Wow where to start on this one? As we all know by now Jeff Gerstmann a vet at gaming reviews was fired recently from GameSpot because of the "Tone" in a video review of Kane and Lynch.
The real story is what lies beneath the event. Jeff Gerstmann, being fired over an opinion and an Advertiser threatening to pull all their advertising over content is nothing new to the online publishing industry. However gamers all across the net are reacting with astonishment to what really is a clarification on the corruption that is spreading in game publications.
Publishers know and have known that PR and review sites are their bread and butter, hence the huge PR departments at almost every publisher I have talked to. This "power" was created by a fan base of gamers, who used to write for the love (or hate) of a game. The problem starts when corporations are involved and stock is at stake. Advertisers know that they have a big money stick they can wave around, I have been at the blunt end of that stick in every industry I have been involved in. It is a nasty position to be in for sure, to have a advertiser tell you they will take away your livelyhood if you do not remove this or do that.
That all being said, it is a shame that a good person like Jeff Gerstmann would be relieved of his duties merely because he had an opinion and expressed it. But truly everyone, we create these companies by visting the sites, and participating in the communities. GameSpot, IGN and any other corporation are where they are at because of the user base, without our support they are not financially able to operate. I was reading over at Kotaku a snippet about how allot of game review sites are not even run by gamers or people who actively game, I can tell you that is very true.
When we started TGR we called on about 40+ sites, we were looking to grow via acquisition at that point, I found that 9 out of 10 sites I talked to were either run by one guy who was a gamer and did not care about money or had a small staff that was not gamers but had community writers.
My partner and I started this site because we are gamers, and active ones t that, we write reviews with our editors, and really support our users in writing reviews too.
We stand behind the rights of reviewers and any person that wants to express their thoughts and feelings in a open environment. We should all band together and let it be known that there is a separation between church and state when it comes to advertising and editorial.
A few things I would love to ask of anyone reading this article:
A. Does the review number mean anything to you anymore?
B. Is the fact that the owners of the site are gamers and you can talk to them important?