IGN, Gamespot and Game Trailers are considered as the three biggest gaming websites in the industry. They have millions of visitors each month and are considered the most important and reliable by many, including publishers, developers, console makers etc. But there seems to be a trend, a movement rather taking place; one that could be written under a headline dubbed “rebellion.” You see, whether it’s justified or not, gamers are moving away from the bigger sites and closer to the smaller ones especially when they want an unbiased game review. So here’s the question: are you one of them? The reasons for this are not too hard to find.
Can anyone remember the Kane & Lynch scandal that rocked Gamespot? Of course you can, it was the industry’s Watergate; some even called it Gertsmangate because of the ripple effect it had on gaming journalism. For those of you who are not aware of the situation, Jeff Gertsmann, A well accomplished journalist who worked at Gamespot got fired because he gave Kane & Lynch a low score. The website was hurt so bad that they were spiraling down into the abyss because of it. Only recently has the website begun the process of redeeming itself, going as far as completely revamping management.
Being around a few insiders, we’ve heard some ramblings about why this happened. You see for these websites it’s all about the money, yes the first and foremost obligation is to make sure the money keep coming in, so if you talk unfavorably about a game (although it may deserve it), fail to find anything that’s good about it and dump an unfavorable score adding insult to injury, it’s considered a no no among the “big boys.” According to them, there must be a balance. Here’s their balance: if a game is good then make sure you find something about it that’s not and let it reflect slightly on the score (a win-win move to keep them in good standing with gamers), and if a game is terrible don’t totally let it be known, rather say a few good things, point out the some of the bad and then add a so-so score (a move to keep them in good standing with the publishers and their affiliates).
This mostly happen with big budget titles, but that makes it even worst; I mean gamers want the real deal so they could know exactly what they’re getting before they buy. It’s only fair right? Well don’t expect to get it from the three big companies, that’s just not the way they work.
Smaller sites on the other hand (a good number of them at least) have no fear at all, there’s no worries that Microsoft won’t sponsor a hundred thousand dollar event or that Sony won’t send that fifty thousand dollars they promised. No, it’s all real news by gamers who have good writing skills and extensive knowledge about the industry. These sites eventually become big enough that it allows the owners to make a decent living, and that’s a good thing. Why? Well you’re guaranteed to have a place to go that reviews games honestly, a place where folks are allowed to speak truth freely and most importantly, a place where you don’t feel lost amongst the 20 million people clustered all in the same room begging for attention.
I have a few favorites, Games Thirst of course being at the top of the list, the rest includes: PSXextreme, TheSixthAxis, PlayStationlifestyle, Dual Shockers, VG247, and GameInformer just to name a few. Do you think this exodus away from the “big dogs” and to the smaller sites will continue, and are you one of them? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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