Steam Curators: Paid Endorsements Must Be Disclosed

I wrote half an editorial about my concerns with the new Steam Curator system (which RPS is on. We recommend a new game almost every day, so give it a follow if that sounds useful to you) last week, but trashed it because it was full of speculative hand-wringing about worst-case scenarios. Paid endorsements, games being left off the biggest curation lists because critics hadn’t played them or disliked their creators, devs getting even less front page Steam attention because they hadn’t bent the right ears, fascinating specialist lists being drowned out by the front page, that sort of thing.

A lot of scope to go wrong, basically, but who knows? Like so much of what Valve make, it’s going to be in flux for a fair while yet, and I couldn’t begin to predict its final form. The first big change has happened already, and it’s that anyone who’s been paid to endorse a game must now disclose it.

While, as you may know (and by God I envy you if you don’t), a number of games sites – including us, entirely unfairly – have been suffering massed but unsubstantiated accusations of corruption over the last month, there seem to be few such concerns about prominent YouTubers being paid by developers and publishers to make enthusiastic videos about their games, with varying degrees of openness. We’re even seeing big channels directly taking a cut of sales from games they recommend now.

A whole lot of money is being made in exchange for promotion, and it’s not always apparent when that’s the case. Whether the role of a games journalist and the role of a video entertainer are sufficiently far apart to justify such wildly differing business practices is a matter of some debate. Different strokes, different folks. Valve, however, do appear to have some reservations about games media’s latest wild west.

While they’ve stopped short of disallowing paid endorsements on Steam Curation, they have now announced that these sorts of deals must be revealed. Here’s the word: “If you’ve accepted money or other compensation for making a product review or for posting a recommendation, you must disclose this fact in your recommendation.”

What happens in the event someone’s caught not ‘fessing up is not detailed, nor is there clarification on if this explicitly refers to just the recommendations themselves, or also to linked videos or articles which are not deemed to be ‘reviews’ by their creators. Plenty of grey area remains, though that it remains illegal to post unmarked advertorial in the UK (see point 11 here) and other countries may lead to further tightening up of Steam’s rules.

If nothing else, it’ll be fascinating to see how often these disclosures do appear, simply to perhaps get a better sense of what the balance between enthusiasm and business is for the big channels. It is a new frontier out there, and I’m sure I’m not alone in not yet entirely understanding how it all operates.

It should go without saying that we never have and never would be paid to recommend anything, but you knew that already. Everything on our own Steam Curator page is there because of personal enthusiasm from one or more of our writers.

I hope it’s a useful resource for you, and please do let me know how it can be more useful. I’ll be damned if I know what the whole system will eventually evolve into, however.

270 Comments

  1. LegendaryTeeth says:

    I’m not sure it would be good or not, but it certainly be interesting if curators got a small percentage of the sale if someone following their list bought a game on it. Perhaps the user would be given the choice of which recommendation(s) sold it.

    • phelix says:

      I think it would be a bad thing, because it changes the role of the curator from (imo) an indepent entity giving honest recommendations, to basically an advertiser; such a system only rewards singing praise to the highest bidder, which I think is not what a curator is supposed to do.

    • Crainey says:

      Seems like too much of a trap to me. Affiliation programs are one thing, they are transparent, but this is another. I don’t think curators expect anything in return for making these lists other than to push their own brand.

    • BlackAlpha says:

      That would be very horrible. Curators would do everything in their power to sell you a product, so that the curator can make more money. The word curator would become a synonym for advertiser.

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      lasikbear says:

      I feel like that would just incentivize curators to recommend games based on how well they believe they would sell. Who cares if $2 indie game with niche appeal is interesting, it’s not going to make as much money as recommending $60 AAA game.

    • golem09 says:

      So you WANT every curator on steam recommending every single CoD?

    • Baines says:

      The idea of giving curators a cut of profits is somewhat similar to what Gabe Newell originally described nearly two years ago, when he talked about turning Steam into an API with user-created storefronts. One of Newell’s relevant quotes: “If you have a collection of games that you own and you play, and one of your friends decides to buy a game through your trivially created store, then you should get a percentage of that revenue

      I can only assume that Valve rethought the idea in the intervening couple of years, because the curator system obviously isn’t the system of user-created stores with user-set pricing that Newell envisioned for Steam back then.

    • Borodin says:

      No. No. No no no no.

      Our desires are under daily assault from everywhere and everyone who wants our money.

      Please let our opinions be our own.

  2. vecordae says:

    But will they make curators reveal if they are or are not involved in a wide-ranging sex-piracy to take video games away from neckbeards?

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Actually, that’s a good idea! I might sell out if sex-piracy is involved. Ladies?

      …well?

      …no?

      Then my opinions shall remain pure.

    • Lawful Evil says:

      “neckbeards”

      What are you? A teenager?

      • Jeroen D Stout says:

        That or someone who shaves his neck, I suppose.

      • vecordae says:

        No.

        • Borodin says:

          Not a teenager then, but someone who knows their own thoughts and can put them into words with clarity.

        • Lawful Evil says:

          Then you should stop speaking as one. “Neckbeards” is an argument now?

          • thebigJ_A says:

            More of an insult.
            And sure, taking the high road and all, but it’s hard to say they’ve not warranted insulting speech (the ‘neckbeards’, I mean).

  3. MuscleHorse says:

    I refuse to look at the curators section as Steam keeps recommending Total Biscuit to me and I want to live in a universe where he never existed.

      • vecordae says:

        Well, that made my day.

        • Philotic Symmetrist says:

          Did MuscleHorse even mention TotalBiscuit? I thought he was talking about TotalBiscuit’s more Sci-fi focused evil twin?

      • Chalky says:

        I on the other hand, after not having watched anything from TotalBiscuit in quite some time, ended up watching his Shadow of Mordor review after steam pointed me at it and I rather enjoyed it.

        Swings and roundabouts, eh?

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          Conversely, I never watched a Total Biscuit video, set Steam to go to the library instead of the store, and thus effectively live in a word where Total Biscuit doesn’t exist. Or at least a word where Total Biscuit is a dude wot made a one-word post in RPS once.

      • BooleanBob says:

        Bam!

      • Borodin says:

        I think it’s highly unlikely that Total Biscuit would link to wcradio.com.

        Can we have some moderation here please RPS?

        • Stupoider says:

          wcradio.com was Warcraft Radio, an online radio station that TB was a part of back when WoW was relevant. I miss those late nights.

    • Ross Angus says:

      If you say his name three times into a mirror, he appears inside your head and narrates your life.

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      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Ditto Jim Sterling.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I definitely want my Steam experience filtered by someone who regularly flails away at games with no idea of what he’s doing. And I say this as someone who subscribes to/enjoys his videos.

      • hackmastergeneral says:

        So I take it you don’t have Jesse Cox as your curator then? :-)

  4. evileeyore says:

    “While, as you may know (and by God I envy you if you don’t), a number of games sites – including us, entirely unfairly – have been suffering massed but unsubstantiated accusations of corruption over the last month…”

    So then no one from RPS was a member of GameJournoPros?

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      The public has a RIGHT to know if JOURNALISTS sent EMAILS to their COLLEAGUES

    • Baines says:

      Yeah, there were plenty of potential corruption issues brought up in that whole mess, not just the initial act involving the person that we aren’t allowed to mention on RPS or the act that we aren’t allowed to mention on RPS, which were ultimately pretty minor.

      RPS was pretty happen to embrace censorship, for example. Saying RPS was “entirely unfairly” is potentially inaccurate and unfair, particularly since anyone objecting to the claim risks seeing posts nuked.

      EDIT: And saying it that way doesn’t actually make RPS look any better, regardless of whether or not RPS was entirely innocent.

      • Gap Gen says:

        The sad thing is that the Doritosgate issue barely registered on social media, but a female developer sleeps with a journalist and suddenly the floodgates open. I think people would be a lot more sympathetic to arguments about corruption in games journalism, of which there are many valid complaints, if it wasn’t so closely linked to this fear of making gaming culture more inclusive, or to high-profile people who are happy to join in with harassment of women. Reporters attending lavish corporate events can raise valid questions about the relationship between the press and what they are trying to cover, and hell, sure, even close personal links between reporters and indie devs without a huge PR budget should at least be declared (and they often are in RPS, see the recent Heat Signature coverage) but for all the noise made about corruption most of the noise is directed towards those sites trying to effect social change towards a community that’s more welcoming to women and minority groups. Personally I think that’s severely hurting any positive message that might come out of this thing, and if I were worried about corruption I’d be hesitant to throw my lot in with a movement that expends so much energy beating on women. For all the fear that the community of gaming is under threat, the actual threat against women worldwide and in the gaming community is much greater than that against people who like to call themselves gamers.

        • Ross Angus says:

          Here here.

        • WrenBoy says:

          but a female developer sleeps with a journalist and suddenly the floodgates open.

          Is it that you’ve never heard of the Streisand effect or that you think it somehow doesn’t apply in this case?

          • pepperfez says:

            Are you saying Gameghazi’s targets should be grateful for the attention or?

          • WrenBoy says:

            Are you saying Gameghazi’s targets should be grateful for the attention or?

            What?

          • Muzman says:

            Pepperfez I believe is repositioning the Gamersgate biz as roughly equivalent to the way pundits and demagogues bang on about the Benghazi incident and how the Obama administration didn’t label it terrorism right away and some other stuff.

            Basically a non issue kept alive by constant repetition and lockstep political loyalty, terrible misinformation and sometimes outright lies. It’s astroturf controversy.

            A bit too clever by half to get the point across, but not a bad comparison on the whole. Gamersgate learned all its tricks from Glen Beck, the Tea Party and climate change deniers.

          • pepperfez says:

            Do you know, I’ve always had the wrong idea what the Streisand effect is? I always understood it as “scandal around a work will bring it to a wider audience.” So I’m very sorry I read you so uncharitably, and thank you for improving my cultural awareness. ED: Ahaha, thanks Muzman for giving me more credit than I deserve.

            As an answer to the question you actually asked, I’d say that there was no effort to suppress a story, just the usual prohibition on harassment and the unauthorized sharing of personal information. That’s the thing: This whole debacle began when games sites refused to help bitter onanist Eron Gjoni hurt his ex.The ex post facto claims that reviews had been affected were obviously false, so why should anyone report on the non-storiness of a non-story?

          • WrenBoy says:

            @pepperfez

            No worries. Its actually one of those nice concepts which help you understand the world better.

            Regarding ZQ, its definitely a shitty move by the obviously bitter ex and I wasn’t in the slightest bit expecting RPS to actually report on it. The only reason I even know about it though is because it was being suppressed, and it was unarguably being suppressed. Its wishful thinking to say otherwise.

            All I was originally planning on posting on an RPS forum thread was what a dick the Eron guy was and how very unlikely the conspiracy theories were. After it got the mother of all Streisand effects though plently of interesting and worrying practices of the gaming press emerged (admittedly a lot of nonsense has also emerged) and depressingly the gaming press has decided to concentrate purely on the behavior of spiteful idiots instead of turning a mirror on themselves. Obviously the behaviour of spiteful idiots who are part of the gaming press or even just on their side rarely get a look in.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @pepperfez

            No worries. Its actually one of those nice concepts which help you understand the world better.

            Regarding ZQ, its definitely a shitty move by the obviously bitter ex and I wasn’t in the slightest bit expecting RPS to actually report on it. The only reason I even know about it though is because it was being suppressed, and it was unarguably being suppressed. Its wishful thinking to say otherwise.

            All I was originally planning on posting on an RPS forum thread was [censored]

            Edit: I would have liked to politely flesh out this idea but I can’t seem to do so without triggering an auto moderator :(

          • pepperfez says:

            It was being suppressed, but not in any unusual or sinister way: It was a discussion of unwillingly-revealed personal information, which is against most sites’ user policies. So the practical effect of shutting down discussions is as may be, but I don’t think there were really other options. No site can be expected to host aggressive examinations of named individuals’ sex lives. I guess an explanation of how it wasn’t a matter of public import might have been a good idea, but it seems unlikely that would have made much difference.

          • Gap Gen says:

            It wasn’t suppressed so much as no-one reported it because it wasn’t news.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @pepperfez

            Discussion was probably banned out of a misguided attempt to help ZQ certainly. Obviously it had the opposite effect as can trivially be seen by this conversation. It should be easy to admit this was a mistake in hindsight at least. Who knows maybe even note the cause and effect for future reference.

            You’re kidding yourself when you think think that every major game site and forum, from reddit to 4chan, was shutting down discussion because they all had the same policy, all interpreted it the same way and all felt obliged to follow it strictly. Believe what you like of course but its clear to me that it was a misguided attempt to protect a friend.

