Clan 404

...spiffing

Are things rotten at Gamespot?

03 Dec 2007 by ShogZ

As ever with our intrepid journalism, 404 is approximately 908th on the scene of a breaking story.

It appears a rather large furore has broken out over the sacking of Gamespots late editor, Jeff Gerstmann. The internet rumour mill is alleging he was sacked as his review of Kane & Lynch on the X360 was pretty scathing, not a problem for a games review site, but it just so happened that Eidos, publishers of said game, have paid Gamespot for  bunch of rather obvious advertising all over their website and are a major sponsor.

There's no confirmtion from any party that Jeff lost his job s a result of insider foul play or sponsor lobbying, but the internet loves a conspiracy nd it seems to be gaining ground as an idea.

Here at 404 we believe his departure will be followed by a tit for tat expulsion of Gamespys editor in chief for espionage and it's all part of the great game.

Update: Penny Arcade did one of their annual 'actually funny' comics on the story here.

Update 2: An anonymous poster on the internet rumour boards had this to say about Jeff's firing, makes for interesting reading:

2...BY GAMESPOT AT 11/30/07 04:54 PM

No one wants to be named because no one wants to get fucking fired! This management team has shown what they're willing to do. Jeff had ten years in and was fucking locked out of his office and told to leave the building.

What you might not be aware of is that GS is well known for appealing mostly to hardcore gamers. The mucky-mucks have been doing a lot of "brand research" over the last year or so and indicating that they want to reach out to more casual gamers. Our last executive editor, Greg Kasavin, left to go to EA, and he was replaced by a suit, Josh Larson, who had no editorial experience and was only involved on the business side of things. Over the last year there has been an increasing amount of pressure to allow the advertising teams to have more of a say in the editorial process; we've started having to give our sales team heads-ups when a game is getting a low score, for instance, so that they can let the advertisers know that before a review goes up. Other publishers have started giving us notes involving when our reviews can go up; if a game's getting a 9 or above, it can go up early; if not, it'll have to wait until after the game is on the shelves.

I was in the meeting where Josh Larson was trying to explain this firing and the guy had absolutely no response to any of the criticisms we were sending his way. He kept dodging the question, saying that there were "multiple instances of tone" in the reviews that he hadn't been happy about, but that wasn't Jeff's problem since we all vet every review. He also implied that "AAA" titles deserved more attention when they were being reviewed, which sounded to all of us that he was implying that they should get higher scores, especially since those titles are usually more highly advertised on our site.

I know that it's all about the money, and hey, I like money. I like advertising because it pays my salary. Unfortunately after Kasavin left the church-and-state separation between the sales teams and the editorial team has cracked, and with Jeff's firing I think it's clear that the management now has no interest at all in integrity and are instead looking for an editorial team that will be nicer to the advertisors.

When companies make games as downright contemptible as Kane and Lynch, they deserve to be called on it. I guess you'll have to go to Onion or a smaller site for objective reviews now, because everyone at GS now thinks that if they give a low score to a high-profile game, they'll be shitcanned. Everyone's fucking scared and we're all hoping to get Josh Larson removed from his position because no one trusts him anymore. If that doesn't happen then look for every game to be Game of the Year material on Game spot..."