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Are Gaming Personalities A Big Benefit Or A Crutch?

Last week, I found a solid article at TheMarriedGamers that required a follow-up piece, if only to get our community involved in the question.

And ever since then, I've been thinking... I referenced my earlier editorial to illustrate my thoughts on the "entertainer/journalist" subject but now, I'm wondering if there's another element lurking beneath the surface. We don't wish to acknowledge it because it reeks of big business manipulation but at the same time, we can't keep our heads in the sand for much longer. What if this industry is at a position where we need entertainers more than journalists? What if we require the over-the-top "reporting" of the Hip Hop Gamer, and the kill-me-dead hotness of Olivia Munn? Wouldn't it be cool if we could sorta use them until gaming finally gains acceptance from the mainstream crowd?

Sadly, the mainstream only gauges success and popularity via personality involvement. If gaming has a few extremely popular personalities, might that be a good thing...? The answer is a little more complicated than one might believe. Some will say we simply don't need any of that Hollywood flash and panache, and that gaming has managed to grow at a ridiculous rate without such personalities. But has it really...? Morgan Webb might have pioneered the "personality" direction, although few denied that she actually played video games. But does it matter if she played games or not? Isn't shifting the industry into the limelight beneficial to all? Or is that only leading to the movie problem, where decent (but still not elite) summer blockbusters dominate, and the keen-eyed begin to notice a definite deficiency in intelligence?

Lastly, there's something else: isn't gaming mainstream enough to cater to vastly different demographics? Munn didn't really grow up in a time when only the socially awkward loners played video games, so why does the majority still bow to old stereotypes? Had this been 1985, I think we all know someone like Munn would've been immediately dismissed as a poser, but these days, maybe we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss. The gaming landscape has changed. And in the end, the presence of such personalities might be a boon to the industry. We just have to worry about a time when game reporting is done exclusively by personalities; such a shift shouldn't be embraced.

P.S. And don't think we don't know that half of you clicked the headline for the pic.  ...ah, but doesn't that make a point I was trying to make?

Tags: game industry, video games, game journalists, olivia munn

12/21/2010 9:18:11 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (42 posts)

AntDC
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 10:01:12 PM
Reply

"P.S. And don't think we don't know that half of you clicked the headline for the pic. ...ah, but doesn't that make a point I was trying to make?"

Yeah but it also makes the point that this kinda thing is cheapening gamers. By using these kind of over-the-top personalities it's only encouraging the whole image of gamers being immature. What I don't understand is why are people so keen for gaming to become "more mainstream?". Especially at the sack of quality. The gist I get at this website is that most people LOATH mainstream titles. Call of Duty springs to mind. One of the reasons I love this website so much is because of how damn diverse the news is. It associates to all genres and continents. I guess what I'm trying to say is we gamers don't NEED gimmicks for games to appeal more to us. I really hope Gaming doesn't go the Hollywood route. That'll be the day I lose interest in games.

Unfortunately it seems companies like Activision and Square Enix already have.

P.S. You make a really good point, but I think gaming doesn't need help from personalities to thrive. Quality always speaks for itself in the end :)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 11:38:04 PM

Not according to the top sellers in most entertainment industries...

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Neo_Aeon666
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 11:45:54 PM

Well let's say it does'nt NEED it but like if Oprah were to say AMERICANS YOU HAVE TO BUY A PS3 WITH DC UNIVERSE FOR IT IS WHERE LIES THE FUTURE.

Then you would get half of america buying DC universe lol XD So in a way even if games would do good on their own by beeing good... Having some *strong image to the population* playing it will only make it more popularrrr

And personnally I have a soft spot for sexy ladies in video games and sexy personnalities selling them XD and I really do tend to look more closely at adds that have interesting ... content :D

Last edited by Neo_Aeon666 on 12/21/2010 11:48:00 PM

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shaydey77
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 7:41:34 AM

@ AntDC 'the sack of quality'. Your secretly Santa arent you?

Personally I think gaming is growing at a fine rate itself. But if they are going introducing personalities they should use both men and women. The female demographic is still fairly poorly catered for.

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Norrin Radd
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 10:06:16 PM
Reply

I confess. I clicked the link because of the pic! But first I enlarged the image.......but I digress.