            @Gap Gen

            Hopefully its clear that I’m talking about deleted comments, thread and the banning of users. Not the lack of reporting on ZQ. As I’ve already said it didn’t merit reporting by itself. The coverup was the interesting part.

            That being said, an intellectually honest reporting of gamergate would be interesting if unlikely.

          • Gap Gen says:

            Yeah, I admit I never tried to post about it so I don’t know what was deleted. I do know that my comments have failed the spam filter or been deleted for various reasons, none of which were nefarious. And again, underscoring all of this is my unease with a movement that apparently had no problem with the massive confluence of money and power in PR events, but somehow went ballistic when a woman slept with a man. Personally, I think it smacks of people hating that women have agency. I can understand why people might be upset when their comments are deleted, but I don’t think that particularly makes someone a martyr, or if it does, it’s the shittiest cause to be a martyr for in the world, like being cautioned by the police because I threw a tantrum in the supermarket over them running out of eggs.

          • pepperfez says:

            The universality of the cleanups really militates against the personal-connection explanation. Do you think the victims had favors to call in from every website in all corners of the internet (minus the Escapist, for whatever reason)? Like, the feminist maker of a weird game about mental illness shot a quick message to Moot saying, “Make them go away”?
            Sensible site operators would have been scared shitless at the sight of angry obsessives sharing (dishonestly obtained) sexual details, personal information, and nude photos of a basically-unknown woman on their premises. That’s the makings of stalking prosecutions and lawsuits, so of course they’d shut it down.
            That’s why sharing others’ personal information isn’t allowed — is highly disallowed — on most fora. Even /b/, home of anarchy, nihilism and stolen n00dz, prunes threads that share identifying information. It’s not out of charity. The sites were helping themselves by banning those discussions, because no one wants to run the place with the rape threats and raid plans (minus the Escapist, for whatever reason).

          • Baines says:

            (minus the Escapist, for whatever reason).

            The Escapist didn’t agree that shutting down discussion was the answer. The Escapist later suffered a DDoS attack (targeting the GamerGate forum) for taking that stance.

          • pepperfez says:

            Have you ever looked at the Escapist thread/chemical toilet on this disaster? Because after flipping through that, I am absolutely confident that suppressing this discussion is the right decision.

      • blind_boy_grunt says:

        one of these day i’d love one of you to stay on the point that is discussed. Here it is RPS’s corruption, right? Then stay on corruption (for which you have brought up no arguments btw), instead of complaining about closing comments on articles.

        • pepperfez says:

          You have to understand that they’re one and the same, because feminism and text-based games are

        • Baines says:

          One of the big issues was the possible news blackout of not just the initial incident, but which was also applied to everything that could be even remotely or tenuously connected to that incident.

          All the while there were games journalists saying “there is no story here” about everything, ignoring that a large-scale blanket dismissal itself was a story. Just as using the dismissive claim that “this isn’t about corruption” doesn’t do anything to counter the various issues of and perceptions of corruption or impropriety that had been raised. (Well, other than giving a thin excuse to try to sweep everything under the rug.)

          • pepperfez says:

            Their was no coverage of the ‘initial incident’ because it was an incident of a woman’s personal details being maliciously spread across the internet to abuse and harass her. Gaming sites didn’t report that because they didn’t want to be complicit in it because they’re run by fucking human beings with functional consciences. This isn’t a tough call, and it’s further evidence of the comprehensive moral bankruptcy of Gamegoons that they seem unable to understand it.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            What are you saying? That rps closes comments because the people accusing them, seem to not bring up valuable points except the incident which shall not be named (and which you called unimportant) in the most vile manner is proof that there is more to the story than what those people are able to bring up? Because there is no evidence there must be a conspiracy?

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            (my other comment is waiting in moderation, so i might be double posting)
            here is something, unless you’ve proven or at least given examples of the corruption of rps you are not allowed to make reasons like “because rps is corrupt this follows”

    • congenetic says:

      As you very well know, sir commenter, nothing on this planet of ours can be proven without a tumblr page dedicated to it, featuring at least seven screenshottesque images, each with at least three arrows and no less than four red rectangles.

      Also do you know what corruption is?

      • Gap Gen says:

        I see your tumblr post and raise you a five-part YouTube video that makes your entire viewpoint irrelevant until you devote an hour to watching it. (Actually, I’m gonna say in general I dislike watching videos that could easily be text articles, because I can read text much faster than people can talk)

        • pepperfez says:

          But if you can’t see the glaring, goateed, not-at-all-comical face of your Citizen Investigator Hero, how can you know who to trust?

          • Gap Gen says:

            This also applies to videos explaining pretty much anything, I have to say. Would rather skim down an article with images than wait twenty minutes to watch someone do it on YouTube.

          • congenetic says:

            But how will I know what is in bold font if I am watching this video? A subtle furrowing of the brow, an admonishing tone, a vein that fills with the blood of the righteous?

    • Alec Meer says:

      While have you a… brave definition of corruption there, none of us had even heard of it until the Milo thing, as it happens.

      • Tekrunner says:

        I bet it stung to discover that no one had invited you to the cool kids club.

        Rock, Paper, Shotgun – We Could Not Collude Even If We Wanted To

        • amateurviking says:

          I imagine it stung a lot more to find that the more of the Rock Paper Shotgun staff didn’t end up on those fascinating MS Paint webs of ‘known SWJ writers and allies’ aka: ‘these are the people you want to be reading’.

          I would have been furious to be omitted.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Huh. That’s an interesting point. I’ve avoided those moronic charts like the plague but perhaps I should dig one up to expand my reading habbits a bit. After the PC Gamer redesign I’ve found that RPS is all I read.

      • pepperfez says:

        But how can we, the GAMER PUBLIC, trust you, a KNOWN OR SUSPECTED JOURNALIST?

      • Alec Meer says:

        Y’know, RPS exists cos none of us were ever the cool kids. Another miserable irony in everything that’s been happening.

        • MadTinkerer says:

          “cool kids”? Were those the ones who were always pointing and laughing? I had assumed they had some kind of Tourette’s syndrome that caused them to involuntarily point and laugh at video game nerds, so I didn’t want to be impolite by commenting about it.

        • Timbrelaine says:

          Ah, but that’s just it- we were all marginalized once, but you guys Made It. And now you just act like you’re too good for embittered sexist asshattery, which makes the rest of us look like embittered, sexist asshats.

          And women are OP or something.

          • pepperfez says:

            25.3k hits for “women are op” vs. 34k for “men are op.” However, through three pages almost all of the latter are “[type of] men are op” or hyphenated (op-posed, op-pressed, op-erational), while the former include some hyphenations but also many angry, tearful, or pornographic ruminations on the subjugation of males.

            Statistics!

        • Deano2099 says:

          Yeah, but I’d wager you’re the cool kids that bettered themselves? The introverts that went “I want to write about games for a living” and then realised that meant developing an ability to talk to people, network, make phone calls, and do other stuff you didn’t particularly like because that’s what you needed to do in order to be able to do your dream job.

          These days, with social media, blogs and so on, it’s far too easy to not bother with that bit, just write stuff on forums all the time and be an almost-games-writer, and be pissed off that you don’t get to do it for a living.

          • blastaz says:

            Or just do it on YouTube and make millions…

          • Scurra says:

            The introverts that went “I want to write about games for a living” and then realised that meant developing an ability to talk to people, network, make phone calls, and do other stuff you didn’t particularly like because that’s what you needed to do in order to be able to do your dream job. This may be true. But a world that was largely built by extroverts for the benefit of extroverts doesn’t necessarily turn out to be the best world we can get (as, for instance, those companies who have discovered that open-plan offices and panel-based job interviews are not always the best solutions are now admitting.)
            Also, I think the assumption that all that is involved is “developing an ability” is close to endorsing a position that says “well that’s how the world works and you’re stuck with it.” How is that different to saying “women should develop the ability to be more like men if they want to do their dream job”?

      • RogerioFM says:

        You know censorship never did wonders to build trust, so I guess you guys are not entirely off the chart of the corruption thing. Unless you guys are ok with arbitrarily disabling comments on articles then you have no right to complain about lost of trust.

        You might even try to justify this action as protecting yourselves from flaming trolls, but when you close the comment section you close off your fan base as well and if you don’t trust us, why we should trust in you. For me I could care less if RPS thinks that the GAMER term is dead, it’s up to you and you have the right to have it. But when the matter is corruption it’s another thing entirely and RPS was mostly quiet about the whole debacle not even commenting the Depression Quest thing when one of your journalists were having relations with the developer, which would not be a problem if it was made public, of course he didn’t have to say “Hey I’m having sex with this woman”, just saying that there was a relationship would be enough.

        The main problem with RPS IS the censorship and although I believe that trolls should be censored you should have a better control about who deserves it and who doesn’t or else don’t complain about lost of trust.

        • Premium User Badge

          basilisk says:

          Here’s a tip for you: read up on the difference between censorship and moderation. You wouldn’t want to sound silly, would you?

          • RogerioFM says:

            Sometimes the difference is blurred at best, you should realize it, if you didn’t already.

          • Premium User Badge

            basilisk says:

            Rogerio, that is simply not true. Can you express your views freely? You can. Is there an entire internet available to you where you can write whatever you like about corruption in the gaming industry and any other topic related to it? There is. Your voice, and anyone else’s voice, is being heard loud and clear. Therefore, the discussion is not being censored. QED.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @basilisk

            I think its you that’s confusing censorship with freedom of speech actually. Being able to express yourself elsewhere doesn’t mean you are not being censored here.

          • amateurviking says:

            Wrenboy I suspect we’re arguing semantics but moderating or preventing comments is not censorship when there’s a big link to the author’s email and a forum and more generally twitter or anywhere you can discuss this stuff. Not providing a forum for discussion is not the same as preventing it.

          • WrenBoy says:

            My previous comment was clearly addressed at basilisk, not at anyone at RPS. What am I going to do, email Graham and tell him to pass on the message that censorship by private organizations is possible? That self censorship is also possible? That self censorship is not when the state censor beeps out his own utterances? The forums and the comments under articles are to talk to the world, not to RPS staff.

            I don’t have a particular problem with moderation by the way. I think that outright banning of subjects which even indirectly implicate you is a great way to lose the trust of your audience. The gaming press lost a lot in one go recently.

            Edit: reworded to make sense

          • Gap Gen says:

            I think the point is less that they want to suppress dissenting opinion by closing comments (which, by the way, are not a human right or anything) and more that they don’t have the time to moderate the comments regardless of content. So yeah, it isn’t at all censorship if the intent is not to suppress opinion, which, in either case, is easy to diffuse given how many ways there are to post stuff online. You don’t have to post information on rockpapershotgun.com to disagree with it, after all.

        • Premium User Badge

          Graham Smith says:

          Closing comments is not censorship.

          If you’ve ever enjoyed the comments here at RPS, it’s in part because we moderate the comments. We do our best to stamp out spam, keep conversations on topic, remove abuse, and make this a good place to have conversation. A lot of that moderation is invisible, because it involves removing comments or banning people. And moderation (or a lack of moderation) in one place affects the entire site: if we have one thread that’s nasty or filled with abuse, it discourages people from posting or taking part across the board. Readers have told us this again and again.

          At the same time, we’re human. We have personal lives and limited time. Sometimes, when there’s a feature series that has consistently produced abusive, trolling comments, we’ll close the comment thread before it begins if none of us have the time or energy to sit there from 9pm onwards making sure everyone is OK.

          It’s a big internet. There’s lots of space on it for people to write whatever they want. We’ve said this again and again, but RPS is our house. You can say what you want inside it, and we have the right to ask you to leave, to not come back, or to simply lock the doors at night when we’d like to get some sleep.

          • RogerioFM says:

            Closing comments IS censorship, you might have your reasons and it might or might not be fair, but you are censoring when you close up section by fear of people saying things you don’t like, no matter the reason and the image it passes is that you do not condone discussions at least not in everything, but if you took your time to post an article you should have some energy actually moderate it.

            I know you guys are humans and you have lives outside this, but saying it’s not censor is a lie, specially with a delicate subject as corruption, accusations thrown towards this very website, when we are kept in the dark with not communication of course you’re going to lose trust.

            That this section is open and you guys are openly discussing is refreshing but it’s not always like this and when it’s not and there are links with corrupt parties it’s hard to keep faith, overall I do agree that RPS is honest, but if not here we should have means of better to discuss these topics with people in here who actually can answer our questions.

          • Premium User Badge

            Graham Smith says:

            This sounds more like a semantic difference. You say censorship, I say moderation.

            I disagree with “you should have some energy actually to moderate it,” though. It’s 7:50pm. I haven’t had dinner yet. I’ve been working since 7am. I’ll be working over the weekend to edit more articles, write Sunday Papers and so on – but energy isn’t infinite, as you concede. The vast majority of articles on RPS still have comments open.

