The Current State of Games Journalism is Trash

Photo by: Courtsey: Gaming Ground

Story By: Peter Lopez, Reporter

The current state of games journalism is trash. In fact, it’s hardly considered journalism at all.

While visiting larger sites that have been in the game for a while, most of the content appears to be publisher driven and regurgitated information derived from press releases. These mostly include video game announcements and release date reveals. To their credit, things like reviews and gameplay videos show up as well, which illuminates originality and deserves credit.

But for far too long, my colleagues from within games media, and I too am guilty of this, have jumped onto this virtual bandwagon. We’ve said yes to the question, “is this newsworthy or valuable to somebody out there in the world” way too many times.

If we really want to consider ourselves as “journalists” we need to stop regurgitating the message and we needed to stop as of yesterday.

Let me give you some perspective: In traditional news, what is more likely to publish: “7-year-old boy saves dog from burning building” or “McDonald’s reveals the return of the McRib Sandwich”?

Hard news stories, like the ones involving the heroic 7-year-old boy, from within the games industry, are rarely seen in the virtual space which is why you see so many goddamn McRib stories in games media.

But I’m here to tell you, dear reader, the announcement pieces that you are see online are not news. Not by any stretch of the imagination. They are instead a message, sent to the inbox of journalists and simply disguised as news when the writer hits the publish button.

In games media, articles like “Video game X release date announced” show up all the time. Bloggers have even decided to spin their own take on the profession and completely rip entire pieces or video from competitors and paste them onto their own platforms. This sort of content sucks and it has saturated the market.

But, it also sells, which is why you see these posts on virtually every game site imaginable. If I wanted to know a release date or see an announcement, I would simply follow the publisher on social media and get my information there. I am, like everyone else with a smartphone, glued to social media platforms, religiously.

If you as readers dislike this content as much as I do – don’t click on it!

And it is for that reason, perhaps, we as journalist should take a stand for change. Let’s instead cover more interesting stories involving development: What it took to create a game, what struggles occurred during the development process and what sacrifices occurred before the game’s release? And for the love of god, my fellow colleagues, let’s work our sources harder. How do you work at “popular and successful video game outlet X” but hardly ever break news?

There are some outlets out there, like Waypoint and Kotaku for example, that focus on storytelling. They also focus on community. But what makes them so great, above all else, is that they focus on real journalism and should be given praise each and every day. They’re utilizing their sources to create original work.

They’re telling amazing stories you would not know otherwise. Most importantly, and I can’t stress this enough, they’re watching their weight by avoiding the god forsaken McRib Sandwich.