bet the owners of Kotaku won't be quite so happy to keep Totillo around, and with NDA's, the whole concept of freedom of the press goes out the window.

If sites make a habit of doing this because they decide that sensitive marketing information is at their discretion to report, then I would expect such lawsuits in the future. Blacklists are one thing, and they do keep sites in line, but the bigger sites still feel they are to big to fail. But Kotaku is blacklisted by Ubisoft and Sony(2 rather large publishers) and Bethesda(a medium size, yet influential publisher). Those aren't good things that will "Serve their audience". It got them hits for a day or two, and lost them many more over the long run.

The only other alternative is to just not talk to the press anymore, which would be worse for most sites. But in the end, it's those "serving their audience" which will screw it up for the other sites.

I'm all for responsible journalism, and had they found out this information through actual journalistic practices, then that'd be one thing, but the whole thing screams of some deal made with an embargo attached...which was likely extended to several sites to give them time to make up proper, professional reports which would aid the marketing campaign.

alexgibson2252d ago

Kotaku have dropped the ball on this one. They deserve what is coming to them.. no doubt. Great read!

Hoffmann2252d ago (Edited 2252d ago )

I would love to get them blacklisted from my own Google Results and also from N4G.

Is there something like a browser app to blacklist a website from search engine results?

We might have our little console wars and fanboyisms here often on N4G, but if the most of us can agree to something its that Kotaku is a really annoying website that caused more bad feelings than good ones over the years.

Persistantthug2252d ago

Kotaku needs journalistic protections just like any other site, regardless of if you or I like them or not.

If Bethesda and Ubisoft feel like they can bully Kotaku around, think of how they feel and can do to any other small gaming site.

You have to see the bigger picture here. I don't like Kotaku much myself either, but their right to talk about news, gaming or otherwise should be protected.

Are you understanding what I'm trying to say, Hoffmann?

ShottyGibs2252d ago

I agree. Start censoring and it's a slippery slope. I'm guessing most folk here don't pay attention in history.
How scary.

styferion2252d ago

"You have to see the bigger picture here. I don't like Kotaku much myself either, but their right to talk about news, gaming or otherwise should be protected. "

lol.. they're not getting censored, at all. This isn't even about their right to TALK, they can still talk away all they like. In fact, none of those two companies "attack" them and certainly no bullying happened... "nothing happened" is what happened, lol.

rainslacker2252d ago

I think we all mostly agree on that. Kotaku on rare occasion does report some good stories though, and at those times, I'd like to support them, because I'd prefer they focus on those than all this sensationalist crap that inhabits most of their site. They also have some decent interviews quite often.

But to be off topic, have you ever seen how rabidly loyal their regular posters to the comment section are? I know they only let the good things through, and delete the negatives mostly, but some of those people make the craziest fan boy here look like an English gentleman from the 20's.

I miss the days when Kotaku was a rather small site reporting on Japanese games almost exclusively. They had some great content back then, awesome screen shots and videos, and people that seemed to actually care about games and didn't rely on all this political nonsense to drive ad revenue. Kotaku used to be the site that I went to first when I got home...but that day is long past.

styferion2252d ago

true, their regular posters are.. what would be the right word, devoted? Even the worst troll here seems nice enough in comparison.

TheColbertinator2252d ago

I've been wanting Kotaku banned for nearly a decade. They purposely leaked announcements of Sony,Ubisoft and Bethesda for the hits and $$$. Not to mention the hundreds of childish irrelevant articles they've published over the years.