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Eurogamer's former writer Rob Florence lost his job to the very thing he was criticizing in his last and final article at Eurogamer. He took a bullet to the back because Eurogamer had to fold to legal pressure. The whole thing showcased how poor and untrustworthy video game journalism (or rather, advertorialism) really is, so much so that one of the most popular YouTube gaming commentators out there has called it an “irredeemable mess”.
In the eyes of TotalBiscuit, the Cynical Brit, a man that commands nearly a million subscribers and has enough video views to make every other video game website out there blush (we're talking 303 million video views and counting) he's asked about the recent scandal that didn't really rock the video game news cradle: Eurogamer's Rob Florence losing his job over outing the corruption in games advertorialism.
The 18 minute video covers a nice range of topics and you can check it out for yourself below, as he completely blasts the gaming arena for being the joke that it really is.
For those who don't know, Rob originally wrote the article showcasing an ad-laced Geoff Keighley in one image, and a few paragraphs about Dave Cook and Lauren Wainwright further into the piece. He calls some journalists out on partaking in advertising games for trying to win goods in return – pretty much bribery at the core of it – as well as journalists defending this kind of behavior, and it resulted in Wainwright's boss at MCV UK, Michael French, stepping in to back his writer which eventually led to Rob losing his job. As for Mr. David Cook...well, he smartly faded into the background, presumably riddled with shame.
The thing that made the Wainwright case so bad was because it was later discovered on NeoGaf that she does/did work for Square Enix, the company publishing the upcoming Tomb Raider, and she was also caught in a lie stating that she didn't do reviews even though she did do reviews. One-too-many-lies later and she ended up privatizing her Tweeter account and having previous articles and content that exposes the lie(s), buried, removed or hidden from the interwebs, in an attempt to save face.
At least it's all chronicled, in great detail at that NeoGaf link. Just follow it a few pages in or skip to page 20 to get to the good parts. Yeah, you get to see it all unfold right there at NeoGaf, where the truth will slap you in the face like salami on a porn set. Ah, NeoGaf.
I hope Rob Florence bounces back after this (it's a toss up at this point). It seems weird that the person exposing the very thing that gamers have been complaining about to this generation is the one who gets sent packing. The irony of it seems to prove the tinfoil-hat wearing conspiracy theorists right.
The other problem, as mentioned by TotalBiscuit, is that you can't really count on the YouTubers to completely takeover because they're also ripe for corruption if they're not careful (even more-so than the pen, paper and text guys). And TB is also right about sites and print magazines folding in faster than the flabby skin on an old Hollywood celeb when the plastic starts loosening. It feels like the video game news arena is a hotplate full of fail.
So who do you trust? Well, there's still Rock, Paper, Shotgun, GamesIndustry.biz and GiantBomb, amongst a few other mid-tier sites, but on the upside, at least some of us know who maintains integrity and who's willing to sell out for that almighty dollar...*cough*MCV*cough*...so at least we know who to stay away from.