Jimquisition: Integrity, Journalism, and Free PS4s

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Regarding the issue at hand, there aren't that much professions, where the tools of the trade you get for free as a part of job detail are one of the most sought after things on the world by the internet inhabitants and is actually a thing mostly associated with a pastime rather than hard work, like, say a car for a driver or a stock of chemical supplies for a chemist? Sure you can have fun with both of these examples, but I think everybody will agree that nothing would get everybody's on the internet knickers in a twist other than this. Also getting them engraved sounds like overkill.

Excellent video.

Judging from how you review games I think it's hardly possible to cry bribery. Unless they also slipped you a note along with a game to say that their game sucks balls.

Jim, do you feel like you'd review a game even lower if it sucked AND you had to pay for it? Like it's an extra blow because it sucked?

Jim, am I going to have to take out a restraining order on behalf of your PS4?

Did someone want a gif?
http://gifti.me/i/cMPhJWB3.gif

Dragonbums:
Perhaps the perception of them being gifts has A LOT more to do with the fact that Sony actually went out of their way to EMBLAZON their names on the PS4 in question as opposed to giving them a regular ass system.

Yeah, that's a bit on the show-off side for something that's just supposed to be a "review" unit. I feel it wrongfully celebrates the privileged position that reviewers are in.

But then 5% of those likely broke anyway. :P

I'm of two minds:
I do agree it's financially impossible for reviewers to buy every game they need to review. The practice of review products exist in many industries. For example I know professional audio review sites will be lent review gear for a week or two by companies for them to test. If you think games are expensive, try reviewing speakers, dj gear, lighting, etc. that can cost thousands of dollars every week.

However, I feel this leads some reviewers to be more complacent than they need to be. If Diablo 3 didn't work on launch, they might wonder why everyone doesn't just calm down instead of waiting it out because surely Blizz will fix it soon. They didn't have that $60 + tax sting to their wallet.

Subsequently this is why I really like people like Angry Joe. He seems to frequently pay full price for the games and I feel it grounds his opinions in reality. With Battlefield 4 having constant trouble on the PC he's justifiably angry and I can trust his opinion when he feels like he wasted his money.

We also have the rare occasions with things like Sim City review copies working absolutely fine then the entire service crashing on launch and no one being able to play it then having cheetah speed disabled for like 3 months. In this case, reviewers weren't really reviewing the same game. Of course, reputable sites like Polygon redacted their reviews and updated them.

Anyways, long story short is you need to find the reviewers who ARE on the side of the consumer (like Jim) and aren't just trudging through games as a daily grind. I guess the unfortunate downside to this is there are reviewers out there who simply don't have the integrity of the likes of Jim or Angry Joe.

And here I thought the dragon dildo frolicking was disturbing. I was wrong, so very wrong.

Not being in the market for a next-gen console, I don't know this for certain, but aren't there supply issues for the PS4s? I mean, its the same thing every 'generation,' so I'm assuming (yes, I know) that it's true this one as well. In that environment, it would definitely not be a good idea to brag about how you got all this launch day swag when many won't be able to even get one if they want one.

But you're right Jim, we the public do occasionally forget that if you really had to buy everything you review, talk about, etc. you'd either have to really be rolling in dough, or you'd be filling for bankruptcy. It's just too costly.

LICK IT YOU CORPORATE BOUGHT WHORE!!!

I kid, let's face it, the guys/gals in the middle are always gonna be the ones to bear the brunt. Same's true in any work place, the higher ups are gonna blame the managers for not pushing their staff while the workers are gonna blame the managers for not fighting for their rights.

Often the middle man is pointless, but they userly make things easier and thats what I tend to expect from my reveiwers. I like alot of people on this site, e.g. MovieBob, Yahtzee, Mr.Sterling here, but I don't always expect to agree with them. I'm just looking for abit of insight to make my choices easier, hell, personally I think Bobs taste in movies is 'meh' at best but I still like his vids because he never holds back, he's honest and he works hard, so I like to hear him ramble about stuff. The same goes for the folk over on Channel Awesome or Youtube like Nostalgia Cick and TotalBiscuit.

