Kotaku Japan Confronted by Famitsu and Konami

Kotaku: On April 20th, I wrote a post titled "Do Not Trust This Magazine's Review Scores" that showed what seems to be the conflict of interest Japanese magazine Famitsu has. And what a conflict of interest it is.

Famitsu appears in upcoming stealth PSP game Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. What's more, former Famitsu Editor-in-Chief Hirokazu Hamamura appears in print ads and on a Konami website, actively promoting the game. In fact, an entire ad campaign was built around a pun on his last name. Hamamura is currently president of Enterbrain, the company that owns and publishes Famitsu.

Unlike normal advertisements, Famitsu and Enterbrain are being used to promote the game.

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Simon_Brezhnev3098d ago

They seriously hate anything Sony related.

darkmurder3098d ago

Why are they so bitter? Just because they can't afford to advertise in a game doesn't mean they should attack another site because they can.

Silellak3098d ago

That's weird, I don't even see the name "Sony" anywhere in the article. You must have a different version of the article than me!

SuperStrokey11233098d ago

Agreed, i dont understand why kotaku gets so much insider stuff cause in all honesty they are terrible.

Is kotaku still black balled by sony? If so i think this has something to do with that.

Famitsu isnt the best mag but for kotaku to say something like this just stinks of irony.

Mr Pumblechook3098d ago (Edited 3098d ago )

Brian Ashcraft's post wasn't a great piece of sleuthing journalism, it was a rant against a competitor.

Famitsu have been known to love the MGS franchise, they gave the last game, Metal Gear Solid 4, a perfect 10.

Just because Famitsu and the Metal Gear game were cross-promoting it doesn't mean the perfect score was a fix. Ashcraft added 1 & 1 and came up with 3.

A qualified journalist would have contacted the parties for their response prior to publishing. Ashcraft chose not to, therefore his original piece was not news, IT WAS AN UNPROFESSIONAL POLEMIC AGAINST A COMPETITOR.

How dare he tell me to not trust Famitsu, just to get hits. I like Kotaku, I like Crecente, and Totilo because they seem honest, but Ashcraft's writing has tainted Kotaku for me.

Famitsu, it's editor, and Konami are within their rights to SUE.

I believe Brian Ashcraft is trying to portray himself as a hero of the videogame community in the same way that Jeff Gerstmann is - but his attempt has failed.

The irony is that his accusations are a case of the pot calling the kettle black. When Microsoft supply Brian Ashcraft with FREE promotional Xbox 360 consoles, games, and LIVE subscriptions does this mean his Xbox 360 reviews are not credible?

This whole debacle has made Kotaku a little less credible.

gaffyh3098d ago

Maybe next time you should just STFU Brian Ashcraft. I'm surprised that Famitsu isn't suing Kotaku for suggesting that they are doing these practices, they should be happy with being uninvited to the event.

If he kept the article professional, then there would be no problem. But everything about the article, including the title = rant.

Venatus-Deus3098d ago

…anytime, anywhere and on any site I can spot a post from one of Nasim’s accounts…


Anon19743098d ago

Magazines run ads for games they review all the time. Why's Kotaku got their nose all out of joint?

Demarco1563098d ago

he is just angry about the "PS3 best system ever" that famitsu wrote base on their scores

Chris3993098d ago

It was pretty juvenille and he claimed that ALL of the swag was given away to charity at the years end.

Really? All of the swag?

Like MS memberships, free PSN cash, trips to E3, stays in hotels by major publishers, dinners with the industry's elite? How exactly do they give THOSE things back? Write a cheque for the (substantial) amount of non-physical/ redeemable services that the entire Kotaku staff amassed for a year?

I think not. What we have here is an issue of the corrupt and spoiled trying to point the finger at someone who they believe to be more corrupt and spoiled than them. The sins of one do not erase or out-weigh the sins of another.

I really hope that Konami and Famitsu black-list them. I would love it if this was the start of an industry-wide lash-back against all these bloggers and wannabe journalists.

Abriael3098d ago

This is getting hilarious. He writes an hot headed (and hypocritical) ranting post against a competing publication, a post that really borders libel and might easily have legal implications and he gets bent out of shape when he gets called on it?

I have to reiterate my opinion about the matter: http://classygamer.blogspot...

This is the point where a professional journalist should swallow his pride, understand that he thrown accusations without a shred of proof, admit he was wrong and move on.

But no, he grasps at straws so desperately that it isn't even funny anymore: "waaaaah they responded on the same day! They must have decided together to bully Kotaku! Waaaaah!"
Good morning, Mr Bashcraft, publishers and journalists TALK to each other. You probably talk to publishers daily. When one of the two parties saw that libel article, it's pretty obvious that they called the other to let them know that some site was slandering them. There's really nothing weird or conspirationalist in that. So it's pretty obvious that a response was issued on the same day and, surprise surprise, arrived on the same day.

Maybe it's really time that you swallow your pride, admit that you did something stupid, bow down and step back, instead of trying (and failing) to beef your accusations with more smoky conspiracy theories.

