Downfall of Gaming Journalism #1: The Curious Case of IGN

Posted in Home Furnishings, Local journalism, Uncategorized on September 30th, 2019 by Mason Fletcher
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Welcome to the first entry in a series ofrants entitled ‘The Downfall of Gaming Journalism’, and as the title suggests, these will be dedicatedto the vanishing credibility of a vanishing industry: Video Game Journalism. When I firstfired the opening salvos in my 4-year crusade against the depraved and incestuous covenof self-interest that is modern gaming journalism all the way back in 2009, I was, in fact,one of the few voices in video reviewing who were even troubling themselves to expend theeffort. A bandwagon that I’ve noticed is looking a little topheavy in recent years. Maybe it’sthe major controversies in the last couple years that arrived in the form of Mass Effect3 or Dragon Age 2 that have since shed further light on the autofellatial business modelof contemporary online journalism, but the simple fact remains that many of the samevoices who gleefully turned a blind eye to these issues in ’09 when I, and a handfulof others, first began shedding light on this issue – I won’t name names, but they rhymewith ‘Blangry Joe’ and ‘Potsie’! – have since boarded said bandwagon and regularly addressthese themes in their own programs.And I’m fine with that. I don’t feel I wasripped off because I’m not the only commentator addressing these issues, and I’m far fromthe first. But I do feel these people often fail to properly articulate and identify thetrue reasons behind them, and perhaps much more importantly… to be perfectly willingto name names and cite specific events. Which brings us… to our first subject:Ah, IGN. IGN is a living, breathing contradiction.Ostensibly, and in the eyes of many gamers, they’re often depicted as the ‘evil empire’of gaming journalism, but I think their sheer size, at times, also affords them some artisticlicense to occasionally tell half the fuckin’ truth. Because their advertising coffers arefar from anemic, they can – though they rarely do – afford to occasionally stand on principle:On the one hand, they weren’t shy from calling Final Fantasy XIV the putrescent turd it trulywas despite the obese advertising campaign Square Enix paid for on their site. But thenthey turn around and give Ace Combat Assault Horizon – one of the absolute worst arcadeflight sims in existence and far and away the worst game in the Ace Combat series – anappalling 7.5 out of 10.Or they tender Dragon Age 2 a shiny 8.5 out of 10. 8.9 to FinalFantasy XIII. A near perfect 9 out of 10 for Star Wars: The Old Republic… with an accompanyingmonth filled with articles extolling the virtues of the thoroughly vanilla MMORPG… while- ‘coincidentally’ – animated Old Republic banner advertisements swirl and pulsate inthe margins of the fucking page. But it’s the former, rather than the latter,that has become a truly ethically-dubious trend in recent years. Now, not only is theIGN webpage virtually wallpapered with advertisements in every conceivable location on the site,IGN editorial is now evidently instructing their reporters to drop what they’re doingand write fucking fluff pieces about said games to serve as glorified advertisementsthemselves! Mass Effect 3, early last year, was a particularly egregious exemplar, notleast of which due to the fact that an IGN employee was actually cast as a characterin the fucking game! Every day – and I counted – for a solid fucking month prior and subsequentto the game’s release, there were no fewer than two and no more than four Mass Effect3-related stories, largely consisting of masturbatory miscellany revealing little to no substantitveinformation about the game aside from the prevailing and inescapable implicit message:GO OUT AND BUY THIS FUCKING GAME SO HELP ME CHRIST! And if the fluff pieces themselvesfailed to communicate the message, the margins of the page would circumnavigate that subliminalthreshold with aplomb.Games with comparatively meager advertisingbudgets, for example Silent Hill: Downpour, which only placed an animated banner ad onIGN’s front page for less than a week prior and subsequent to its launch – yet which wasreleased just one week after Mass Effect 3, not only received less than 1/5th as muchnews coverage… but despite, in many peoples’ opinions, including mine, being a step inthe right direction for the series… received a comically-low score of 4.5 out of 10 fromIGN. Indeed, scoring even lower than IGN’s equally-comical 5.5 out of 10 score affordedDuke Nukem Forever! Skeptical?This… is what the IGN front page looked like in March of 2012.I mean, this… is what the page that contained IGN’s ‘objective’ review of Mass Effect 3looked like. And it’s still happening!Perk an ear and turn your gaze to IGN’s thoroughly-unbiased coverage of the Playstation 4! A system withouta price point and without a launch date…That is nevertheless – in the eternally-obliviousIGN writer Keza MacDonald’s own words – ‘Going to dominate the world.’ In the weeks leadingup to the PS4 launch event, there were as many as 7 PS4-related stories on a singlepage. And that was before we even had a date for the event! For the third-place consoleon the market! Conversely, it was recently revealed thatMicrosoft will be holding their own event. How many stories were Microsoft-related?!4. Over the course of seven fucking pages!No bias there! When it comes to Sony, IGN has generated morespin than a ballerina with vertigo! And – as, I’m sure, a complete coincidence… therehave been a glut of animated PS4 advertisements on IGN for at least the past week.This is a fucking abhorrent conflict of interest. This… is the new face of gaming journalism.And THIS… is IGN in a fucking nutshell! I’m RazrFist.God – fucking – SPEED!


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