Home Gaming Bad games journalism is the industry’s own fault

Bad games journalism is the industry’s own fault

4 min read

We don't look anything like this

So yesterday I posted up an article based on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 CPU power that was backed up by a post on Neogaf from a known third party developer who had to post anonymously due to the NDA’s that everyone has to sign.

It didn’t take long for ex South African developer, Bobby Anguelov from Ubisoft Montreal, to take to twitter to call out the article and the state of games journalism at the moment.

So obviously I responded and asked him to comment and received the standard line that we get from all developers when asking questions about the consoles.

You see the problem is that we, gaming media, write for a huge audience of passionate and interested readers who want to hear about the inner details of the industry, the consoles and the games that make it all great.

However we are virtually at war with publishers and distributors who are under NDA or have a financial interest in what does and doesn’t get published in the industry. It makes our jobs exceedingly difficult and then as soon as we post an article with some backing, even if not 100% proof, we get called out for being bad journalists and posting click bait.

Here are some of the scenarios I’ve faced this year when posting or attempting to post stories.

  • A local distributor has called up angrily demanding where we got our information and demanding that we take it down if we want them to continue supporting us. (we didn’t)
  • An international publisher has threatened to blacklist us due to what we wrote in a preview that they didn’t like
  • Another international company threatened another blacklist for not paying enough attention to their product
  • Multiple retailers have taken offence to our posting on their products and prices and requested we do not post about their sales and compare them to others
  • A hardware manufacturer has blamed us for poisoning the local community against their product and if we don’t start posting good news about it we will be blamed for job losses and the desecration of the industry.
  • After being overseas to cover a title we were hassled for weeks afterwards asking why we didn’t post more about their product since they flew us out there.
  • We sign for a worldwide embargo and IGN gets given a 5 hour headstart on people, how fair is that?
  • We’ve had interviews where we’ve not posted them because they have been nothing more than a PR smoke screen to try and market their upcoming title. This doesn’t go down well.

The problem here is that the industry is a multi million dollar behemoth and the companies involved have an obvious financial interest in ensuring their product has the very best media available.

And you know what? I have no issue with any of this, we haven’t been blacklisted by anyone. We still get interviews and preview code and while we have some rocky moments with everyone there is no long standing issue with anyone.

However the excuse that games journalism is terrible because all the journalists are lazy and just chasing hits is rubbish. We want to publish top quality content that is 100% factual and correct but when 80% of the industry makes a concerted effort to hide a lot of the information we need to dig for it… and sometimes we find golden nuggets and other times it is just fools gold.

But before you claim the industry is useless then take a minute and think about how hard it is for the people on the other side of the screen or magazine. If Microsoft and Sony would release the developers of their NDA’s when discussing hardware we would all know the truth, however they won’t so we have to do our best to find out.

The games journalism industry is not broken and you are not playing the game wrong. Don’t fall for corporate PR garbage, our job is to translate that for you and that is what makes the difference between real gaming websites, like us, and the PR drone websites that post press releases masquerading as news just to please publishers and earn advertising income.

So the next time you see the mammoth sites posting their exclusive reveals think twice about whether our games journalism is broken or their relationship with publishers is poisonous.

Last Updated: December 24, 2013


  1. Unavengedavo(aka. MadeYouLook)

    December 24, 2013 at 08:51

    To be honest, I have seen better journalism on this site than on any of the other News24 sites. There they copy and paste other articles and write articles of their own opinions and try to sell that as “news”.

    You guys research stuff as best you can and own up when you screw up. Which usually just ends up with us mocking you about it.


    • oVg

      December 24, 2013 at 08:55

      LG for the win.


      • justlikemo

        December 24, 2013 at 10:22



    • Admiral Chief in Vegas

      December 24, 2013 at 09:35



    • Rags

      December 24, 2013 at 13:40

      Don’t fully agree, the recent headphone comparison for example was terrible and nobody said a word about it. Similar with other articles, especially esport related and some game reviews.

      I enjoy LG and support the guys and gals, but too often people shy away from criticising LG for some reason. Its the only way to keep a site you care about honest.

