Our philosophy since launch has been the same: to build a brand based on the concept of consumerism. We digest the games industry in the same way the people we want to trust us most do: as consumers. We have no relationships with games publishers, developers, PR people, or seedy staffers eager to pawn inside information. Heck, we even buy our own games!
That is not to insult the individuals that take a more traditional approach to reporting on games. They offer a valuable service to gamers and, in order to compete, are required to take advantage of certain opportunities available on the inside. That much, we can acknowledge.
But we feel there is just as much value in covering games as a consumer, a consumer who buys his or her own games, can’t afford to go to PAX once a year, is not treated by publishers to lavish gaming getaways, is not paid millions of dollars to plaster advertisements for the very product he or she is expected to critique on his or her homepage, and is not afraid to say a game sucks when it sucks regardless of whether Sega or Gearbox is responsible.
I don’t give a rodent’s caboose what anyone says, relationships between an industry and those covering that industry skew discourse to some degree whether or not this information is disclosed. In that regard, Netflix’s House of Cards is probably closer to the truth regarding the give and take relationship between mass media and Washington DC than anyone would like to admit. In the games industry there is a growing trend amongst gaming websites to strike deals with publishers to obtain and distribute to its viewership exclusive beta codes. The terms of such deals are often nebulous, but the implication is the same. Granted, I do not think there is some grand conspiracy surrounding games journalism. But there’s really no way to get away from it all except by actually making a concerted effort to get away from it all.
Which is exactly what we intend to do moving forward. Will our coverage suffer without freebies? We don’t think it will be better, or worse—just different. We will continue creating content from the perspective of consumers. It’s exciting to think about what the heck will happen when an organization is built from the ground up with this philosophy.
Yes, part of this “consumer based” approach is due to our own status as a fledgling yelp of a startup. We don’t have the numbers for anyone on the inside to give a poop about what we cover. So we cover what we like. We cover what we can afford and what we consider a good value. We talk about these games as individuals and friends, not on behalf of any other entity.
When I don my Editor in (Master) Chief hat, I feel it’s important to relay this message: we can’t guarantee much. We can only give our word that we’ll always be ourselves. It’s with that ideal that we strive for success in fostering a community of individuals who value such integrity. Yes, it’s an experiment. An experiment we desperately hope succeeds so we can all quit our day jobs and just talk about games forever.
That’s the Holy Grail, right?