Martin @ Blog

software development and life.


Pointlessness of game journalism

An editor at Tom’s Hardware Guide wrote a column about the pointlessness of current game journalism. The writer argues that the major part of game journalist, both for online as offline media, are an extension to the PR-machines of the gaming companies. The previews and reviews they write are most of the time a constant flow of positive statements about the product and only some minor part of the article is critical, becaus the magazine or website is afraid of not receiving new products for review purposes.

I think the editor of Tom’s Hardware Guide has a point and I think this problem doesn’t only exists in the gaming journalism. In a small country like the Netherlands, were the pr-organisations of manufacturers of computer hardware are pretty small, most publications are very afraid of losing their ‘good relation’ with the pr-people. Many journalists (where one can argue if they deserve the therm ‘journalist’) are very afraid of publishing negative stuff about new products or services. Very recently I heard about an article about new products from a certain company which weren’t officially introduced yet. The editor who wrote the article did receive a press release, but at the end of the press release was stated that there was a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) which provided publication of the information before a certain date. The editor or the organisation he was working for didn’t sign this NDA, so it was an real ‘agreement’ and in fact no reason for not publishing the information. However, the organisation decided to conform to the NDA because it could potentionally damage the relations with the pr department of the company. I think this is not a good thing. Something ‘unimportant’ as a product announcement isn’t a major thing, but what about news about vulnerabilities of certain products? Are they also not published if the producer of the vulnerable software asks it?

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