Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Shake Up

This past week I found out that James, the editor-in-chief at GameShark is leaving to become the News Editor at a new site, Crispy Gamer was started by John Keefer who used to be the E-I-C at GameSpy. So far, both Aaron Williams of Nodwick and P.S. 238 fame and Scott Kurtz of PvP fame are doing online comics for the place so it obviously isn't a fly-by-night kind of place.

If you go to the Crispy Gamer site now, there's not much other than a page where you can sign up for a notification when the site launches. From what I've been able to find out online, the site is supposed to go against the grain of current gaming sites, in how it covers games, and how it reviews games. How they'll manage to pull this off is beyond me. The bottom line with game publishers is that if your site doesn't review games in a way that can't be aggregated by the aggregate sites, or if your site isn't large enough to be included in the aggregate sites, you don't get review copies. Hell, GameShark qualifies in both those categories and for the most part, we don't get shit for review copies. As a result, we get games later and our reviews go up later than the other sites with the exception of crap like Dancing With the Stars, which I am proud to say, had it's review debut at GameShark.

But I digress. Without review copies, I'm not sure how you'll be able to get reviews out in a window that can compete with the bigger sites, unless you have a huge budget that you can dedicate towards buying games, and even then, unless you can pay a staff to play games full time, you're still going to be behind the curve. Now, where this might not be a problem is if the readers of the site know that yeah, the reviews might be late, but at least they're honest. Personally, I know I have zero faith in the various gaming sites I go to, with the exception of GameShark (we don't get paid enough to be beholden to anyone), so if there was a site that had later reviews that I knew I could trust, that might mean something. Not sure how that will fly with other gamers though. Given how many people pay to preorder games, I don't place a lot of stock in gamers' patience. Also, given how much traffic both IGN and GameSpot gets, I'm pretty sure people aren't all that concerned with honesty. That's not to say that there isn't a place for an honest games site, I just wonder what's going to pay for it all. As I've mentioned before in this space, I would think that there would be plenty of advertising dollars available for products that a gaming site would never review, but that's just me. Hell, between Nerf and the Transformers, you'd probably get several million clicks a day from them alone. And that's just from me.

Whatever Crispy Gamer ends up being, I wish James all the best. Since I started writing at GameShark, James has been nothing but supportive and is actually one of my biggest fans, something I have always appreciated. Obviously, given James' involvement with the site, I hope that Crispy Gamer becomes wildly successful, and on a selfish note, it certainly wouldn't hurt for me to know someone at a larger gaming venue. Not that me knowing someone there means anything, but it certainly can't hurt.

Unfortunately, James' departure means we have a new E-I-C. All I can say is that I have worked with the man before, and he is insufferable.

And I'm fired in 3...2...1...


James Fudge said...

Just for the record - GameShark has never been threatened by a game company because of a bad review. Our ads are handled by an outside agency so it wouldn't do them any good anyway.

In all my years I can remember one instance where a company tried to question a review about a sports game. I stood behind my writer and they respected my position.

I think if more editors would do that we'd hear less about this kind of pressure.

Oh and BTW Brandon is a great writer - I love his reviews and his column is pretty awesome. Now can I have that $10 you promised me?

Bones said...

He promised you $10?!?!

Brandon said...

10 bucks? Ah, erm, I have no idea what he's talking about. Bones, when I said I couldn't pay you to write emails expressing your love for my column, what I meant is that I couldn't um, ah, which is to say that I am not able to, er...

Whoo! Look at the time! Gotta run!

The Preacher said...

BTW, Brandon, it is "Keefer" with an R at the end ... but I just go by The Preacher now any way. :)

Brandon said...

Right. Consider it corrected. I usually proofread my stuff, as all good writers do, however right when I was writing this post, my car hit a water buffalo.

Yes, that's exactly what happened.