The Unnecessary Fighting Between Gaming Media and Everyone


The landscape of video game coverage and entertainment media is radically different now compared to a decade ago, when the concept of gaming media and influencers wasn’t as dominant as it is now. In every era of content creation, whether back in the 8-bit days of old through the next generation of today, the media that covers our favorite pastime is meant to inform us and keep the conversation going. The first duty of any journalist, critic, podcaster, or video creator is to the audience that tunes in to listen or read a perspective about gaming outside of their own. But while that’s always been an agreeable relationship built on respect and trust over the years, something has changed that over time.

The unfortunate truth is that many people in the gaming space tend to have an adversarial relationship with the outlets and media personalities that cover video games. While the same can be said about any form of media coverage nowadays, including movies, music, or other forms of entertainment, it’s within the video game scene that many clashes between outlets and their audience happen through social media. And sadly, this also spills over into the relationship that some outlets have with the companies they cover.

By now you’ve probably seen or heard of the news about various outlets being affected by the waxing and waning changes or events within gaming media. Places like VICE shutting down and possibly filing for bankruptcy, Fandom websites laying off groups of workers to compensate for economic hurdles, and places like Kotaku being blacklisted by multiple companies from covering their games. While the first two are examples of the outcome of a changing landscape, the latter is an example of unnecessary circumstances that appear self-inflicted.

Websites like Kotaku consistently find themselves at the center of controversy over nonsense and pettiness, not so much because of journalistic integrity. That is a phrase often thrown around by many without really understanding why it does or does not apply often to these circumstances, but rather an issue of etiquette and maturity. It’s one thing for a media outlet to get blacklisted by a company for covering the existence of a game or the public words of a company executive they don’t like, but it’s a different situation when blacklisted for compiling leaks and spoilers for an upcoming game or even encouraging people to emulate a newly released game. At that point you’re not informing the audience, you’re looking to ruin things for them while fishing for angry traffic.

Those are two very different dilemmas, of which the latter is one most outlets do not find themselves in. But if that’s the problem, why is it outlets like Kotaku face a greater backlash or harsher criticism over it? It’s because instead of looking to do better for their audience and industry, they would rather fight everyone and everything around them to prove they are right. When in reality they were misguided and wrong the entire time.

The main issue that most readers/viewers have with some gaming outlets today is that they feel the staff aren’t trying to be there for the audience, but instead aiming to serve only themselves and the soapbox they create. Posts on social media that receive backlash like the one from Kotaku editor Ethan Gach weren’t about having access to The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom early to cover and make content for the Kotaku audience. It was posted because Ethan and Kotaku staff were not included among the outlets to receive access from Nintendo, and therefore bitter about being left out. When a follow-up post by senior writer Luke Plunkett received a staggering amount of backlash on Twitter for insensitivity, it was about more than just the poor attitude put on display by media professionals on social media. It was about how bad things looked that someone would obnoxiously share a picture of a World War II fighter pilot and compare the symbols of the Axis powers to the Japanese game company that blacklisted their outlet. For many, it was a way of reacting to things that was in very poor taste.

Things like this go far beyond a crappy attitude for not getting access to a new game early, and it’s not just limited to websites like Kotaku. Over time, the audience of games coverage and content has grown tired of what feels like an obnoxious viewpoint of how games should be discussed and how the audience should be interacted with.

Readers don’t want to go to a website like Kotaku and have words constantly thrown in their faces about how a games company is the worst thing in humankind when their actions don’t show anything like that. They’re tired of seeing crazy reactions from editors to the audience’s feedback towards their poor statements or spiteful content, blocking viewers on social media, and labeling people as toxic. They’re honestly tired of the unnecessary fighting and the provocation of everyone around them in order to remain relevant in some way.

Things are very different now than how they were only years ago. As the industry continues to undergo many changes in how games are made and how they are covered, so too will the outlook of the gaming community toward all of it. Eventually, the unnecessary fighting between outlets and their audience needs to end, because it’s not helping anyone on any side. It never truly did back then and it won’t do so now, because all it does is build up bad faith and push away the very audience needed to keep outlets around. If the stories of what happened to VICE or Fandom are cautionary tales, things better start shifting quickly at some outlets. Because unfortunately, a lot of people won’t be so quick to have empathy for any outlet that went away after unnecessarily fighting with everyone for a long time.

What are your thoughts about everything discussed? Do you think some gaming outlets look to focus on angering people rather than informing their audience? Post your thoughts about it all in the comments down below and let your voice be heard!

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Jakejames Lugo

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