IGN Video About PC Gaming Shows You Can’t Spell Ignorant Without IGN

Gaming journalism is possibly one of the most distrusted professions and there’s a great deal of scrutiny surrounding critical scores. This is expected though as people are very passionate and knowledgeable about their favourite game franchise. Additionally, becoming a professional gaming journalist is a dream for many people and it can be frustrating to see hired individuals showing a complete lack of knowledge. IGN’s readership is absolutely massive, but also known for inconsistent reviews scores, and poor standards of writing.

Recently, during a round-table discussion, one journalist claimed PC gaming didn’t have any major recording software and lacked in this department compared to the Xbox One. This is laughable as prior to the latest consoles, recording footage on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 required a dedicated piece of hardware. In contrast to this, the PC has a huge array of software including XSplit, Fraps, Open Broadcast Software, MSI Afterburner, Shadowplay, Dxtory and more! Once again IGN’s complete incompetence surrounding the PC gaming industry and hardware defies belief.

The journalist in question, Sean Finnegan, attempted to defend his comments and said:

This response doesn’t evoke a sense of confidence and exemplifies IGN’s atrocious journalistic standards. To be fair, mistakes can happen, but this is a simple concept and doesn’t require years of industry experience to be aware of. Windows 10 now integrates a capture feature to make sharing footage incredibly easy. It’s no wonder gaming audiences around the world distrust journalists. Without sounding too harsh, it makes me question how someone could attain such an important job position while spouting rubbish. Finnegan’s remarks are akin to something you would hear from a devout Xbox fanatic.

As modern media changes, traditional print outlets are being closed down. Furthermore, IGN is becoming a laughing stock among a certain core demographic and these ignorant comments won’t help matters.

Otherland Developer Denies Claims Regarding “Hundreds of Fake Paid Reviews”

Otherland is an MMO by Drago Entertainment which launched via Steam’s early access programme and has a pretty dismal reputation among fans. Sadly, the game has suffered from bugs, and failed to live up to people’s expectations. Personally, I cannot comment on the game as I don’t own it, but the general consensus seems quite negative. Today, a number of strong allegations were targeted at the developer which claimed they had planted “hundreds of fake paid reviews” on Steam. This was allegedly done to falsely make the game seem more appealing throughout the community.

Specialist site, MMOs discussed the supposedly paid for reviews and their CEO said:

“Well it turns out that most of these user reviews are without a shred of a doubt fake. It doesn’t take a genius to realize these reviews are fake, as most of the positive reviews are left by users with “0.0 hours on record” and users that left no other reviews on Steam. What’s funny is that ALL of these fake positive reviews are in completely broken nonsensical English.”

The writer went onto analyze why they believe Drago Entertainment employed such unscrupulous tactics:

“It’s clear that the folks behind Otherland are disappointed with the game’s reception on Steam and are trying to boost sales in an incredibly shady way. As of this writing, the game only has 18 players online with a 30-day average of 8.2. The game is clearly a commercial flop and Drago Entertainment is trying anything and everything to get people to try the game. I mean, if you’re going to try to trick your customers into buying your game, you might as well spend a little bit more and get your fake reviews written by native English speakers. As is, these fake reviews are embarrassing for Drago Entertainment and won’t fool anyone who spends a couple of minutes checking out the reviews. More casual users though might be roped into buying the game if they only look at the “mostly positive” score on the game’s Steam page, which is unfortunate, as the game is pretty terrible.”

“This kind of deceptive marketing / manipulation of user reviews shouldn’t be allowed. Steam needs to take action and take these downs, as no one should be tricked into buying this game. I think Steam should just boot this game off the platform for trying to trick their customers, but that’s just my opinion. What do you think? Do you know any other games that use paid reviews on Steam to boost their sales?”

Given the serious nature of these claims, the developer released an official response on the Steam Discussion forum:

Although the owner of MMOs wasn’t impressed with their response and remarked:

“Are they serious? Are they claiming that the users they gave free keys to left these nonsensical “reviews”? This isn’t a one/two review thing, there are over a HUNDRED of these obviously fake reviews all blindly praising the game IN BROKEN ENGLISH. I’m not buying their story. Did they only give beta keys to people who spoke broken English? I think they got caught and came up with a terrible excuse. It’s possible that a couple of individuals at the developer’s office thought this was a good idea and acted on their own, but the payment had to be approved. People don’t leave fake reviews for free.”

This is a tricky situation as no-one categorically knows if the reviews were paid for apart from the developer. However, making such wild accusations without consulting the developer is only going to end in tears. I honestly don’t know who is telling the truth here, but it emphasizes how untrustworthy many reviews can be. Evidently, the time played is minimal and looks suspicious. On the other hand, many community reviews quickly click to the approve button on launch to make themselves feel better about their purchase.

As an individual, it’s perfectly fine to criticize a developer and make claims. However, if you are a journalist or work for a published site, any comments can be seen as slander and result in legal action. I want to reiterate that I’m not holding the blame on anyone here, but sites have to be so careful when making assertions even if the evidence looks quite legit. This entire situation raises questions about Steam reviews, and how the media investigates developers who are apparently overstretching their ethical responsibilities.

