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The Truth About Gamespot

Posted on Friday, November 30 @ 19:18:37 Eastern by Duke_Ferris
As some of you may have heard, Gamespot has terminated their long-time reviewer Jeff Gerstmann, ostensibly over his Kane & Lynch review, and Eidos subsequently pulling their advertising dollars.

It's impossible for a company as large as C-Net (Gamespot's corporate overlords) to keep such a thing completely quiet, and I have sources that confirm that this is in fact true.

That's really a shame, and it puts Gamespot into an awkward identity crisis. I generally trust Gamespot's reviews over most other sites. I find them to be tedious and boring, but in the end, usually accurate. Or at least I used to.

IGN got caught last year changing scores for Nintendo games, just as Nintendo announced that the Wii would license IGN's Gamespy service. Play magazine's reviews range from fluffy to cuddly, and Game Informer has all the journalistic integrity of this prostitute.

So will GR end up the last bastion of honesty? If so, will we lose our advertisers?

I myself was unfavorably compared to Jeff in the deluge of hate mail I received for my Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess review. And I am told that he was not fired for giving the game a 6, but that it was his "tone". Admittedly it's a little mean.

Of course we're no strangers to mean at GR, recently comparing the Beowulf game to poisonous, off-brand, Chinese cough syrup, just for example.

But that's almost worse because the Gamespot writers are now unsure what it is that they can write and what will get them fired. Are Gamespot reviews going to get even blander? Is that possible?

However, I promise you the timing of all this is no coincidence.

Game publishers used to be very professional, taking bad scores in stride and moving on. But as the stakes have grown, they are clearly now trying to see how far they can flex their muscles to control the criticism industry. I rarely used to get calls or emails from publishers, complaining about the grades we give and demanding new reviews. However, in the last year, it has become almost commonplace.

Just a few days ago, another, different C-Net editor phoned me to confirm a number of facts because of all the abuse he was taking from publishers over low scores.

So Gamespot management has clearly been taking a lot of heat from publishers and advertisers. For example, I am told that Sony was quite upset over the 7.5 score for Ratchet & Clank Future, and so losing all of Eidos' ad dollars was clearly the final straw. It was also the final nail in Jeff's coffin.

Don't get me wrong, there may have been a number of other reasons to fire Jeff Gerstmann. I am told he wasn't the best worker, or their most talented writer. You may be a fan of his or you may not.

However, firing him specifically over Kane & Lynch was a stupid mistake on the part of his bosses. It has undermined Gamespot's credibility and disheartened the staff. Apparently, the Gamespot and Eidos forums are getting hammered by angry gamers.

Come to think of it, Gamespot might actually see more traffic because of the controversy. At least for today. But what about tomorrow?



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