Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.
4. There’s no strong ethics for objective video game reviews
Without getting into the finer details of GamerGate, video game journalism’s absence of a unified code of ethics is one of the reasons why I hate video game reviews. For instance, the fact that GameStop, a video game retailer who also owns video game magazine Game Informer, now wants to enter the publishing side of the industry with GameTrust — which, I don’t know about you, but the name almost feels like an insult to consumer intelligence.
On the topic of trust, allow me to posit this query henceforth: if one owns a company that publishes games and has stores to sell them with a magazine that writes about and reviews these games, is there not obvious bias at play? Wouldn’t Game Informer be incentivized to talk up the games of its sister company? How can they write objectively when issues with those games arise? With affiliate marketing already a method employed by other media outlets, wouldn’t a relationship as direct as this threaten content quality, turning articles into subtle advertisement and elaborate pitches disguised as clickbait? I can’t help but feel it puts the customers — the gamers — at a disadvantage, any way you cut it. If authority and faith in game journalists is at a low, how does a move like this help rebuild that lost trust? Ditto, developers and publishers.
I’ll concede that affiliate marketing isn’t inherently bad, but like many things, it’s how it’s used that makes a difference when it comes to ethics. Even websites like us rely on advertisement revenue to keep afloat and setting aside some ad space isn’t wrong by default. At the very least, I can honestly tell you our main goal isn’t to milk our viewers for every ad cent. It’s when I see things like this at the top of the page that I begin to ask what a website’s goals are:
Not to throw Polygon under the bus; they’re not the only ones to do this and their writing is still pretty good. But even while I was researching for information to write this very article and to see an advertisement that takes up two thirds of the page above the fold (that is, the first impressions a viewer gets), it was perfect to paint my point.
But web economics aside, video games are subjective things. What even makes a “good” one nowadays?