It's funny how life is full of coincidences. Just recently, I ran into an old friend of mine and we used to work together. He was and still is a game journalist of a local gaming magazine. I used to write articles here and there since I was like 16, that particular magazine included. Long story short, I stopped doing that for them when I got into an argument over an article I did. I was too "negative" about the game I was reviewing. That chance meeting reminded me of the "selling out" aspect of journalism, especially game journalism.
What also spurred me to write this article was 2 other things. A random stranger and John "Totalbiscuit" Bain (whom I respect very much) , a Youtube celebrity/ game commentator and reviewer. I was just done watching Totalbiscuit's daily mailbox video on which he gave his opinion of the game journalism industry at a Starbucks. Then I overheard someone complain how magazine journalists are just a bunch of fakes and sell-outs who will lie to their audience if it means they are getting an adequate amount of the all-mighty dollar.
As being one myself (or at least I like to pretend that I am), I felt the need to go up to that random guy and make him change his mind over the very ignorant sounding statement but hey, he's right. I can't argue with his opinion and also because of the fact that he was correct. He said "magazine journalists" so which magazines he read also factors into the equation but generally, it is the same in every side of things.
Now, the common misconception is simply that companies give us the dough, we become their hoes. It doesn't work like that. There is no big fat envelopes of money pushed onto our desk or nothing so over the top. What really gets us is the relations or "influences" as Totalbiscuit explained it so well in his video. To explain it simply would be like taking the side of your friend in an argument even when you know your pal is wrong.
Let me briefly explain how most game news and reviews magazines/sites earn their income. I've got two words, advertisements and privileges. The first is self-explanatory and also ties in with the latter. Privileges earn gained from having a good relationship with the publishers and/or developers. We give their stuff a good review, they appreciate it and reciprocate by spreading news of us, quoting on their game ads, etc. A relationship is established and if well maintained, we get access to privileges such as invitation to their press releases and events, their advertisements on our sites/magazines, freebies and most importantly, early review access to their games.
All of that factors into how much money we make. Of course, we also get some income from sales and subscriptions but those are miniscule especially magazines that are going the way of the dodo. Print media in general are slowly going extinct with the ever-growing influence of digital mediums. That is also one of the reason why medium such as Youtube are growing ever so popular by the second. It is of importance for many of us to maintain good relations with others and that goes without say for all forms of businesses.
Here comes the dilemma. When a bad game comes, we hesitate and have second thoughts about crtically pointing out the flaws. Many of us love what we do, take pride in our work and got ethics but it is no longer a personal question of morale. It affects the company and those working for it. The pushback suffered from publishers, if bad enough, could mean your job on the line and you can't afford to get fired. Many of us have family and kids to feed. On the other hand, to pretend and gloss over the flaws seems so simple and easy. To lie to the audience becomes the most optimal choice. There is the possibility of losing viewers/readers but this route seems to be the less detrimental of the two. Plus as TB mentioned in his video, there are certain agreements. For example, they give early access for us but our ratings cannot go below a certain point.
I'm not trying to justify selling out but it's hard, especially if you are in a decent enough position. Just recently, I bashed on a game released by SEGA and I didn't give a rat's ass. This is partly because we are a small site with no relationship to a big fish like SEGA but even if there were benefits to be had, I would still stay true to my opinion. I am not blowing my own trumpet and proclaiming that I'm righteous and have strong ethics. I'm simply stating the fact that many of us do what we do because it is only logical that we must. There are those who will happily do it without missing a beat but hey, we are all slaves to the dollar sign. No matter what we do in life, we must sacrifice something in order to earn something else, especially if the price of the sacrifice justifies the rewards. If it comes down to the day that I'll need to betray my own code and sell out, I'd do it if it means I can provide more to my loved ones.
I hope this gave you some insight if you are of the same opinion as the random person from Starbucks and even if you're not, hey you learn something new everyday!
Apple has announced the latest addition to its repertoire of gadgets, the Ipad Mini! It features 7.9 inch display, speedy wireless capability that supports speeds up to 150MBPS, front facing Facetime camera and 5 megapixel iSight along with a good healty battery life of 10 hours! It is 23 percent thinner and half the weight of the normal iPad. It comes equipped with the dual-core A5 chip, making your iPad experience fluid and beautiful with responsive graphics all the while keeping the battery going for a long time.
Both cameras on the iPad Mini feature illumination to let users capture pictures in low light environments. iPad mini also allows easy sharing of photos with friends and family using iCloud’s Shared Photo Streams. As compared to earlier iPad models, the mini seems to offer equal or better experience. You can just bring over your service plan from your current iPad to the Mini because the Mini's data plans will be available without any contracts.
The new fourth generation iPad comes packed with 9.7-inch Retina display and includes Apple-designed A6X chip that delivers twice the CPU performance and up to twice the graphics performance of the A5X chip, all while delivering an incredible 10 hours of battery life in the same thin and light iPad design. Other new features include a FaceTime HD camera, twice the Wi-Fi performance when compared to previous iPad models and support for additional LTE carriers worldwide.
iPad mini with Wi-Fi models will be available in black or white & silver on Friday November 2nd, for a retail price of USD$329 for the 16GB model, USD$429 for the 32GB model and USD$529 for the 64GB model. The fourth generation iPad with Wi-Fi models will also be available on the same day in black or white for a suggested retail price of USD$499 for the 16GB model, USD$599 for the 32GB model and USD$699 for the 64GB model.
iPad mini and the fourth generation iPad will be available for purchase through the Apple's online and retail stores and authorized dealers in the following countries; US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
Pre-orders can be made on the October 26 through the Apple online store in Japan, Korea, Singapore, US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
Nokia has announced today the Nokia Lumia 510. It is a smart phone, featuring a 4-inch WVGA TFT touchscreen display (800x480), 5 Megapixels auto-focus camera and comes in 5 colors, red, yellow, cyan, white and black. Its estimated price is at USD $199 (excluding taxes and subsidies), marking it as one of the most affordable entry level smartphones around.
This newest addition to the intiuitive Windows Phone experience is to hit the stores in November. First to get their hands on the phone will be China and India, followed closely by Asia-Pacific regions and South America.
For anyone who plans to upgrade their existing iOS device, the time is here! iOS 5 is now available for download through the latest version of iTunes, 10.5. Get downloading and report back on how it went!