            It’s also worth noting that every article has the author’s email attached to their byline, and I’m always reachable on email at graham@rockpapershotgun.com. If you have questions, ping me there and I’ll respond, if not quickly, then inevitably.

            Anyway. Our “Videogames are for everybody” piece was what we wanted to say about these subjects. And my dinner is now ready… I’ll keep an eye here periodically for the next couple of hours.

          • WrenBoy says:

            We have personal lives and limited time. Sometimes, when there’s a feature series that has consistently produced abusive, trolling comments, we’ll close the comment thread before it begins if none of us have the time or energy to sit there from 9pm onwards making sure everyone is OK.

            When John starts tweeting that anyone who brings up forbidden subjects will be banned and your own forum moderators say they are under instructions to ban certain topics, its a little hard to believe that time is the main factor.

          • Jim Rossignol says:

            It’s time and just a matter of not putting our staff through this stuff. When a thread spawns death threats, rape threats, and other nasties – which appear all the time – it’s simply better to just close it off. Why should anyone have to sit reading through that?

            And seriously: I’ve read reams of this stuff, and it’s just appalling. It’d be amazing to have balanced, measured, polite discussions all the time. I wish that was how the internet worked.

            Even when that’s not an issue: we still get to decide what can be said on this site. It’s our site. I’m sorry if people feel unfairly silenced, but that’s how we choose to run this place.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @Jim

            Of course you get to do whatever you like with your own site. Im not even hinting at the idea that you shouldn’t be allowed to do so. In general you do a fine job, by the way.

            That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect to take a reputation hit when you make poor decisions though. Making mistakes is inevitable but in my opinion one of the things RPS does worst is dealing with its mistakes.

            Edit: deleting rape threats and banning users who make them is obviously not the mistake of course. But there are also interesting and non abusive topics related to the ZQ fiasco and with gamergate. I think it would have been worth the effort to allow this.

          • P.Funk says:

            While I support you actions I’m not about to let you get away with whitewashing it.
            link to dictionary.reference.com
            “noun
            1.
            an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.
            2.
            any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.”

            Both fit the bill and frankly there is nothing objectionable to a private website censoring its comment section for reasons of any sort.

            Embrace your censorship, moderation is censorship, but lets not act like its evil either. RPS is not an elected legislature hiding its activities, its a private website. Censor away, but own it please.

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            “That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect to take a reputation hit when you make poor decisions though.”

            Conversely, it does mean that several years of making the excellent and difficult decision of aggressively moderating the comments of a video game website will create for you a reputation as having one of the best comment sections of such websites, which a bunch of people complaing can chip at but never destroy.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @AXAXAXAS

            That’s certainly possible.

            Its a little uncharitable to assume that complaints are meant to chip away at RPSs reputation though. You really don’t see any other motivation?

          • blastaz says:

            I’ve always hoped that half the point that keeps debate civil here is a self selecting audience. When you do have a discussion on the recent embroligo here most people are resolutely pro equality. now that could be because you are moderating the hell out of one side of the arguement, which would look a lot like censorship, or it could just be that your audience swings that way as it is drawn here by your editorial voice.

            As an example the paradox interactive ot forum, which I consider the undisputedly most cultured and civilised corner of the web, has a hundred page long thread of the subject entitled where on the world is AS which spends the bulk of its pages discussing cultural Marxism and gender conception in different cultures.

            My basic point is that your occasionally slash and burn approach to moderation smacks just a little of distrust of your readership which is half the complaint of the movement… Now I haven’t seen the torrent of slime that was thrown your way but I would put it down to a “soulesian” invasion rather than a general malignancy amongst your core audience.

            Now the heat has died down I would hope opening up a little more wouldn’t get anyone burnt…

          • Marr says:

            I think the best argument you could use when someone questions your moderation of RPS comments would be a link to the unmoderated comments. If you haven’t worked cesspool duty you can have no real concept of what that looks like.

        • Sam says:

          Where should he have declared his personal relationship with the developer? At the top of his review or preview of the game?

          The problem is he didn’t write one. RPS’s review of Depression Quest was written by someone else, long before the alleged things are alleged to have happened. The only other coverage of Depression Quest was including it on a list of 50 games that had passed Greenlight (which was a regular feature at the time, so not special treatment.) There simply isn’t a story there beyond the exciting scandal of a woman having sex.

          • RogerioFM says:

            Except it wasn’t ‘someone else’ it was a journalist of this same website. Also just saying they were ‘friends’ would be enough, the nature if the relationship is meaningless, but if it’s something more than a professional then we should know if they are recommending it.

          • elderman says:

            @RogerioFM Are you willing to apply that standard to the New York Times, the Huffington Post, Consumer Reports, the BBC? If another member of the organisation has a ‘more the professional’ relationship with someone covered the by site, it has to be disclosed in the article. That’s obviously absurd.

            Imagine what this would mean for gay or religious journalists. Their colleagues would have to disclose that journalist’s sexual or religious orientation each time one of their former lovers or a member of the same church were covered by the site. Those identities implicate ‘more than professional’ relationships. This would make that journalist the potential target of hate groups and render it impossible for them to work in certain parts of the world.

          • Jim Rossignol says:

            “Disclaimer: one of our writers (but not the one writing this article) will have a relationship with this developer after this article has been written.”

          • RogerioFM says:

            @elderman I would, although I’m sure that it does not apply to all cases, but it kind of does when you’re promoting something, you don’t have to be clear on the actual nature of the relationship though.

            That being said the RPS folk actually answered a lot of questions I had so, I guess I’m cool, I’m still a fan of their work, there are stuff I do not agree, but such is life.

          • Deano2099 says:

            Jim – I think some of it definitely comes from people seeing a relationship happening some weeks an article (not even on this site) and deciding that such a disclaimer should have been up there. Because it’s something that should be predictable. That “professional acquaintance” to “relationship” can’t happen in two weeks, that there must have been something else going on. And as silly as you or I can see that belief as being, I can also absolutely envisage the sort of life experience someone has that leads them to that conclusion.

          • evileeyore says:

            “Disclaimer: one of our writers (but not the one writing this article) will have a relationship with this developer after this article has been written.”

            That’s awesome. If nothing else my question has at least gotten this bit of “the stupidity” cleared up. Thanks for not shutting it down the moment I asked.

          • elderman says:

            Even if it’s only limited to those with a direct link with the writer and superiors, the idea of disclosing other people’s conflicts of interest is absurd. On some articles in larger organisations the list could run for a column all by itself. It’s especially silly if you don’t disclose the nature of the relationship.

            “Our publisher has a non-professional relationship with John Doe who is mentioned in this article. The journalist sitting next to the author of this article has a non-professional relationship with Jean Poe who is quoted below. The intern who collated data for this article has a non-professional relationship with Jo Don who is board member of the company that manufactures parts for the device ”

            It tells you nothing. No publishing organisation that takes itself even slightly seriously would consider it.

            I’m sure I’m not the first person to ask ‘why non-professional ties’ when professional ties are more concerning. But reporters are people who have broad networks of professional and personal ties, so the list gets even longer without adding any relevance, and you end up disclosing large amounts of information about people who didn’t even know the article was being published before you came to them to ask them to disclose their conflicts of interest.

            No, review sites give the article to someone who doesn’t have a conflict of interest and do the reader the favour of only giving them relevant information.

            I’d have to be convinced a person supporting this idea has thought through the implications and is arguing in good faith, because to me the idea is delusional.

          • BooleanBob says:

            I absolutely don’t want to see women harassed, or silenced, or anything else – I have no particular interest in ZQ’s doings and am absolutely not pinning my flag to any mast with this post – but George Monbiot has been arguing for years that all journalists should publish a register of interests, which would make the need for article-length disclaimers at the bottom of articles unnecessary.

            He’s always acknowledged that it’s as much about perception as it is about smoking-gun proof of collusion between interested parties; if a journalist makes moves to demonstrate they act in good faith, they do it not because they’re being forced to bow to the demands of their readers, but so said readers can return said good faith if and when mud starts to fly.

            If it’s good enough an ethical principle for real-world journalism, I think it could definitely apply to the games industry*, where the networking relationship between those writing about games, writing games and writing to promote games is frankly – and for want of a less pejorative term – a bit incestuous. A bit ‘revolving door’.

            Yesterday Eurogamer had to disclaim in their Alien: Isolation review that one of their former writers, Will Porter, was now working for Creative Assembly and had helped write the script for the game. It’s not that this leaves Eurogamer incapable of giving the game fair treatment – they simply gave the review to someone who’d never met Will – but if they didn’t point this stuff out (and scored the game highly) it could absolutely look very bad if that information came out through another channel. It’s always best to be transparent about this stuff.

            * I wouldn’t suggest actual income figures need to be disclosed, though. I think that’s a bold demand even by Monbiot’s own high standards, and probably a big factor in why so few of his peers have followed his example.

          • elderman says:

            The difference between George Monbiot’s idea and Eurogamer’s disclosure on the one hand and what RogerioFM was talking about on the other being the difference between a writer disclosing their own professional potential conflicts of interests and a writer declaring other people’s non-professional relationships. The second one’s absurd.

            If TotalBiscuit works with people to make his videos and live appearances, he shouldn’t have to ask about the details of their personal lives or explain those details to the public.

            Going fully off-topic, and letting my paranoia out of the bag, I’m suspicious of the trend I see to want to surveil everyone in their work environment, whether it’s athletes, journalists, factory workers, office workers, diplomats, wait staff, or games writers. When we get a job we should keep our independence, right to privacy, and human dignity, IMO.

            (Oh and BooleanBob, I admit you totally surprised me by writing “I absolutely don’t want to see women harassed, or silenced, or anything else… but…” and then going on to actually not speak up for harassment … especially since the exchange isn’t about harassment, silencing, or gender.)

          • BooleanBob says:

            I don’t really think I have to explain why I made that disclaimer, but:

            This discussion is fraught, and tied up with a bunch of other wholly unpleasant stuff, and I didn’t really want anyone coming to the conclusion that I’m an apologist for harassment because I had some thoughts on journo ethics I wanted to share. Simple as that. Although perhaps it’ll be assumed I was protesting too much, in which case it might have been futile.

            I don’t think Grayson has any case to answer, though, and so I’ll happily admit my comment was only loosely connected to the discussion at hand. It isn’t a crime to be tangential on the internet, which is a good thing, as if it was my posting history would send me up for a long time in chokey.

          • RogerioFM says:

            @elderman You’re generalizing, there are cases that it does not matter what kind of relationship the the journalist and the party responsible for the product have, yet when you’re reviewing something, trying to sell or discourage the acquisition of a product you should let people know that there could be a bias due to the relationship you have with the developer.

            We shouldn’t simply assume that they’re all professionals and there won’t be bias everyone has a bias, after all reviews are opinions but there are conflicts of interest when you’re talking about a product of someone you like, or even hate and the people have the right to know, it’s all a matter of credibility.

            So please, stop generalizing stuff you’re derailing this entire discussion.

          • elderman says:

            I’m generalising appropriately. Sometimes a writer needs to disclose their own conflicts of interest to keep faith with their public. The same does not go for the personal relationships of others. That’s true in general, so it’s true specificly.

            TotalBiscuit is an appropriate example. You don’t have to disclose the personal relationships of your co-workers, and in general, decency requires that you don’t.

            As Jim has already explained, the example you’ve fixed on is not a case of an RPS writer failing to disclose a relationship with a developer. It’s failing to disclose the relationship between a developer and someone who didn’t write for RPS at the time.

            I insist that even if he had worked for RPS at the time, they’d still be fine. If you let another writer do the review, that other writer isn’t then required to explain that someone uninvolved in the review would have had a conflict of interest if they written it. For example, recently Alec Meer published a about Tom Francis’ game Heat Signature and he wrote a short paragraph at the end explaining his relationship with Tom Francis. On June 7th 2014, Alice O’Connor wrote about Floating Point and didn’t have to disclose that Alec Meer had a personal relationship with the developer just as Alec didn’t have to disclose that other RPS writers have also worked with Tom Francis.

          • RogerioFM says:

            It’s all about ethics being honest about a possible bias within a review. My stance didn’t change if a journalist had any kind of relationship with a creator the public have the right to know, we don’t need to know the nature of said relationship, as you mentioned decency dictates we don’t. If my example was wrong I’m glad Jim corrected it, despite other evidence suggesting the contrary, but you don’t have to agree with my example for my point to stand, they must let the people know if there is a possible bias in the promotional article and that’s it.

            Also, yes agree that it’s not always relevant as I said time and time again I’m focusing on reviews or promoting materials.

