Hooray for Game Journalism

So, as we just reported, it looks like GameSpot's Jeff Gerstmann was indeed fired, and it looks like it was probably at least partially over a negative 6.0 review he gave to Io's Kane & Lynch: Dead Men--a review with which publisher Eidos was none to pleased. The game has hardly been getting stellar reviews; our own Carlos Bergfeld wasn't thrilled. This comes as a surprise to me. I'm not the most ardent fan of GameSpot's reviews, but I have always, always looked at the organization as one of journalistic integrity. I know a number of people who work at GameSpot and have always gotten the impression that its management and staff understand how all this shit should work--the business end is totally separate from the editorial end, you don't bow to publishers, and you don't let outside influence color your judgment. I suppose, though, that such principles are voluntary, and may take a backseat when massive sums of money are involved. I also suspect that, if this is true (and sources say it is), the action was taken on the part of parent CNET and not the GameSpot staff. Unfortunately, this kind of thing will reflect on game journalism as a whole. I don't want to come off as self-aggrandizing but I would like explain how we treat this stuff. Read on if you're interested in that. As editor-in-chief, I have no idea who our ad contracts are with, ever. I keep my ads turned off anyway, so not only do I not know who's advertising with us, I never even see the ads. Our owner Steve does contribute in wacky ways from time to time, but he does not review or preview games, and those who listen to our podcast will know that he often talks negatively about games from publishers who advertise with us. We're an independent company with a small staff, and have no corporate overlords. That has its benefits. From what Steve has told me, the practice of publishers approaching editorial outlets with the intent to influence content has decreased significantly over the past few years, which makes this week's events all the more surprising. Either way, it's a sad state of affairs, and while we know that Gerstmann was let go I hope that there were other more legitimate factors involved as well.