For much of late November and early December, the online gaming
press was focussed on the issues surrounding the firing
of former GameSpot editor Jeff
Gerstmann and the resulting
fallout. Websites covered and discussed the “separation of church-and-state”
with regards to sales and editorial, exposing some of the less admirable
tactics used by games publishers to promote their products.
With the lead time associated with print, magazines are now
joining the fray. In an upcoming issue of Electronic
Gaming Monthly (EGM), editor-in-chief Dan Hsu reveals in his editorial that
his magazine is also a victim of publisher arm-twist tactics.
Hsu reveals that several publishers have reached a point
where they are no longer willing to support EGM
due to the magazine’s less than favorable review history of certain products. According
Game Media Watch, Hsu called out specifically Midway’s Mortal Kombat
development team, Sony’s sports game division, and Ubisoft – all which have allegedly
banned EGM from further coverage of
Despite the attitude of the named publishers, Hsu said that EGM “won’t treat these products or
companies any differently.”
Although the situation that Hsu describes is bad, it’s still
not quite as ugly as what may (or conversely, may not) have gone down at GameSpot last year. It’s one thing for a
publisher to stop supporting a magazine with information, but it’s an entirely
larger problem when a publisher can influence editorial decisions with the lure
of advertising dollars.