          • elderman says:

            Right: honesty requires you include relevant information in an article and not distract your readers by including extraneous information. Telling your readers about third-party relationships that don’t constitute sources of bias for the writer as if they were a source of bias is deceptive.

            RPS is of course run with biases, which they confess at the drop of hat, including their strange interest in a UK company called “Bog Robot” or similar.

            As far as I can see, and as far as you’ve shown, RPS hasn’t operated under hidden biases. Until some turns up, there’s no evidence to the contrary except as conjured in the minds of people looking for an excuse to disapprove of this site for some other reason.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      What the hell is that?

      I can only assume it’s something really pedestrian that’s being taken by the “movement” as evidence for something nefarious.

      Edit: I went and looked it up. What a waste of time.

      A bunch of shit from breitbart and some mails where someone suggests a show of support which is then pretty much shut down.

      Christ, these people are tedious.

      • evileeyore says:

        “What the hell is that?”

        “That” was a question. Man, I wish all questions were as easy to answer.

    • ffordesoon says:

      The GameJournoPros “scandal” is nothing more than out-of-context quotes from a private email list and the insinuation of corruption by a glorified paparazzo (and amateur Matt Smith impersonator, if the photos of him are any indication) who couldn’t have cared less about games journalism before he started getting hits for confirming a segment of his audience’s biases.

      Another sad irony of this whole ordeal: the guy is writing genuine clickbait in order to appeal to people who are allegedly tired of clickbait.

      I talked to a Gamergater the other day on Twitter, and it made me sad, because he was a nice guy who’d been worked into a tizzy by a pack of dickheads. He was very keen not to be labeled a misogynist.

      My opinion is that he is not a misogynist. He is merely someone who feels confused and threatened by the recent – and statistically slight – uptick in articles focusing on inclusivity and diversity. Not because he’s against those things, but because he doesn’t understand what’s being said in those articles. He only knows how it makes him feel. He feels weird and bad for liking games with “problematic elements” and he doesn’t know how to react to it. He feels as though he himself is being attacked when he reads articles inveighing against misogyny or straight white cis male protagonists or any of the other stuff he’s gone through life not questioning. He feels like he’s not allowed to have an opinion anymore, like he’s irrelevant to the conversation. These are things he’s never felt before.

      And who’s there to take advantage of all these new feelings? Demagogues who are misogynistic, are vindictive, are selfish, are sociopathic (no, not all of them are all of those things). And they fill this dude’s head with tales of giants menacing innocents, and they send him to tilt at windmills.

      I think a lot of Gamergaters really are like that guy. They’re not bad people. They’re just taken advantage of by bad people. Bad people like this Milo guy, who have found a percentage in being disingenuous and taking advantage of their audience’s lack of understanding of the inner workings of (games) journalism.

      • drewski says:

        This is a Good Comment.

        • ffordesoon says:

          Thanks. I was rather pleased with it myself.

          • Niko says:

            Yes, there seems to be a lot of confused people in it. PixieJenni does a great job on Twitter by asking them questions regarding various concerns, and there are so many contradictions (like some of them don’t want “sociopolitical stuff” in games, but are okay with interplay of military/weapons manufacturers and game developers, for example. And the real bad ones who incite all of this are Milo and Baldwin.

          • RedViv says:

            She is fiercely good at debating to the point of blasting that nonsense into tiny shreds. Absolutely lovely to see.

      • hackmastergeneral says:

        The utter, pants-wettingly hilarious, mind-bendingly frustrating thing about a lot of Gamersgate is the appaling lack of irony about their own hypocrisy. The entire thing started as an expose about a womans sexual history, none of which in any way mattered other than to her intimates. Once she was harrassed, had semi-nude and private photos thrown about the web, and everyone saw how horrible the whole situation was and started lashing back, they desperately tried to shift the focus to “journalistic corruption”, while also not really proving any of it actually happened, and ignoring DECADES of other corruption that was worse, and had actual impact. Then Milo shows up, and GG embraces him wholeheartedly. Despite the fact he has written several articles saying WORSE things about gamers than Leigh Alexander and the others ever did. Despite he is a transphobic horrible human being and GG is desperate, with their astroturfed “notyoursheild” campaign, to appear inclusive. AND it throws the entire “journalistic corruption” thing into a complete mess, because he works for breitbart who have SEVERAL TIMES been proven, and a few times in court, to have LIED while making news articles/videos in order to drive their narrative.
        All of the legit decent and useful stuff from GG is drowned by all the bullcrap and nonsense. It would be better to abandon GG and start over, with one that isn’t built upon rampant misogyny and harrassment and slutshaming at its base, and doesn’t embrace any and everyone who just agrees with you, despite the actual facts of their background. Embracing, and then defending, Milo into GG shows how tonedeaf and worthless the entire GG thing is. If you can’t ignore a guy like Milo, then you are just desperate for whatever attention you can get, and are in danger, like the origins of the Tea Party – legit pissed people who want to reign in government spending – of having your movement hollowed out by politically savvy people and then astroturfed to death, and then coopted. I mean, IA and AA and MM and Thunderf00t already make more money from their anti-feminism videos than anything else, and noone questions their obvious bias in beating the anti-feminism drum.

      • Marr says:

        I understand all of this except for that starting point of being threatened by pro-inclusivity articles. If I described a friend as not racist, just threatened by all the attention black culture receives in the media these days, well…

        • P.Funk says:

          Because you don’t understand how complicated it is to have your culture openly attacking the currents that define unconscious elements of your personality that were infused in you gently and persistently over the course of your life by the endless variety of media that make up your culture.

          To use a simple example its like the whole idea that women are not to be treated as sexual objects idea compared to the unending barrage of imagery of women as sexual objects being used for various purposes in our culture at every turn. We have to resolve the contradiction of consciously understanding its wrong but also facing the way we reflexively respond to that kind of objectification. The response we receive from our years of socialization is to respond positively to it.

          It might then go like this: “I like big tits, when I see big fake titties in tight shirts attached to bimbo barbie doll blonds with pink lipstick it really gets me hard. I also really understand that this model of female sexuality and the way I’m taught to respond to it is wrong, to see her not as a person but as an unrealistic object… now I feel ashamed of my erection.”

          Except maybe he doesn’t feel ashamed of his erection because why would he? Maybe he hasn’t had a complex enough conversation with himself because that complex conversation hasn’t started elsewhere in our culture. We’ve attacked the model of whats wrong with misogynistic gender ideals but we’ve not faced the reciprocal effect. We’ve not addressed how people who aren’t evil misogynists are supposed to cope with it.

          I think its part of the problem with modern feminism. Its where a lot of this MRA stuff comes from. Its also something that is part of the dialogue amongst academics involved in gender studies, the ones who aren’t crazy. What about the men, basically? We’ve spent 40 years redefining women and shucking off their gender roles, finding ways to make them feel included as equals, but what work has been done for men?

          Its easy to just say “deal with it” but the whole masculine culture thing is still going quite strong. In fact women often still think of men as if they should “be a man” and all that, so in many ways men’s patriarchal gender role that existed as a reciprocal to women’s submissive one is still largely intact. Its not hard to see how many men are still defining themselves through traditional masculine tropes but when those tropes are suddenly spotlighted as wrong it throws their identities into crisis, to a lesser or greater degree depending on how they see themselves and how much that traditional gender role affects them.

          Its a natural tendency in any cultural sea change. That in all this time feminism has been around we haven’t come to address it much is kind of a failure of it in many ways I think. Its not that these mild-not-really-misogynists hate women, its that they’re confused and if we can’t have any understanding of that we’re not going to do a very good job of addressing the product of this, which is what this brilliant comment you’re replying to has really hit upon.

          Its also in many ways a perfect demonstration of how radicalism embeds itself into a culture made up mostly of moderates. This whole gender thing is complicated and goes beyond just liberating women, you gotta liberate the men too, but thats not a popular trope so it doesn’t get much traction.

          • Josh W says:

            Yeah, I agree with this, it comes to a simple question of “what should men be other than a vending machine of apologies for other people in the past?” If you’ve had a progressive upbringing, you don’t tend to have a lot to say to describe it, which isn’t much help to people who haven’t. It’s just vague “well people are people aren’t they!” stuff. So there’s a whole set of people going through morally charged culture shock, not sure how much of their culture is wrong in another’s eyes, and the extent to which they should take on their viewpoint.

            One solution to this is talking about “those people” in ways that don’t demonise them, because otherwise we’re not helping them make any kind of transition. Not everything in a macho culture with highly constrained gender norms is wrong, even though it can seem weird and too close to really dodgy stuff when you first come across it.

            Anyway, this is weirdly sanctimonious, so I’ll add that it’s what I hope people would do for me too; if you realise there’s stuff I’m doing wrong, don’t just tag it as “pretentious over-intellectual commenter” or something and act like it’s inherent, give me something to work with.

          • pepperfez says:

            talking about “those people” in ways that don’t demonise them

            No one is demonizing dudes who like boobs or violence in their games. That just isn’t happening. People are complaining about how many games include those things for no good reason, but not about the people who enjoy.
            “Those people” being demonized are the ones joining or defending a campaign to remove women and socially-progressive people from the gaming world. That’s what Gamergugs have as a goal. Why should anyone bother reaching an agreement or compromise with them?

          • ffordesoon says:

            Precisely this.

          • Josh W says:

            Yeah, I suppose your right, I don’t mean to say that demonising language is what triggered this, (I’d say the culture shock is the thing people are building off) but perhaps talking about language as a solution is too far, it’s an aspect of a strategy or something, a helpful but possibly not particularly central point.

            Anyway, I’ve happily kept out of the real dirt of this, the properly nasty stuff that thrives on twitter and in private emails, what I’m trying to suggest is that this is building off something natural in a bad way: The core idea seems to me to be trying to turn that culture clash into something tribal; “these people know each other, and they seem to have some common culture that is different from my own”.

            All the talk about corruption and so on rests in a true thing, that there are natural social networks of game developers and game journalists and friends of game journalists, and a set of ideas they are not familiar with or comfortable being around has been roaring through that network and adjacent connections making great changes. It’s the flip side of the wonderful feeling I got from watching Nathan’s GDC videos earlier in the year, that feeling of a group of people starting to get that they have a responsibility to the medium and community they are part of, and build some elements of common community that reflect that.

            I could be totally wrong, but I think that lovely stuff is what this is feeding off. It’s the flipside of the progress that has been made in one influential corner of the gaming community; people squinting at it and going “they’ve got some of the same ideas, and they’re all connected”. It’s not conspiracy, it’s wonderful wonderful sociology.

      • Earl-Grey says:

        As drewski said; this is a good comment.

      • sophof says:

        You are not only being incredibly condescending about someone you know little about, you are projecting massively. This comment is not as good as advertised sadly :( Sorry, I always get uncomfortable around gossiping and that’s what this amounts to imo.

        I personally doubt it all goes as far as this, I think people in general just have a very hard time distinguishing individuals from the crowd. What happens is that everyone’s put in a ‘camp’ in your mind, you can’t help it. It is easy to feel attacked, and that includes you and me, since the human mind can’t comprehend the vast number of individuals all having slightly different morals and ideas. We feel the need to select and bring order to something inherently chaotic. It’s about good and evil, there’s conspiracies, the bad guys are monsters that kill babies, etc.
        I’d wager that if you sat down with 95% of the people on whatever side is the ‘other’ side in a bar, they’d turn out to be quite alright.

        In general when people start getting into vendettas and angry blog posts, they’ve simply failed to see the individuals and have started to see a monster instead. And once you’ve started it’s hard to stop, because it is hard to admit you were overreacting. It’s how extremism feeds of extremism and how drama feeds of drama. Someone insults someone unfairly who reacts by indirectly insulting someone unfairly etc. etc.
        And, unless I’ve misread completely, you have just judged an individual effectively as if he’s a retard, some sort of cultural barbarian who’s afraid of the brave new world, based mostly on tweets.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Up until recently I had no idea what gamergate was, or any of that crap. I was pretty much forced to find out, due to people spouting seemingly nonsensical utterances which I could not parse. So now I know about it. And I hated every second of finding out about it. I hate that I now know that any of that exists (or had existed). I hate that Internet made me feel sick, because I like to believe that tech will set us free. And I hate that one evening I had to explain to my wife why I was angry. I could’ve been reading Atlas Shrugged instead, and would now have a much more informed opinion of why it’s crap.

      I am aware that this isn’t solely your fault, or even your fault at all. I realize you are likely just a random person, riffing off of other, much bigger assholes’ work. But your comment happened to remind me about the above. So for all of that, and a lot more, please accept a sincere fuck you.

      • pepperfez says:

        I could’ve been reading Atlas Shrugged instead, and would now have a much more informed opinion of why it’s crap.

