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Will Gaming Journalism Mature In The Next Generation?

Thankfully, most real video game journalists have some viable experience and school training in the field, despite the fact that a great many continue to be pretenders.

But as time goes on and the industry continues to mature, the journalists should begin to mature as well. Game journalism will be seen as a more viable career field in universities, and those who have jobs in the industry will be more often viewed as professionals. It's inevitable and as I said, it has already started to happen. However, so long as anyone with rudimentary computer skills can open up a game-oriented website and call himself a "journalist," we're going to have adolescent-type issues.

And unfortunately, a lot of those people tend to be popular. We're very good at giving the stupid and the shocking a lot of undeserved attention (a truism that extends well beyond the gaming industry). So as long as people continue to give the cellar-dwelling "journalists" page hits, I fear we'll never really grow up. Then again, there's some hypocrisy in what I say because having written for newspapers, I know the way we run PSX Extreme isn't the way real journalists would run a newspaper.

And I've brought this to the forefront before; we require a community to survive, and communities are why people visit us and other sources. It's an interactive online magazine more than anything, which is why we will include subjective observation and opinion in various news pieces. We don't do it to cloud the issue nor do we ever steer away from the facts, but that opinion is necessary for the sake of the community and discussion. We interact with our readers and they expect that; they can see similar news articles just about anywhere. They're here for a specific reason, and we're hardly the only game website that operates in this fashion.

Furthermore, we're not really interested in getting all dry and stale. Honestly, that's what news often feels like because it's a cardinal sin of journalism to include opinion of any kind. And this is an entertainment venue, is it not? Shouldn't we be a little more laid-back? Or is that just a slap in the face in regards to the institution that is journalism? The question is, when the next generation rolls around and the industry grows more, will we finally start to see top-quality game journalists getting attention, and will those journalists stick to the old-fashioned rules?

It's a complicated situation. In some ways, I'm embarrassed; in others, I'm encouraged. Guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Tags: video games, gaming, game journalism, next-gen, next generation

12/26/2011 10:11:04 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (28 posts)

JLB1
Monday, December 26, 2011 @ 10:45:27 PM
Reply

As the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!", the rules apply here. The top-quality writers will stick to their old ways, and the new wave of writers will learn something completely different, but the same concept will be in mind.

You make a good point, for gaming journalism to grow and mature, the audience must steer clear of the adolescent 'journalists'. Most importantly, the audience must grow and mature. (Go figure!) I, however, don't see it happening, not anytime soon anyway. The ones who make the tasteless comments eventually grow out of their improper nature, sometimes, and then comes someone new to fill in their spot.

Anyway, to answer the last question, the top-quality writers will continue to have the praise from the industry folk and the more hardcore crowd in gaming, while the 'other' writers get more of the recognition. You know, the 'fun' ones who write out all the obscenities and post ridiculous articles for website hits.

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Excelsior1
Monday, December 26, 2011 @ 11:30:36 PM
Reply

I don't have a problem with the way gaming journalism is now. There is wealth of information and news available out there today. I've noticed an increase in the quality of writing on most sites. If you want to see an example of top notch writing go to IGN and read their review for Dark Souls. Fantastic read and I'm not even a fan of the game. That review made me feel like I was right there playing the game with the reviewer and it does a fantastic job of conveying what Dark Souls is all about. Again, great stuff.

One thing I do hate is when editorial pieces show up under the news section. They do not belong under the news section at all. For example. I do not think this article belongs under the news section. It's best suited for the special features section. Anyways, I do think MOST sites at least get that part correct.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 12/26/2011 11:35:17 PM

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bigrailer19
Monday, December 26, 2011 @ 11:51:07 PM

Gaming journalism this gen is horrendous, and embarrassing. There are exceptions but honestly this is the only place I really come to, mainly because of how unreadable and frustrating most of the stuff out there is. IGN is a little better recently but they were a huge part of the PS3 hate and were very pro 360, that's just terrible for the industry especially as big as that site is...

