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  1. #881
    Network Hub SirDavies's Avatar
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    How is this discussion still going? I think both points of view have been clearly and thoroughly explained. Some see a conflict of interest in the way games journalism works and some believe there isn't. I think you'll just have to agree to disagree... or you can keep making the same points over and over, whichever you prefer.

  2. #882
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    I suspect he probably did it for the page hits
    Which of course, is an actual conflict of interests.

  3. #883
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    I never commented on whether a conflict of interest exists in any of these cases, I simply felt the need to explain what a conflict of interest is. Since it was explained so poorly in this thread. I do NOT want to get involved in this debate. It's a pitiful effort from all sides, and I'm just going to assume that's because everyone with real points abandoned this thread 30 pages ago. Have fun, I'm out.

  4. #884
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritashi View Post
    I never commented on whether a conflict of interest exists in any of these cases, I simply felt the need to explain what a conflict of interest is. Since it was explained so poorly in this thread.
    It was explained adequately in the thread if you bothered reading it. Truth is 30 pages of this thread were spent on a fact finding exercise that was doomed from the start.

    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    Which of course, is an actual conflict of interests.
    This is a strange one. You cannot really presuppose a conflict from the relationship nor can you prove there was an actual conflict (in this case or any other, really).

  5. #885
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    This is a strange one. You cannot really presuppose a conflict from the relationship nor can you prove there was an actual conflict (in this case or any other, really).
    I disagree - it's a conflict that all games writers face all the time: delivering an accurate review to the reader versus delivering something that will improve your hits and hence ad revenues.

    It's easy to say the latter isn't something sites should be thinking about, but it absolutely is when choosing what games to cover, based on popularity and your target audience.

  6. #886
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    By "strange", i was rather asking myself the question: what sort of provision would you draft to prevent such a conflict? Unless you assume that game reviewers are inherently in a position of conflict (thereby killing the entire industry) it's hard to come up with anything.

    A similar problem crops up in the case of say, asset managers and their allegiance to their clients vs. themselves (so, due to commissions received for executed "trades", a position inherently open to abuse) but invariably the solution is to more accurately tie performance with reward i.e. commission based on client's capital gain. Problem is that there's no benchmark for "performance" in respect of game reviews. I suppose you could have a user rating system but...yeah, you get the concerns.

  7. #887
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    Seems like Lauren Wainwright's services were no longer required at MCV/Intent... or she was bringing them too much negative attention. Or, maybe, she realised her pernicious, malign, noxious actions for what they were, announced she wouldn't be leading the cheers any more, and they let her go as a result. She's no longer working for them. She was let go on Friday, apparently. Surprising... she seemed to be just what MCV would have wanted.

    The topic is also kicking off again after MCV published their "Hitman Absolution Review Round-up", the take home from which was "It's brilliant! Critics love it! EuroGamer are grumpy nobodies and gave it a bad review because they want the attention. Boo! Hss!". Cue some shouting from the Internet, and they've updated the review no less than 4 times with the other, non-positive reviews... which they had conveniently ignored until they were pointed out to them (that charge seemingly being led by John Walker). MCV aren't really enamouring themselves, what with their retweeting of sexual and aggressive dismissals, and refusal to make some sort of Mea Culpa.

    Edit: Here's the MCV Review roundup... didn't want to link it originally, because they might have to change the URL, again. They've already gone from "Critics Delighted with Hitman" to "Reviews Go Live for Hitman". You can also check John's twitter to see how it is unfolding or how it unfolded.

    http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/revie...lution/0106621
    Last edited by Unaco; 19-11-2012 at 03:34 PM.
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  8. #888
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    By "strange", i was rather asking myself the question: what sort of provision would you draft to prevent such a conflict? Unless you assume that game reviewers are inherently in a position of conflict (thereby killing the entire industry) it's hard to come up with anything.
    Well yeah, unless you go back to a system where users pay for the content they want it'll be an issue. I was more just trying to demonstrate what would actually be a conflict of interest versus what's just potential bias.

  9. #889
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unaco View Post
    Seems like Lauren Wainwright's services were no longer required at MCV/Intent... or she was bringing them too much negative attention. Or, maybe, she realised her pernicious, malign, noxious actions for what they were, announced she wouldn't be leading the cheers any more, and they let her go as a result. She's no longer working for them. She was let go on Friday, apparently. Surprising... she seemed to be just what MCV would have wanted.

    The topic is also kicking off again after MCV published their "Hitman Absolution Review Round-up", the take home from which was "It's brilliant! Critics love it! EuroGamer are grumpy nobodies and gave it a bad review because they want the attention. Boo! Hss!". Cue some shouting from the Internet, and they've updated the review no less than 4 times with the other, non-positive reviews... which they had conveniently ignored until they were pointed out to them (that charge seemingly being led by John Walker). MCV aren't really enamouring themselves, what with their retweeting of sexual and aggressive dismissals, and refusal to make some sort of Mea Culpa.

