Jimquisition: Cloak and Dagger

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Cloak and Dagger

Sterling may not know much, but he knows this -- there's too much we don't know!

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Actually, I thought the mask look a little bit like a Gremlin from the Gremlins movie, so it looks cool to me!

Actually Jim I wasn't going to say anything about the mask although I was rather surprised when the video started up and there you were with a fish mask staring back at me.
No what I want to say was that it never ceases to amaze and depress me how low the industry has sunk these days. It's like the industry is living in a bubbled off dystopia.

If you're an adult, you don't need an excuse to wear a costume.

It's just more 'accepted,' on Halloween.

Part of the secrecy problem? NDAs - Sheets of paper that say what you can and cannot share with others about the product or practices that go on within development and the company.

I'd suggest asking developers, under anonymity, post NDAs they had to fill out and agree to while they were developing a game, and how those NDAs got in the way of making that game better or made it impossible to deliver information that could have been both useful and informative to both consumers and colleagues. If the kind of bullshit that NDAs covered are publicly published on the Internet, it's going to inform several people about the sort of underhanded things that go on in some companies, and perhaps it'll become another shitstorm similar to EA_Spouse.

Having been interested in game industry media for a long time, I graduated with a degree in journalism only to find out soon after how much of game journalism conflicted with everything I learned in school. You're right, the industry's grip is simply too tight for actual journalism to thrive. The sad part is that I don't see this changing anytime soon. Sure, there are some interesting features and whatnot that give insider stories after the fact, but most of what we see are just journos parroting what publishers tell them.

I wonder if it's really even possible for a game journalist to achieve success while sticking to traditional journalistic principles. When you're reporting on an industry you have to play ball if you're going to get any information at all.

The thing about this video is that I was too busy looking at the video than listening to anything Jim had to say, making me have to go back to listen to his words of wisdom.

I hope you will find some new opportunities after the breakup with destructoid. You were the only reason I went there so I hope I get to read your insightful reviews somewhere else.

And regarding the information blackout in the games media....

"Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master. "

Oh, the gaming press basically going "I know something you don't know! [insert Spyro the Dragon Egg Thief laugh here]" annoys the hell out of me. Especially when they then go on to encourage people guessing/worrying about what it could be. Doubly so when another 'journalist' jumps in vaguely talking about it too.

Either come out with it, or keeps your mouth(s) shut.

I think the mask was an insult. Lets face it jim you are a sexy man and you should not cover up your face like that.

As for game developers and secrets it will bite them in the arse eventualy. I have not purchased a new game or console on day of release since the PS2 days. The amount of lies and bullshit they have been spewing over the years has destoryed any and all credability they had with me so no matter how much I like the look of a game I always wait at least 1 month before getting it so I can learn the truth form other people/reviwers.

This video sounded like you took the subject matter a little personally. Given your recent leaving of Destructoid, is that all Sony was doing that was causing that ruckus? I know you don't like controlled review events, in general.

If you give people no information of course there going to assume the worse since if its good information they would have told everybody.

So why bother keeping such things a secret?

MowDownJoe:
This video sounded like you took the subject matter a little personally. Given your recent leaving of Destructoid, is that all Sony was doing that was causing that ruckus? I know you don't like controlled review events, in general.

This video was actually written way before I resigned, and was inspired by all the mad rumors flying about. Nothing personal. To the best of my knowledge, the review event is the only issue with Sony.

My leaving Destructoid has nothing to do with the game industry at large, and everything to do with the reasons I gave.

I am especially tweaked when the people behind the scenes address rumors as just being rumors, not fact, without giving the facts that they know. *cough*MAJOR NELSON*cough* It's ridiculous and upsetting. The last game I pre-ordered was Diablo 3, and it very well be the last game I pre-order, ever.

A big shame the game companies don't at least help their reputation by confirming or denying rumors in a bit more of a timely fashion.

Wrong Willem, I was typing 'WTF his tie is blue!!! this must mean he secretly works for Konami'

As to the whole secrecy thing of the Game Industry, I don't really thing it is a good thing either. Yes, there are some things you don't want to flat out say to the public like the story to a game, as that would ruin the experience of that story. But when it comes to mechanics, features and, hell, some of the business strategies that goes into these games should be on a need-to-know list.

The only real reason why I don't think companies do this more actively is probably because of fear of competition from other companies. We have Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo as well as all of the game developers/publishers trying very hard to make themselves look presentable enough so we can part with our money for the goods they deliver. As such, every competitor is probably looking for a way to get a heads up on another company so maybe they can do better. I don't really know because again, these companies don't seem to want to state this kind of information publicly!

