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Comic for: November 30th, 2007
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Gaming News: "The Cost of Credibility"
Posted: Friday November 30th, 2007 by

Reports began stomping through the gaming news circuits yesterday that Gamespot editorial director, Jeff Gertsmann, had been fired. The host of the site's weekly live program "On the Spot" had allegedly been fired by CNet (Gamespot's parent company) after issuing a poor review of one of the games being heavily advertised on the site, Eidos' Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. There is currently no proof that this is the case.
Source: Destructoid [ more info ]

I'm not one for rumor mongering. But, the timing of the review and the subsequent firing, is suspect. And since this isn't the first time we've heard this story, I figured I might used the item to discuss an issue I have with a large portion of the current crop of "game journalists". That is to say there are several sites I will not source because they have a certain history of giving better than expected reviews to games being advertised on their site. In some cases poor reviews have been stripped from said sites and a revised, more favorable, review has been posted in its place. Should this particular story prove to be true, I'll be adding Gamespot to my no-source list. Where I do not see this as Gamespot's fault, CNet would be responsible for Gerstmann's firing, it does seem to demonstrate that advertisers can influence reviews of their games by throwing bribes advertising dollars around.

I would like to think that I am above this kind of influence. I've always been candid with my impressions of the games I'm playing. But, I've never been offered the kind of revenue these guys get offered on a regular basis. Who's to say that I wouldn't be influenced, unintentionally or otherwise? I know it's not exactly the same, but there are ads currently running on my site, that I would never have accepted before because I need the cash to cover my butt because some previous advertisers haven't paid me yet.

On a loosely associated note... the guys at Penny Arcade beat me to the punch on this situation. Bastards. I jotted down the idea before I knew they were doing a comic about it. But they already had artwork posted before I sat down to draw. So, I'm fairly certain they had some insider info on this one.

In closing, I wish Jeff all the best. I might not have agreed with all of his reviews. But, I appreciate conviction. I just hope that conviction did cost the guy his job because his employers are greedy asshats.

(Note: the 6.0 on Jeff's shirt is the score he gave Kane & Lynch in his written review.)

CNet/Gamespot has responded: http://www.gamespot.com/news/6183603.html
(My full response will be added to the thread shortly.)

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