Anyways as long as anyone anywhere is reviewing games and calling themselves "journalists" it won't get better anytime soon. Again that's why I've just stuck to this website, I know what to expect in a professional manner, wether I agree or not.

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 12/26/2011 11:54:41 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 12:01:06 AM

Thanks again for taking another little jab at PSXE.

Anyway, there's a good reason for placing articles like this under the news heading, and it has to do with PSXE and the database, and that's all you need to know about it.

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Excelsior1
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 12:22:33 AM

So you have noticed an increase in quality at IGN as well? I knew it was not just my imagination. I really have not payed attention to who is writing the articles at IGN but it would appear IGN has had a noticable infusion of talent.

The only thing I have to say about the pro 360 comment is that I have noticed the comments section is definitely that way which is exactly why I avoid it.

CVG is a great site for breaking news. To my surprise they will run some great in depth pieces at times like 15 ways to get the most out of Skyrim. They have also had some great interviews from high profile players in the industry. I really enjoy articles like those that cover things from a gamers point of view. The Sixth Axis has a lot of great articles about Skyrim and other high profile games as well. That site has some top notch writers for the most part. I don't see anything embarrassing going on at that site or even IGN for that matter.

There is quality out there if you know where to look. I think things are getting better.

@ Ben

I figured there was a reason for it, but thanks for the clarification anyways. If it's going to be like that you might as well stick everything under the news section. That would make it more consistent. Sometimes I want to read over a past article that would often be considered an editorial peice but I can't find it becuase it's stuck under the news section. I find myself combing over months of news archives just to find them, It's not consistent at all. At least I now have a clue as to why this is the case. I still don't like it, but don't take that personal.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 12/27/2011 12:38:04 AM

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bigrailer19
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 1:05:46 AM

Let's make one thing clear, I'm not a huge fan of IGN and they obviously still are a more biased site but I think his name is Greg Miller is doing a decent job at giving the PS3 it's just due, on a site that previously tried it's hardest to make it look bad. That's the vibe I got from IGN from the start of this gen and because of that they will forever be tainted with that. And seriously that type of journalism is completely unprofessional and is actually quite embarrassing to all gamers who just want a decent editorial, or review. If IGN has one good review for example you spoke highly of the Dark Souls review, there are 3 more that scream biased and well frankly not good. So I don't go there anymore.

Yes some good things come out of IGN though I won't argue that, and yes CVG has some good articles. Those are the things that need to stick around. But for the most part I'm talking about the kid at home who wants everyone to know his opinion. Rather than an objective point of view. The "journalist" is right and you are wrong is what's embarrassing about journalism this generation, it's become overwhelmingly opinionated and that is embarrassing. With this type of writing going on, it's very unrealistic that outside sources and other media would take the actual gaming journalists seriously.

I can't tell you how many pieces of writing I've read that get no editing. Any real journalist would properly edit his/her material before letting it out to the public, rather than pushing it out to get their opinion out there the quickest. That's unprofessional.

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 12/27/2011 1:10:28 AM

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Excelsior1
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 1:44:40 AM

@bigrailer

I get what you are saying. There is no doubt the PS3 launched into a tsunami of negativity. It was so bad back then that it was impossible to avoid to be quite honest no matter what gaming site one went to. I can undrerstand having some ill feelings about that. I know I always will as well. Kotaku and Edge always struck as the two worst sites that were always more than happy to toss the PS3 down the stairs so to speak. Both of those sites had some great articles as well. You just kind of had to hold your nose when you visited them. Not an easy thing to do. In fact, I have not went near those sites for ages.

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Qubex
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 3:25:41 AM

Excel... are you paying much attention to what is actually being written???

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Beamboom
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 9:25:16 AM

I think IGN has become really good over the last couple of years. They've matured. I really like their articles now. Usually well written, interesting topic or angle, enthusiastic and informative.

Plus their postings on Google+ (and probably Facebook too) are really quite entertaining. Funny clips, screenshots, jokes... Not to mention miss Kyle... Yeah IGN is cool.


