In this together...09 Mar 2016
I was fortunate enough to have a quick PR trip to the US last week, and it was kinda interesting. Normally I’d do anything to get out of PR, really not my bag, but when you’re the only person working on a game then there’s not much you can do to get out of it. (I’m trying to persuade my GF to be my PR stunt double if I have to do this in the future. We’ll see how that pans out.)
This time it was a couple of days in San Francisco followed by one in LA. I’ve been to both towns before so it’s not a big culture shock to be there, but it was interesting to hear the stories from the trenches about how affected everyone is on the press side of the business. One of the guys I was due to meet had been laid off two days before I landed, the big firms seemed to be downsizing, offices were being moved and there was palpable sense that a lot of change was happening.
I’m not surprised by any of that, it’s obvious that there’s been a seismic change to the game journalism landscape over the last 10 years - I’m constantly bemoaning the fact that my old magazines are no more - but as I mentioned in my previous post; YouTube and Twitch are really doing a number on the ‘video’ sites. I got to sniff a bit of it first hand last week.
Someone called this a race to the bottom. Maybe it is, at least in the sense that the amount you’re able to charge for writing about games is diminishing to zero for a lot of people. Video or bust… It’s just odd to hear that term applied to game critique instead of the price game developers can charge for their games. But yeah, maybe it makes sense that the two sides would be link the phrase in that way.
I’ve got to be honest, it’s not Gamespot that I’m going to miss (who would), it’s actual editorial. Opinion pieces. Someone taking the time to dig into a story and put together a thoughtful and insightful feature about it. Words on the screen or page that make me think and teach me things. The stuff magazines did, that websites kinda manage. When the story’s large, or funny enough. (I’m thinking Eurogamer, RPS and Godus-gate here).
On the flip-side I get to laugh at Videogamer.com, but we’re going to lose some really interesting voices from the web over the next few years.