      Best is still to get your news from multiple sources. Its a shame though with all the censoring in the industry that things have gotten this bad. And I applaud the efforts of LG not to give in to these horrible demands.


      • Brian Murphy

        December 24, 2013 at 16:48

        I have never shied away from criticizing LG, in fact, they’ve forced me to flip the bitch switch on at least one major occasion. However, unlike virtually all other gaming sites, they’re willing to discuss your issues, rather than simply ban you for having a different take, opinion, or facts.

        This is by no means the norm for LG, but yes, on occasion I’ve felt it necessary to express my displeasure with something they’ve written, or mis-written and quite honestly, I think many people here do the same. I just happen to have a serious mouth on me or god forbid you catch me pre-coffee in the morning (For which I’ll apologize in advance, since it’ll undoubtedly happen again) 😉

        I disagree on the eSports thing though, from everything I read, Gavin pointed out some serious issues/transgressions/shady dealings in the SA eSports community, and whether people liked the spotlight or not, it was necessary.


  2. oVg

    December 24, 2013 at 08:53

    It was all so simple before the internet. One had a monthly subscription of their game mag (NINTENDO POWER) and that was it. The rest was rumor and gossip with friends at school and the weekly visit to one game shop in town to see if any new games had been released.

    We had no scooby doo about the insides of the console, marketing tactics, game release or if a game was good or bad. There was not bad, just darn hard considering all games were frustrating to play as the difficulty trumped over the games of today.

    If only we had LG to warn us of the dangers while playing Battletoads co op.

    Now we have the internet where the most misunderstood hobby can shout the loudest. Boy is it loud.

    User generated content is here to stay and it seems one does not need to do a degree in journalism anymore. It helps, but PASSION seems to do well enough. Look at Angry Joe and Fat Francis.

    I am surprised that with the large amount of traffic on the internet that 99% of rumors are all untrue, but it seems most of them are.

    Henshin a Go-Go Baby! NEED MORE COFFEE.


    • Unavengedavo(aka. MadeYouLook)

      December 24, 2013 at 08:55

      What is this “coffee” you speak of?


      • oVg

        December 24, 2013 at 08:56

        The work canteen is still open YEEEEEEEEEES 🙂


        • Unavengedavo(aka. MadeYouLook)

          December 24, 2013 at 09:19

          Lol, we have one of these at the office….


        • Unavengedavo(aka. MadeYouLook)

          December 24, 2013 at 09:32

          Okay, let’s try that again… (refresh for picture)


  3. Hammersteyn

    December 24, 2013 at 08:57

    The highest trees catch the most wind Gavin, steady as she goes. People know you research and if you are wrong you always admit it so let little Bobby post his tweets. He can be sarcastic as he wants but whine push comes to shove he covers away instead of having an open agenda.


  4. Brian Murphy

    December 24, 2013 at 09:04

    “However the excuse that games journalism is terrible because all the journalists are lazy and just chasing hits is rubbish.”

    Alright, this is a subject that I quite often touch upon and I think journalists of all walks of life need to understand that their entire industry is viewed with skepticism at best. I’ve conversed with Gavin numerous times over the years I’ve been around these forums, and I know he’s usually a pretty stand-up guy.

    However, that doesn’t mean that the information he gets from article A, or Article B and touches upon in an article on LG is either factually accurate…or, in a few rare cases…read properly to begin with (sorry, it’s happened in the past).

    And again, this isn’t necessarily you guys. It’s simply the state of the industry as a whole that’s prompted me to look at virtually all news through a skeptical set of lenses. I do not like being in a conversation, or debate, and giving out bad info, and yes, it’s burned me in the past. Not necessarily from LG, but from enough news sites that I simply can’t be satisfied seeing 1 account of the issue, being aggregated by eighty thousand sites. I have to find at least 2 or 3 independent articles before I start accepting it.

    Clearly though, the guy from Ubisoft Montreal needs to take a lesson in professionalism. If he disagrees or has proof that what the guy from NeoGaf said was untrue, he needs to back up what he’s saying. Otherwise, we’re somehow supposed to take what he said at face value, over the other guy, rather silly if you ask me. He should know better, and taking a shot at Gavin and his profession in the process? Pardon me, but when was the last time Ubisoft’s shit smelled like roses?


