"By the occasionally accurate (I joke, I joke) Emily Rogers."
Gaming Journalism versus Nintendo
by Emily Rogers on November 26, 2012
The goal of journalism is to try to find the most interesting story possible. When it comes to Nintendo, I’m going to assume that the negative stories will grab the most traffic. I won’t pretend like Nintendo doesn’t make mistakes, and I’m glad websites will call them out on their mistakes.
But here’s the issue. You don’t promise an indie developer to do an interview about their game, and then turn the interview into: “Tell us what pisses you off about Nintendo’s indie policies” for most of the interview. And when the developer doesn’t tell you anything negative about Nintendo, you choose not to publish the interview.
A very big (very well known) gaming site invited an indie studio called ACKKStudios to do an interview about their game “Two Brothers” for the Wii U’s eShop. ACKKStudios thought, “This is awesome! We’ll get tons of exposure about our game from this site!” They were really excited about this interview because they could talk about their game to a big audience since most of their interviews have been with much smaller, lesser known sites.
Remember that indies rely on the gaming media and social networking (Twitter, facebook) to get the word out about their games. They don’t have giant budgets of advertising dollars to promote their stuff.
So they do the interview over the phone. This was a week or so after Hurricane Sandy had hit New Jersey (where ACKKStudios is located). Brian Allanson from ACKKStudios is expecting most of the questions to be about their game, but the interviewer isn’t interested in that. The interviewer keeps throwing leading questions to get them to bash Nintendo’s indie policies. ACKKStudios keeps trying to dodge these leading questions left and right. In the past, ACKKStudios has gone on record saying that their experience working with the eShop team was really smooth so far: http://www.notenoughshaders.com/2012...hop-next-year/
Because ACKKStudios has to keep dodging these questions about “why Nintendo sucks with indies”, the interview starts getting super awkward, weird, and boring.
Three weeks later, and the interview hasn’t gone up on the site. This is because ACKKStudios didn’t give them any ammo to create a negative story or a controversial headline a few weeks before Wii U’s launch. For this particular site, talking about the game ”Two Brothers” is not going to bring them any hits. It is not click bait. Big sites think it’s easier to get negative or controversial information about Nintendo out of indies than bigger developers and publishers. They promise to interview an eShop developer about their game, but the reality is they are coming to these eShop developers for a completely different, more controversial story.
Indies like ACKKStudios can’t publically criticize sites in the gaming media because indies don’t want to be blacklisted from a website as big as this one. This is part of why I can’t mention the site by name. The issue here is indies NEED the gaming media to spread the message about their game, but some big sites think they can walk all over an indie because of this. Gaming media knows that indies need the media, but the media doesn’t need indies.
For the big site I am referring to, it has quite a negative reputation from Nintendo fans. Some gamers have made past claims that this site has an agenda against Nintendo, and I never believed it. I just assumed that Nintendo fans were being way too sensitive and defensive about any criticism against Nintendo. But now I’m starting to think there might be some kind of an agenda from this site. For the record, I’m NOT talking about IGN, GameSpot, Eurogamer, or Destructoid. The site I’m speaking of is just as well known as those sites though.
It’s true that sites have no obligations to post an interview.
But when you bait indie developers into thinking you’re interested in their game when your real agenda is tearing down Nintendo with a controversial story…your site starts looking like ”The Sun” of gaming journalism. The irony is that the top guy behind this site has been regularly defending gaming journalism when his site has been the biggest contributor in manufacturing click-bait controversy.
I’m friends with many eShop developers, and many indies in general. I talk to them via twitter/emails every day. They always tell me about the behind the scenes stuff and the politics of the gaming industry. I try to make an effort to help talented indies with promoting their games. Big gaming sites should know that eShop developers talk to Nintendo on a regular basis. Some of these eShop developers are friends with Nintendo of America employees. Keep that in mind before you push an agenda, or you’ll end up burning a lot of bridges.
She then took it down..
Then Emily took down the article.
Then Twittered her heart out while the rest of the internet watched in amused befuddlement as she tried to explain who was talking to whom about what.
I have removed the article to prevent any politics for the studio.
I should have not written that article without talking to the interviewer and Ackkstudios.
While I speak to AckkStudios regularly, there was no reason to turn anything into a public article.
For the record, the article I wrote had nothing to do with kotaku. It was a different site. I noticed gaf people sending me a link to gaf.
AckkStudios did an interview with Kotaku but that wasnt the site I spoke of in the article.
Sure it is bad journalism.. but what do YOU think? This was Kotaku's response to Emily's claim.
Wow! It's not every day you get anonymously accused of this sort of thing. This is about me and Kotaku, yes.
I'm disappointed that the developers of that game chose to bash me to another reporter instead of asking me why my story hasn't gone up. If they had asked me, I would have happily told them that the story was pushed back because I didn't want it to get lost among the influx of Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Wii U, holiday gift guides, and all the other big stories we've been covering over the past few weeks. I would have told them that their story is not particularly timely, so I wanted to hold it for a time when they could get more attention.
I would have also happily told them how excited I am about the Wii U and how psyched I am to hear that indie developers are doing well on it. I said as much in a podcast recorded yesterday, coincidentally (which you can check out Wednesday over at GameTrailers TV).
Anyone who follows me on Twitter, reads my work on Kotaku, or saw my thoughts on BBC last week knows that I am very high on this system.
I'm also disappointed that the author of this article didn't reach out to get my side of this story. Reporters should not treat other reporters this way.
It's always weird when stuff like this goes public. I still intend to run this story, but now I guess there's more to the story than what I was originally going to run.
Instead of updating the article, she completely removed it
Emily Rogers is a popular hit-and-miss rumor hitter. She wrote an interesting article, or at least it seemed to be. Is journalism against Nintendo? Is Kotaku making up bad excuses to cover up? Or is Emily Rogers just a bad writer?