I'm not sure it matters, and in fact, I lean towards it's a good thing for gamers - all kinds. Why? The more $$$ flowing into the industry means more opportunities for a better variety of games - including hard core games. Why? Eventually big companies will realize you can only sell so many CoDs and that gamers will tire of them eventually. Oh sure - they'll always be popular - but how many can you really play? Have you seen 2011? There's like a top notch shooter for each month of the year (granted -not ALL are PS3 exclusives). Plus a ton more other games - have you read all the chatter about how 2011 is the year of the PS3? It will be - and that means more sold - and more $$$ in the system. As gaming grows an individual might not care for what the majority of gamers prefer - but those casual gamers will help fund more risky and hard core projects. Okay - that's a long enough paragraph.

As for Morgan Webb - I remember when she was doing small spots on that show (the name escapes me now) with Adam Sessler and Kate (whatever her last name was) and I was pretty convinced the way she presented herself and the games she was discussing that she was definitely a gamer. Back when she was a bleached blonde. Oh well - we shouldn't judge potential gamers today by 1985 standards - we might just be surprised.

Last edited by Norrin Radd on 12/21/2010 10:07:09 PM

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 10:06:27 PM
Reply

Well, I think Mann's pretty much a fake gamer, especially after seeing her blurt out "I played MGS 4 on my 360" at the VGA show.

But she's certainly one crutch I'd like lying 1/2 naked across my couch for a couple of hours.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 12:07:52 AM

1/2?

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Shams
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 10:48:53 AM

@World: The half that doesn't include her face. As you would put it, she's a "butter face" (but-her-face).

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 12:21:30 PM

Yeah World,

Only 1/2, cause the fun would be me undoing the other 1/2.

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Shams
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 10:11:59 PM
Reply

I prefer not to take names, but sex appeal is used here just as it is used in the home shopping network, TV commericials, and in marketing for any and every industry, and especially over the internet now that video clips have just about eclipsed televised marketing.

What's the surest way to catch a viewers attention to check out a channel or check out a vid? Flash some cleavage. Doesn't matter too much whether the hostess has played games or not, just as long she can read off the teleprompter half-way convincably.

Do I care much for the recent rise in online skankiness? Nah. Am I worried about the current direction the of the video game industry and how media may affect it? Nope. Not too much.

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Highlander
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 11:08:17 PM
Reply

Do we need personalities? Perhaps. Are they a crutch? Only for the mainstream media who still don't know how to cover games.

As for Olivia Munn. She's a lot of things, but she's far from stupid. Her ditzy image is not quite the real deal with her, besides her devastating looks, she's extremely clever. One thing she did that convinced me that she has more class than anyone suspected is that she didn't go nude for playboy. Some say she did, but the closest you'll find is like the one Ben posted, topless with convenient hair or arm positions censoring the naughty bits. You won't find pics of her goodies anywhere online. Make of that what you will.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 12:10:06 AM

Looks like she didn't expect this though:

http://www.blog.inspiretech.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/olivia-munn-jiggle-02.gif

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Ludicrous_Liam
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 1:45:45 AM

LOL!

"You won't find any of her goodies online"
Then world posts a link. Someone had to do it xD

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Highlander
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 3:25:38 AM

Well, if/when World's link gets approved, I'll look-see, but as far as I know, she's never done fully nude work.

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Pandacastro
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 4:31:46 AM

FYI for those who want to posed a link without waiting for approval just pose without the link then edit comment and put the link. Work with me.

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Highlander
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 10:28:08 AM

And now watch as that 'trick' is blocked in a future site update.

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Highlander
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 10:35:18 AM

LOL! Worlds, just like Kevin Pereira - you're grasping at straws...or...something. At least you didn't post some god awful photo-shop of her face on some other body...

Ms. Munn doesn't do nude work, and I think that's kind of remarkable considering how much a legion of nerdy gaming geeks would pay for such a thing.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 2:28:02 PM

Funny huh?

Sorry Panda, but that trick only makes it doesn't need approval on your screen. It still needs approval on every body elses.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 12/22/2010 2:28:32 PM

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swapnilgyani
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 2:35:23 PM

Interesting picture, World. You squeezed that one out of nowhere :P

Anyway, I saw a few videos of the VGA, and hearing Olivia Munn talk, I didn't get the impression she was very bright. I'm sure most of you have by now heard about how she red-ringed X-Boxes while trying to watch MGS4 cutscenes! She came across as pretty lame to me, in both her content and delivery style.