Last edited by Beamboom on 12/27/2011 9:29:00 AM

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Teddie9
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 11:59:56 AM

maybe we should be criticizing d-toid....

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BikerSaint
Monday, December 26, 2011 @ 11:31:00 PM
Reply

I guess I'd have to say that "I'm too crude, blued, & tattooed" to even think of ever become a journalist, or to even know exactly what makes for a good journalist.

But, I do know one thing, I know what I like, and the simple fact is....all you guys here at PSXE that make it what it is!

(Yeah, I know it....my writing skills suck, LOL)

Last edited by BikerSaint on 12/26/2011 11:32:58 PM

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killerbee12
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 1:10:31 AM
Reply

Ben Dutka, YOU NEED TO MATURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Excelsior1
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 1:19:24 AM

I agree killerbee. Hey, that ryhmed and yes I know you are joking. It still made me laugh. :)

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Qubex
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 3:26:59 AM

Lol... Ben is a fine writer as is I would say!

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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oldmike
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 1:36:09 AM
Reply

"Honestly, that's what news often feels like because it's a cardinal sin of journalism to include opinion of any kind. "

that use to be true now EVERY news show or what not puts a spin on things

sadly they no longer give the facts but only give you stuff that fits with there story
as for why you hit it on the head they new hits or some one to buy the paper or wash there show

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maxpontiac
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 1:57:19 AM
Reply

Playing devils advocate here.

I believe the problem that will keep video gaming journalism from maturing is the fact that every gamer out there can "review" a video game. Specifically speaking, anyone that has played any given title, has a website and possesses decent writing skills can post their opinions (and in some cases facts) and grow in popularity.

Until some type of professional board or entity is formed, there really is no way of differentiating a blogger from someone with education and experience in the journalism field. Because of this, the reader is forced to trust word of mouth or scour the world wide web for a website that displays a professional quality.

In construction (well at least locally) there is an expression that applies to this topic.

"Everyone is an expert, but few are professionals"

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Clamedeus
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 3:54:01 PM

Well said.

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Excelsior1
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 2:29:22 AM
Reply

That's probably an astute observation. It would be nice to get more professional standards. Opinion pieces don't belong in news sections whether they are going for hits are not. Sorry, they just are not news and have no business in a news section no matter how one tries to spin it. There definitely a lot of experts out there who could be more professional. I do see some evidence of increased quality in terms of writing on the major sites. I used to think it was just my imagination but I have later decided there is a difference. Where gaming sites tend to show their immaturity is in the comments sections. I don't think that will ever go away.

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Qubex
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 3:31:48 AM

Yes... they should be a gaming standard of sorts for gaming journalists specifically. It seems anyone can simply start writing reviews... but whether it is of an acceptable standard is another matter.

I think credible gaming journalists need a "real" track record of years of work in the industry. They need an excellent understanding of both modern and classic literature so subjects on gaming can be approached in a mature and intellectual way, and at accepted levels of loquacity that sustains the high standards expected across the board.

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Highlander
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 11:44:28 AM

Excelsior,

I guess then that Newspapers should never include Op Ed pieces or any editorial of any sort? I'm really not sure what it is that you have stuck in your craw about this. The article is clearly an opinion piece, it's speculative about the future of gaming journalism, and so it's never going to be confused with a straight up hard news item about a new game or whatever. But, just like a newspaper, there is going to be content that is editorial and opinion along side news. Not only that but the piece is written in the 1st person and is clearly the writer expressing their opinion. I'm not really sure what purpose it would serve to create an entirely new category for opinion or editorial pieces and tag this story for that section. It wouldn't affect whether the story was listed on the main page, and it wouldn't alter the content. So why do you waste so much time complaining about it?

Last edited by Highlander on 12/27/2011 11:44:42 AM

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___________
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 2:31:51 AM
Reply

no, definitely not!
problem is every man and his dog can open a games news site its just far too easy these days.
and its only going to get easier, thus only going to get worse!

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Clamedeus
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 3:56:46 PM

Indeed.

