The Divide of Game Journalism or Industry vs. Fans

Game Journalism is an often hotly debated topic. You have sites trying to appeal to people with click bait articles or using ads to keep themselves afloat and fans wanting unbiased reports. But the problem is that when it comes to talking about the Game Industry, we have two unique markets and it’s very hard to appeal to both.

 game journalism

The Openness of the Industry:

One of the great things about the Game Industry is how open it is compared to other consumer industries. Beyond just reading previews and reviews on sites, it’s an industry where not only do fans want to follow what’s going on but designers as well.

We’ve talked to multiple developers on the podcast and its great how they enjoy other games or want to find out about what someone else is doing. But unlike other industries, it’s not because they are looking for a competitive edge but they are fans as well.

That fandom is one of the best things about the industry as many developers who became Game Designers started out as fans of the industry. And because of that, we have several different groups that are interested in both games and learning about them.

game journalism

It’s very hard to find quality writing these days with the increase of opinion pieces and random videos.

We’re going to ignore casual fans as they are most often just interested in one game and not the industry. Core gamers or the general market is made up of people interested in the latest games and news of the industry.

The enthusiasts are people who want to know more about game design and could very well become designers at some point. And lastly are the actual designers, programmers and so on of the Game Industry who are curious about the current trends and development.

With those four main groups, we can simply categorize them into fans and the Industry itself. Of course there is some crossover as the as mentioned enthusiasts group, but this is generally how the divide works.

The problem comes from trying to market to these different groups and appeasing everyone.

Levels of Interest:

There is a problem with the Game Industry in terms of finding credible sources on the design front. Most sites are dedicated to the headline/click bait side of the game industry. Reviews are hotly contested here and reports of corruption and reviewers being paid off often come up.

But there are fewer sites out there on the creation and philosophy of designing games. There are so many areas to understand with game design that I’m sure there is interest out there. Much like how you have car enthusiasts who are interested in building their own.

Unfortunately we don’t have the same level of interest with game design among the majority of gamers who either only care about news or simply game reviews. I posted a few of my more critical posts here on Gamespot a few weeks ago and after a few, people got annoyed that I was making these long posts on their blog and forum pages.

game journalism

I know I keep using this picture, but it’s just too good of a representation of game journalism’s problems not to.

As it stands, interest in the Game Industry only exists at the extremes: either the people who just want to know about game news and reviews or the members of the industry who want to know more about design.

However that leaves a huge gap of people who want to learn about the Game Industry and design but can’t take that step from enthusiast to member of the industry.

The Lack of Game Journalism:

And that in a way takes me to the point of this and my previous post talking about game journalism, that it seems like the majority of people don’t really care for actual journalism in our industry. But thinking about it more, is our industry really something that needs people investigating tough stories? Are there things that need investigating? I’m not really sure.

But with that said, our industry really doesn’t have what could be considered journalism. The constant reprinting of the same news and “features” that are nothing more than pieces designed to get clicks isn’t journalism.

The days of finding educated column writers about design are gone as the majority of game sites don’t seem to care about that. And the sites that do have that are full of ads and click bait articles that it becomes impossible to separate the signal from the noise.

game journalism

Of course I had to post a picture from IGN when talking about game journalism.

Without knowing it at the time, Game-Wisdom has sort of filled that weird niche of providing content aimed at talking more about design and implementation and less about what other sites consider “news worthy.”

It’s why there are far less postings here than what you would find on other sites as I have no interest in regurgitating the same things that everyone else is talking about. And why I keep on sending out requests for podcast guests as I think the interview model of talking design with a professional is very educational.

A few weeks ago on the podcast, I spoke with Lorson about the state of game journalism and thinking about it more, I find myself less and less interested in game sites. I don’t even bother looking at reviews anymore on games as I have my friends to provide adequate descriptions and the ever increasing amount of opinion pieces on random topics also doesn’t interest me. There are several sites that I just don’t even bother looking at; some I’m sure you can guess while others probably not.

I do wonder just who exactly Game-Wisdom is aimed at? Is this purely for designers, enthusiasts or somewhere in between? The reason I’m thinking about this is that I’m planning on starting to get into more with advertising the site (not putting ads on the site of course) to get the word out.

Normally I have some conclusion to share about things at this point, but I’m at a lost for one. I want to see more educated pieces about the Game Industry but I just don’t know if there are enough people out there like me who care about this stuff.