Friday, March 22, 2024


The writing has been on the wall that the world of video games was headed for trouble. Lackluster releases, low sales figures and studio closures, layoffs and shakeups were present, but oft overlooked by media types. Here’s why.


Gamers knew it. The video game industry knew it. Even Wall Street knew it. And yes, the media knew trouble was looming on the horizon for video games. Yet, most journalists ignored, glossed over and even, turned a blind eye to what was really going on.

As studios close, layoff staff and cancel games, many saw the signs, but seem to be caught off guard.

Here are a few reasons the media failed to report the steady decline of the video game industry.

  1. The media is way too close to video game companies. Publishers, parent companies often dole out a ton of swag, game-inspired freebies and all-expense paid trips to some pretty epic locales prior to a game’s release. I’ve been in magnificent hotel suites in the heart of NYC, The Ciry (San Francisco) multiple times. Limo rides - the driver holds a sign with your name on it at the airport - and chauffeurs you to your plush accommodations. Journalists are treated to some amazing perks. The attendant can influence journalists from being truthful, but compelled to give comments and games great scores for sub-par video games.
  2. Troubling signs known, but not reported. We become friends, on a first-name basis with devs, our PR handlers, and even top executives. Trust me, top-tier journalists have access to scoops, even personal calls/texts most media types don’t. Due to their relationships, some do not want to say anything negative, out of fear of losing games/consoles/accessories.
  3. Relying too much on AI. AI is quick, and can reduce a staff to a skeleton crew. But, it lacks heart and passion. It’s dry and makes reporters lazy. While it may take a staff weeks, if not months to properly research and do a story, AI aggregates numerous stories that may or may not be true.
  4. Reviewers/influencers are posing as journalists. Journalists abide by ethical standards. They attended J-School and understand how to construct stories. They understand libel and know how to research and not take a tweet or hearsay without proper research. Influencers, content creators don’t adhere to the code of ethics to always report the truth. We journalists aren’t fishing for views and clicks; we are compelled to inform accurate, truthful and factual information, whether good or bad.
  5. Honesty. Be truthful, and exercise care. You receive a code for a terrible, broken game. You know it’s trash. Instead of posting a review, reach out to the PR representative for clarity. Being truthful is what increases your credibility. Once, a ci-worker was designing her news page and read through a story about a stabbing at a bar. She soon realized the suspect accused of the stabbing was her dad! She had amazing design skills, but was not a journalist. She literally held the news story hostage for a couple hours, until my slot editor made a copy of the story, slapped it on the page and published it. We journalists are not called to be on a company or games’ team. We have to tell the truth about the industry, good, bad or ugly. 

The media failed that standard. If a controller looks cool but tends to suffer stick drift, tell your PR representative, but tell the truth. If the game will need a Day 1 patch, report it. Holding back news that can impact consumers’ purchases is costly to their wallets, and the media’s credibility.

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