Kotaku is doing something with its editorial that I’ve wanted to see happen in games journalism for a while, and it got me thinking. What Kotaku is doing seems like it will mostly concern the news and features they do in the future, but it made me realize something about how I regard reviews and previews.
Basically, Kotaku thinks it can unchain itself from the PR-gated preview-review cycle by focusing a lot more of its stories on already-released games and the people playing them. I agree that it could help them write more human stories by focusing on the communities that spring up around games post-launch, and for years I’ve been concerned at how coverage tends to drop a game almost entirely after the review. Games can remain interesting for years after they come out, and gaming journalism should reflect that. One of the things that tends to garner interest is the conversation surrounding a game.
Kotaku is partly trying to escape the cycle that’s made a lot of people tired and increasingly mistrusting of the big publications (IGN, GameSpot, etc.). Being trapped in that PR-gated cycle has convinced many people that big publications are essentially in the big game publishers’ pockets, whether or not there’s actually any proof to support that notion. As a result, I increasingly see people rely on word of mouth in lieu of reviews, myself included. Continue reading