The Demise of GameTrailers.com and the Continued Erosion of the Games Press

Earlier this month GameTrailers.com (GT) shut their doors and I did not notice…and I try to go to the site as often as possible. That’s not to say its closure didn’t have some impact, there are hundreds of forum pages breaking down “What Went Wrong” or something.

Here’s what went wrong: people are leaving behind the traditional games press.
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Sure, you can point out, and many did, that YouTube, corporate middle management shenanigans, laying off popular staff, site redesigns, and so on did the site in. Nevertheless, what you can’t deny is that most games press outlets are on the decline.

In the aftermath of GT going away, I looked around to what people were saying and found our good friend Jim “Consumer Advocate” Sterling weighing in…figuratively…I mean, he is a large man.

His article “GameTrailers Was A Victim Of Itself” says something along the lines of what I’ve always been saying: shaved apes can run the games press and no one would care…or notice! He places the blame on corporations not finding inherent value in “audiences” anymore, be they of the site proper or the people running it. Which is a bit laughable in the years after #Gamergate when people like Jim Sterling actively antagonized their “audiences” for not accepting the “correct viewpoint” and drove traffic away from the “traditional games press”?

He then goes on to give “examples” of how corporations just don’t realize the utter goldmine of talent they have with IGN letting go of it’s “most recognizable faces” so they could form Kinda Funny Games, The Escapist “laying off” Bob Chipman, and that’s about it.

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A sausage party’s worth of white guys that were living the dream. RIP GT!

With Kinda Funny Games, I do not think IGN “just let them go”. IGN has been around for decades now. They, along with Gamespot, are some of the top hits when you type “video games” in to Google. IGN doesn’t have need for, and in fact has chugged along just fine without, “recognizable” faces for most of its run. Quick, can you name other people from IGN that have since moved on? What’s that? Who gives a shit? Exactly.

Oddly enough, Jim Sterling’s tacit support of ol’ “MovieBob” Chipman is rather humorous as both are now e-begging “free agents” who have had parallel trajectories since leaving The Escapist. For some odd reason Jim Sterling walked away with the “most audience” whereas MovieBob has regularly failed to maintain a steady stream of “audience”.

This may be because Jim Sterling has kept a constant output of some quality, whereas MovieBob can only be bothered to fart out content when the need arises, or in between crying in blog posts about the need for a social life and battling his addiction to cake.

This is even in the face of MovieBob’s Pixels video review going viral. He garnered absolutely nothing from it, his Patreon stayed at its perpetual flat line, but a disturbing trend began of filling his next video reviews full of crass, fast talking nonsense that flew in the face of all the decent work he had done in the past. If Jim Sterling had one video go viral, you’d be damn certain he would’ve been able to capitalize on it.

However, therein lies the rub, even the mighty Jim Sterling isn’t flying high with “audiences”. Looking at website analytics, he’s on the same trajectory as any other games press outlet, on a smaller scale of course. There’s clearly a big bump around the release of Fallout 4, which broke his website, but after that…nothing. His YouTube channel has grown very little, but there may be mitigating circumstances to that one.

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Another example of the fine quality of hosts in GT’s employ: Kyle Bosman looks like that weird kid in high school who always wore corduroy pants, got weird boners under his desk in class, and was a general creeper to ALL the girls.

In his free agency, Jim Sterling has developed a nasty habit of repeating himself. You can even break it down in to about a 3-4 month window. He’s got about four good topics in him and he repeats them ad nauseam. In fact, he’s acutely aware of this and refutes this obvious cycle by stating he has to because things don’t change. I guess it has no bearing on him being a lazy, soft target-loving pundit…no, no, no, that can’t be it at all.

Those four topics are (in no particular order): Fuck(Game Company) typically the big AAA companies that everyone loathes, free-to-play being evil, gas lighting Stream games and their creators, and finally railing on and on about that one time Randy Pitchford tricked grizzled game press veteran Jim Sterling in to believing that Aliens: Colonial Marines was going to be a good game. Just as recently as four weeks ago, Jim Sterling was once again riding Pitchford’s jock over something.