I remember someone brought up the point that "bad information is better than no information", and I happen to agree(forgot exactly where but it was a while ago). The less we know, the more we speculate and usually expect the worst but if we're given all the negative information (similar to what Sony did with said FAQ) we'll know what to expect and how to react when we open the box. So basically reiterating what Jim said. But it's so very true

Jim, I don't KNooow MUUUccch... but I know IIIiii love YOOO-A-hooouuu!

OT: I do find it strange that other forms of news media are often critisised for being over zealous when it comes to getting information and yet gameing journalism can't even report on leads without having their work slapped with a CEASE AND DISIST order.

How strange is it that videogames became a reckonised art form before its journalism beame a legitimate information distributor... or what ever you want to call it?

canadamus_prime:
No what I want to say was that it never ceases to amaze and depress me how low the industry has sunk these days. It's like the industry is living in a bubbled off dystopia.

...and I don't see it getting better any time soon. Reminds me of when there was a buzz here about a second gaming industry crash.

Thankfully, we have indie games as a nice alternative to the AAA industry.

We didn't actually get to see Jim in this episode, which makes me think he is still chained up in Scarecrow's basement and it was Scarecrow who made this one.
THE VILLAINY!!!!

Reyold:

canadamus_prime:
No what I want to say was that it never ceases to amaze and depress me how low the industry has sunk these days. It's like the industry is living in a bubbled off dystopia.

...and I don't see it getting better any time soon. Reminds me of when there was a buzz here about a second gaming industry crash.

Thankfully, we have indie games as a nice alternative to the AAA industry.

At this point I'd welcome that. The triple A's have gotten too big for their britches so maybe it's time for a good crash so the indies can take their place. ...till they too become too big for their britches and then we can have another crash and new indie's can take their place and the cycle can repeat itself. Oh man that's a depressing thought.

The problem with full disclosure in the gaming world is that it often causes as much angst (if not more) as not disclosing it would.

Anyone whos ever seen a devloper put that feature x is intended to be put out in patch y but it actually gets delayed until path z, will understand why secrecy can seem attractive. Sufficient parts of our community will take statements about merely looking into including a feature as a cast iron promise that it will appear soon.

The industry could do with being more open, but all the openess in the world wont calm the rumour mills. Hell the easiest way of makign a rumour blow ups out of all proportion is often to deny it comepletly, even if you are telling the truth.

Also just because you've released all the info you have doesnt mean that a person forming an opion on a forum will have read it or beleive the bits they have read, however good the source of it was.

Demandred20:
I hope you will find some new opportunities after the breakup with destructoid. You were the only reason I went there so I hope I get to read your insightful reviews somewhere else.

And regarding the information blackout in the games media....

"Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master. "

The best thing about Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is it's ability to provide profound quotes for almost any occasion.

Is that a Miniature Fantasy Jason Voorhees(tm) sharing the podium with Miniature Fantasy Willem DaFoe(tm) this week?

The mask is indeed awesome, but it doesn't compare to your beautiful face. Scarecrow is scarier anyway.

Why doesn't the gaming industry understand that if the let rumours run rampant then they will only get worse?

Most corporations in the game industry thinks it's customers should be Mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed on bullshit.

I understand to a degree why publishers and manufacturers prefer to keep shtum until the official press-release: they've set a date for announcements, they don't want to show their hand too early and if the rumour-mill gives their impending product more time in the collective consciousness than their own marketing would allow, all the better for them.

More than that, it allows a dev. to test the water, propagating their own rumours to see what public reaction would be, and if negative, looking like the good-guy by saying 'No, no, that was never the plan. We'd never be so cynical'.

Of course, that backfires somewhat when your idea to have a console always online receives immense criticism, only to say 'Of course it doesn't *always* have to be online...though here's a few things we *are* doing that are ten times worse'. And don't forget that lack of clarity led to a lack of consumer interest and not only a drop in their own stock, but a boost to their biggest rival's.

As for the sales figures thing, I don't have a problem with that either. If a dev. reveals their sales figures, it means they're happy with them; if not, it means they suck and probably suck hard. Whatever delusions they may have about protecting themselves, all they're really doing is allowing people to speculate that they've failed even more then they actually have.

So let the devs and manufacturers have their petty little secrets. The only ones they're really hurting are themselves.

PunkRex:
Jim, I don't KNooow MUUUccch... but I know IIIiii love YOOOooouuu!

OT: I do find it strange that other forms of news media are often critisised for being over zealous when it comes to getting information and yet gameing journalism can't even report on leads without having their work slapped with a CEASE AND DISIST order.

