Is There Hope For Video Game Journalism?

Is There Hope For Video Game Journalism?

Call it inept, corrupt or immature if you will, but there’s one thing few can deny about the field of video game journalism. Specifically, that it’s more prolific than ever, and evolving at a speed so fast you could scarce match it behind the wheel of a Formula 1 roadster.

I, for one, would like to think such changes are for the better, especially as information-sharing tools like Posterous and Twitter enable instantaneous reporting, and empower everyday individuals to become roving correspondents. Ditto for modern blogging platforms, whose communications facilities offer options for genuine two-way dialogue, eliminate the barriers that once separated reporters from readers, and provide the means for more constructive discussion and feedback. But as may be apparent from our most recent documentary, lovingly titled Rewriting Game Journalism, a major paradigm shift is well underway. And with each passing day bringing news of more of the industry’s leading lights departing for greener pastures, opting to go freelance or ‘seeking new challenges,’  I can’t help but wonder what it means for the field as a whole.

Let’s get one thing straight up-front, though: Giving more of today’s players the power to stand on the soapbox and spark conversation or effect meaningful change can only be a positive. In all honesty, the only leg up pros ever had over aspiring reporters was often simply the benefit of better connections, a more storied educational background or access to the right hardware, software and corporate gatekeepers needed to obtain information on various studios and titles in advance anyway. Likewise, the luxury of being employed by large corporations and ability to draw a regular salary often allowed such privileged individuals to devote more time and energy to honing their craft. (Or, for that matter, granted access to the manpower and capital needed to produce a pricey newsstand publication.)

But thanks to the democratizing of publishing platforms courtesy of the Internet, suddenly, the playing field has been evened. And as is clearly apparent from the wealth of amazing sites and forums populating the Web today, fans can often be just as passionate and knowledgeable, if not more so, than the so-called experts. Moreover, without the pressure of tight deadlines, angry bosses and families to feed at their back, these folks also have the luxury of near-infinite time and resources to devote to any given subject. As we see from sites such as the one you’re currently reading, there aren’t just promising signs of life beyond the usual staples such as IGN, GameSpot, Joystiq, Destructoid and Kotaku, or mainstream outlets such as Wired’s GameLife or MTV’s Multiplayer. There’s also a huge and thriving community celebrating, debating and dissecting gaming’s legacy in all its forms, from slickly-produced podcasts (A Life Well Wasted) to insightful articles (Rock, Paper, Shotgun) and clever videos (GameZombie.TV). Clearly, it’s hard to cite an audience that’s more passionate or driven about chronicling and canonizing the hobby they so love.

About Scott Steinberg
Scott Steinberg is CEO of strategic consulting and product testing firm TechSavvy Global, and a noted keynote speaker and business expert. Hailed as a top tech expert and parenting guru by critics from USA Today to NPR, he’s also an on-air analyst for ABC, CBS and CNN.

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