Keep doing your thing Jim, you've already covered the fact that journalists can't ever be completely objective, which is something I agree with.

Just remember to keep it classy garme journalists, no one can fault you for that.
image

Personally, Square can send me a free playstation if they want, i'll still call FF13 a piece of shiney poo-poo.

So did you void your warrenty by fellating your PS4?

themilo504:
Konami blacklisted who for what reason?

Have there been actual cases of game journalists getting bribes?

In a nutshell; Konami blacklisted Jim for speaking sense.

The tragically hilarious thing is that they keep forgetting he's blacklisted. :D

...

I can't think of any cases of outright bribery off the top of my head, but there have been more than a couple of occasions that definitely fall under the category of "shady bullish!t", like Jeff Gertsmann getting sacked from Gamespot for writing a negative review of Kane & Lynch...

I agree that people overreacted about this, but you also need to understand that they have been given reasons to do so in the past, in a long line of disgraceful events, from Jeff Gerstmann all the way to Geoff Keighley and beyond. Plastic reviews, uninformative reviews, reviews with factual errors, reviews that have absolutely nothing to do with the actual state of the games (like PS3 versions of Bethesda games getting anything above 2/10) and a whole lot of other fishy and disgusting things. Here's the truth, blunt as it is: People think game journalists kind of suck dick, with very few exceptions. Try dragging yourselves out of this shithole a bit BEFORE you start posting "swag" on your twitters.

The main problem here is that most gamers don't believe that professional game reviewers have any credibility. Most people don't think "Hey, I use a smart phone. Therefore, I am just as qualified as a reviewer of phones and phone technology as the professionals." Or hell, look at movies. Most people aren't going to think themselves an equal film critic to the professionals.

But games....we ALL think we're just as good at reviewing games as the so-called professionals - we just didn't write down our review and slap some screenshots next to it. "He just pointed out all the same things I noticed by playing the game - I could do that job easily!" So when we hear about Sony giving free PS4s to reviewers some people cry "Sony's giving some gamers free PS4s why? Why not give them to me!?" rather than "Sony is providing professionals with the equipment they need to do their jobs." Would you complain about game programmers getting "free laptops" that they use to code with?

News flash - you're not as good a reviewer, and likely not as good a writer (which is ironically the most important skill for a reviewer to have).

On the other side, game reviewers have done little or nothing to challenge this perception. Reviews driven purely by opinion (or "fun") rather than objective criteria or deep analysis of the game is the norm. Poorly written reviews and reviews clearly driven by clickbaiting abound.

So, once again (in the spirit of this episode) everyone is wrong.

Jimothy Sterling:
Integrity, Journalism, and Free PS4s

Days before the PlayStation 4 launched, Sony held a "review event" in New York, in which reviewers got to pick up their "free" consoles. Then they tweeted pictures of themselves with their PS4s. Then the Internet did its thing.

Watch Video

Agree with the eisode but for one detail. When the consoles are engraved, are special for the reviewers, well, that is Sony corssing a line. They are making them "special" and "collectible" consoles for the reviewers, so it feels more like a bribe. Reviewers should get the games and consoles, it is part of their job I agree, but getting extra benefits, collectibles and extras in general start to tread an iffy line between bribery and just getting tools. Does the engraving add anything to the conosle except making the reviewer feel special? If not, then lose it or it is fair to cry foul about that for me.

Silentpony:

Jimothy Sterling:

Silentpony:
"Video games are expensive. Having journalist pay for them would be essentially having them pay for their jobs."

I think it was that line that made me realize how unnecessary video game journalism is. I mean, are we seriously going to dozens and dozens of websites to get other peoples opinions on things that are subjective to taste? Somehow this week's episode felt less like an idealized rant and more like whining on how unfair it would be if journalists were like ordinary people.

Pay for my own games? Are you mad?!

...maybe.

Welcome to the Internet? None of it is necessary. However, people are putting their time into creating something that entertains a lot of people. If they're providing something their audience wants, do they really have to be expected to commit financial suicide to do it?

