GAMING BLEND

Eurogamer Writer Loses Job For Pointing Out How Much Video Game Journalism Fails

By William Usher 2012-10-25 14:48:22 discussion comments
Oh boy, talk about a massive fallout. Apparently Eurogamer isn't on the side of right and might, as writer Robert Florence's last article for the mega-site was also his most riveting and eye-opening. After posting about the inconsistent, advertorial approach some sites use – including a frightening image of an ad-bombarded Geoff Keighley – Robert, also known as Rab, was given his walking papers from Eurogamer.

On Twitter, Robert Florence makes it known that his piece entitled Lost Humanity 18: A Table of Doritos was his last article for Eurogamer. What appears on Eurogamer's site right now is an amended or “advertorial friendly” version of the original piece that he wrote, which can be viewed in its entirety over at Neogaf. Florence writes on twitter...
Yesterday was my last piece for Eurogamer. Here it is in amended form. http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-10-24-lost-humanity-18-a-table-of-doritos … I stand by every word of the original piece.

I guess I was a little quick to jump the gun, thinking Eurogamer was one of the good guys in all of this. Oh well, bad judgment call on my part.

Apparently things got ugly when Florence referenced a Tweet by a writer from MCV, stating the obvious in his article...
One games journalist, Lauren Wainwright, tweeted: "Urm... Trion were giving away PS3s to journalists at the GMAs. Not sure why that's a bad thing?"

Now, a few tweets earlier, she also tweeted this: "Lara header, two TR pix in the gallery and a very subtle TR background. #obsessed @tombraider pic.twitter.com/VOWDSavZ"

And instantly I am suspicious. I am suspicious of this journalist's apparent love for Tomb Raider. I am asking myself whether she's in the pocket of the Tomb Raider PR team. I'm sure she isn't, but the doubt is there. After all, she sees nothing wrong with journalists promoting a game to win a PS3, right?

I would be suspicious, too. Who in their right mind wouldn't?

This comment caught the ire from editor-in-chief at MCV, Michael French, who went on the defense for his writer and apparently on the defense of being lambasted for legal threats sent the way of Eurogamer for Florence's comment. French simply states...
Some clarity: There was no legal action taken from Intent. We asked Eurogamer to remove cruel content about a staff member. They obliged.

That wasn't all they removed. They got rid of a staff member, too.

Heck, I'm with Florence...but not just in his comment about Wainwright, but about how the whole industry works.

One of the most reputable journalists in the video game circle, John Walker, writes extensively on his blog about the ins and outs of video game journalism, the whole being persuaded with trips, swag and the in-betweens to feel good about a game (something an anonymous publisher also admitted to recently), and how it can all end up being perceived as a way to goad writers into advertising products to readers, as opposed to bringing readers news about products and the people who make them.

What's worse is that Florence took a bullet for being honest. He wrote sincerely and wholeheartedly about issues that we, as gamers, feel should be addressed in this corrupt and oftentimes laughable industry. I'll be the first to say that I don't trust reviews from major sites or magazines for as far as I can spit, and I've never relied on them to buy a game. You know where I go instead? Amazon's user review section, dedicated forum communities and comment sections from major review sites...because people who paid money for a product are less likely to lie.

Now I know the word around the block will eventually devolve into “Robert Florence amicably stepped down over inappropriate comments that allegedly painted other journalists in a bad light” but did you guys see that picture of Keighley? Really?! Does anything else need to be said?

It's obvious Florence was given the boot simply because on his Twitter he states that he stands by everything he said in the original article. Someone leaving on their own volition over shame and misappropriation would never adhere to standing firm to the very belief that caused them to get sacked.

It's just sad that major sites seem to be prohibited from being honest about this stuff, heck Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann had his balls tied in a knot and his mouth gagged when it came to that Kane & Lynch fiasco. He wasn't able to talk freely until after some corporate ties were settled. That just goes to show you how much of a joke this industry has become.

In a few years we'll also refer to video game journalism fails in the form of both the Gertsmann incident and the Florence fallout. Good job gaming industry.

Thankfully, there are still some sites out there that aren't afraid to step over the red tape. Hopefully after this incident with Eurogamer there will be more writers willing to step away from the advertorial religion that the gaming industry currently adheres to like some kind of deluded fundamentalist.
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