Michael takes games journalists to task for relying too much on publishers to break news to their readers. He urges us to continue the ethics conversation that began in the wake of the Games Media Awards and the Spike TV Video Game Awards scandals. What do you think?
Deadpool is finally out on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. GamesBeat’s Mike Minotti already has the Deadpool review up, and Giancarlo Valdes gave us the low down in his preview back in May. As for me, I’ve yet to have a crack at Deadpool in full; although, I did play the demo when it had its worldwide premier at MCM London Comic Con.
For those who don’t know, MCM London Comic Con is one of the largest multigenre expos in Europe. Located in the heart of the British capital, the expo is a haven for indie comic book creators, cosplayers, merchandise peddlers, and gamers.
Opening on May 24, this year’s MCM London was mostly ignored by the gaming press due to the build-up surrounding E3 2013. As a result, a lot of genuine video game news that came from the expo fell through the gaps and never made it to print whether online or offline. I did my piece as a press badge holder and attempted to scribble as many new details and record as many conversations as I could.
But one month later, I noticed something odd happening.
On June 18, video game industry press release resource Games Press posted up a series of poster-like images from publisher Activision. Each image showed off one of three Marvel characters set to appear in Deadpool: Domino, Psylocke, and Rogue. As I looked over the assets, déjà vu struck, and I was left wondering whether I’d seen these allegedly brand new images somewhere before.
A few hours to a few days after seeing the images appear on Games Press, news posts started appearing across the internet specifically focusing on Rogue’s appearance in the upcoming Deadpool game. Again, déjà vu. I couldn’t possibly have known something about Deadpool before the gaming press did, could I?
And then it struck me. The MCM London Comic Con.
Publishers deliver news directly to video games journalism’s doorstep
A little while later, my suspicions were confirmed. The official show guide to MCM London contained both a write-up of Deadpool as well as a full-page advert for the game, both of which clearly showed Deadpool himself as well as Cable, Wolverine, Psylocke, Domino, and, as I has suspected, Rogue.
A quick look with your favorite search engine will find many of the biggest outlets in video games journalism reporting on the Rogue news directly after that information had been given to them by Activision. But the truth of the matter is that the very same information had been made freely available to the public weeks before. One month before to be exact.
Activision sent out the Rogue images on June 18 while MCM Buzz made the digital version of the MCM London show guide available on May 18. Check out the show guide yourself, and turn to page 56 for the Deadpool write-up and page 73 for the full-page advert.
The discussion needs to continue
We all remember the Games Media Awards fiasco, where journalists were caught tweeting out an advertisement for a chance to win a PS3. We all remember Geoff Keighley, surrounded by Mountain Dew and Doritos ads, representing video games journalism at the Spike TV Video Game Awards. At the time, a lot of us had something to say as can be seen in this pre-GamesBeat Bitmob article. GamesBeat, as part of VentureBeat, responded with its comprehensive ethics statement, with many other video game news outlets making similar amendments and overhauls to their codes of practice.
It’s hardly a fiasco that so many outlets failed to realise that Rogue would be in Deadpool until being directly told by Activision; however, it still highlights the over-reliance of games journalism on publishers. The discussion brought about by the events of the Games Media Awards and the Spike TV Video Game Awards needs to continue. Improvements need to be made. Games journalism still has a way to go before it becomes just that — journalism.