As for "shooting the messenger", Kotaku Japan isn't a "messenger". Kotaku Japan willingly published a libelous article, no matter where it was originally written. They did so under their responsibility. If you publish a libelous article, you're just as liable as if you write it. It's probable that they didn't even notice that the article was just a translation of what it appeared on Kotaku. The two sites being owned by different companies is no matter. They have the same name, and Kotaku Japan lives mostly on articles translated from Kotaku. To an external observer they are the same entity, so it's natural that they just wrote to them.

Seriously, Bashcraft, you did something hypocritical, morally and professionally wrong, and probably even bordering on the legally wrong, you've been called on it. Give it up.

Noctis Aftermath3098d ago

It's unfortunate that Kotaku JP takes the fall for an article that was only translated by them.

And while this guy seems to have written a somewhat 1 sided argument, it's has to be said that famitsu really should have put more thought into the MGS:PW adverts they allowed in their magazine.

Abriael3098d ago

They didn't really take the fall for someone else. They decided to publish a libelous article on their own accord, there's plenty liability there.

likedamaster3098d ago

Take off your fanboy goggles girls and take a look at what's really going on.

MazzingerZ3098d ago

I only trust Kojima and I guess anyone looking forward to the game do the thise case reviews are merely information about what we already know, Kojima makes awesome games.

XxZxX3098d ago (Edited 3098d ago )

i think in the end, Kotaku lost more credibility to Japan's audience than Famitsu. We have a gaming industry octo-mom here. Attention stunt failed.

Let me tell you why? A "gaijin" outsider Brian Ashcraft came in and publicly trying to discredit Japan favourite Gaming Magazine, Famitsu with a non-constructive criticism. It might be okay if most of them are valid but Ashcraft did a really bad job selling his point there. In Japan culture, that's a big no-no, especially coming from an outsider. It will just make Japanese hate further. Attempted failed badly.
Here's a tips from Brian Ashcraft, You live in Japan for so long and you still think you can influence Japanese with your western culture thinking. Remmember they always see you as the 'gaijin'. unless you are Steve job, I pretty sure what they gonna reply you. "Know your place". Man you failed hard.

Dir_en_grey3098d ago (Edited 3098d ago )

OMFG Brian Ashcraft is gotta be the lowest life form on earth.

He always writes these bullsh!t articles of negative campaign just to get hits. This BS started out long ago when Kotaku got black listed from SONY.
This [email protected] so called "reporter" got salty when MGS3 went exclusive with Sony it seems like. He purposely mistranslates and cuts out bits and pieces from Kojima's MGS3 interview to make it sound like Kojima said he hates Americans. He also made up whole bunch of idiotic articles so people would react and argue on the site therefore he gets more hits. The way Kotaku operates is each writer gets bonus pay the more hits they get. There is absolutely no integrity.
Why didn't they say anything when games like "428", Mario, Dragon Quest 9, Monster Hunter Tri and Bayonetta got 40/40? Everybody advertises on Famitsu because that's the one of the two mainstream magazines there along side Dengeki.

Now Kotaku gets blacklisted from Konami is probably what this @sshole Ashcraft wants anyway, so he can have more excuse to write up his BS articles to get hits.
Seriously guys, Kotaku is a joke, stop supporting that site if you still go to it.

+ Show (13) more repliesLast reply 3098d ago
raztad3098d ago

Kotaku is a bunch of stupid haters. Couldnt they pick a more fitting game for this "dont trust Famitsu saga"? It happens that MGS:PW is a Kojima game, yeah the SAME KOjima of MGS fame, the same Kojima MS begged to be on their conference and wanted to make a game for them.

If someone ask me: Do you think Famitsu MGS:PW perfect score is right? I'd say YES. What other score was Kotaku expecting?

At least if Craptaku had a full review in place and they found out game is mediocre I would give them more credit, but it's not the case. I'm looking forward to Kotaku MGS:PW review. It's gonna be very amusing if they find out game is a 10/10 piece.

Natsu X FairyTail3098d ago (Edited 3098d ago )

But if somebody confronted you about Famitsu giving Bayonetta a 40/40 would you had said yes? or No it dint deserve it because it's a Multiplatform game and not a sony exclusive? Because everytime a Multiplatform game or xbox exclusive gets a good/perfect score from Famitsu people here start talking crap and saying Famitsu lost their credibility a long time ago. I dont see how this is a change from that I'm not poiting the finger at you. I'm just asking you a question.

Venatus-Deus3098d ago (Edited 3098d ago )

There is definitely a conflict of interest… how much it influenced the final score nobody will ever know for sure.

As gamers we can’t have it both ways… A review should be a source of independent advice that allows us to make informed decisions on how to spend our time and money.

This game is likely to be very good, however the relationships described in the article once forged, can be easily applied to other games. It’s this relationship between games publishers and review sites that should be continuality questioned and highlighted.

Should Kotaku also apply the same rules to other publishers…? Well that will depend if that have their own conflict of interested, which is what you are also trying to highlight with your comment.

