Thoughts On Gaming Journalism, Lasting First Impressions, and Ars Technica on Borderlands 2/”Shoddy Journalism”

I’m not too surprised by Ben Kuchera’s story, “Developer calls accurate Borderlands 2 report “shoddy journalism,”on Ars Technica that there is what I would call a video game developer-publicity-journalism complex. It seems that some developers and their hired marketing guns get pissy when gaming journalists actually do journalism including outing a game before it is “officially” announced. The funny thing about this problem is that so-called gaming journalists who sign NDAs with developers also get pissy when other non-NDA confined journalists beat them to an announcement. I can understand in the heyday of gaming magazines that this kind of collusion between developers, marketing gurus, and journalists promoted everyone’s interests: it sold games, it sold magazines, it kept the marketing departments or marketing agencies flush with cash, and the “story” about the game was firmly controlled. Now, however, the Internet and its new journalism is breaking down these firmly entrenched paths of information flow. The news is jumping the carefully laid tracks. This is good for news readers/gamers, but it is chaos for those who desire to control the flow of gaming news. I imagine the same is/will be true for other media creators. Bad or uninformed news early-on can sink or hurt new releases. This is probably akin to orchestrated fog of war news releases, but inverted–undesirable news released first leaves a lasting first impression.

Published by Jason W. Ellis

I am an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.