This is not how you maintain an “audiences”, by any standard.

Continuing in his article, Jim Sterling has the gall to throw shade at these games press sites that charge for “premium subscriptions”. Those who live in e-begging refrigerator boxes shouldn’t throw shit at subscription glass houses. Even more insulting is the fact that Jim Sterling has nothing of value to say in the whole of the games press sliding in to obsolescence. Maybe because he is also just white knuckling his relevancy as long as he can before it’s all gone.

This echoes in the annual tradition of certain members of the game press asking what or whom the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is for anymore. Where you want to scream “It’s for you assholes! If you didn’t have something like E3 to cover you wouldn’t even exist!” The most traffic any games press site gets is in correlation to E3. It is from this traffic that essentially makes it so the corporation that owns the games site allows it to run for another year. It becomes absurd that even they can’t see that by bemoaning the annual tradition and trying to free themselves from the annual grasp of E3 is only going to expedite their end.

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Classic video game press site staple: a scuzzy looking white male and attractive white female do a show about video games. Remember X-Play? What’s not love?

On the other hand, I believe that this vaunted “audiences” Jim Sterling is speaking of is looking for something more authentic out of its games press these days. The games press is still too bloated with failed actors, models, and entertainment “reporters” who don’t give two shits about video games. Websites are still too bloated with too many “editors” who are indistinguishable from one another, and in fact, have nothing of worth to really say anyways that would differentiate them from one another. And with the bulk of these games press outlets being situated in California you an throw a brick in downtown San Francisco and hit a snaky hipster you can pay far less for his “take” on a video game.

This is to say nothing of the perpetual need of some of the current games press to try and push their ideological bent in their output. I think these “audiences” are looking to get back to the games press’ roots established in the hobbyist and enthusiast nature of ye olden times. Because you can find all of the “This game made me feel…” or “This game is lacking diversity” bullshit all over the place. Where’s the games press for how the game plays/looks/costs and less about how you can grind axes in a review?

You’re going to see continued shrinkage of the game press as the years go on. Even free agency isn’t going to save the vaunted pundits who pride themselves on their iconoclastic bullshit. People’s largess can only take you so far, and when you’re not saying anything of value, you will lose “audiences” as they move on. We need look no further than to see how games press legends Adam Sessler and Jeff Green were chewed up and spit out by their “audiences” once they left the games press at large to forge new career paths. Some people just need overlords to churn out good content.

What’s more, shaved apes could run the games press and do a similar if not better job. All that is truly required of a games journalist is an ability to get overexcited about loud music, moving pictures and bright lights, then slap a few sentences together about their experience and stop for the day. There is no value in this to an audience, who is looking for more from their games and this is why the games press will continue its slide in to nothing.

 

And now that the football season is over Chad will never leave you…or get laid off by some asshole corporation hellbent on squeezing little guys, like me, out of the games press or having an overwrought opinion about weapon spacing in those weird plastic contraptions inside the box of an action figure. Donate today!

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The Demise of GameTrailers.com and the Continued Erosion of the Games Press

The Games Press We Deserve, Not the One We Need

The video game “pundit class” (for lack of a better word) has sadly undone what could’ve been a lovely write up about my excitement for the new Metal Gear game. Since it was recently divulged that several outlets participated in a review “boot camp” for the game in order to get early access and the chance to release a “review” before competitors and the general public got their hands on it. Oh no! This is the worst thing ever, right?

Come on with that shit!

Konami has been having these “boot camp” review bullshits since at least Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and no one gave a shit then…so why now?

Let’s delve in to a little editorial on our games press

In the Metal Gear episode of Retronauts, an astonishing thing happened, a couple of the hosts let slip that they too had participated in review boot camps with previous Metal Gear games. Their conclusion? They’re horrible environments in which to review anything, let alone a game. Jeremy Parrish stated that he may have over hyped MGS4 a bit in his review, and upon reflection would’ve lowered the score a bit…if he had more time to review it outside of an event.