I just try not to be too bothered anymore. Who knows what’s true and what isn’t.

Monkey5213098d ago

but I haven't seen any moment where Famitsu lost it's credibility. Or people, except fanboys, saying that it has. Sure, they generally give higher scores overall than most sites, but it's their opinion. I don't think it's nearly as extreme as you are trying to make it Natsu.

Cenobia3098d ago

I think that Bayonetta was more an issue of fluctuating standards and not it being a non-exclusive game (in most cases). Most reviewers (if I remember correctly) enjoyed the game, but they'd admit it wasn't perfect.

I don't really pay attention to Famitsu, but I believe they have been traditionally harsh on most games. When games get 10's and they aren't perfect, it raises suspicions, but I don't think Kotaku has the right to say anything, having not reviewed the game themselves. And they definitely have no right to post that inflammatory headline.

Silellak3098d ago

Famitsu lost some of their credibility because prior to 2008, they had only given away 6 perfect scores. Ever. In the history of their existence.

Since then, they've given away 14. More than half of their perfect scores in the past 2 years? Something seems very wrong there.

specialguest3098d ago

So much hypocrisy amongst some of you people here.

IdleLeeSiuLung3098d ago

I think Brian Ashcraft points out a very important piece of information. There is clearly no disclaimer about a marketing relationship between Famitsu and Konami. This is the sort of disclaimer are required by law for companies to state.

With that said, there are no disclaimers when Konami advertises the game in said publication, this is just the opposite with the game advertising the publication.

Suspect? Yes. Common? No. Conflict of interest? Likely. Did the game deserve a 40/40? Likely.

Nothing conclusive!

Mr Pumblechook3098d ago

Look. I HAVEN'T paid MGS Peace Walker so I can't comment on its quality. Likewise Kotaku haven't reviewed it yet, so they can't comment on it's quality.

What I do know is that MGS is not some no-name crappy series, it is one of videogames biggest franchises, great reviews, great sales, and this one is directed by the respected Kojima himself.

So whilst I haven't played it, it wouldn't surprise me to see that many websites give MGS-PW positives reviews. This whole rant by Ashcraft, what it means is that Kotaku are saying a game is undeserving of a score before they have played it.

Abriael3098d ago

@IdleLeeSiuLung what law of what nation says that there should be a disclaimer or a full disclosure? Because pretty obviously the Japanese law doesn't.

Also, what should they disclaim or disclose? There's absolutely nothing hidden in the tie-in with Famitsu appearing in PW. They went on stage in a press conference to "disclose" it. So a full disclosure is simply unneeded and unwarranted, no matter how much Brian Ashcraft screams to the stars

raztad3098d ago (Edited 3098d ago )


Although Bayonetta doesnt fit my tastes, I perfectly understand why the game got a 40/40 from Famitsu. It got all the elements of a game targeted to the Japanese crowd.

To tell the true if this was MG:Rising (and Kojima in charge) I would be saying exactly the same.


I know there is an apparent conflict. However, should Famitsu underscore MGS:PW because of it? I hope this sh!t backfire Kotaku, when everybody actually find MGS:PW is an exceptional game.

XxZxX3098d ago

@raztad, already did in japan

IdleLeeSiuLung3098d ago

Sorry, I should have been more clear. I meant for companies/individuals discussing stocks and such there is a full disclosure requirement. If you don't you are open to lawsuits.

Abriael3098d ago

Yes, but there's no full disclosure requirement for a gaming magazine that happens to review a game in the presence of an advertisement deal (of whatever kind) with the publisher.
Otherwise basically every publication, in the west or in japan, would be able to go withouthaving basically every review with a full disclosure slapped over it. Because you know, publishers place their ads basically everywhere.

There's no real difference.

Also, there's nothing to disclose, the tie-in is completely "in your face" they even had a press conference about it.

Full disclosures are there to disclose something. When something is public, there's no need to disclose it.

IdleLeeSiuLung3098d ago

Somebody reading about the game in Famitsu might not be aware of the press conference or the advertising deal until they buy the game. So I wouldn't say it is "in your face".

With that said, I think there should be some disclosure for the entire industry although it probably isn't practical.

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iamthebozz3098d ago

Man, all I got to say is that Kotaku's original argument was somewhat immature. Sure, Famitsu has advertising tie-ins with the game, but it's not like that's not already known. I think this article, by Classy Gamer, really says it how it is with regards to this little controversy over Famitsu's Peacewalker score: 04/famitsu-controversy.html

Socomer 19793098d ago

They are all like that. Even no name bloggers are like that. especially, kotaku is like that when they try to sell everyone some xboxlive. you hear them say play this game with your friends on xboxlive or play with strangers with no mics on PSN. As if you couldnt have friends on PSN!

That Brian Cresente guy & his employees needs a punch in the face for thier played out jaded, cynical views of gaming.

you people still think theres any credibilty left in videogame news???
Its Gone! It left the moment Microsoft made the pot sweeter for advertising.

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