What I've learned about the video game industry
I've been working in the video game industry for just over a year now. In that time I've worked for GameZone exclusively. Before that I was just another gamer with an opinion; that's what's so great about the video game community — we all have an opinion. And we let that opinion be heard, especially when it's displeasure. Thankfully, I'm lucky enough to have my opinions published.
I've attended a few events over my time doing this for a living, including a Namco Bandai event in Las Vegas where I refused to try a Cereal Bowl Milkshake (it was vodka, Captain Crunch and ice cream... no thank you), and my first E3. I've learned many things about the industry, including some things that really surprised me — about video game journalists and the industry itself.
I'd just like to share a few of the things I've noticed and learned in my brief time. I believe that being so fresh to the video game industry gives me a fresh view on things, as opposed to journalists that have been doing it so long that they become jaded. So let's get started, shall we?
What I've learned
- When PR for a video game tells you they have limited review copies of the game, so nothing is guaranteed, they're lying. It probably just means that they've given so many copies to the biggest outlets for reviews/giveaways/part of a media package. For instance, we were supposed to receive Twisted Metal. Two weeks after launch, still no game. But IGN gave everyone in their audience a copy of the game. I still like to joke that one of them got our copy.
- An embargo date for new information or reviews doesn't apply to everyone. Sites get exclusives, especially the big ones. Or the big ones can just break embargo, because it's not like a publisher doesn't want their game on the biggest review sites. Sometimes a really small site will break embargo to break news first and get the page views. I don't know how that ends up for them, because I play by the rules.
- Not as many people as I thought play video games and like Dubstep. That's a good thing.
- No developer wants to make a sh*tty game. They're all people that love video games too, and they want to make a game people enjoy. Some things, like time and budget are out of their control so they work with what's given to them. However, it's often the case that they don't make money for a quick cash-in. No one wants to have their name on a piece of crap game.
- A lot of journalists have forgotten that video games are supposed to be fun, therefore they shouldn't be such narcissistic, elitist d*cks. I've met far too many journalists in this industry that turn their nose up to a game or press briefing. I've seen perfectly fine and enjoyable press briefings where the journalist sitting next to me would just try to tweet things about it in an effort to make him sound witty and the showing a waste of his time. It's these negative attitudes and the act of portraying yourself as better than everyone else that has no place in this industry. Dude, you write about video games. It's fun thing. Yes, it's a business and you have to be serious, but don't go out of your way to make something sound like the worst thing you've ever seen. Exaggeration isn't good, whether you're exaggerating how great something is or how bad it is. These journalists probably tell women they have 15 inch c*cks.
- This comes off of the last one, but there is an insane amount of unprofessionalism in this industry among journalists. It is a business, and it is a job. Yes, it's a fun job, but that doesn't mean you can act however you want. I've come across people, especially at E3, that just care about getting free sh*t. There's also people that hold grudges and try to destroy opportunities for others, even if they were in the wrong. Your reputation is everything, and it's not smart to have a reputation that you're a d*ck and that you answer your phone during interviews.
- Beards and mustaches are prominent. As are hoodies... even in 80+ degree weather.