CNN’s Ignorance Around Gaming is Quite Skillful

It’s not uncommon for the mainstream media to produce inaccurate pieces typecasting video gamers and being completely out of touch. However, a recent article by CNN has to be the most ludicrous example I’ve ever seen which includes insulting, inaccurate claims in the heading. Unbelievably, the article is entitled, “Video games aren’t just for anitisocial nerds!” to outline the financial success of the video gaming industry. This amount of incompetence and shamefully lazy writing emphasizes the sort of content typically seen on CNN. It’s quite laughable considering studies show the average gamer is in the 30-40 age bracket, and multiplayer/co-op titles are incredibly popular.

To make matters worse, the article goes on to say:

“If you think that the only people who play video games are a bunch of underemployed loners sitting in their parents’ basement, think again.”

I’m completely flabbergasted by the audacity of CNN’s lies and derogatory comments. Video games are played by a huge amount of the population across various ages, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The concept that the industry is a multi-billion dollar success story and grossed more than the film industry from a niche audience alone is ridiculous. Obviously, CNN sees gaming’s new and interactive media as a threat and is trying once again to discredit it. However, all they have done is expose their own bias.

I could write a 2000 word essay disproving these claims, but CNN is an ancient, judgmental piece of media which doesn’t deserve much attention. While I have brought this story to attention, it’s only to outline how cringeworthy many of the mainstream media outlets are. In an era where Reddit, Twitter and community media becomes more important, traditional news sources try to do anything to hold onto power.

VG247 Journalist Mistakes Uncharted 2 for Uncharted 4

Video gaming journalism isn’t the most trustworthy of professions and consumers can be incredibly skeptical of any professional critique from mainstream outlets. There can be a stark contrast between press review scores and user opinions, as shown by Mad Max. However, this is nothing compared to the absolute incompetence and tomfoolery which occurred in an Uncharted 4 preview by VG247.com. Despite being one of the gaming industry’s major websites, the article’s writer staggeringly mistook Uncharted 2 HD for Uncharted 4. Even more hilarious, the original article contains a sentence which reads:

“….Uncharted veteran in me immediately shimmied a sign post and leapt through a hole in a nearby wall.”

It does seem a little bit suspect that an “Uncharted veteran” couldn’t distinguish between 4’s press demo and the most successful game in the series. VG247 has removed the original article, but the internet never forgets so here is an archived version. Throughout the piece, there are criticisms about the game being “too formulaic” and overly similar to the previous games; the amount of irony here is just unbelievable.

VG247’s Editor Matt Martin, issued a statement and apologized for the misleading information:

“We’d like to apologise to Naughty Dog for a massive mistake we published last month.”

“On September 30 we published an article titled “Is Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End too formulaic?” based on what we thought was a hands-on session with Uncharted 4 at the Tokyo Game Show.”

“We didn’t realise it at the time; what we’d played wasn’t Uncharted 4, but the remastered Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, from the recently released Uncharted Collection. We were not aware of this until after the article went live.”

While some very loyal readers are defending this absurd situation, it’s one of the largest blunders I’ve seen in a long time. Surely, anyone who has invested time in Uncharted 2 can instantly recognize certain levels, voice acting or gameplay segments (or the title at that start – Pete). The traditional gaming press is struggling to compete with YouTube personalities and community media is becoming more popular via streaming. Honestly, this gives the impression that the writer is clueless and hasn’t actually played any of the Uncharted franchise. Also, the editor should have noticed this fairly quickly which shows a lack of care.

Thank you VG247 for providing us with this information.

Metal Gear Solid V Reviews Conducted Under Konami Supervision

Metal Gear Solid V’s embargo has finally been lifted and the game is receiving astonishing high acclaim including perfect 10/10 scores. However, evidence disclosed by GamesRadar provides an insight into the review process which imposed a number of clear restrictions. The journalist assigned to Metal Gear Solid V said:

“For fear of spoilers, Konami invited journalists to review the game at five-day ‘boot camps’ tied to strict NDAs (non-disclosure agreements). We played between 9am to 5pm, with no unsupervised play outside these hours.”

“That’s a maximum play time of 40 hours, assuming no stoppages for eating, drinking, stretching… or reality. So you’re trying to complete a 35-50 hour game (or longer, depending on your play style and the nature of your ‘completion’… I can’t say more), that you’ve been anticipating for five years, in a realistic window of 30-35 hours.”

“On one hand, you’re finally immersed in one of the deepest, most experimental, open-worlds in history – overwhelmed by side-missions, upgrades and secrets – on the other, haunted by a tick-tock race to reach the ‘end’ without knowing when that is.”

Honestly, I don’t feel very comfortable about only allowing reviews to occur under close watch. While, I’m sympathetic toward Konami’s position and acknowledge they are trying to protect the game’s story, you cannot conduct reviews in such a closed manner. Gaming journalists are extremely distrusted by consumers and events like this will do little to alleviate people’s perceptions.