        No, you got a pretty excellent education in why Atlas Shrugged is crap by doing what you did.

  5. Premium User Badge

    basilisk says:

    I did not know about the Yogscast store; I can’t say I like the idea. There are so many fuzzy lines in this, and none of it feels quite right. In this brave new world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell where advertising starts and where it ends (and not only in the gaming industry), but reviewers receiving a cut from the sales of the reviewed product sounds entirely unacceptable to me. There is huge potential for abuse in all of this, and while I agree it’s not a reason to reject the whole idea entirely, I honestly don’t like it.

    (But it’s still probably wise to keep the spotlight fixed on a bunch of bedroom indie devs instead, I’m sure they’re the ones who have all the real power here.)

  6. mattevansc3 says:

    Will be interesting to see what happens because the only real punishment Valve can do is to lock you out of parts of Steam. How that will pan out when the people you are banning have some form of following and influence will remain to be seen.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Well, I don’t see selling out as a problem needing punishment. I see lack of full disclosure as a problem needing punishment.

      Selling out is tacky, and therefore it’s own punishment. Punishing the tacky for being tacky is redundant.

      • physical0 says:

        I think a rather ironic punishment for undisclosed compensation for reviews would be to lock the review so that it may not be edited or deleted, with a big bold disclaimer at the start “This is a paid endorsement which the reviewer failed to disclose”

    • Morte66 says:

      They could ban the publisher who did the paying, or the game(s) in question, from Steam. That’ll leave a mark.

  7. physical0 says:

    I think this is a positive change. It is another step towards gaming journalism moving away from a marketing mouthpiece of old (Nintendo Power, etc) to a medium that is objective and critical of gaming.
    Right now, publishers have too much sway regarding gaming journalism.

    Gamergate is a mess, with lots of people pushing their own agendas, but there is a bit of truth behind the whole thing… Gaming Journalists and Publishers collude and gamers aren’t getting the honest news they deserve. I appreciate any attempt at increasing accountability and responsibility to readers.

    • Timbrelaine says:

      Eh. I just looked up Nintendo Power’s average score on metacritic. It’s 68, which is pretty low when you consider that 5/10 is essentially the floor for most video games review scores. And this was a magazine which was, as you say, primarily a marketing mouthpiece.

      While I’m sure game reviewers get wined, dined, and occasionally bribed by publishers, their actual full-time job is to increase their audience, and basing their reviews on arbitrary outside factors like a bribe is functionally indistinguishable from just being a bad reviewer. I’ve read plenty of reviews that I later found didn’t match up with my own experiences, and I didn’t care whether the author was corrupt or inept. I moved on to a different site. I’m betting most people do the same.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        I actually find it somewhat interesting to look at the full list of reviewers and their score comparison to the average:
        link to metacritic.com

        You have stuff like Edge systematically scoring lower (which is to be expected from them), but then also surprising stuff like how the Official PlayStation US mag and Official PS2 UK mag both giving significantly lower scores, where you’d expect them to be more fanboy if anything.

        • Baines says:

          With official console mags, it could be the case that the magazine staff knows that it is speaking to a loyal audience that is buying games for that console, so they don’t necessarily have the reasons to overhype certain games that “less biased” magazines might hold.

          For example, you don’t have to worry about upsetting console fanboys, either your own or others. Being the “official” magazine for a popular system, you might have slightly more power in the publisher/press relationship than an unaffiliated magazine has, so you might not have the same pressure to be…friendly. (A publisher might not be quite as willing to take a hard line against a magazine that theoretically has the backing of a console manufacturer.)

          There may also be the incentive to look a bit more strict, just so that you look less biased than unaffiliated mags.

        • sophof says:

          I don’t find that too surprising. The official magazines not only know their audiences, more importantly, their audiences know them. Everything is completely transparent, so it will lead to a somewhat balanced overview. They will simply omit reviews from competing platforms, there’s no need to inflate scores.

          The problem starts when it is not transparent.
          Personally I’d say the gaming review business has been openly corrupt (in general) for such a long time that the effectiveness of any review is quite low. It is more or less the reason sites like RPS can exist at all and why youtubers are such a big deal for PR. People have flocked to exactly these kind of media for a reason. It’s why Total Biscuit is the biggest curator.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “Gaming Journalists and Publishers collude… ”

      Which would be a noble thing to focus on if that were what any of Gamergate were focused on, and it is not.

      • Baines says:

        Maybe RPS and other game sites can publish that story, and the other stories as well.

        If the various game sites had addressed and covered the various non-sex related complaints and issues raised, rather than just dismissing everything en masse, then the gaming press would have:
        1) approached satisfying GamerGate supporters who were actually concerned about those issues.
        2) worked towards defanging those who were manipulating the movement for more nefarious purposes.

        Instead, the bulk of the organized gaming press took and stubbornly stuck with a path that made a non-story with an attached relevant story blow up into a giant hunt for evidence of corruption and collusion. The organized gaming press’s policy of silence was fuel to the fire, when games journalists refused to cover or address anything and instead only dismissed everything at “not news”, laughed at the ideas of holding to some ethical standards, closed down threads (and denied that mass closings were themselves news), and the like. It certainly didn’t help that the gaming press appeared to be taking, sometimes aggressively, a unified side of dismissal and derision.

        That all could have been headed off long ago, but games journalists decided on that policy of silence and the refusal to cover topics that might cast themselves or their friends in a bad light.

        • pepperfez says:

          But those events weren’t news, and the closing of threads against site rules is also not, and the hunt for collusion and corruption was pure tinfoil-hat kookery. The fact that this has gone on so long isn’t evidence that there’s something there, it’s evidence that the Gamergag deadenders are delusional clowns.

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          Read about “Doritosgate”. This stuff already has had its own scandal, and changes were made accordingly.

  8. MadTinkerer says:

    The only thing I would allow publishers or devs to give me would be review copies with the clear understanding the doing so does not obligate me to give them a recommendation or even a review.

    The Game Gourmets was founded partly as a reaction to the news of Youtubers selling out, and partly from watching a little too much Hell’s Kitchen. We treat games like a food snob treats food: if it is fantastic, no force on Earth will prevent us from letting you know, and likewise no force on Earth will prevent us from ignoring mediocrity.

    We feel that our opinions are the most important of all the Steam Curators, regardless of popularity (which is a good thing because more than half our current members are also us). If your game is undercooked, we shall send it back to the kitchen. If you try to slip us money under the plate, we will quietly slip it back into your pocket with a smile. You cannot pay us to like your food, so put all your time and money into cooking it properly.

    There may have been some mixed metaphors in the above paragraph, but mixed metaphors (and an obsessive dedication to keeping our opinions pure) are what the Game Gourmets are about! Another platter of Indie? It looks gorgeous! Let’s see if it actually tastes good…

    • Morte66 says:

      “doing so does not obligate me to give them a recommendation or even a review”

      But can they control the timing of your review?

      Most game sales are in the fortnight after launch.

      You get preview code of a game and write a review giving it a poor rating. The publisher has a clause allowing them to either (a) tell you to hold the review until two weeks after launch, or (b) comment on the review before you publish it, which may entirely by chance take a few weeks longer for negative reviews.

      Compare the metacritic ratings for Assassin’s Creed on launch day and a fortnight later: I believe there was about 20% drop. But the reviews were (AFAIK) independent and uncompensated.

      Journalism has always been like this; or at least for decades, since before computer games. I used to be involved in a music venue. Want to be in the some music paper’s gig guide? Place an ad in their rag?

  9. satan says:

    Man I don’t want to sound like an old …man, but I have no idea who this curator thing is for…

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Me! Because my opinions are the most important! I don’t care about validation! I JUST NEED TO EXPRESS MY TASTES

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      The brave new world of internet personality cults. And simultaneously the literal solution to years of complaints about the lack of curation.
      (Steam M.O: Let the user do the job)

    • blind_boy_grunt says:

      personally i hope it means someone else is doing the work of going through new releases and finding the interesting ones. (Before the filter wasn’t needed because Steam allowed fewer games on there)

    • drewski says:

      The one person on earth who doesn’t have 200+ unplayed games in his/her Steam list and another 50 on their shortlist, presumably.

      Why that one person is reading 400 curated stores instead of just playing one of their unplayed games, I don’t know.

    • pepperfez says:

      It is, presumably, for people who weren’t reading RPS already.

    • hackmastergeneral says:

      It’s so steam doesn’t have to hire someone to curate their damned store for them, they can get others to do it for a small payment.

      One of the biggest complaints about Steam’s store has been the lack of curation. It’s hard to find good new games without already knowing what to look for, or wading through tons of rereleased crap, mobile ports, and just flat out shit. The tags system became worthless almost as soon as it was implimented, and their genre system is deeply flawed. “New releases” just get flooded with fly-by-night company dumping shovelware crap en masse, so the really good stuff gets pushed down.

      People have been calling for curation for some time. Instead of hiring a few people to do it, Steam crowdsourced it.

    • Marr says:

      I’ve already bought like a dozen things I didn’t previously know existed. Well, okay half of them I’d read about or heard of on a podcast sometime, but having the named curators embedded in the Steam storefront is a very effective shortcut from ‘vague passing interest’ to actually pressing purchase.

  10. Crainey says:

    Perhaps a stupid question, but does “If you’ve accepted money or other compensation for making a product review or for posting a recommendation, you must disclose this fact in your recommendation.” include if the publisher/developer provided you a review copy of the game? I would assume not since that is so common.

    • amateurviking says:

      Ask yourself this: if a critic had to pay their own money to get access to a game for review, what position would that put them in, in terms of potential bias towards that game? And then compare that to a critic who invested nothing in the game prior to playing it. And then never mention review copies in the context of discussing money for coverage again.

      • HadToLogin says:

        To tell truth, I prefer reviews from people who paid for their games, because they will tell me if they found their money worth, as opposed to people who actually get their money for writing reviews publishers want (because negative review might end with firing people, stopping putting ads, no more invites for closed previews).

        • amateurviking says:

          The problem there is you insert bias (true bias which is bad, not subjectivity which is good) at all kinds of levels when the reviewer has to pay for their games and also naturally limit the amount of stuff that can be covered whilst still drawing a living wage which is bad for everyone (players, developers, publishers, critics).

          And you do that on the off chance that a given outlet not paying for review copies are accepting payment for positive coverage, which is not just morally abhorrent but actually illegal (without disclosure). Also, if everybody has to pay for their games and start reviewing them on the release day, then you naturally cede the immediate release buzz to advertisers who have no qualms overselling something to get your cash. It being their raisin dater after all.

          Edit: but review events can fuck off.

          • The Godzilla Hunter says:

            I don’t have a problem with journalists receiving review codes, but I do not see them having to pay for as a bad bias. After all, it might color their perception – but the rest of us will also have that perception colored when we pay for the game.

          • amateurviking says:

            True, but given the lengths some people will go to to justify their purchasing choices (console wars, graphics card wars, processor wars, etc) I think we’re probably better off with it as a non-factor when it comes to criticism.

          • HadToLogin says:

            While I get what you mean, I do have rather tight gaming budget, so checking Steam Reviews and seeing that half of people who paid for game aren’t happy with it can tell me much more than professional review.

            Especially if they spend more than 5 minutes to write why they give negative review.

            Of course, not always, but you know what I mean :P

          • amateurviking says:

            Oh hey of course there’s a place for user reviews. But they are definitely different from pro critic reviews and (for me) answer different questions.

        • MadTinkerer says:

          The problem with that, however is that you restrict the reviewer to only those games which they already decided looked worthwhile. By definition, you are excluding all games that

          1) The reviewer might want but can’t afford.

          2) The reviewer doesn’t know they would want.

          3) The reviewer knows they probably don’t want.

          4) The reviewer has no opinion one way or the other, and therefore the game is ignored because one wants to spend one’s limited money only on the games one wants the most.

          And so on.

          • HadToLogin says:

            From what developers say, most reviewers already only review whatever they want (not surprising, seeing how there’s probably over 50 releases every month on Steam).

            In September RPS made 15 Wot-I-Thinks. I’m pretty sure Steam released more games – for example, still don’t know what they think about Fables Anniversary…

          • Baines says:

            Are reviews by people completely ambivalent to a game really wanted, though?

            Sure, it would be kind of bad if Koei’s Warriors games stopped getting coverage, but the coverage that they’ve gotten for years has largely been copy-paste garbage by people who barely if at all touched the titles. Yes, it can be bad when you have a self-avowed Call of Duty fanboy reviewing the newest Call of Duty, but it is honestly a bit more bad when you have someone who doesn’t care reviewing a game. At least the former might decided to be informatively critical instead of giving it an automatic press release 10/10.

