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Video Game Journalism Can't Exist In The Gaming Industry, Says Jim Sterling

The Escapist : Jimquisition : Cloak and Dagger

Well hot dang, had I known Jim Sterling was going to do this video I wouldn't have wasted my time riling up panties, bunching up knickers and rustling the Jimmies of Doritocrats with this flagrant piece harping on the Doritocracy. But I'm glad Jim did the video because it's a perfect illustration of what gamers have been going on about regarding games journalism and video game politics since just before Doritogate.

In a strange twist of fate, Sterling actually acknowledges the very thing that has been a hot topic in the gaming (and consumer) communities leading up to the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4: the control and flow of product information. In the above episode of the Jimquisition on Escapist (because apparently they don't pay enough in Doritos and Mountain Dew at Destructoid) Sterling makes it clear that even for the people who want to do right by gamers, they really can't.

We ran into a similar issue with the GTA V thing coming to PC. Getting hit with legal threats from Rockstar for posting information found within the game's code. I love your games Rockstar but seriously, that was Jack Spit... I mean, really? $250,000 for that? Ugh.

Sterling points out that beyond publishers keeping everything a tight-lipped secret until they deem the information fit for public eyes, there's this looming edict of crowd-control over information that prevents game journalism from existing as a competent form of media information within the gaming industry. The gatekeepers and their cronies are keeping games journalism from being anything more than an outlet of advertorialism with a hint of bitter opinions and diva breakdowns on Twitter. The NDAs and the embargos and all that silly secrecy thrown around by cabinet members of the Doritocracy only hurts the people that the information is supposed to be for in the first place.

In a word, based on what Sterling expounds, video game journalism can't exist because it's not allowed to exist.

The really frustrating thing about it is how badly all this nonsense affects consumers. Microsoft's embargo on Call of Duty's resolution was like... WTF? Seriously? There are people pre-ordering this game for consoles and if they want to know which console this game will look best on, it's their freaking money and they have every right to know! But oh no, things had to get heated and several respected journalists came forward to call out the bullcrap before Infinity Ward's Mark Rubin finally came clean to clear the air... and now everyone knows Call of Duty: Ghosts on the Xbox One is only 720p (upscaled to 1080p).

The information access barriers set by publishers (or console manufacturers) and perpetuated to absurd degrees by gaming press feels identical to when a principal gives a student a hall monitoring pass to dictate to the other kids when they can and can't use the halls to go the bathroom. No one likes holding that crap in and peeing on themselves (and you can only convince people that you spilled water on your pants for so long)... or, in this case, spending money on products based on withheld information.

I'm glad gamers and some pundits are stepping it up, though. This is great for the consumer and the gaming community because holding those who control the information to standards that benefit the buying habits of the consumer is only good for the industry.

Whether or not publishers bend to the will of gamers – and believe me, holding the wallet and yelling on forums, aggregators and news articles does help (never forget the #NoDRM campaign) – remains to be seen, but I'm hopeful we'll see a change in the way the industry works.

I'm also glad Mark Rubin from Infinity Ward had the balls to do the right thing and came clean about the resolution discrepancy. In addition to this, I'm also glad we're having this conversation and I'm glad that some people like Jim Sterling are trying to force gamers to recognize that principals and hall monitors shouldn't be forcing you to hold in your urine... you have a right to access the hallways of information and use the toilets of justice to warn and inform others. Use those hallways, pee in those toilets... they're there for a reason.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.