    • Gavin Mannion

      December 24, 2013 at 09:38

      We all make mistakes and read things differently at times… 🙂


      • Brian Murphy

        December 24, 2013 at 09:45

        I know, and if it was just you guys, or just another site, that’d be one thing. But, if you couple all the issues with the industry, on top of simple errors, there’s a ton of misinformation that goes out. And I simply cannot let myself trust any one source anymore, it has to be multiple.


        • Gavin Mannion

          December 24, 2013 at 09:55

          I’d absolutely agree with that. Never just trust a single source for anything… the more important the information the more independent sources you require


  5. Aussious

    December 24, 2013 at 10:27

    As a veteran gamer who has been reading about games almost as long as I have been playing them I can tell you, you guys are one of the most reliable sources of gaming news out there, not to mention one of only two gaming sites I still visit and probably preferred gaming site for the last 2 years. I still remember fondly the days were I used to spend my months entire allowance to buy Gamepro mag or CVG seems like a life time ago, things have changed radically since then for I think the gaming community as a whole has become very synical and jaded with big name publishers assuming the role of gaming gods at the expense of devs and gamers. The is so little to be excited about these days, that being said keep up the good work guys.


  6. Ottokie

    December 24, 2013 at 10:30

    Was actually following this on Twitter yesterday, and had a good laugh when all mr. Bobby Anguelov had was snide remarks at the end of every sentence. He did stagger a bit after this comment from Gavin…

    “@BobbyAnguelov and we get complained at for misreporting when half the industry is lying and the other half can’t comment.”

    But yes agreeing with a lot of peeps here we love the LG team for our news!


    • Lardus-Resident Perve

      December 24, 2013 at 11:18

      Haha! I think that guy must “Goan” if he comments and is unable or unwilling to back himself up. For those of you who do not know the joke about “goan” and “smee”: http://www.anxietyculture.com/jokes.htm#radio


    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      December 24, 2013 at 11:20

      lol – well said Gavin!


  7. Alien Emperor Trevor

    December 24, 2013 at 11:16

    The fact that he states that results are misleading implies that there is an actual difference in results. Although to be fair, we don’t really know if that’s meaningful or not.


  8. Lardus-Resident Perve

    December 24, 2013 at 11:28

    Sometimes things can be a bit shaky in all journalism, not just gaming journalism. Whether it be the sources or the journalist him/herself doesn’t matter. For example: even if LG were to say WWE 2K15 has the career mode I want based on previews and press releases, I will only believe it 70% until I see a gameplay video. Not a dig at LG, I just don’t believe anyone 100% without proof anymore. Too many times have companies or sources given out information that was purposely false, or revealed features that were later dumbed down or removed for launch (D3 for the win there haha). But I still trust the guys at LG to at least TRY to be accurate not hunt the clicks. Like @Unavengedavo:disqus Unavengedava said, “You guys research stuff as best you can and own up when you screw up”. I like LG and will make an effort to bring my pervy ways to one of the gathering in 2014!


  9. Ultimo_Cleric N7

    December 24, 2013 at 12:00

    To be quite honest, I have a tough time trusting any gaming journalism AS WELL AS any developers comments.

    I love Ubisoft, really. They are one of the few developers who really invest in SA and treat us to great launches and support. But honestly, I can’t believe anything a developer says about a game or console without evidence to back tier statement up. Little advice Bobby, while you may question Gav’s source, at least it’s something. Making a statement like you did and ten just saying ‘I can’t comment about this’ makes you look like you are hiding something.

    As for gaming journalism, I stopped taking them as 100% accurate after Dragon Age 2. It’s not a secret how much I love Bioware ( they could basically hire me as PR), but DA2 was pathetic. The level development was so piss poor, yet I STILL see people at IGN and even Kotaku defending it. I will ignore Viki here as well. The whole thing just left me wondering who I can really trust regarding what a game is actually like.

