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GDC is not about announcements

April 2nd, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 2 Comments · GDC, Media

I wish I had written this.

It’s not just GDC that is so afflicted, either. Just as media outlets are astonished and angered each year by the lack of non-development announcements at a development conference, they also build the same pointless expectation over shows like Game Convention (realistically, too close to Christmas for any major slew of announcements) and the Tokyo Games Show (largely focused on the domestic market, and dominated by titles which will never be exported).

The reason for this constant cycle of rumour, expectation and disappointment – whose ultimate result is to create a large population of embittered, annoyed consumers, something which isn’t good for anyone in the business – lies in the continuing debasement of the games media itself. Blogs, podcasts and news sites can huff and puff as much as they want about GDC (or any other show) being “disappointing” – the reality is that it’s the writers themselves, through their credulity and unprofessionalism, who have created the false expectations which lead to such disappointment.

The advent of the Internet has done some wonderful things for the games media, but news journalism – both in games and in every other sector in the world – has suffered terribly. No longer are news stories researched, backed up and given a context before being published. Instead, a culture where being first is vastly more important than being accurate has flourished, with writers desperate for “exclusives” converting wild rumours and speculations from forums like NeoGAF or GameFAQs into news stories in a matter of minutes.

Of course, any hope of establishment games journalism being more than lists, sort-of-jokes or rushes to get scoops is getting fainter by the day.

Don’t mind me. I’m in a cranky mood today.


2 Comments so far ↓

  • Neil

    There really isn’t enough going on in the mainstream game industry for the amount of coverage given it. Therefore, content on gaming sites tends to be pretty thin gruel. It’s ravenously consumed but not satisfying.

  • Jimmy Brown

    Sorry you’re feeling cranky.

    The rush to publish is unfortunate, to say the least, but perhaps inevitable. Even when news was mostly the newspaper and the six o’clock news show, it was promoted as being fast; but news could still be doled out only so quickly and only so much at once, limited by page count or length of the show. The on-demand, 24-hour delivery of news made possible by cable television and the internet requires a lot of content to keep things moving and fair amount of exciting content to keep people interested.

    That really doesn’t leave time for a lot of research. If someone does do a lot of research on a story, people have often forgotten about the story or become tired of it by the time the article is ready to be published. If one does journalism correctly, one winds up as a voice crying in the wilderness–with the page hits and advertising revenue that goes along with that.

    Hm, now I’m in a cranky, Neil-Postman mood myself.