Reviewers *aren't* normal customers. Look, I can buy all my own games, but don't expect me to spend my days copy editing Escapist articles or even producing Jimquisition videos, because I'd be clocking in at a 9 to 5 office somewhere. :)

Look, not mad per se but you do have to see it from the 'average' gamers view. If reviewers/critics get a free game and everyone gives it a 10/10 or some such, the 'average' games DOES smell some shit. Am I saying that critics are like millionaires? No, of course not. But I do think there is a level of quid pro quo to this. I mean did every single critic think GTAV was a 10/10(you being the exception I know), or was that just an implied deal they made? Somehow I feel like the latter is more likely...

You are wrong. I could go deep into detail why, but the fact is that game makers don't need to make a deal to get 10/10 for a game like GTA 5. The reason is not because it is good, but just because it is big. People wanted it to be good and many game journalists are good at telling people what they want to hear. The reason this type of shit happens is because every flips their shit when a Zelda or a GTA or a MGS or any major release doesn't get a 10/10. Death threats are sent, DDOS attacks occur, etc. The average gamer is the reason why this sort of thing happens. Merely great games get a stamp of perfect, good games are said to be great, and even broken games are said to be very good. And this is primarily because we have trained reviews to fear giving a bad score.

Oh, there are other reasons this happens occasionally. But by and large it is the fault of the gaming public we get inflated review scores. The community, by and large, demands them.

I think the best words that would benefit the whole ordeal?

"Calm yourself, and slow down so you can think things through."

Really, people just want to push things so much and react to things so quickly that nobody's able to do quality control on what they push, and more importantly, themselves. I'm for a movement that supports an agreement that everyone - And I mean everyone - needs to slow down these days and give some real thought on actions they have taken and may soon take.

Jimothy Sterling:

Silentpony:

Jimothy Sterling:

Clip

CLIP

Did you see the PS4 reviews from a lot of outlets that got "free" games? Knack and Killzone both got pretty average scores, which was doubly funny as a lot of gamers predicted they'd both get 10/10s due to all these "gifts."

I do not believe getting a game "free" makes you kinder to a game. If you believe that of me, you are welcome to, though.

Not specifically, no. I do not believe getting a free game makes you or any other reviewer kinder to a game. But looking at the endless lists of perfect scores (Again, granting not every game gets a perfect score) but many of the AAA ones do, and looking at like Jeff Gerstmann(Again, don't know the real story, just what I read.) who got fired for reviewing what was it, Kane and Lynch, badly? Or the Meta-critic users banned for bad reviews. Or the Sony Petition to ban bad game reviews. Or that you-tube guy(Totally blanking on his name) who kept getting Copyright infringements on the gameplay for his lets play, specifically on the games he reviews as bad. Of course its fair to say game companies want good reviews; that's just good business.
But that does mean they have a vested interest in choosing who they want to review their games. I mean you got shit from Konami for not playing along and saying their games are great. Good for you, and you've been vocal about how that's unfair/wrong/bullshit and all the other happy words. But what does that mean about the game critics who are NOT black listed? For every game controversy you or those like-minded start, there's dozens of '10/10' 'terrific' 'amazing' 'best game ever' reviews from the same sites! Is this a case of guilt by implication? That those who aren't getting shit from disturbers/makers are playing by the deal?

Please, again, not blaming you or anything. But like you said I think a week ago/two weeks ago, when a company says 'you don't know what happened behind the scenes' when excusing a poorly received game, you said that was the problem. I'm agreeing with you. That does seem to be a problem.

Zubaru:
Did someone want a gif?
http://gifti.me/i/cMPhJWB3.gif

Part of me wonders if that increased or decreased the value of that system? I'm not sure.

So... Jim is going to be in Mass Effect 4 now... After all he licked a game console, that got Chobbit into the game so I expect the same for Jimmy. That will be an interesting role to see him play. Wonder how many people will "romance" his character.

kurokotetsu:

Jimothy Sterling:
Integrity, Journalism, and Free PS4s

Days before the PlayStation 4 launched, Sony held a "review event" in New York, in which reviewers got to pick up their "free" consoles. Then they tweeted pictures of themselves with their PS4s. Then the Internet did its thing.