But the article makes an interesting point. I believe gaming does need some icons, but not like these. We need guys like Stephen Fry, whose views do not necessarily comply with current social norms, but can hold an intelligent conversation on the subject.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 3:27:51 PM

Well...that was nice.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 4:17:54 PM

haha, for the record World does not endorse the unwanted molestation of females outside an anime environment ;)

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 12/22/2010 4:19:12 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 4:42:16 PM

That's the type of thing that warrants a full-armed smack...

But you know, we all benefit, at the very least.

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 8:55:12 PM

Nope Pandacastro, your way doesn't work.

Don't believe us?
Then just post something, then edit it, and then hit your computer's refresh button.
You'll find out that you're still awaiting approval.

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Pandacastro
Thursday, December 23, 2010 @ 2:44:05 AM

Feel dumb Rigth now.

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Alienange
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 11:33:11 PM
Reply

I absolutely believe that shifting the industry into the limelight is beneficial to all. More people need to sit up and take notice of gaming.

Let's face it. People are sitting with glazed over eyes at the latest drizzle that Hollywood has to offer pretending that what their seeing is the best entertainment on earth. I say, let more people play and experience games like Red Dead Redemption, MGS, inFamous and Heavy Rain to name but a handful of gaming goodness.

If we have to get hot chicks to take their clothes off to get these people to take notice, then so be it!

Now what were you saying about journalism?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 12:10:50 AM

"Let's face it. People are sitting with glazed over eyes at the latest drizzle that Hollywood has to offer pretending that what their seeing is the best entertainment on earth."

Example: Avatar

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 12:20:21 AM
Reply

The distinct problem I see even with the meager number of personalities today is that fanboyism escapes no one in the gaming industry. I can honestly see somebody dying in a East vs West coast rapper style feud.

But if they can somehow be corralled more personalities work. Look at the Fox News Models. Are they real journalists? Hell no, they are there to spout. But by God it brings in the ratings doesn't it?

Ya know what I'd like? Video game personalities that are VIDEO GAME personalities. Literally. I wanna see Nathan Drake opposite Lara Croft delivering the gaming news from foreign locales. No? Ah screw it. Just keep up the journalism Ben.

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 12:35:49 AM
Reply

The biggest problem of all as someone here said is that when these personalities dictate what games we should try/play then it all goes the Hollywood way.

If publishers take notice they'll go "Oooh let's pay this site a lot of money to promote our game. Half of the gaming population listen to these personalities as if they were Oprah."

It will cheapen out gaming. The rare gems like Demon's Souls will be thrown in the trash while the Maddens, CODs, etc. will be hailed as the best thing ever by these "personalities."

Whenever you have big personalities it's always the same. People take their world as the bottom line. It'll put Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft in a position where they need to dish out some serious money, interviews, etc. to keep these personalities happy, so that in turn they put their games in a good light.

Oh crap, isn't that what's happening at IGN and Gamespot? lol...
---

It's a horrible idea, we didn't need them in the 1990s when SNES and ps1 were creating some of the most amazing gaming experiences ever. We don't need them now.

What we need is smart, educative, and thoughtful personalities (scientists of the field) who know what they're talking about. Psxe does the best job at that imo.

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___________
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 1:11:46 AM
Reply

i certainly hope that never happens!
i doubt it will though, its not necessary.
i like the industry being niche.
it keeps everything pure, the reason why games are no where near as fun as they use to be is because of exactly this, commercialization, trying to expand and appeal to more people.
thats why so many games these days are piss easy, gone are the days like GOW1 or oddworld where games were so brutal, unforgiving and hard.
thats why splatterhouse got mauled so much, because its so old school but thats exactly what it was suppose to be!
i wish the industry could go back to the good old days where very few people were into games, that way they can go back to how they use to be.
all about the gameplay, all about the fun factor, not about this eye candy BS!
as ive said many times a pretty but boring game will always be a bad game, a ugly game but a fun one will always be a good game!
graphics do not dictate whether a games good or not, enjoyability does because at the end of the day we play games to have fun, not to say wow this looks freaking incredible!
tis why ill take just cause 2 over GOW3 any day of the week!

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 1:15:01 AM
Reply

Obviously having these personalities, and lookers, will bring in the mainstream crowd. This, of course, is good for the industry, as it ultimately means more money, more consumers, and will eventually trickle down to better, and riskier projects.

The problem I see is that many REAL gamers aren't overly interested in this 'glamour reporting'. Sure, it's great to have some sexy bird telling us what's happening, but how is it any different to simply reading the news? I feel that it is a phase, a necessary one, to bring gaming to a more general acknowledgement.