            (Take the review that Gamespot originally posted for Samurai Warriors 3, a negative piece that could have been written from bullet points supplied by Koei. Which blew up in Gamespot’s face when readers quickly started pointing out that when the reviewer tried to show his knowledge of the story, he had written about the wrong war in the wrong country in the wrong millennium. Something that would have been obvious to anyone who had known anything about the game, much less allegedly played it long enough to review it. (If anyone cares, instead of pulling the review, Gamespot silently edited out the telling mistakes and deleted the user comments section that had filled with complaints.))

            And whether or not you pay for a game does affect how you perceive that game. That is before you even get into the whole issue of whether you are playing a game because you want to play it or playing it because it is your job.

    • BlackAlpha says:

      I think in a perfect world, everything would be disclosed. Even for instance the goodies the publisher sent you. This is not a perfect world, however.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      Walker went into this a couple of years ago when the whole Doritos thing blew up. Basically: Yes, they get free review copies as it’s a requirement of the job.

      “Being a games journalist is a confusing collection of compromises. For instance, we get games for free. I have a Steam account that automatically has most games appear in my list. If a game isn’t in there, I contact its representative and ask for a copy. You could argue that this compromises me. You could claim that I have a skewed perspective of the value of games because of this. I’d argue against it somewhat – I still buy games, mostly on console. I’m very conscious of how much they cost, and always consider this when reviewing. And as a freelancer if I had to buy every game I played, I wouldn’t be able to do my job. I think that the belief that getting a game for free is a bribe in and of itself comes from the perspective of someone who thinks, “I wish I could get games for free!”, and I completely understand that. However, from the inside, getting the basic tools you need to be able to start doing your job really doesn’t feel like a benefit, nor does it – in all of my experience – make me favourable toward that game. But there’s room for debate here.”

      (from link to botherer.org )

      • pepperfez says:

        Ha, typical John Walker, pretending to care about journalistic ethics in 2012 when we all know ETHICS was invented just weeks ago by 4chan and that space pirate guy.

  11. Tei says:

    I have not made myself into a curator yet.

    If I made myself a curator, I promise one thing:

    I will be a asshole. I will be a sociopath. I will have zero empathy.

    – If the game is made by orphans with cancer, and they need the money not only to cure themselves, but to cure cancer forever. I will not list that game on my curator list.

    – If the developer is a top-model, and after a vigorous sex session with cocaine with her, she ask me to list his game. I will not list the game.

    – If the game development took 25 years, and the authors have worked every living hour in pain, withouth taking any day off, and the technical achievements are amazing. I will not list their game.

    – If my best friend make a game. And on the success of the game depends his future, the future of his family. And save his daughter from polio.I will not list his game.

    I will only list the game, if is the best game you can download from steam and have fun with it. I will be a bastard, I will be a asshole. I will be a sociopath. I will not be able to feel empathy for other human being.

    I will be the better curator on the Steam list.

    But I have not made me a curator yet, but If I do, I will tell people about it.

  12. namad says:

    “have been suffering massed but unsubstantiated accusations of corruption ”

    this is not a fair quote to include in this article. it has nothing to do with the topic. it’s also untrue, as there have been some substantiated claims. you can’t just bring this up without denying/admitting to them. it’s not fair to play this blame game, that I thought rps was above playing.

    • Sam says:

      The topic of the article is an effort to deal with corruption in games media (people being paid to recommend games), so talking about corruption in games media (in whatever ill-defined terms gamergate are using this week) does fall within the topic.

      For what it’s worth, a few minutes Googling I can’t find any substantial claims of corruption at RPS. It’s all super vague stuff claiming articles about the representation of women in games are “click bait”. Which fails to understand how advertising revenue works, and fails to connect that to actual corruption. (Genuine click bait of the “you’ll never guess what happens next!” type isn’t corruption, it’s just lowest common denominator drivel.)

      I did find an active github repo that’s being used to organise raids grass roots activism. That lists Rock Paper Shotgun as a target for Operation Disrespectful Nod, trying to get ads pulled from here. They don’t explain why RPS should be targetted though, as none of the (misunderstood) articles about the death of “gamer” as a useful identity were published here. I guess Sunday Papers linked some? Oh wait, hit the solid evidence. It’s because RPS included Depression Quest in a list of 50 games that were Greenlit. Gosh.

      • Timbrelaine says:

        There were loads of accusations of corruption at RPS just a short while ago. RPS, and one writer in particular, was supposed to have given favorable press to a game which, it turns out, the writer never reviewed or recommended.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          The people making those accusations aren’t really interested in the corruption though. They’re just after the womans and making sure they get now flowers.

          They’re also not, it seems, intellectual powerhouses.

    • Philotic Symmetrist says:

      The idea that there were “few such concerns about prominent YouTubers being paid by developers and publishers” also seems a bit strange to me; youtubers that I follow were concerned about such issues of influence and transparency before any outside articles prompted them into action.

      Edit: perhaps this should’ve been a separate comment rather than a reply…I don’t know.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      namad: “it’s also untrue, as there have been some substantiated claims.”

      Against RPS? No, there haven’t. Not a single piece of evidence demonstrating corruption of any kind has yet been presented. I’ve not followed what else has been thrown up by other sites, but I’ve yet to see anything particularly damning.

      • WrenBoy says:

        Im not saying Ive seen a smoking gun for RPS or anything but Leigh Alexander appears to have abused her position at Gamasutra to try to ruin (and arguably succeed in ruining) the career of people who disagree with her politically. I think that is a dreadful thing and both she and Gamasutra should be ashamed.

        While this is extreme I do wonder how much more likely it is that a right thinking Indie developer gets promoted in the gaming press in general than one with suspect political leanings. I include RPS in this suspicion which may be unfair but it seems a likely consequence of the kind of cliquey behaviour which appears to be commonplace.

        I’m not saying its impossible for such a developer to get promoted of course. Just that I suspect its more difficult, even from a purely networking perspective rather than active blacklisting.

        I think its an aspect of gamergate worth talking about.

        • mpk says:

          What the hell? So we’re now moving into accusations of McCartheyism? Really?

          • WrenBoy says:

            You can call it McCarthyism if you want, its not what I’d call it. She did what she did though. Here is one example:

            link to twitter.com

            be careful with me. I am a megaphone, I am much less kind than Rami and I won’t mind making an example out of you.

            Followed up by

            by now the entire industry you want to work in is chastising your comments and you’re still arguing.

          • pepperfez says:

            Sometimes a warning really is a warning, not a threat. The follow-up comments in that thread were other games people telling the dude he was embarrassing himself in a very public place, which is what the Alexander tweets amounted to. She is a megaphone: A ton of people read what she writes, especially within the games industry, so if you look bad arguing with her everyone will know about it. Telling someone you’re willing to shout at them on twitter and other people will see it isn’t exactly a blackballing.

          • WrenBoy says:

            The other comments included her digging through his twitter history and declaring him racist as well as sexist.

            Gamasutra is used to advertise jobs in the fairly small gaming industry and she has a major role on the site and and is effectively telling everyone who might want to hire this guy not to hire this guy. I can only imagine her pleasure when she discovered this insect bothering her was effectively in her sphere of influence.

            She says what she is going to do, does it and then gloats about it. I don’t understand how it could get more blatant. That being said, even if it was just a threat it would be almost as bad. Imagine if Alexander held views you don’t agree with and the poor sap held views you did. You’d still think it was fine and dandy? Please.

          • derbefrier says:

            except that is very clearly a threat and further enforced by the replies. To threaten someones lively hood because they disagree is extremely childish and can be seen as nothing but an attempt to stifle dissent. This is classic political blackmail. “Disagree with me or I’ll ruin you”.The message here is very clear to interpret this or try to rationalize it as a”warning” is a classic political hat trick. ” Its not terrorism its a man caused disaster”

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            or she was just one of the voices who told him that he had no idea what he was talking about and that getting into an argument with a known developer was maybe not the way to get into the industry? I guess we’ll never know because noone has any evidence so we can both go on believing what we want.
            “well. i am KIND of mocking him. but i’m trying to remember he is young and has plenty of chance to change” @leighalexander
            Oh no i changed my mind you are right, she is the devil, destroyer of dissenters, queen of all hiring decisions and so on.

          • Distec says:

            “It’s not a threat, it’s just a forecast of how I can damage you.”

            Yeah, just some friendly industry hiring tips.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            is that a quote? Because i couldn’t find that tweet.

            edit: and can i just say, i didn’t like the tone of the argument, too much righteous anger. But in the end it’s just a twitter conversation. Anyone who wants to make more out of that is trying really hard.

          • pepperfez says:

            “It’s not a threat, it’s just a forecast of how I can damage you. you will damage yourself having this argument.” She’s telling him he’s saying stuff that’s unpopular in the industry and that she isn’t going to be nice to him if he continues the argument. He keeps arguing, people keep judging him. No strings pulled behind the scenes, just a guy embarrassing himself in public.If she’d tweeted “fuck off” would there be an uproar? ‘Cause she basically did.
            It’s also telling that the focus here is on Alexander, not the other industry people responding to the guy and telling him he’s making himself unhireable. I mean, it could just be a coincidence that when we’re talking CORRUPTION we’re always talking about outspoken women, but…

          • WrenBoy says:

            @blind_boy_grunt
            Were the threats made against female developers and journalists just twitter conversations as well?

            @pepperfez
            Its a little desperate to try and paint Alexander as the victim. Apart from the fact that she was the one most obviously escalating the situation, her tweets were unique in that she unambiguously explained how she was in a position of power and that she was willing to abuse it. In doing so she did abuse her power and to top it all off she gloated about it afterwards.

            Look at how resistant you are to accepting even this most obvious of abuses and imagine me trying to convince you about the maliciousness of the guys participating in the pile on.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            uuh, if you want to see what it actually means to make an example out of somebody you don’t have to look far, do you really equate those two things? And again you say threat i say warning (because if he starts arguing with her, she will argue with him, and the things he says will be heard by people in the industry, and a lot of those didn’t seem to agree with the things he said, if he wants everyone to hear that he can do that, but he should know that he doesn’t argue in a vacuum, which to me seems like a fair warning). But you see if differently i’m sure.

          • WrenBoy says:

            In the tweet you are calling a warning she effectively announces to all potential employers in her social circle that this poor sap who was foolish enough to disagree with her is a sexist racist who will soon be looking for a job in the videogame industry. What is she warning him that she can do that she hasn’t already done in that tweet?

            I really don’t see how you can’t see how inappropriate that was.

            At the moment Indie developers are openly wondering on twitter whether the reduced coverage they appear to be getting is due to their stance on gamergate. I’ve obviously no idea whether that suspicion is true but, as I’ve said before, its an obvious worry to have given the behaviour of the gaming press, RPS included.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            How could she disagree with him without doing that? Be nicer? Why should she? But we could do this all day long and in the end i really don’t care that much about convincing you.
            The second points is actually interesting and i wish “you people” would do more of that, actual issues not “see, she’s as bad as us”. But as you said you have no evidence.

          • WrenBoy says:

            I don’t know why you are interpreting it as me saying that Leigh Alexander is as bad as “us”. I’ve never made an attempt to ruin someone’s career. I think a sizable proportion of gamergate is genuinely worried about game journalists filterering out work from politically suspect people. This exchange with Alexander is exactly the kind of thing people are worried about. Its only one example as well. Gamasutra alone has other similar anecdotes going for it.

            As to evidence, as we both agree I have nothing more than suspicions with regards to exactly how bad the situation is or is in danger of becoming. I have proof that its something indie developers are opening wondering about though as at least one prominent dev has recently tweeted his concerns

            link to twitter.com

            Edit:

            As to how Alexander could have shown her disagreement in a more civilised way, for starters she didn’t need to call him sexist just because he’s unconvinced of the point the gamasutra article is mentioning. I don’t see why you can’t disagree with someone without insulting them.

            Secondly there is no reason to essentially stalk someone’s comment history to find embarrassing tweets which can make them look bad. Surely her point can stand on its own merits.

            Finally, and most obviously, there was no need for her, a prominent member of a website for professionals in the gaming industry, to explicitly tell all the potential recruiters reading her tweets that the guy she is calling a sexist and a racist is a potential candidate for them. Its not like this is a subtle point you’ve repeatedly missed. She was explicitly and unashamedly revelling in it.

          • Distec says:

            @pepperfez

            Sorry, but when you play up your position as the one with “the megaphone” and how you will utilize it to set an example of somebody else, that’s a power play; not some advice to stop digging a hole. And let me state that I see this kind of egotistical online bullshit every week, even from people I like. Leigh does it, Penny Arcade has done it, Ben Kuchera has done it. And they are all lesser for it. So I’m not singling her out.

            But I think it’s wonderful that you’ve assumed my displeasure with Leigh is due to her vagina. Screw you too?

