Kotaku calls out blacklisting, Gamergate goes insane

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I woke up to some entertaining news this morning with an interesting post by Kotaku about being blacklisted by Ubisoft and Bethesda. Apparently Kotaku have been quietly blacklisted because they posted leaked information about both Fallout 4 and Assassin’s Creeds Unity and Syndicate

And this has brought the informal movement known as #Gamergate out swinging. The movement that claims it exists because of a lack of ethics in games journalism seems to have taken a serious dislike to the fact that Kotaku has called out these two publishers.

According to one of the “more respected” supporters of Gamergate, Mark Kern, the article is simply a complaint that Kotaku is  no longer being treated with preferential treatment. His main idea is below but if you want more information feel free to read through his tweets above, I generally enjoy his view on gaming in general but this time I completely disagree with him.

I have a real issue with publishers blacklisting media outlets. We have our own history of certain publisher’s games just drying up and even had another publisher flat out say they won’t work with us. I’d name and shame them but they never followed through with that empty threat so it would serve no purpose.

There are two sides to the issue though. On the one hand it is the publishers’ games and so they can do with it as they please. If they don’t think we will give their game positive coverage then why should they send it to us? But on the other hand that ideology creates a media environment that continues to reward those outlets which have no ethics and will happily post only positive information.

It’s a horribly messy industry in reality, where claims of collusion and dodgy reporting are rife and the matter of ethics in journalism has turned into a year-long battle that has spawned more hatred than century old football rivalries.

In my ideal world review copies of games would have to be handed out, at the same time, to all media outlets of a certain size. Whether the publisher likes the outlet or not shouldn’t come into it and controlled media events wouldn’t exist, as it is extremely hard to remain unbiased when surrounded by an army of PR people.

The same time thing is the most important part of that though. Nothing irritates me more than seeing IGN getting early access while we have to sit on our hands until release date. Or seeing Gamespot post a review a full 24 hours before our embargo; it breeds corruption and needs to be stamped out.

So I for one applaud Kotaku for calling out both Ubisoft and Bethesda for withholding review copies and access to developers. It’s unethical and hopefully they re-assess their position.  It’s not right that the entire gaming industry be held to the carefully planned marketing plans of the publishers and their PR departments.

As for Stephen Totilo’s claim that that the worst part is that neither of these companies will respond to his requests for information. Sorry buddy, they aren’t going to help you after all the “bad press” you gave them. That’s just journalism for you.

Last Updated: November 20, 2015

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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