Editorial – Gaming Journalism: Ethics, Integrity & Professionalism

Hello ladies and gentlemen, after seeing Kotaku’s claims of being blacklisted by Bethesda and Ubisoft as well as the way they worded it and their responses to people I thought that today I would like to talk about gaming journalism, ethics and integrity in gaming journalism and the justifications used for having poor gaming journalistic ethics. This is quite clearly an opinion piece as I know some people don’t agree with my viewpoints about this, obviously such as the sites who do these things for example, and then there are people who do agree with my viewpoints about this. Much of this editorial could apply to journalism in all forms but I am focusing on gaming journalism exclusively at this time.

Please note that I do not claim to call myself a gaming journalist. I’m just an amateur blogger who loves video games and I try to  hold myself to the high standards that I believe professional gaming journalists should be held to.

Ever since I started paying to attention to video games journalism in the last 3-5 years it seems that journalistic quality has been on the decline and I’ve seen evidence that indicates many people agree. I’ve seen more and more articles reporting on unsubstantiated rumor just so they can say they were first, including articles where it’s quite apparent that the reveal the article is trying to do is fake because their source was a friend’s cousin’s brother’s neighbor’s hairdresser, who talked to a complete stranger on the street. I’ve also seen instances of sensationalizing a title for clicks just to find out the contents of the article don’t really match the title such as taking what a person said for an interview and twisting it in such a way to get a rather different meaning out of it.

The sites that do this often claim that their readers want to know these things and that if they actually waited for proof then they would be seen as slow and their readers would complain. While that is sadly true to an extent, in every case I’ve seen there were more people complaining about the fact that the sites didn’t wait for more facts, or even a fact in some cases, before posting, especially when it was obviously fake. Yes, people like to be the first to find things out but people also like knowing the facts and I firmly believe that many people would appreciate a site that’s a little bit slower but much more factual in their reporting than a site that’s first on everything but has to keep making corrections or posting retractions.

Journalists do have an obligation to their readers however they are also supposed to have ethics and know when to and when not to publish something. Unfortunately in this day and age ethics and what those ethics make you do or not do can apparently be a grey area. To borrow part of a Jurassic Park quote, “they were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

As a result here are the ethics that I believe a gaming journalist should have. and these are the ethics that I strive to abide by when writing articles.

  1. News & Truth – Perfectly fine to report on as it’s officially released.
  2. Rumors – Can be reported on provided they are clearly indicated as rumor and not reported as being the “truth” when there is nothing at all to back it up. (I personally hate reporting rumors and will never do so if I can avoid it).
  3. Leaks – Before reporting on any of these I believe the journalist should ask themselves two questions. “Would my readers, the gamers, be harmed in some way by not releasing this information?” and “Would releasing and reporting on this possibly help bring about positive changes for the industry?” Examples would be poor working conditions at a company, any shady practices such as passing off another company’s game as your own or deliberately shipping a glitch infested game just to meet the release date. If the answer to either question is yes then the leak should be reported. If the answer is no and the leak is just about an unannounced game then the leak should not be reported. Most people hate spoilers and posting leaked news about a new unannounced game before the developer or publisher is ready to is essentially just a spoiler, one that is not appreciated by the people who poured all that hard work into making it.
  4. Reviews – Try to be as unbiased and professional as possible. This one can be tougher since reviews are essentially subjective works but you can still be somewhat objective about them too and not go off into crazy rants or complaints. For instance, bemoaning a game for only having 3 player co-op when  in fact the game has only 3 playable characters (such as Lord of the Rings: War in the North) or saying a game is complete garbage because the reviewer didn’t bother paying attention to the in game instructions such as that infamous Nier review with the fishing rant.
  5. Language – This one is incredibly subjective but I refuse to write like swear words are actual adjectives that can be used to help describe something. To me it’s unprofessional and I firmly believe that a person can express their opinion without resorting to it, even when they’re disagreeing with someone else.
  6. Attacks – This is less on the journalists and more on the readers though I’ve seen some of the gaming journalists be guilty of this too. Attacks because someone prefers a different console or different genre should never happen and this is something you’ll never see me do. We’re all gamers who enjoy the same hobby after all.

In closing I would just like to say thank you for taking the time to read this. For the good of the industry I also hope that gaming journalism gets back the ethics and integrity that it used to have.

Thank you,

Boone Ironshield

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Xbox RPG New Releases and Sales – November 17, 2015

This week is really sparse compared to last week. No new releases but there are some pretty good sales. With the sale on Risen 1-3 I wouldn’t be surprised if those games become Xbox One backwards compatible pretty soon.

NEW GAMES & DLC

None this week.

 

DEALS WITH GOLD

 

SALES

  • Dungeon Siege III Treasures of the Sun (Xbox 360 and Xbox One BC) – $4.99
  • Risen (Xbox 360) – $4.99
  • Risen 2: Dark Waters (Xbox 360) – $4.99
  • Risen 3: Titan Lords (Xbox 360) – $7.49
  • Sacred Citadel (Xbox 360 and Xbox One BC) – $1.99

 

That’s it for this week as everything else is not RPG related.

Boone Ironshield

Disclaimer: As I’m in the US my sales posts will typically just cover US sales but if I know a game is on sale in other regions too I’ll note that.

PlayStation RPG New Releases and Sales – November 17, 2015

After last week’s huge release this week is likely a little sparse in comparison. There is still a new game that releases this week, which I’m glad to see come to the Vita.

NEW GAMES

PRICE DROPS

SALES

DLC

None this week.