          • RobF says:

            It’s kinda weird how he wasn’t prominent before starting to spout aggressive anti women rhetoric and championing the lunatic fringe.

            Ten years of working this beat and the first time I’d heard of him was Gamergate. Let’s not pretend that they’re not elevating people who agree with them to mock positions of importance here.

            In the main, indie devs are tired of the harassment, some are actually scared by this movement which isn’t about harassment but somehow keeps ending up with people harassed, where people are having to obfuscate words on their twitter feed because if they don’t, just merely mentioning these words brings down a shower of sockpuppets and people who’ve had no contact with them before but feel that it’s ok to flood mentions because they used a word, where they’re finding theirntwitter feeds trawled through for anything that can be taken out of context, their lives woven into bizarre conspiracy theories. Watching on as the more militant loons drop all pretense that this is about ethics as they try and pull apart Digra, watching organised campaigns to ruin the sites that provide for their work. Where women have had to leave their home because of this movement. Where we’re watching friends and peers unable to sleep at night, throwing up with the stress.

            Where successful devs, actually proper successful and prominent ones are disgusted and confused by this mess, not questioning alongside Gamergate. Where people demand proof of their harassment and when shown any say “it’s not all of us”

            Where repeatedly, cries of corruption have ignored any actual real corruption and focused on minor scraps and scrapes from women and minorities.

            Walk away from it, man. It’s hurting people. Actually really proper hurting people. And it’s all based on tattle.

          • Muzman says:

            If all this has taught us anything it’s that twitter arguments should be inadmissable as evidence of anything about anyone. Even as evidence that they use twitter!

          • WrenBoy says:

            @RobF

            It’s kinda weird how he wasn’t prominent before starting to spout aggressive anti women rhetoric and championing the lunatic fringe.

            Ten years of working this beat and the first time I’d heard of him was Gamergate. Let’s not pretend that they’re not elevating people who agree with them to mock positions of importance here.

            Youve seriously never heard of him before gamergate? That says more about you than him, Mr 10 years on the beat. Even limiting my search to RPS I can see 6 articles featuring his studio this year alone, some of them interviewing him directly. The kickstarter for his current game raised over a million pounds and looks fantastic, frankly.

            I guess hes not part of your clique?

            Its obvious that you are only going to hear one opinion when you so severely limit yourself. This is exactly what I have been talking about but Im not surprised you want to make it about the abuse on twitter aimed at the right kind of victims.

          • RobF says:

            “The right kind of victims”

            Holy shit, dude.

          • Muzman says:

            Curiously, I read that guy’s list and I get a feeling for why people might be testy and lash out once in a while (even if they’re in a position where they should not).

            But I must take my own principles to heart: All arguments or character judgements about persons or events derived from twitter are invalid.
            We know there’s so much shit come down that particular river you can probably railroad anyone who spends enough time on there.

            Give me five tweets by the hand of the most honorable man or woman, and I will find enough to hang them #gamergaterichelieu

          • WrenBoy says:

            @RobF

            Holy shit, dude.

            Dare I ask?

          • Josh W says:

            This thread will probably have moved rapidly past this section when I come to post this, but it’s fascinating to see how fast all kinds of things are becoming political, and how bad we are at it.

            In a way it’s wonderful, after years of bemoaning about how all human values are absorbed and sidelined by the market, here we are in the internet age with all our values and opinions potentially bringing down people’s careers, shaping how we buy stuff etc.

            In this weird world, it’s really easy to invent new ways to push your cause, but when you reinvent personality based politics on twitter, you have to remember the distinction between a smear campaign and investigating moral failings.

            The problem of a smear campaign is that it focuses on building up a mass of things that look bad, until the combination of emotional pressure and circumstantial evidence causes someone to bow out of fighting, go into hiding, give up their public office, whatever it takes to get a breather from the attacks.

            Investigating moral failings means carefully building a case and submitting it to some authority that will judge the facts carefully presuming innocence. In the absence of courts etc. it means presenting information to the public in a fair way, trying yourself to head off the more outlandish and immediate emotional reactions, and get to the bottom of what is actually wrong.

            It is in this context that someone can admit wrongdoing, when the evidence is presented to them. Some political resignations in this country have been about that, “yes it’s obvious I did something wrong, and I cannot defend it”. The difference is that in one case you collect your objection into a specific criticism, with an interest in the truth of the matter. In the other case truth fundamentally doesn’t matter, jokes, misunderstandings, anything is fair game to use to build an aura of “this person is dodgy”. It doesn’t care about what is right, it only cares about giving someone negative PR and then making it “stick”.

        • blind_boy_grunt says:

          this is kind of cute when you look at intel pulling ads from gamasutra because of #gg complaining. It’s pretty much the exact same thing, you disagree with someone’s views and then you try to take away their livelyhood. That is if i would agree with your reading with what happened at that twitter conversation. Still i think it’s kind of awesome how much power you are willing to give her. Like #gg is seeing those three women who divided the gamer kingdom between themselves, Leigh is QueenB of the gaming press, Quinn has all the power over the internet(ruling 4chan, ddos atcking everyone who disagrees with her) and Sarkeesian game developers (she turned Tim Schafer). And over all this Kanye West’s Power is playing, “No one man should have all that power”.

  13. Drake Sigar says:

    The accusations of corruption were unfair, the accusations of a conflict of interest, not so much.

    • killias2 says:

      *Makes big claim
      *Says absolutely nothing to back it up

      Surprise surprise

    • Drake Sigar says:

      Sometimes I suspect everyone pointed out that infamous Eurogamer article but nobody actually read it.

  14. Branthog says:

    Hey, remember that time when you guys wrote a long article about the game dev accused of raping someone via anonymous tumblr post and you didn’t mind dragging him through the dirt because you said it offered an opportunity to have a discussion about consent and implied consent and explicit consent, but then three weeks later, you defended a different game developer who was accused of stuff by an anonymous tumblr post and attacked anyone who said “regardless of its origin, this does give opportunity to discuss the important issue of ethics in journalism”?

    Seriously. “There’s no corruption in games journalism, you paranoid freaks. Also, we are worried about the Steam curation system, because we’re paranoid freaks”.

    • InnerPartisan says:

      No?
      Seriously, I don’t remember when they “wrote a long article about the game dev accused of raping someone via anonymous tumblr post and you didn’t mind dragging him through the dirt”. Mind pointing me in the way of that article?

      • Distec says:

        Maybe this one? Although the ball got rolling on Twitter, it seems. From the beginning of the year.
        link to rockpapershotgun.com

        I appreciate that Rob stopped short of just assuming the guy was guilty, but I find the insinuating tone and lecture on “rape culture” to be unsavory.

        Edit: I don’t know how I read “July” as “January”.

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          Branthog: that was a response to a public statement made by that developer. No anonymous tumblr posts involved. Read the article.

          • Baines says:

            The article in question was an attack on a man for saying that there was no evidence to the story.

            Kind of the opposite of RPS’s recent stance.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            The article in question was an attack on the way the man answered(publicly). You don’t even need to agree with Rab, but his issues were with the public letter and the way it was worded not if the guy was guilty or not.

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      In the first instance, the person accused wrote about the situation themselves. We wrote about what they had said, not what had been said about them.

      If someone chooses to make their own personal lives public, that’s one thing. If someone has their personal life revealed vindictively by someone else, well, that’s rather different.

      • InnerPartisan says:

        Yeah, that was my point. I also remember the thing about the Stardock CEO (which is something the gators have brought up quite often) being accused of sexual harassment and you guys writing about that – but there was a lawsuit going on at the time, which makes it by definition a matter of public record. Quite far from an “anonymous tumblr post”.

        • pepperfez says:

          He also admitted to the sexual harassment but denied it was sexual harassment, making that one of the most impressively silly Gamegroper red herrings.

          • Geebs says:

            The person who made the sexual harassment claim has settled with Stardock, withdrawn their claim and issued a public apology, apparently. I think that it’s a bit of a stretch to bring it back up again.

          • pepperfez says:

            Wardell filed a countersuit alleging the employee knowingly sabotaged his company and was mostly responsible for Elemental being so shitty. He has a ton of money and would have dragged her through court forever, so she dropped the suit in return for him dropping his.
            That doesn’t change the fact that all of the allegations the employee made against Wardell were confirmed by Wardell himself in emails and other written statements. He just doesn’t think sexual harassment is real, or that employees have any rights with respect to their employers, or something. So I’m perfectly comfortable bringing it back up. He used his status to bully someone out of holding him accountable. That makes him a worse person, not a better one.

        • Niko says:

          Yeah, those are different things.
          (Hello, InnerPartisan!)

      • Deano2099 says:

        Despite being hugely on your side in this whole mess… I find that distinction very…. let’s say, “tabloid”. “We’re not going to talk about X, but we will talk about Y’s reaction to X, which obviously involves mentioning X, but that’s not the point, so that’s okay”.

        It’s just a bit too close to “anonymous sources have told us” and “allegedly” for me.

        • drewski says:

          Do you honestly not see the colossal distinction between a reaction to “I Say This, This Is My Opinion And I Am Making This A Public Issue” and a completely unsourced rumour?

          The subject matter may make you similarly uncomfortable, but they are not in any way comparable.

    • Baf says:

      I… I didn’t even know it was possible to rape someone via anonymous tumblr post. Now I’m even more glad that I don’t use tumblr.

  15. aepervius says:

    Why the youtuber seems to get a free pass and game journalist not ? Easy : I Assumed from the start that youtuber get paid for endorsement and let’s play, but expecting game journalist to be neutral. Youtuber never had the pretense, the historical background to pretend they were neutral. We are (or were) expecting a higher standard from the gaming press as we expect it from any press, but we don’t expect it from youtuber as we don’t expect fairness or neutrality from opnion press on joe random youtube blog or youtube channel.

    I am actually surprised that it is not self evident to an outfit like RPS.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      ” I Assumed from the start that youtuber get paid for endorsement and let’s play,”

      Whoa, whoa, what!?! You just assume that all Let’s Play-ers get paid for playing? It’s not that bad, surely. I mean, no doubt it happens to some, but I know more than a few who only make videos of games they like, and the proof is that at least half of the games they review are developed and published by people who could never afford to pay.

      Youtubers get their money from advertisement (for the videos that are monetized). Now that isn’t perfect either, but you can’t just assume that any given Let’s Play is a paid endorsement. For example, Mojang never paid anyone to endorse Minecraft because they didn’t need to. They gave up on their original plans for an advertising campaign because so many people were telling others about it for free! Every game is not Minecraft, but not every game is from a company whose executives see Youtubers as an extension of their marketing department.

  16. Enkinan says:

    I went through the RPS Curator list and found a couple good looking titles I had not seen or heard of before. It sure beats the hell out of that queue thing they implemented.

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      That queue system is hilariously bad. I especially love how half way through navigating titles it bugs out with an error page telling me the next game isn’t available in my region, and then doesn’t let me move on to the next item in the queue. Given the site knows what region a user is in, how hard could it be to filter out recommendations of games they don’t have access to?

  17. Shadow says:

    Mandatory compensation disclosure is all fine and dandy, but how’s it actually verifiable/enforceable? How can Valve really check if a given curator has been paid in some way to provide a positive (or negative!) review of a game? There will be accusations abound regardless of disclosures, and my secondary worry is about the possibility of collateral damage when Valve takes measures with any degree of uncertainty.

    I don’t know. The whole curator system seems unnecessary: there’s user reviews, and if you don’t like them, there’s third-party sites. Why integrate external reviewers like this? I suppose Steam just wants to become more monolithic.

    • Sam says:

      Monolith is very much what they’re going for. Or some other word starting with mono-.

      If Totalbiscuit had made a recommended games list on his own website he’d have very likely included links to alternate places where each can be bought (with realtime price comparison if he was feeling fancy.) Suddenly those 250k consumers can see how easy it is to buy from itch.io, gog.com, and everywhere else.

      By providing a comfy place for curators to put their list Valve have quietly ensured that all these big names in PC gaming are implicitly endorsing buying all your games from them. Steam is sufficiently huge that sites feel compelled to spend time creating and maintaining their lists. On the surface it’s for the sake of their readers/fans, but really it’s serving to further Steam’s domination of the marketplace.

      Edit: Just to be clear, I don’t at all blame PC gaming companies/people for using Steam’s curator service. It would be a huge effort to create your own similarly featured recommendation service, and likely you’d get far fewer people using it. Steam have done another smart thing and further strengthened their grip on the PC game market.

      But don’t worry, Internet, this is certainly not an ethics issue!
      Meanwhile I heard a woman just mispronounce Samus Aran. She’s obviously not a real gamer and therefore cannot give honest recommendations about Intel’s new chipset.