    Nowadays I rely more on friend’s opinions who have a game or console before I buy. HOWEVER, I still believe LGAlso, on the very few occasions where they may have gotten it wrong, some of my fine commenting colleagues here will call them out (I’m looking at you Banana and Erwin).


  10. Sageville

    December 24, 2013 at 12:21

    Frankly, Bobby Anguelov has his own agenda, the article he had issues with made qualified references and as such he it’s hardly untrue, in the end he just comes off as whiney.

    Fact of the matter is, we the community LOVE this site, and why the fuck not. Sure, sometimes I “Rage” when I disagree with something in an article, but thats normal with any good gaming news site. The publishers and developers will obviously want shining reviews and loads of favourable attention, that’s also normal for them and they will feel agrieved when that doesn’t happen.

    In the end it’s a balancing act I feel LG has gotten right.

    Keep up the excellent work.


  11. Luigi

    December 24, 2013 at 12:41

    The real deal here is that the news and scoops come from Reddit, social media and Neogaf – what purpose do you lot serve except regurgitating the stuff without adding any value? Resolutiongate, DRM etc all surfaced on Neogaf while the press was fellating the industry for freebies.

    Oh, and the headline should read INDUSTRY’S OWN FAULT. You have no training in journalism, no basic understanding of grammar, and you expect the industry to take you seriously? LOL. LOL.


    • bartleby451

      December 24, 2013 at 15:59

      I could not agree with you more, the spelling and grammatical errors on this site are appalling. The truth is Journalism doesn’t exist in the games industry, a ‘games journalist’ is a nonsense. I can’t believe that the above writer is complaining that he had to do some actual journalism “…we need to dig for it… and sometimes we find golden nuggets and other times it is just fools gold”. Surely thats the whole idea of being a journalist. Far to many of these so called journalists are up to their necks in bribes and hand outs. Games journalists are just reviewers at best and PR flunkies at best.


      • Gavin Mannion

        December 26, 2013 at 07:30

        Not complaining at all just trying to point out an issue.

        And yeah my editor is on a well deserved christmas break so there are more issues than usual… apologies for that, I’ve never said I was a good writer 🙂


        • bartleby451

          December 26, 2013 at 15:03

          This was never meant to be a personal insult, and if you took it that way then I apologise. I was talking generally as this site is riddled with misspellings and poor grammar – hire an copy editor. Again regarding game journalists it was not aimed at you, I don’t know you and see no point in singling you out. My attitude to Game Journalists is based on years of being a games player from the age of 11 (I’m 41 now). Its always been the same, the overwhelming number of publications (magazines and newspapers are the worst) are clearly in the pay of or being influenced by publishers. As a consequence trust is non existent between players and game publications and by association game journalists. Too many Game Journalists were seen tweeting pics of themselves with brand new consoles and handfuls of games recently, almost gloating as the real players looked on unable the obtain the same. It’s this sort of behaviour that I find disgusting. If Game Journalists want to be regarded as real Journalists with real integrity then they need to clean up their act, distancing themselves from publishers and the blatant bribes. And when Publishers try to strong arm publications they should be exposed by GAME JOURNALISTS.


          • Gavin Mannion

            January 2, 2014 at 09:28

            Maybe if we sold out to the publishers we could get enough money to hire more editors… unfortunately we are woefully understaffed and underpaid 🙁

            As for journalists tweeting pictures of their new consoles please remember they are all gamers at heart and are excited about entering the next gen. All the PS4’s sent out are loaners and we still have to buy our own. I think a lot of people don’t realise that

        • Jimmy Richmond

          December 27, 2013 at 08:59

          If you are not professional enough to get your grammar and spelling right, who can trust you to get the facts right? The fact is that you are a bunch of rank amateurs — someone pointed out a glaring error in your headline and you can’t be arsed to fix it. Lazygamer indeed. Sloppy and unprofessional gamer, too.


        • RCN

          January 2, 2014 at 08:43

          The poor grammar of a certain few journalists on this site has been a major cause for concern to me for a while now. It seems you guys do not know how to pluralise (especially abbreviations), and what a possessive pronoun is. I suggest Zoe take you lot under her wing and educate you guys.