But this “problem” of getting a review out as soon as possible, hopefully before rival video game sites, to the chagrin of gamers…has been going on for a long, long time.

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A picture of two dildos.

Good ol’ Jim “Soft-Target” Sterling got in to the foray with his “take” on the whole review event, and wouldn’t you know it…he also thinks it’s bad! However, something fishy happened in his video…I was struck by his comment:

“[…] I’ve always said I don’t need to see the end credits of every single game to know whether or not certain games are good or shit […]”

This is funny because Jim Sterling has long been allergic to the end credits screen of most games he reviews, so it’s a bit rich that he’ll come out against review events, but not finishing a game he’s reviewing.

I understand this notion, especially out of the games press that plays hundreds of games, which you don’t need to finish a game to get what it’s about. While I’m not a fan of it, I do try to sympathize.

Nevertheless, when you’re reviewing the game, you had better finish it or your opinion is moot. Void. Useless to the conversation about its qualities and whether or not it’s worth someone’s time or money. Better yet, if you aren’t going to finish a game, just delete your “review” and move on. Will the world suddenly cry out that it was disallowed one more opinion from a pasty fat white guy in mid-30’s?

Probably not.

It’s analogous to a movie review. If you walk out of a movie, you’re opinion is probably that the movie is garbage, not worth finishing or spending money on. You didn’t make it to the credits because you saw enough of it and found it lacking. The same applies to a game review, you didn’t finish so how could you possibly know it’s worth to a gamer?

Further, if you are habitually unable to finish a game, why should your opinion matter on most  things? Granted, you’ve “played” a lot of games, but if you can’t bother doing your JOB, then why should people give you the time of day?

Old Jim Sterling beef aside, between his nitwitted reviewing nonsense and a bunch of former EGM/1UP staff admitting that past practices may be harmful to gamers, how can gamers be surprised at the sorry state of “games journalism”?  We allowed this to happen in the almighty name of access!

This isn’t to say that gamers must shoulder all the blame; the games press is still largely culpable for the asinine nonsense and general shitty nature of the games press in general. They’re refusal to say “No.” due to their own fan boy natures, and hope of getting the exclusive scoop over their competitors got us to this place.

This is a tale as old as time, and it’s what has corrupted all media. Which why I find it hilarious that people like Jim Sterling consider themselves “free agents” because of hipster welfare. He has more access than most people do, he’s not “one of us” or looking out for gamers, no matter how often he pretends to be a “consumer advocate”. He’s still considered “the media” for all intents and purposes. When it comes down to it, Jim Sterling is always going to look out for Jim Sterling; he’s proven it time and time again.

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Sate your hunger and thirst for GAMES!!!!!

To the video game pundit class out there on Youtubes and The Internets:

Shut The Fuck Up.

Gamers had their chance to change the games press in to something they wanted when #GamerGate was born. But maybe sweet sweet access to all that hot fresh current video game content was going to be lost, as game publishers and developers wouldn’t cotton to a new sheriff in town.

Instead, gamers attempted, in vain, to change the game press itself and failed, got labeled misogynists, sexists, and bigots…and the games press kept trucking. Publishing articles about shit no one cares about that even on a good day isn’t tangentially related to anything video game based.

So yes, you’re going to keep getting shit from the games press. You’re going to get “reviews” that were fomented in review event sweatshops by some poor sap who just wants to write about video games for a living. You’re going to get pasty fat white man-babies telling you “How It Is” and stuffing paragraphs of social justice baloney all up in their work. You’re going to get “consumer advocates” collecting Patreon bucks so they can gaslight soft targets and waste your money on Steam® games and pick fights with its developers. This is the games press you deserve.

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The Games Press We Deserve, Not the One We Need