In a similar vein to QA testing, the experience of playing a game watched by its creators, means you are less inclined to express criticism. I do believe Metal Gear Solid V will be a classic, but the reviews could be quite hyperbolic in nature due to the “boot camp” setup.

Do you feel slightly misled by the Metal Gear V review strategy?

Thank you GamesRadar for providing us with this information.

Indie Dev Will no Longer Offer Free Press Copies

Paul Stephen-Davis, the CEO of Retro Army Limited, has announced the company will no longer provide review codes to press outlets. This decision comes after a wave of scammers and key resellers exploited the developer and pretended to be a legitimate website. Indie developers struggle to deal with the PR side given their limited budget and the line between press and consumer has become quite vague in recent years. Now, each developer has to judge if a Twitch streamer, YouTuber or print press are eligible for press copy and the numbers of requests have risen exponentially.

As a result, I greatly sympathize with his position and feel too many “press” are being allowed access to pre-release games. Currently, many reviews come from individuals with another job who don’t invest their full-time into this career path. I believe, press keys should only be provided to “professional” reviewers who do this as their sole means of a living. The developer argues:

“Personally I think it’s unfair to players that buy the game when others(reviewers) are getting it for free.”

“Our main policy is to protect and take care of our players first.”

This is where I disagree with the comments made, and in quite a strong fashion. While being a member of the full-time professional press is possible, it’s very unlikely in 2015. Most reviewers are unpaid, on a pitiful wage or rely on Patreon funding. It’s absurd to ask reviewers to fund their the cost of reviews considering they are usually giving their time and expertise for free. Most job listings for a gaming website describe a review position as voluntary and argue compensation is provided through game codes and access to press events.

Consumers might be irked that the press receive games for free, but the reality is they are on a much higher wage than 99.9% of the gaming press. Writing is a 7-day a week, demanding job without 9-5 office hours. Unfortunately, the reputation of gaming journalists is atrocious and some of the perceptions are valid. Members of the press can lash out on social media or have potentially biased relationships without disclosing any information prior to publishing.

To reiterate, I understand how frustrating this must be for indies, but they must realize how difficult it is to forge a career in the gaming media. Ironically, low-medium tier press have virtually no money and work on a smaller budget than a tiny studio. In an ideal world, I would like the most talented and insightful journalists to be paid a good, living wage. However, with reducing ad-revenue, community media and Adblock, it seems this could be a dying art-form.

Do you think games critics should receive titles for free?

Super Trench Attack 2 is currently available from Steam for £4.99 and is a survival turn-based squad game set in a fictional world war setting.

Uber Banned in Delhi Following Alleged Rape by Driver

The Delhi transport department has banned the popular ride sharing service following allegations of rape by an Uber driver. The male driver allegedly raped a 25-year-old female passenger on Friday.

Shiv Kumar Yadav was previously arrested for rape in 2011, but charges were dropped following a settlement between him and the alleged victim.

The news comes as a significant blow for Uber in India, a country where the ride sharing app has been growing quickly. India’s economic status combined with the easy business opportunities and subsequent cheap fairs that Uber can deliver, makes the service ideal for the country. The loss of the service in Delhi will bo doubt hamper that growth.

A statement from Uber’s CEO, delivered before the ban, made suggestions that Uber’s plans for background checks were to be more comprehensive than those already delivered by the Indian government in their own “commercial transportation licensing programs”.

“We will work with the government to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs. We will also partner closely with the groups who are leading the way on women’s safety here in New Delhi and around the country and invest in technology advances to help make New Delhi a safer city for women.” – Travis Kalanick

Uber has had a pretty rough time recently, with allegations of spying, supposed plans to “dig up dirt” on journalists and opposition from governments and the transportation industry.

Source: Gizmodo

‘God View’ and Other Uber Scandals This Week

This week has been a bad week for Uber, the car sharing service.

First, Uber executive Emil Michael, caused a stir when he suggested paying “professional journalists” $1 million to dig up dirt on other journalists who were saying bad things about the company. Nicole Campbell wrote for the Huffington Post about how she was at a dinner with Emil when she heard his suggestion.

“Emil flippantly said he could hire professional journalists for $1 million to get the expertise to make sure that they could respond when negative articles come out.”

If things couldn’t get any worse, a new story revealed that Uber executives have access to a secret ‘God View’ that allows them to track individual cars and even users of the app. A BuzzFeed reporter said that during a visit to Uber’s offices, she was told that she’d been tracked before her arrival.

“Early this November, one of the reporters of this story, Johana Bhuiyan, arrived to Uber’s New York headquarters in Long Island City for an interview with Josh Mohrer, the general manager of Uber New York. Stepping out of her vehicle — an Uber car — she found Mohrer waiting for her. “There you are,” he said, holding his iPhone and gesturing at it. “I was tracking you.”

The news has led to some suggesting a boycott of the service, while others are questioning the overly hubris or big-headed nature of Uber and its executives.

Source: Huffington Post, BuzzFeed