Ban Hammer Abuse – Oh those testy game companies

I’ll admit don’t really have many gaming magazines, most gamer information one could need can be found on the internet, the ‘Video Game Armada’ for one(shameless self promotion rocks). I only have two that are privileged enough I should paid money for – Game Informer and EGM. They’re great sources of information and news in the industry but their dynamic is radically different: GI is like the ‘Mercedes’ of mags while EGM give’s it to you straight without fluff. Where I’m going with this is about a month or so ago I’ve read an editorial by Dan Hsu of Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM). It said that the mag was banned by Midway, Sony and Ubisoft from getting games from them to review. Why? Because they felt that the scores given to their games by EGM was less then flattering (especially Assassin Creed). I got to say from what I’ve read, the trio sound like a bunch of babies.Ban-Hammer-BabiesThat can’t be right, could it? I decided to do little research and from what I found EGM claims are true.

Where to begin…

Well first of all, EGM (and Dan Hsu respectively) congras for saying what you did. For standing up for your ethics and integrity as a serious media; for not bowing to the pressures of companies who think money can solve the problems of sucky games; and for showing the world that game journalists ‘are’ journalists and should act as such. However, despite the support of myself and others, there have been criticisms about this editorial. Some say that EGM (and their reviewing system) are flawed and got what they deserved; even the escapist’s Russ Pitts finds Hsu’s editorial too well timed according to low (after the holidays) magazine sales. Hsu even caught flames from other game journalists for not naming’ names in his editorial. To these people, I say, get off his back! It’s bad enough to cast stones (and suspicions) generally, but to do so on the subject of fixed journalism, just because you don’t like the magazine or the person, is quite sad. And also for those game journalists concerned about “no names” – don’t be. If your mag or site or blog does everything by the book – great; don’t get self-conscious on what Hsu said and start pitching fits. G.I. editor-in-chief’s words (Issue 179, page 10) were especially disappointing. Before I call it a post I turn my attention back to Midway, Sony and Ubisoft. You’re companies are very fortunate to have good games, that I cannot ban you all from my consoles. However your lack of maturity on game reviews was so infantile that it forces you to ‘ban’ EGM is border line insanity! I’ll tell you all a secret – reviews, everywhere, are based on opinion… You always have the option to ignore them! Also reviewers don’t make or break a game, the people who buy them do. Look at “Psychonauts” and “Okami” great games that scored very well, but did the public receive them well, no. Hard to say why, but it just didn’t happen, which is exactly my point. To blame (and then ban) a magazine for pointing out the short comings in your games will only cause way more problems than solve them. Now what you did leaves a bad taste in the mouths of the EGM reading base (and all the people they know) by excluding their mag, and by doing that its makes the chances of those people buying from you again very slim.

Gee… Who would have thought trying to spit in the eye of free press would be bad for business.