How strange is it that videogames became a reckonised art form before its journalism beame a legitimate information distributor... or what ever you want to call it?

Well, the thing is, people are assholes regardless of their career path.

Flip side to more freedom, is that people will abuse it. Jim is right that the games industry is so tight it squeaks and the only information being passed is info they want us to hear. On the other hand other media outlets have very little respect for privacy. Okay so an actor is acting up and making a fool of themselves, why would their family need to be dragged in too? A politician has made some bad decisions, but now the media is obsessed over any nuance of his life that they can hang him on (which can often drag the family in too).

The game industry severely restricts the flow of information at the expense of consumer knowledge. Other media often gives too much freedom to journalists, allowing them to invade the lives of people at their expense and only to that publications benefit.

It's very difficult to strike a good balance, but where the game industry is at now in that regards needs to change.

Egad, A tattooed fish-man has replaced Jim and stole his voice! Somebody call for help!

I'd imagine that a lot of it has to do with this being such a young industry. We're basically starting from ground zero so the content providers can implement all sorts of modern methods of consumer & media control. Trying some of this shit in the movie industry would be suicide, but in game journalism they never had an opportunity to grow a backbone to begin with. Big business here nipped journalistic integrity right in the bud before it had a chance to get anywhere.

Ragsnstitches:

PunkRex:
Jim, I don't KNooow MUUUccch... but I know IIIiii love YOOOooouuu!

OT: I do find it strange that other forms of news media are often critisised for being over zealous when it comes to getting information and yet gameing journalism can't even report on leads without having their work slapped with a CEASE AND DISIST order.

How strange is it that videogames became a reckonised art form before its journalism beame a legitimate information distributor... or what ever you want to call it?

Well, the thing is, people are assholes regardless of their career path.

Flip side to more freedom, is that people will abuse it. Jim is right that the games industry is so tight it squeaks and the only information being passed is info they want us to hear. On the other hand other media outlets have very little respect for privacy. Okay so an actor is acting up and making a fool of themselves, why would their family need to be dragged in too? A politician has made some bad decisions, but now the media is obsessed over any nuance of his life that they can hang him on (which can often drag the family in too).

The game industry severely restricts the flow of information at the expense of consumer knowledge. Other media often gives too much freedom to journalists, allowing them to invade the lives of people at their expense and only to that publications benefit.

It's very difficult to strike a good balance, but where the game industry is at now in that regards needs to change.

Oh I definatly agree, I was gonna mention, as a Londoner, I know how far it can go in the opposite direction. I don't know if folks outside of Britain know about the Daily Mail and it's little 'exploits' but it's enough to make you cringe.

This is actually exactly why I stopped caring about the Xbox One. The DRM thing was something I despised, but the fact that they couldn't ever give a straight answer pissed me off. When they finally revealed it they presented an awful sort of DRM and at some point they gave some vague information about family sharing. To this day we don't know how it would work. It ranges from quite crappy to something I thought was brilliant. Do I love it or hate it? Well, I don't know.

While on a much different scale and done for different reasons, just yesterday I was actually remarking on a supposed leaked image telling when the next two Steam holiday sales would begin. While I can understand the want to encourage people to buy full price, most people are going to be expecting a Christmas sale at least, and I'm of the opinion that they shouldn't be so tight-lipped about when their big sales are going to happen, because I'd much rather be able to plan my potential spending and opening Steam one day to suddenly see that it's broken because six million people are all accessing it at once due to holiday sales is not as exciting as it could be.

Andy Shandy:

Either come out with it, or keeps your mouth(s) shut.

That makes me think of what Microsoft's damage control was like for the first month or two after this year's E3, with them constantly saying "Oh, it's totally awesome, and we have tons of reasons for why, but we're not going to tell you any of them, just know they're there!"

Two things.

1: The mask was funny.
2: Yeah, it would be nice to know what the blue-blazes the gaming industry is hiding. This argument of, "you just don't know what went on behind the scenes therefore you didn't play the game right," smacks to me of a restaurateur or chef telling a customer who didn't like their meal, "you don't know what went into preparing the meal and you don't know how to enjoy it properly." Who knows, maybe if they decided to come clean and tell us, the unthinkable would happen and people would respect the company for being forward.

Whether companies keep internal development issues secret is of course, their business (not saying Jim's wrong that it's better to air it out). But there is one point I feel strong about: Sales figures

This should never be kept secret, from a financial market standpoint. At least in the U.S., a company has to provide very specific information on major segments when releasing financial reports. To do otherwise is not just misleading to customers, but to investors-you know, the folks that own the company

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