Watch Video

Agree with the eisode but for one detail. When the consoles are engraved, are special for the reviewers, well, that is Sony corssing a line. They are making them "special" and "collectible" consoles for the reviewers, so it feels more like a bribe. Reviewers should get the games and consoles, it is part of their job I agree, but getting extra benefits, collectibles and extras in general start to tread an iffy line between bribery and just getting tools. Does the engraving add anything to the conosle except making the reviewer feel special? If not, then lose it or it is fair to cry foul about that for me.

Part of me wonders if they did it to prevent pre-launch resale at insanely marked up prices. You know one of those babies on eBay before launch would sell for a ridiculous amount! That said, when I saw the pictures on Twitter myself my first thought was Sony was wining and dining the reviewers with sweet customized gear.

You're wrong Jim. By your own admission, you've been blacklisted by Konami, that sends a clear message to EVERY other reviewer, "don't be as honest as Jim was or we'll stop your game train too".

That taints the reviews and the reviewers.

The fact that game reviewers are poorly paid and can't afford to buy them all makes them more susceptible to the influence than they would be if they could afford to buy them all.

@ Jim I liked that you used King Solomon as an example, a king that was wise but who became corrupted by outside influences and the rewards they offered, if it weren't for you pointing out that reviewers receiving free stuff to make it possible to do their job isn't corruption I'd wonder if you chose to use that's king as an example for that reason.

Jimothy Sterling:

I do not believe getting a game "free" makes you kinder to a game. If you believe that of me, you are welcome to, though.

Well, obviously it does make them kinder. Ride to Hell: Retribution has a metascore 5 points higher than the user score. Can you say "bought off?"

I'm kidding, of course, but I think it sort of drives home the silliness here.

Calibanbutcher:
So, remind me never to touch anything you own, Jim...
Ever.

I was thinking that I wouldn't want to play games at his house... of that's what he does to the system, who knows what he does with the controller?

OT: I actually missed the whole deal about people posting pictures of their systems, but when you mentioned it I was thinking that it didn't seem like a professional thing to do, I can understand it, but I can also understand that people get upset by it and people getting upset on the internet means 10 times the reaction they would have normally.

Honestly I would never want to be a game reviewer despite the fact that I could get money to play games and get free games on top of it. I like to take my time and I am terrible at playing through them. I don't envy game reviewers at all. Add the hate they get over their opinions and I actually pity them at times.

Ken_J:
Wait. Blacklisted by Konami? HOW? WHY?

That is odd. It's one thing if they don't send him games to review, but they can't stop him from buying them on his own for fun, right? RIGHT?!

Welcome to the 21st century, where everything has a catch to it and people can't do a single nice thing without someone accusing them of actually being horrible people and people's views are biased and paid for if they disagree with you. Have we become so cynical that every action at every turn is something to be looked at with distrust and scrutiny?

Zachary Amaranth:

Jimothy Sterling:

I do not believe getting a game "free" makes you kinder to a game. If you believe that of me, you are welcome to, though.

Well, obviously it does make them kinder. Ride to Hell: Retribution has a metascore 5 points higher than the user score. Can you say "bought off?"

I'm kidding, of course, but I think it sort of drives home the silliness here.

Of course, Ride to Hell didn't give out any review codes :P

The game is, of course, dreadful and in places functionally broken but I wonder if reviewers would have been a bit kinder to it if they didn't have to shell out personal money for it. Similarly, Prime World: Defenders( The tower defense game) had no review codes has a pretty low Metacritic score but I actually thought the game was pretty fun for the $10 it cost. Certainly at least a 70, but it has a 58. Most user reviews rate the game higher too.

Of course, pointing out two examples does not prove the rule, but I personally think I would have been a bit more lenient with my Final Fantasy 13 opinions if it cost me 0 dollars than if I dropped a whole $60 on it.

erttheking:
Welcome to the 21st century, where everything has a catch to it and people can't do a single nice thing without someone accusing them of actually being horrible people and people's views are biased and paid for if they disagree with you. Have we become so cynical that every action at every turn is something to be looked at with distrust and scrutiny?

This is literally the best quote I have read as of late. It can literally be taken out of context towards any news article nowadays.

