Here is an interesting take on the GamerGate situation with Slate concluding how irrelevant Game Journalism has become. It’s not that GamerGate has shown that Game Journalism has become irrelevant, it is that not even The Hardcorez will be influenced by Game Journalism.
The Wii succeeded in SPITE of Game Journalism. I remember. I was there! Nintendo specifically drew non-game journalists to review the Wii. While Game Journalists poo-pooed games like Wii Sports (I think IGN gave it a 70%), actual people LOVED the game. The Wii revealed a HUGE DISCONNECT between Game Journalism and gamers (Wii users were gamers). Remember when IGN just bashed the hell out of NSMB Wii only to have the game be a SMASH hit and sell four million Wiis in America during December 2009? Game Journalism was not successful in influencing anyone about the Wii. The Wii succeeded despite what Game Journalism said.
Why does Game Journalism exist in the first place? It is to influence consumers. The purpose of the Game Journalist is to sell the consumer to the game company. “Here is our preview. OMG! This game is SO AWESOME. You better pre-order this latest Greatest Game Ever From The Game Industry!”
Game Journalism is big fat failure on all sectors except one… the hardcore gamer. The hardcore gamer was the only one who still believed ‘the hype’. Even I would observe that the hardcore gamer is the most easily manipulated type of gamer there is. The hardcore gamer can easily be manipulated to buy ‘special editions’ of games they already own, DLC of horse armor, buy games they don’t play, etc. etc. etc.
The question no one in GamerGate is asking, but should, is “Why did game journalists think they could get away with declaring gamers to be dead?” It is because they have been so successful in manipulating hardcore gamers about everything else. That Shigeru Miyamoto is A GOD. That the PS2 is ‘more powerful’ than the Gamecube. That the Wii and DS succeeded because of ‘casuals’ (what is a casual game?) yet anyone with an ounce of gaming history knows that the Gameboy owes its life to Tetris and Pokemon, that the home console owes its life to Space Invaders and Super Mario Brothers, and that the arcades owe its life to Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. NOT Defender. NOT Dark Souls. NOT Phantasy Stars. NOT Halo. NOT GTA. The top MMORPG is World of Warcraft for a reason.
Before, game journalists filled a role of connecting the game companies to the audience. With the Internet, the game journalists’ job has become automated. We don’t need game journalists to do that. Instead of previewing something for one person, the game company can send the demo out over the Internet to anyone. I think the reason why game journalists began to offer more and more cultural commentary is because their role was becoming less and less.
Does anyone even care about game journalism reviews anymore?
Gaming will still go on. Game Journalists will not. And good riddance at that.