    Edit: Here's the MCV Review roundup... didn't want to link it originally, because they might have to change the URL, again. They've already gone from "Critics Delighted with Hitman" to "Reviews Go Live for Hitman". You can also check John's twitter to see how it is unfolding or how it unfolded.

    http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/revie...lution/0106621
    How DARE you score the game a 7??? Bunch of grumpy mothafuckas...

  10. #890
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    I think it's astonishingly nice of MCV to demonstrate they clearly ARE allowing commercial interests to influence what they write - I never doubted it for a second, I've never considered their opinion to be worth jack-shit - but it is nice they come out and make it obvious for the slower folks, isn't it?

  11. #891
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    Hilarious.

    Glad to hear wainright got sacked, with some luck she never gets to write for a review outlet again either and someone with some integrity who is in it for the art/passion and not for the leg up gets a chance to have a go now in her stead.

  12. #892
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finicky View Post
    Hilarious.

    Glad to hear wainright got sacked, with some luck she never gets to write for a review outlet again either and someone with some integrity who is in it for the art/passion and not for the leg up gets a chance to have a go now in her stead.
    She wasn't sacked. She was on her probationary period. I suspect with all the hooplah they opted to let her go, but still don't let that get in the way of your celebrating

    I think it's astonishingly nice of MCV to demonstrate they clearly ARE allowing commercial interests to influence what they write - I never doubted it for a second, I've never considered their opinion to be worth jack-shit - but it is nice they come out and make it obvious for the slower folks, isn't it?
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  13. #893
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    Penny Arcade Report has an article up on the latest MCV shenanigans. It includes this choice paragraph about previous shenanigans...

    French (Michael, MCV Editor in Chief) offered to speak on the phone about Lauren Wainwright’s Hitman story in the magazine and their lack of disclosure of her business relationship with Square Enix, but due to Intent Media’s past of pressuring outlets who are critical of MCV and the reports of their writers threatening litigation I responded that I would rather keep our communication in a format that gave me a written record. He then told me his previous comments weren’t meant for publication. (The words he used were “This isn’t a comment, but I’ll run you through it.” Without being told explicitly that remarks aren’t for publication or are off the record, I consider them safe for publication.
    MCV have tried to defend themselves by pointing out they are more Trade focussed than Customer/Consumer focussed... but they're still presenting this false consensus of critic's opinions - whether that's to consumers/customers who are going to buy a copy of the game and be disappointed, or to retailers, who are going to buy lots of copies of the game, and not be able to sell them. At best it was a terribly researched article, that sought to round up the reviews for the game but completely failed to research and include a great, great number of those reviews. At worst it was an attempt to wilfully mislead their readers on the critical reaction to Absolution.
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  14. #894
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    At worst it was an attempt to wilfully mislead their readers on the critical reaction to Absolution.
    Because it's not like they couldn't just go to metacritic themselves? Oh no wait....

    http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-...man-absolution

    24 positive reviews. 7 mixed. and an average of 81. Hardly a critical failure.
    Last edited by Kadayi; 20-11-2012 at 02:03 PM.
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  15. #895
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    Well yeah, unless you go back to a system where users pay for the content they want it'll be an issue. I was more just trying to demonstrate what would actually be a conflict of interest versus what's just potential bias.
    I don't follow the argument. A constructive approach is to minimize conflict to the furthest extent possible. You pointed out an area where rules can't touch: and this is supposed to demonstrate that rules that deem conflict upon recognizing certain relationships as inadequate. But what would be even more inadequate is not having rules at all.

    Kadayi:

    You can't prove a thing in any one of these cases. No matter how "obvious" things may seem you are still arguing against opinion. For the record I don't even disagree with your assessment of Sterling's review - it's just impossible to prove and you'd run into problems justifying why a review like that should be taken out. Better to filter out problems in the first place.

  16. #896
    Lesser Hivemind Node RobF's Avatar
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    Well, they could just go to Metacritic themselves but perhaps the buyers aren't the kind of people who read Metacritic? I doubt they read MCV alone but I think it's a hefty assumption to assume that man in suit who buys videogames for stores is man in suit who necessarily plays and loves videogames. And as MCV is delivered to a whole heap of retail stores (and no doubt offices to boot), whether they could go elsewhere or not doesn't really matter.