That bit about Greg Tito was brilliant. Also, ebay the fuck out of that PS4! It's got your DNA all over it now!

YOU'LL MAKE BANK!

An easy workaround to this: Whenever reviewing a game under special circumstances, give full disclosure. Eurogamer does this; when reviewing Battlefield 4 on the PS4, they said this:

Battlefield 4 was played for review at an event in Stockholm, Sweden. Eurogamer made separate travel and accommodation arrangements and paid our own costs.
PC, PS4 and Xbox One versions were available to try at the event. We were able to complete the campaign and take part in extensive multiplayer sessions at the event. In addition, we played the Xbox 360 version at home in the UK under normal conditions.

And it should be all it takes, really.

Silentpony:

Jimothy Sterling:

Silentpony:

CLIP

Did you see the PS4 reviews from a lot of outlets that got "free" games? Knack and Killzone both got pretty average scores, which was doubly funny as a lot of gamers predicted they'd both get 10/10s due to all these "gifts."

I do not believe getting a game "free" makes you kinder to a game. If you believe that of me, you are welcome to, though.

Not specifically, no. I do not believe getting a free game makes you or any other reviewer kinder to a game. But looking at the endless lists of perfect scores (Again, granting not every game gets a perfect score) but many of the AAA ones do, and looking at like Jeff Gerstmann(Again, don't know the real story, just what I read.) who got fired for reviewing what was it, Kane and Lynch, badly? Or the Meta-critic users banned for bad reviews. Or the Sony Petition to ban bad game reviews. Or that you-tube guy(Totally blanking on his name) who kept getting Copyright infringements on the gameplay for his lets play, specifically on the games he reviews as bad. Of course its fair to say game companies want good reviews; that's just good business.
But that does mean they have a vested interest in choosing who they want to review their games. I mean you got shit from Konami for not playing along and saying their games are great. Good for you, and you've been vocal about how that's unfair/wrong/bullshit and all the other happy words. But what does that mean about the game critics who are NOT black listed? For every game controversy you or those like-minded start, there's dozens of '10/10' 'terrific' 'amazing' 'best game ever' reviews from the same sites! Is this a case of guilt by implication? That those who aren't getting shit from disturbers/makers are playing by the deal?

Please, again, not blaming you or anything. But like you said I think a week ago/two weeks ago, when a company says 'you don't know what happened behind the scenes' when excusing a poorly received game, you said that was the problem. I'm agreeing with you. That does seem to be a problem.

The guy I think you are referring to is TotalBiscuit/TotalHalibut also known as the Cynical Brit (kind of redundant if you ask me). Jim has had experiences like that with the Hydrophobia reviewers and recently Microsoft's PR trying to temper/change his opinions.
As for games receiving lots of 10/10, I see it as a case of reviewers being excited gamers at the end of the day. Although a game like GTA 5 for example will also receive higher scores than other games because it's relatively simple to complete the story or to learn all mechanics compared to a more complex genre like fighting games. They require learning lots of mechanics, timings, combos, exploits to master and completely enjoy. So reviewers have an easier time with GTA 5 and are more willing to give a higher score, of course this is not always the case. This is why I feel review sites should have more specialized reviewers, but that's another topic.

1337mokro:
So... Jim is going to be in Mass Effect 4 now... After all he liked a game console, that got Chobbit into the game so I expect the same for Jimmy. That will be an interesting role to see him play. Wonder how many people will "romance" his character.

Will we get to punch him in the face?

Why waste breath for idiots who say that?
It's like arguing with someone who wants to tell you that "there never has been good backwards compatibility and no one wants it anyway", at some point there is just no salvageable brain matter for you to work with and you're talking to a brick wall.

Ha! I wonder if Jim will be in the next Mass Effect game as a love interest now since he licked a Sony system.

I'd much rather get down with Jim than Chobot. In game at least.

Whats the game with the white cyber ninja? Is that killzone?

You know what, I don't know if you are incredibly smart or just everyone is mostly stupid, but anyway you really stand out.

But really, it makes them sound whinny and immature. Besides, that happens in other industries as well, from movies (even Moviebob talks about it here!) to books.

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