      • pepperfez says:

        And neither can anyone working for the same company as her nor anyone she has encountered socially. This is basic ethics, people.

      • Rizlar says:

        Are you sure she wasn’t talking about ‘Samey US Aryan’, the hero of shooting men simulator 2015 edition?

    • Stellar Duck says:

      ” I suppose Steam just wants to become more monolithic.”

      Nail, meet head.

  18. Distec says:

    “While, as you may know (and by God I envy you if you don’t), a number of games sites – including us, entirely unfairly – have been suffering massed but unsubstantiated accusations of corruption over the last month, there seem to be few such concerns about prominent YouTubers being paid by developers and publishers to make enthusiastic videos about their games, with varying degrees of openness.”

    Eh? Are we looking at the same internet? I see this discussion regularly on many gaming sites. If the outrage seems muted in comparison, it’s probably because the biggest Youtube personalities already have huge audiences that couldn’t give a shit. That doesn’t mean they’re not being criticized, and I’ve seen a number of them change their disclosure practices in response.

  19. RARARA says:

    Looking at the header image – TB’s taste doesn’t usually mesh with mine but he’s trustworthy; PCG once had a game of Neptune’s Pride with RPS so they are fine too; Jim Sterling has been banned from Konami press events and blacklisted by Microsoft so he’s definitely trustworthy; Dan ‘Nerdcubed’ Hardcastle can only be put under suspicion if the ghosts of PS2 developers who went defunct a decade ago can somehow bribe YouTubers; and RPS is… well, RPS. Publishers never could bribe them because they never figured out the unit conversion of dollars to peggles.

  20. Lawful Evil says:

    The first big change has happened already, and it’s that anyone who’s been paid to endorse a game must now disclose it.

    Impressive. How will they actually implement this “rule”? If they cannot prove that someone has been paid for a recommendation, then this will be useless. Not that expected anything else from Valve. Or Steam. Useless “change”.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Does that only apply if the payment is in money?

      I’m pretty sure that EA is willing to screw me if I give their next game a good recommendation. They’ve already screwed me several times.

    • Baines says:

      Valve doesn’t even bother to see if the store descriptions of games that they sell are factual.

      What it will likely come down to is that if there is a scandal that blows up over the internet, Valve might after a few days pull a Curator’s status. Well, unless they are a really popular Curator, in which case Valve might give them a private reprimand and let them continue business as usual.

  21. Misnomer says:

    I don’t think it is some vast conspiracy, it is just good business. Valve has long said it sees more underserved customers than anything. Rather than stepping up their sites and providing recommendation lists, everyone will just follow Valve’s lead and feel compelled to bring their outside communities under the Steam roof because it is already built and welcoming.

    It would actually be great to see RPS or some other big players (Total Biscuit) come together and offer lists to other services (GMG, GOG, Origin….) for the same price they are charging Steam for this editorial content.

    • drewski says:

      Do Steam actually pay curators? I thought it was all voluntary. And there’s nothing to stop any curator making the same list with links to other stores on the web.

  22. Deano2099 says:

    “Whether the role of a games journalist and the role of a video entertainer are sufficiently far apart to justify such wildly differing business practices is a matter of some debate.”

    And remember they’re only video entertainers when taking money in exchange for content. When they’re making videos about games they haven’t been paid to cover, they’re games journalists so they can claim the right of ‘fair comment’ when using significant amounts of games footage in said videos, and avoid copyright claims.

  23. Saiwyn says:

    Can you please provide a bit of clarification for me?

    “…a number of games sites – including us, entirely unfairly – have been suffering massed but unsubstantiated accusations of corruption over the last month…”

    Are you stating that all accusations of corruption across all game sites are unsubstantiated or that only the claims against RPS are?

    EDIT: Never mind. Jim answered my question in a reply above. Goodbye RPS.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      i was actually referring to RPS, but equally I’ve not seen anything particularly damning about anyone else. Perhaps I haven’t been following the imgur diagrams closely enough.

      • strange_headache says:

        So you deny that Kuchera coerced Tito to close the gamegate topic? You also deny that Orland tried to dictate the negative spin on gamergate? You deny that Ryan Smith was harshly attacked and silenced for voicing his concern? You deny that Ezra Klein who started the original Journolist ( link to en.wikipedia.org) mailing list is now working for vox media, the parent company of Polygon? You also deny the venom that was spewed towards TotalBiscuit for merely being a successful youtube game critic? You also deny that all the “gamers are dead” articles were all linking to Dan Golding’s tumblr post who quoted Adrienne Shaw’s artice?

        Looks like Orland tried to excuse himself for nothing, when he stated the following: “In short, some of the private thoughts I shared in the wake of Gjoni’s blog post crossed the line, and I apologize for airing them. It was an error in judgment.”

        What really irks me is how these people were talking about TB behind his back. At least TB has the common decency to disclose everything. Seems to me that some game “journalists” are just butt-hurt because other people are actually making are decent living from talking about games. They at least have the common decency to not spit in the faces of their viewership and don’t rely on theatrical click-bait in order to boost their click revenue. Maybe that’s why they are so popular and well respected among the gaming community.

        They engage with their viewership, they take criticism to heart and they respect their customers instead of trying to silence and mock them. You have any right to do as you please on your website, but closing forum topics and “censoring” discussion is certainly not the way how people want to be treated.

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          “You also deny the venom that was spewed towards TotalBiscuit for merely being a successful youtube game critic?”

          Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh yes, it’s just because he’s succesful! And all these people complaing about Michael Bay movies are just jealous of him, right?

          • pepperfez says:

            Well, they’re not women or feminists, so how could they have done anything deserving of venom?

        • RobF says:

          That you don’t even understand that everything you’ve listed there isn’t corrupution, it’s tittle tattle and people being people is more telling than you quite grasp.

          Ridiculously absurd that anyone should be expected to give a fuck about any of that.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          The fact that people keep a fucking encyclopaedic list ready with every grievance when this drivil comes up scares me.

          Also, I don’t see the issue with that Journolist. It was a private forum? People talked on there? What’s the big deal?

          I’d imagine that plenty of people a parts of private forums. I’m part of a couple myself though nothing as grand as this. Just closed fora where I talk with people I want to talk to about the stuff we want to talk about.

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          Does any of that need denying? It’s not corruption, or even particularly reprehensible. People talk crap about other people all time time.

          You’re not making any kind of point.

          As usual with this stuff, you’re noticing that people have opinions, and that people’s opinions are connected. You might not agree with them, and they might even criticise things or people you hold dear. But so what?

      • minstrelofmoria says:

        I have no idea if this is actually true, but it’s a good example of a Gamergate issue that would be damning if a major website verified it. link to gamesnosh.com

        (Actually, I’d love to see a major website explain why it’s rubbish, because then at least they’d be talking about it!)

        • RobF says:

          it’s not a journalist’s job to refute every single piece of drivel conspiracy theorists come up with. Given the frequency, inanity and insanity of the ones Gamergate have been spewing, no-one would get anything else done.

          As it is, the whole IGF stuff is made up of a misconception of how the judging process works, as already cleared up by the IGF themselves and easily findable on their website, public knowledge of investments that are open and on record and a conspiracy that would require intent, planning and money and a willingness to wait a very long time for something that, if anyone even had the slightest clue of the people involved, wouldn’t be worth the implied pay off.

          In short, it’s crazy nonsense and hardly takes any effort to discover that for yourself.

  24. thomas16632 says:

    i just wanted to say, i’m french, and i’m reading your website a lot, because i think you are not “bribed” at all by anybody, which is a fact i like, a lot.

    Thus, i trust the writers of Rock Paper Shotgun :)

    but i don’t trust a lot of other gaming website (the main ones, where diablo 3 is rated as a great AAA lol )

  25. mpk says:

    Having only briefly passed water over the debacle that is gamergate, I must say that I can only applaud the forehead fortitude of the staff of RPS, and all those others who are inundated by the associated insanity. Compliments, too, to your builders for keeping those brick walls strong enough to withstand the constant pounding.

    Keep doing what you do, RPS Hivemind, and I’ll keep reading.

    Editing for FULL DISCLOSURE : I played EVE with Jim Rossignol. Kieron Gillen once made fun of my username on the Delphi PC Gamer forum. John Walker and Adam Smith have both retweeted something pithy I said on the internet. I have a beard; Alec Meer may once have had a beard. Graham Smith has a beard. Alice O’Connor and Phillipa Warr are both women; my mum is a woman.

    • pepperfez says:

      I’m sorry, your disclosure is not complete without the risible username in question. That’s not me; that’s just the Gamergoo rules of ethics.

      • mpk says:

        He called me mp5. I was in the middle of an angry 1400 word response when my mum came into my room, found me crying tears of internetrage and gently reminded me that I was 42 and it was time to get a fucking job and move out. In the end, it was a good thing.

        • pepperfez says:

          Your disclosure is conditionally accepted by the Independent Leaderless Internet Ragemans’ Ethics Board, and may god have mercy on your soul.

    • Graves says:

      This is ridiculous. How can I trust your opinion with all of these connections? That’s it, I’m done. Goodbye, MPK.

    • Baines says:

      Your disclosure means nothing on the internet. We need hard documentation of all those connections, not anecdotal evidence typed into an easily fabricated electronic device by someone that may or may not even be this alleged “mpk”.

      However, you can go ahead and flag your disclaimer for violating policies about posting details of people’s personal lives. Posting that information about beards and the sexes of individuals is just going too far.

  26. Premium User Badge

    heretic says:

    Good to see the hivemind participate in the comments a lot more recently (at least my impression!) must have been a tough thread to moderate I imagine – thanks for doing so!

    I usually scroll through and catch the redish colour of your comments to see what you guys have to say :D

    Also realise there are some pretty vocal people who are seemingly very bitter about RPS yet keep visiting the site, which is good I think to get a different take on things – and today without drowning the thread too much.

    This thread is overall quite civil as well not sure whether as a result of moderation or that people have calmed down recently but it’s good to have threads like these once in a while, especially with hivemind participation – can’t imagine it must have been easy to respond to a lot of peoples’ rather negative comments but that’s why RPS is great.

    Please keep doing what you do :)

  27. TheApologist says:

    It’s good to see RPS’ thinking about some of the *actually existing* issues regarding the boundaries of games criticism, recommendation and advertising.

    Curation in any medium does not necessarily work to place more interesting work in front of audiences if curators have a financial incentive to regurgitate popular material back at its audience. Just think of the grand world tours of da Vinci, Caravaggio etc. around the major European and US art galleries and museums. Galleries do phenomenal business out of it, which seems likely to act as a disincentive to championing less well known or accessible work. Much as I’ve enjoyed some of those prestige exhibitions (especially the totes amaze Caravaggio), it works to establish a canon of popular accessible ‘masters’, which can be culturally stultifying.

    (Also, I think RPS staffs’ engagement with the gamergate comments here makes it so clear that the complaints boil down to ‘games journos are networked, like every other professional group ever’. Hopefully that will make them more able to enjoy the discussion, but there’s only so much you can do for a paranoid person.)

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      RPS has always been about putting AAA next to indie stuff, on an equal footing. That doesn’t seem surprising today, but it seemed pretty unusual 7+ years ago.

      /pioneer speech

      • TheApologist says:

        And a justified speech in my opinion :)

        RPS has, among others, definitely broadened my gaming tastes and experiences, and has for some of my friends too.

      • Niko says:

        Still somewhat surprising today! If I wanted to know about only AAA stuff, I’d go pretty much everywhere, but it’s the smaller games that interest me nowadays.

      • thenevernow says:

        True, and I really like that about RPS. This said, do you think it might make sense to split the curators list into something like “games (you certainly know about) that RPS likes” and “games (you might not know about) that RPS likes”?

  28. Chubzdoomer says:

    Truth be told, I think this “Curators” shit just needs to go all-together.

  29. tehfish says:

    From the first paragraph, this bit stood out:
    “games being left off the biggest curation lists because critics hadn’t played them”

    How on earth is that a bad thing? Surely recommending games you *haven’t* played is the wrong thing to do?

    • elderman says:

      I don’t think Alec means it’s a moral failing on the part of critics, but it leads to a practical problem. If top critics all play the same games (because of limited time and audience interest but not, you’d hope, because they’re being paid to…) and their curated lists become the main way for players to discover games, it could create an echo chamber, just another way to reinforce popular opinion and channel money to well-known developers. That’s how I read it anyway.

  30. celticdr says:

    Gamergate? What’s that?

    Also RPS is getting way too much flak for closing their comments – these guys do a great job and they’ve fast become my go to site for gaming reviews, and flare path is awesome.

    Give RPS a break people!

  31. Laurentius says:

    Of course XCOM:EU made to your curator list, this just hilarious, never change guys…