At the same time it cheapens the idea of journalism by relying on sex appeal. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that it is, in general, good for gaming, but not good for journalism.
Peace.

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Killa Tequilla
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 2:17:59 AM
Reply

I didn't read anything except what was in bold. You're right.

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MadPowerBomber
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 3:05:53 AM
Reply

These "personalities" are the VeeJays from MTV from the beginning for video games.

Some are entertaining, some are good at what they do; but most of them are just unnecessary opinionating twits that are only where they are because they're pretty.

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spiderboi
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 5:51:28 AM
Reply

"P.S. And don't think we don't know that half of you clicked the headline for the pic. ...ah, but doesn't that make a point I was trying to make?"

I confess as well, i checked out the pic before the actual headline or story. But that's not due to beign a gamer, but being a guy :)

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maxpontiac
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 7:53:25 AM
Reply

I honestly can't stand a hot female reporter on the sideline of an NFL game.

Sure, she is awesome to look at, but I would much rather listen to a 15 year HOF player who knows his business because he has been there..

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CH1N00K
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 8:37:25 AM
Reply

Ah the double edged sword of success...Gaming used to be a something that geeks, nerds and 30+ virgins did in the basement of their Mom's house.

Now suddenly, there's Video Games everywhere and in every house..And the elitist want their old days back...Not going to happen. Back in the 70's someone might have got into video games just for the sake of of saying, "Hey, look what I can do!" But now, well, ever since the days of the ATARI there isn't a game company who hasn't gotten into the business thinking that they wanted to make games but not money.

The old schooler's call it "Selling Out". For those that have the brain power to think beyond their own selfishness, it's called "Business" How do you improve business? Create Appeal. Some us "Sex Appeal" Some use other forms. Commercials, Girls, Short Flashy ads for an A.D.D Ridalin infused generation...

I hate to tell you but Gaming is Mainstream. The Jocks do it, Chicks do it, and the Elite "Non-Noobs" are a dying breed. You might as well embrace it..Just like I'd like to embrace Olivia Munn...and not in a PG-13 kind of way....

Last edited by CH1N00K on 12/22/2010 8:39:06 AM

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Highlander
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 10:39:09 AM

LOL! That's something that's been happening since the days of the 8-bit Home computers. The PlayStation (original) really propelled video games into the mainstream consciousness.

N00bs have abounded since that time.

...so says the elitist greybeard who's gamed since monochrome versions of Pong were considered state of the art.

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SilentMassacre
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 12:20:05 PM
Reply

This is an interesting topic. One would think that the more money a company is getting the more opportunities they will have when it comes to developing new IP's.

It's difficult, for a gamer, when companies just take this extra revenue and invest it in another "sequel" to their game. Eventually these games will run their course and the next IP will have to be developed.

I think these personalities bring long-term benefits to the industry as more people gain interest in gaming. Short-term, however, it may be harming the industry as developers work less on their products and throw the extra cash to market their sub-par game and the average Joe thinks it's the next best thing.

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DazeOfWar
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 3:53:08 PM
Reply

All I care is that I still get fun games to play. Even if the gaming industry went "Hollywood" like some say you will still get great games. Hell some might even get bigger budgets. You're always going to have fresh ideas coming in.

We might have never gotten Dead Space if EA didn't have lots of money from Madden. So let games like CoD come out and make millions cause it makes it a little easier on companies to fund new IPs.

I also have no problem with eye candy like Olivia Munn or Morgan Webb. They don't change the way I look at gaming, they just give me something more to look at.

Last edited by DazeOfWar on 12/22/2010 3:56:07 PM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 6:51:46 PM
Reply

@Ben

It was really hard to start reading your article with a photo like that. Even after I started reading, for as long as the photo was in my browser window, it was a slow read!

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mackid1993
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 7:20:41 PM
Reply

Ben, you always get the best pictures.

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RebelJD
Thursday, December 23, 2010 @ 8:07:54 AM
Reply

I don't understand what the whole mainstream talk is all for. Games sell themselves as they always have. When companies make billions and games sell millions of units, that's more than enough to show an industries leg power.

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Zorigo
Friday, December 24, 2010 @ 11:31:27 AM
Reply

my only worry is gaming could, with the likes of COD being big sellers, go the way of hollywood and go down the sh*tpipe.
i mean if devs start going, "we need to make money, lets screw putting in effort and put in a 50 cent coin into the generic game generating vending machine", and produce 7 different types of COD Black Ops.

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