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Lawless SXE
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 4:56:48 AM
Reply

Some good points in the article Ben, and in some ways, I do agree. There are a whole bundle of sites out there that are rife with immaturity, pure opinion and poor writing. You always take a chance when clicking on links to those sites as they are so populated by the overt stupidity of people that have the audacity to call themselves journalists, that it is easy to feel IQ points dropping like flies every second that you remain on the site. Even on larger, more established sites you get the same rubbish and it really is disappointing as they should be the ones leading gaming journalism to enlightenment. They shouldn't be advocating and stoking the fires of 'fanboyism' by posting articles designed purely to flame, insult or further inflate their own bloated egos. Even when you see articles like 'Five Easy Shouts In Skyrim', it seems as though they're written to fill a quota rather than because it will genuinely be useful to readers, or because it is something that the writer is impassioned about, or even because it could be of interest to someone, somewhere.

BUT! Don't get away thinking that I believe that every person that writes for a gaming website has to have journalistic credentials. A history of writing is useful, but so long as they are *good* writers, then I see nothing wrong with them trying to do it, so long as they don't make the mistake of trying to pass themselves off as professionals (which, sadly, is FAR too often the case). If they know what they are talking about, are willing to canvas a wide variety of topics to get their audience thinking and strive to inject intelligence in what they are doing, rather than pandering to the stupid masses, then I see nothing wrong whatsoever. And no, I am not simply saying this in defence of myself.

I hope that gaming 'journalism' will mature, preferably weeding out the pathetic masses that are thinking it will make them a quick buck to post an inflammatory 'article', but I do not believe it will happen. As gaming becomes more mainstream, more people will be looking to keep up with the news, and stupidity will proliferate, as it always does. *sigh*

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 8:14:45 AM
Reply

Off topic for a sec

Sony's 7.1 Surround stereo headset is on sale and 25% off right now at Newegg.

Normally $99.99, it's on sale for only $74.99 with FREE shipping

(but you better hurry cause Newegg's sales sell out quickly)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16879261316&nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL122711&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL122711-_-EMC-122711-Index-_-PS3Accessories-_-79261316-L023B

OK, back on topic.....

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Temjin001
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 10:09:16 AM
Reply

I would hope the quality stuff would bubble up to the top where the crap stuff just stays buried. I can pick up a pencil and start drawing comic pages like anyone could, but only the guys who really know what they're doing make it somewhere with the skills they've got. I think there's a good place for the grass roots guys who can build something up out of nothing. I like that. And I'd hope quality converts to success. I don't really know on the journalism side of stuff.

I really don't read too many articles from the major sites, like IGN etc. I come here and a few other places. I mostly just headline read and if I find something interesting I'll read into it further. I'm not really attuned enough to see a whole lot of adolecense from the big media sites. I can see a ton of it at N4G. THat's not to say I haven't read poorly angled reviews. I thought IGN's GT5 review was slanted with negativity and a real sense of dissapointment, what with like 2/3 of their topic sentances starting with negative tone.

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Highlander
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 11:56:21 AM
Reply

I am not sure that gaming journalism will mature any, and not because individual gaming journalists won't mature - they will. I see the Internet doing the same thing to all forms of journalism. The ease of access and faux legitimacy that a fancy looking website conveys are two aspects of the internet that serve to dilute real journalism with amateur journalism. So we will continue to see the "Eye of Mauron" [(c) me 2010] obtaining easy access within which to flood the net with negative and immature reviews and 'news' masquerading under the title of 'news' or 'journalism'. No matter how good (or not) the standard of the more professional sites or publications, there will always be an innumerable slew of terrible standards out there which serve only to give journalism a bad name.

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Rogueagent01
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 10:31:16 PM

The way you put it is perfect! The internet has just given anyone with a little technical knowledge and a half-assed education the ability to promote themselves as professionals. Real journalism is here to stay it is just that it is hard to find it through all the smoke and mirrors in todays world.

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AcHiLLiA
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 @ 2:59:42 PM
Reply

I think some are just hyped up for the money, it's a job and not everybody can be at their top when it comes to the gaming industry.

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