Feed on Posts or Comments 30 July 2021

Miscellaneous Travis Hite on 30 Nov 2007 05:07 am

Getting Lynched

The above review by Jeff Gerstmann is, one must admit, pretty stark. Though his review gives the game a 6.0/10 overall, he speaks in great lengths as to the poorly constructed plot, the poor AI, and the overall shoddy construction of the game. This was to be his last post though, as CNET, parent company of Gamespot, fired him not long after this review went up due to the “unprofessional reviews and review practices” he used.

The problem is that the creators of “Kane and Lynch”, EIDOS, invested rather heavily in the site while the review went up. The internet rumor factory churned itself into a frenzy on Thursday, word spread around that Gerstmann was canned because he may have caused a ruffle with the clientèle. The very next day a comic went up on Penny Arcade concerning the debacle. Penny Arcade may as well be considered a news filter for the gaming public, as the rant associated with each comic is read by hundreds of thousands of gamers every day, and the rants are considered by some to be gospel. It did not take much from the mouth of Tycho to get people riled.

I will tell you the Gerstmann Story as we heard it. Management claimed to have spoken to Jeff about his “tone” before, and no doubt it was this tone that created tensions between their editorial content, the direction of the site, and the carefully crafted relationships that allowed Gamespot to act as an engine of revenue creation. After Gerstmann’s savage flogging of Kane & Lynch, a game whose marketing investment on Gamespot alone reached into the hundreds of thousands, Eidos (we are told) pulled hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of future advertising from the site.

Reports went out that perhaps this was not the case, as firing someone in a position such as Gerstmann is not a decision the company is likely to take lightly. Once the Internet gets moving, especially in the case of censorship, people begin to take up arms. It wasn’t long before NeoGAF, considered by some to be the gamer forum on the Internet, posted that it would be filtering out all advertising for CNet and Eidos for the rest of the year. While most editorials seemed to be a bit less rash, word of mouth from gamer to gamer was pretty intensely negative.

This is a P.R. problem that cannot end well for Eidos, as this is the sort of thing that is likely to cause the hard core gaming public to avoid “Kane and Lynch”. This is even worse though for Gamespot. While video games are going more and more mainstream as days go by, gaming journalism is mostly the domain of the hardcore. A blow to the respectability amongst the fans will be a major blow to Gamespot, as finding alternatives requires little more than shaking a stick.

Certainly, it’s not the sort of thing that will sink either company. Cooler heads will eventually prevail. But in the meantime a small shock is likely to be felt by both companies as PR campaigns are launched to spin the news and restore the good names of both companies. Chances are this is a fiasco neither company will ever forget though.

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