That’s it for this week as everything else is not RPG related.

Boone Ironshield

Disclaimer: As I’m in the US my sales posts will typically just cover US sales. However, if I know a game is on sale in other regions too then I’ll note that.

Borderlands: The Handsome Collection Gentleman Claptrap-in-a-Box Edition

2K Games and Gearbox are back with another repackaging of Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel to offer to players. This time it’s the Borderlands: The Handsome Collection Gentleman Claptrap-in-a-Box Edition which overall is similar to their previous Claptrap-in-a-Box Edition but with different packaging and this time it’s a Gentleman Claptrap that you can control through the downloadable iOS and Android mobile app.

bl_thc_gmclaptrap_bshot

“Key Features of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection Gentleman Claptrap-in-a-Box Edition include:

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, which includes the critically-acclaimed Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 2 in one package;
  • All bonus add-on content, adding hundreds of hours of gameplay at an incredible value*;
  • Transferable save files from Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or PS Vita onto the next-gen consoles with cross-save functionality**;
  • Cooperative gameplay for up to four players, either online or local;
  • Upgraded Four-Player Split-Screen for same couch gameplay.
  • 12 Exclusive Lithographs, featuring all the vault hunters from the Handsome Collection;
  • An iOS and Android app-controlled Gentleman CL4P-TP unit, complete with a variety of gadgets such as a camera, a variety of playable phrases, and a microphone to communicate through its speaker.

For details on participating International retailers, please visit your local/regional 2K site. Otherwise, don’t scour Pandora just yet, more information on the product’s availability in North America will be revealed soon.

Well, minions, what are you waiting for? The Borderlands: The Handsome Collection Gentleman Claptrap-in-a-Box Edition is only available for a very limited time! So  visit http://borderlandsthegame.com/, become a fan on Facebook, follow @Borderlands on Twitter and subscribe on YouTube for more info.

*Includes all available downloadable content for Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel as of March 24, 2015. Internet connection as well as a PlayStation®Network account or an account on the Xbox Live online entertainment network from Microsoft is required to download certain add-on content.

**Save transfers must be between same console family. e.g., Xbox 360 to Xbox One.”

Some people will of course call this a cash grab but it’s pretty good for those who missed out on the Claptrap-in-a-Box Edition or just for those serious Borderlands fans who need all the cool Borderlands merchandise they can get. Expect this to hit retail around November 27th for $399.99 like it’s predecessor.

Boone Ironshield

Stranger of Sword City Coming to Xbox One & PS Vita in 2016

I don’t know about any of you but I am a huge fan of Wizardry-style dungeon crawlers. In fact, it’s easily my favorite type of RPG. I quickly became a fan of Experience, Inc. when I bought Demon Gaze on the Vita. I always thought that I could only get that kind of RPG on a PlayStation system (strictly speaking between just Xbox and PlayStation) but then shortly after I found out about Stranger of Sword City that had come out only in Japan, but of all systems it had come out only on the Xbox 360.

I was very surprised that any Japanese video game company would develop a game exclusively for an Xbox system since it seems like Japanese game developers can be stubbornly loyal to PlayStation, a Japan-based brand. Ever since I found out about that game I kept hoping for a dungeon crawler to make its way to the US on an Xbox system, either a translation of Stranger of Sword City or just an entirely different game. Unfortunately it never happened and seemed like it never would.

However now I am pleased to present….

Stranger-of-Sword-City-1_1

Coming to Xbox One in 2016!!

It’s also coming to PS Vita in 2016 as well.

It’ll release at the same time worldwide per Hajime Chikami, CEO of Experience, Inc.

Below are 9 screenshots showing off the game.

SOSC_1 SOSC_2 SOSC_3 SOSC_4 SOSC_5 SOSC_6 SOSC_7 SOSC_8 SOSC_9

I personally can’t wait and this is a day one purchase for me on both Xbox One and PS Vita, have to support those dungeon crawlers after all, and add to my collection of dungeon crawler collector’s editions.

Feel free to leave your thoughts on the game and what system you might get it for in the comments.

Boone Ironshield

PlayStation RPG New Releases and Sales – November 10, 2015

The big news for the week of course is the release of Fallout 4. The game a lot of people have been looking forward to for the last 5 years (or 7 years if you’re like some I’ve seen who prefer to pretend New Vegas doesn’t exist).

NEW GAMES

fallout-4-660x330

SALES

 

DLC

Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance (PS4)

  • Scenario: La Pucelle: Priere Episode – $3.99
  • Scenario: Makai Kingdom: Zetta Episode – $3.99

 

Tales of Zestiria (PS4 & PS3)

  • Evangelion Costume Set – $9.99

 

That’s it for this week as everything else is not RPG related. Enjoy Fallout 4 everyone.

Boone Ironshield

Disclaimer: As I’m in the US my sales posts will typically just cover US sales. However, if I know a game is on sale in other regions too then I’ll note that.

Xbox RPG New Releases and Sales – November 10, 2015

The big news for the week of course is the release of Fallout 4. The game a lot of people have been looking forward to for the last 5 years (or 7 years if you’re like some I’ve seen who prefer to pretend New Vegas doesn’t exist).

NEW GAMES & DLCfallout-4-660x330

 

DEALS WITH GOLD

Lords of the Fallen cover

 

That’s it for this week as everything else is not RPG related. Enjoy Fallout 4 everyone.

Boone Ironshield

Disclaimer: As I’m in the US my sales posts will typically just cover US sales but if I know a game is on sale in other regions too I’ll note that.