Corruption in Game Journalism
The duties of a game journalist consist of providing news and critique of games, and for many years, it was well believed that many of them had become corrupted by the benefits and perks that come with the job. Because of this corruption, many games "praised" by them may actually be outright horrible, or less commonly vice versa.
Known Acts of Corruption
- Many game journalists and sites are often bribed or offered gifts and vacations in exchange for good reviews. For instance; Tae Kima, a journalist for the now defunct GamePro site was flown to Ojai Valley Inn and Spa by Activision to have him play Call of Duty: Black Ops. While other reviewers criticized the poor AI, linear gameplay, and uneven pacing, he called it the best Call of Duty game.
- Many game sites are often given ad revenue by game publishers or get their ad space bought out by them. Often, the games put on those ads are praised further in an attempt to milk some money out of the publisher.
- Some journalists even use sockpuppet accounts to raise or lower the actual user score in some sites like Metacritic, since many gamers are more likely to be looking at the user score instead of the critic scores.
- Some journalists are also friends with developers or financially support them, and are likely to give favorable reviews and coverage based on that.
- In addition to games, many sites like Kotaku run really crappy and poorly researched articles (usually an attack on GamerGate and gamers) in order to raise ad revenue. This act is often known as clickbaiting.
- Many game sites will even fire some critics for putting up honest reviews. Jeff Gerstmann, the former editor-in-chief of Gamespot, was fired from his job after he gave the game Kane and Lynch a score of 6/10, at a time where the ad space was full of promotion for the game.
- Many journalists will dismiss and outright insult gamers that criticize their praised and well received games, to likely ensure payment from the publishers. Some journalists and sites have even encouraged the act of doxing to deal with rude players. Doxing is the act of posting a person's personal information online and can lead to identity theft and swatting.
- Many game journalists even sided with (social justice warrior) ideology and even become SJWs themselves. Journalists, like the writers of Polygon, lowered their scores of Bayonetta and Dragon's Crown because the characters are slightly sexualized. Adam Sessler lowered his score of God of War: Ascension, all because of a scene where Kratos steps on a Fury's head.
- Some journalist sites are hypocritical and will complain about things that they formerly liked, but then do a total about-face and complain about said thing after the game is released. For example, Vice journalists once complained that there aren't many black characters in games, but when Far Cry 5 was released, they complained that the game has so many black people.
- Some journalists will even attack or try to corrupt people who are just getting into the industry. Leigh Alexander, the woman who spearheaded the Gamers Are Dead articles with her Gamers Don't Have to Be Your Audience! Gamers Are Over! article on Gamasutra, told a person on Twitter who asked her for advice on being a journalist, "Fuck ethics get money!"