          If you’re a journalist on a gaming website, you’re probably having loads of impressionable kids reading your material. Subconsciously your mistakes are being ingrained into their brains, and someday they are adults who can’t spell or use proper grammar either. Get it right, please!


          • Gavin Mannion

            January 2, 2014 at 09:29

            Zoe will be very happy to hear that, she usually gets a lot of abuse for her Americanisms.

            As for the headline, I was under the impression it was fixed already… doing it now

    • Gavin Mannion

      December 26, 2013 at 07:32

      Actually a lot of the breaking news comes from sites like ours that are then spread on reddit and neogaf. Everyone serves a purpose in this industry and no I have zero training in journalism.

      Oddly enough some things can’t be taught and you either can or can’t do it. The amount of news we’ve broken and issues we’ve raised shows that we can 🙂


    • slsl

      June 5, 2014 at 09:56

      I had a serious argument on leddit awhile ago (a guy ended up calling me a daft cunt. Oh, leddit: smarmy and then snarky, but rarely anywhere in between) on the state of gaming journalism. He was arguing that publishers in the industry are holding writers to simply too severe deadlines, and that’s why grammar and general quality can be terrible in the industry. I was agreeing in part, but asserting that there were other factors involved. It seems clear to me that this site backs up my ideas. Although severe deadlines may be an issue, a more common reason that you see so many grammatical issues in gaming journalism is that many of the journalists simply aren’t professional writers, and publishers employ them and don’t have/use good editors.

      This is fine when you’re working with/for a startup and don’t have the funds to train yourself and your writers, but it becomes an issue when you see so much low-quality writing, even on large outlets. (Not talking about this site, by the way. I hardly know a thing about it.)

      It’s clear from many of the mistakes you see in the industry (sloppy errors, like misspellings that would be caught by spell check, erroneous pluralizing or possessing, accidentalling words, conjugation, etc.), and the extent to which you see them, that these journalists are amateurs and need to brush up on their writing. Or they need to hire/use a proper editor, or their editor needs to be fired. Even as a complete amateur myself, I’ll see writing that seems to be from someone who uses English as a second language; I just can’t imagine any professional writer doing a large amount of what’s done in the gaming journalism industry.

      It seems completely obvious from the writer’s comments and the type of mistakes he’s made that he’s a great evidence for this idea: he’s simply not a professional writer. Not to say that I don’t enjoy this site and the content, just that there are clear issues stemming from a lack of literary training and editing, at least in this article.


  12. Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

    December 25, 2013 at 08:23

    You tell em Gavin. If they don’t want to be forward and forthcoming with info then they mustn’t get upset when things aren’t written as they would like it to be.
    Yes, sometimes things seem a bit sensasional but that’s your jobs. To get down to the gritty, juicy details because we as readers want it. If the info is wrong then the ones claiming it to be wrong should release a press statement clarifying. I bet if they did then relationships between journos and the industry would be less rocky.

    All I say is this. Havin if they are this quick to jump then you must have hit some nerves and can’t be far off the mark


  13. Acornbread

    December 25, 2013 at 13:14

    Good article. Like many others have said, LG is one of the better gaming sites, no doubt about it. You folks all write well and and you don’t fall prey to the sensationalism that often plagues the bigger sites. And the community is just great, what a joy to be able to read intelligent comments with genuine interest and not have to wade through angry kids swearing at each others moms. Keep it up!


  14. iPrimal

    December 25, 2013 at 17:18

    I haven’t had any issues with this site. All I ask is that you guys don’t sell out, and start telling me that Battlefield 4 has no bugs (example). As soon as you go down that path, you’re no better than ign.
    I’m from the U.S., and I went far out of my way in search of a site that didn’t seem like its opinion was for sale. You guys seem to be doing a great job. Please keep it up. The world has so few honest journalists nowadays, and I don’t just mean in the gaming industry.


  15. Alwyn Venter

    December 26, 2013 at 12:43

    Good article. I follow Lazygamer for exactly the reasons you mentioned above. True, honest and to the point summaries of what I need to know. Keep up the good work.


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