The whole Gerstmann and GameSpot thing

Thanks to Glen, I had heard today that Jeff Gerstmann was let go at GameSpot. Jeff was the top dog there after Greg Kasavin left. Personally, I was never a fan of his writing or his video reviews. However, that being said, Penny Arcade has a comic today implying that Gerstmann was let go because of his Kane And Lynch review.

Personally I find this very hard to believe that the review score alone would cause termination; if it did people would run from GameSpot like the plague and even in videogame journalism, once word gets out that’s a problem. It’s all over the place now and GameSpot hasn’t commented on it (which they should have by now). Rumors at the QT3 board say it’s because Eidos looked at his online sign in name and found out that he hadn’t finished the game or something along those lines.

Now, I’ve never seen GameSpot’s reviewers guide, and if it says all reviewers must complete a game and if there’s proof he didn’t, well that could be an issue regardless of the score given. That being said, you often wonder with all the sign in and gamertags out there, if there wasn’t a way for a game company to gauge how much time the game was played and whether or not that information could be tracked.

While I do have my public GamerTag here, I do have privacy settings enabled; however if someone really wanted to see what my GamerTag was doing, I’m sure they could. There are ways around that, say a non-internet connected Xbox 360 with a silver account for reviews only..but really, I think C|Net or GameSpot or whatever needs to come clean — was it cost cutting? Was there an actual problem? It’s one thing to have a private personnel issue; it’s another when your integrity is on the line. Of course I’m sure lawyers are talking right now because their strategy is probably to pin it on Jeff without making it slanderous….

All of this is complete conjecture on my part, I have no idea what’s going on, I don’t know Jeff, I’m on the East Coast and can only tell you what I know.

In my brief time at PC Gamer, I never got the feeling from an editor that my review was changed due to advertising. It was changed for other reasons, which I disagree with and never really received an answer, Dan Morris, I’m talking to you….but even as unhappy as I was, I didn’t get the feeling it was to help EA.

During my time with Operation Sports, GamePen, and now GameShark, there has never, EVER been any pressure from anybody to try to change a score due to someone advertising. Of course, that would imply at GamePen/OS, there was advertising. But I think you know what I’m saying here. Did game developers get pissed off at me? Yes. I remember an unnamed game a few years ago that I was given a talking to by a developer for my less than stellar review of the game. What often happens is that frankly, the game works the way the developers want it to, and I just don’t like it. It happens. Let’s just hope there really isn’t this unspeakable quid pro quo.

Playing devil’s advocate: There could be 1,001 issues here, and the final review score may or may not had something to do with it.I really hope that there’s an explanation for this and that GameSpot addresses it. Maybe in “Rumor Central?” heh.

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About icedcorn

I'm a gamer
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2 Responses to The whole Gerstmann and GameSpot thing

  1. Rand says:

    From what I’ve read it had something to do with the ‘tone’ of his initial review moreso then the actual contents. It was apparently rather explicit in language.

    If that’s the case it could be reason for his apparent release from GS.

    Not finishing the game definitely wouldn’t be the reason, GS openly admits they don’t finish all games though they try to finish most if it’s at all reasonable. Besides, apparently much of their gaming is done on debug units which their online profiles don’t support-so his profile wouldn’t be an accurate determinator of whether he’d finished the game.

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  2. Brandon says:

    Were I to review 360 games, I’d never do so under my own tag. For one, it might screw with my completion percentage as some games you can play through and only get like a third of the points. Second, I’d rather not have my public tag cluttered with a bunch of review games.

    Firing someone because their initial review had bad language seems kind of strange. I remember that one of GS’s criticisms over K&L was the excessive use of bad language, so maybe he was just trying to be funny. At any rate, I would think you’d just tell him not to do it again and to change the piece and be done with it.

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