    (I have no idea if the roundup is web only or makes it to print, don't really have much need for trade press delivered to my house or anything but I'm fairly certain if you're a buyer, Intent's intent would be for you to read their website also)

    So you're left with a weird situation where fixing the review round up to a more positive spin, no matter how well intentioned, well, you throw into question how exactly a trade newspaper is supporting the trade there, yeah? I mean, what if I read that and ordered 300 copies of Hitman Absolution right now thinking "yes! it's a hit!" and then I'm stuck with 297 because it turns out the public agree with the mediocre reviews and avoid, avoid, avoid? Is it my fault for not doing more research? Most probably yes! Would it still be partially MCV's fault? Yes, definitely also.

    Setting it aside from corruption or collusion allegations, without the corrections that journalists pretty much forced, it would certainly have been a failure to be honest with their target market and were I a buyer relying on this sort of information, I'd have a furrowed brow right now.
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  17. #897
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    I don't follow the argument. A constructive approach is to minimize conflict to the furthest extent possible. You pointed out an area where rules can't touch: and this is supposed to demonstrate that rules that deem conflict upon recognizing certain relationships as inadequate. But what would be even more inadequate is not having rules at all.

    Kadayi:

    You can't prove a thing in any one of these cases. No matter how "obvious" things may seem you are still arguing against opinion. For the record I don't even disagree with your assessment of Sterling's review - it's just impossible to prove and you'd run into problems justifying why a review like that should be taken out. Better to filter out problems in the first place.
    I just don't get Kadayi in this thread. On one hand he dismisses the complaints against MCV/Lauren/Eurogamer.fr, because there is not enough proff. And OTOH he calls Jim Sterling a biased reviewer just because he give K&L a low score(without solid proff, just guess). It's like the whiners on reverse, he will just bitch about critics when they give games low scores lolz.

    About the K&E2 review: The main complaint from jim is the difficulty of the game with is just false(and he suck at games, see his Witcher 2 review). K&E2 have the same difficulty of GOW or a COD game. He specifically complains that the AI is trying to kill him lol. The complaint about checkpoints leaving the player in ambushes is false too. There is also a bug in the cover system in one stage that he just "forgot" to mention...

    There is a lot of sample bias there(that can't be proved because opinions and relativists), like when he complains that the game is too short(that would be a positive, since the game is so shit no?) and then praises a game like MW3 for BEING SHORT:

    As always, the single-player mode is but a five-hour romp, but its length is more than enough to present a thrilling, adrenaline-pumping sequence of high-speed shootouts across a wide variety of locations around the world.
    He will also says that the story in K&L2 is shit, while at the same time praising a shit story like MW3:

    As one of those rare sorts who enjoys Modern Warfare the most for its narrative campaign, I can confirm that this concluding story in the saga is a satisfactory one.
    Last edited by dnf; 20-11-2012 at 04:09 PM.

  18. #898
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf View Post
    I just don't get Kadayi in this thread. On one hand he dismisses the complaints against MCV/Lauren/Eurogamer.fr and OTOH he calls Jim Sterling a biased reviewer just because he give K&L a low score. It's like the whiners on reverse, he will just bitch about critics when they give games low scores lolz.
    To be fair, the "whiners" were being reactionary because they viewed the industry as working on a four-point scale, too timid to give truly damning reviews because they were too beholden to publisher gifts and advertising money.

    As such, a new generation of reviewers started proving their mettle by making a point of being merciless - that's Sterling's and Croshaw's claims to fame, after all - but now they're receiving flak for being too negative because they might hurt the feelings of fans of those games. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
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  19. #899
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    To be fair, the "whiners" were being reactionary because they viewed the industry as working on a four-point scale, too timid to give truly damning reviews because they were too beholden to publisher gifts and advertising money.

    As such, a new generation of reviewers started proving their mettle by making a point of being merciless - that's Sterling's and Croshaw's claims to fame, after all - but now they're receiving flak for being too negative because they might hurt the feelings of fans of those games. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
    The "harsh critics" and "normal critics" are the same to me. Bunch of guys that don't provide valid arguments to prove if a game is good\bad\meh... K&L2 is obviously a bad game, but Jim's reasoning is just laughable...

  20. #900
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf View Post
    The "harsh critics" and "normal critics" are the same to me. Bunch of guys that don't provide valid arguments to prove if a game is good\bad\meh... K&L2 is obviously a bad game, but Jim's reasoning is just laughable...
    I don't remember his review and I don't care, because I hold my own counsel on K&L2, but I get your point on how an act when it comes to negativity is still just an act - look at the Angry Video Game Nerd, after all.

    That said, though, I think the best practice is to treat opinion as aggregate yet unquantifiable: Reading a lot of reviews is better than searching for a median number, even if each individual review is itself less than stellar when it comes to reasoning and writing quality.

    But that's another topic.
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