Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Gamespot Editorial Director fired for being unbiased...

Last response: in Video Games
Share
November 30, 2007 11:22:50 PM

here is the link http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=9847

and here are the contents of the link copied and pasted:

Blasting Kane & Lynch may have left Jeff Gerstmann swinging in the breeze

"When deciding what game to spend their hard earned dollars on, players often turn to review sites for information if playable demos are not available. Naturally, one would hope that the writers for these review sites are remaining unbiased in their views of a game -- if it's wonderful, say as much, if it's flawed, point it out, and if it's absolute rubbish, leave it at the side of the curb for pickup.

Unfortunately, when the game in question is the same one that the front page of the website is devoting a banner ad and a full-background splash to, problems can arise. What began as a rumor across gaming forums worldwide last night has been all but confirmed early this morning -- GameSpot's editorial director, Jeff Gerstmann, has been fired for writing a negative review.

While the text-based review for Kane & Lynch: Dead Men certainly doesn't paint a sparkling picture of the game, it makes it seem like a AAA title compared to the brutally scathing video review. When many of the same written words are spoken, the context and inflection of "Kane & Lynch is an ugly, ugly game" and "if you have a chance to see it, take a look - but it's probably not worth the purchase" takes it down to a whole new (lower) level of garbage.

In a bit of prophetic cartooning, Penny Arcade posted a comic outside of their usual schedule (language may offend some) up last night, showing poor Mr. Gerstmann being asked if he understands the connection between the torrent of Kane & Lynch advertisements and the box of his possessions outside his locked office.

While Jeff has responded to Joystiq confirming his termination, he stated that he was "not really able to comment on the specifics of (his) termination" at this time. Joystiq has promised to continue digging, but already the Eidos forums have come under attack from legions of angry fans, which required them to be taken offline and restored to a snapshot from Thursday -- currently, some members are reporting that they are completely unable to post.

The Kane & Lynch user review score on GameSpot has also rapidly plummeted -- currently sitting at 3.9 -- as reviews of "1.0 - Abysmal" flood in from disgruntled users."



completely insane if you ask me. I shall never ever go back to that site again
December 1, 2007 4:11:06 AM

Dude... I love Gamespot always because of two reasons. Good interface and The BALLS to give bad games bad reviews! If the game sucks review it crappy. What's wrong with that. There a fair amount of hype to the game "Fury" then as soon as it came out BOOM! 4.5/10. He got fired cause some guy at at the game production company paid someone off.
December 1, 2007 6:37:48 AM

wow. seems nice. just another step to the world of corruption n bullshit
December 1, 2007 6:45:21 AM

corruption*

why cant i edit my posts......

p.s seems i have to use quick edit. n not edit this msg. cools. sorry for the double post tho.
December 1, 2007 7:57:28 AM

ya i agree, i used to love gamespot for their ability to give low scores.. But now this has thrown bullshit all over every review site simply because probably all of them do it... So i suppose we have to take everything with a grain of salt, and avoid gamespot..
December 1, 2007 1:53:38 PM

He was my second favorvite reviewer! Better hire him back...
December 1, 2007 2:20:14 PM

It's an absolute disgrace, they fired him for doing his job the way he is supposed to. How are we supposed trust anything that comes from GameSpot about a game they are advertising now.
December 1, 2007 2:51:53 PM

I liked gaming better before it became this multi-billion dollar business.
December 1, 2007 5:31:08 PM

Budters said:
It's an absolute disgrace, they fired him for doing his job the way he is supposed to. How are we supposed trust anything that comes from GameSpot about a game they are advertising now.

we can't, everybody boycott gamespot!
December 2, 2007 4:07:00 AM

Well screw Gamespot than. I'm gonna go give that game a 1.0 review right now for sh*ts and giggles.
December 2, 2007 4:15:11 AM

Might I add that I just browsed the GameSpot forum to find a 520 page thread with dozens of "Support Jeff" images and tags in sigs all over the site. It's crazy. People seem a lot more pissed off than usual about this. And now I have discovered a chant, "Remember remember the 29th of November" goes along with the "The 29th of November, a day of corruption" slogan. Very interesting.
December 2, 2007 5:34:48 PM

I've been following this story pretty closely and Rob (managing editor Rob Wright) and I talked about it. Here's the thing, the only people who know why Jeff was fired are Jeff and the people at Gamespot and CNet. It's important to keep that in mind. All the stories talking about the "fact" that he was fired for a "negative" (6 is not a bad score) review of a game are grossly exaggerated.

Firing someone in this day and age is a fairly expensive proposition for a company and they have to have an airtight case in order to do so. Any HR person will tell you that when firing someone there are numerous meetings with the legal department before the person being fired is even notified. Legal and HR have to sew up every loose angle so there is no chance of a lawsuit. If all that can't be done it's best to just not fire the guy in the first place and keep them on. Basically in order to fire someone you have to a damn good reason.

With that in mind how does GameSpot benefit from firing Jeff, someone who's worked there for over 10 years, for a negative review knowing full well that that information would get out into the world?

I'm not saying that they DIDN'T make such a bonehead mistake, but I am saying that it sounds very counter-productive to their business model and if you can trust managers to do one thing it's to keep the bottom-line in mind.
December 2, 2007 5:44:09 PM

tmeacham said:
I've been following this story pretty closely and Rob (managing editor Rob Wright) and I talked about it. Here's the thing, the only people who know why Jeff was fired are Jeff and the people at Gamespot and CNet. It's important to keep that in mind. All the stories talking about the "fact" that he was fired for a "negative" (6 is not a bad score) review of a game are grossly exaggerated.


But, with all due respect, you just admitted you don't know the story so how can you automatically assume the speculation is grossly exagerated?

Why doesn't Gamespot just tell the "true" story to end all this speculation?

edit - I posted before your edit appeared.

I'm sorry - it looks really bad to an outsider and the questions surrounding this are legitimate.
December 2, 2007 6:05:49 PM

Ananan said:
Why doesn't Gamespot just tell the "true" story to end all this speculation?


Well anytime anyone is fired from a large corporation it becomes extremely hard to find out the exact reason why. Normally you have to go through back channels and gossip hounds - which is kind of what is happening here only on a large scale. In previous companies where I've worked anytime anyone was fired the standard answer from management to the question, "Dude...what happened with Dave?" was always, "He's no longer with the company."

There are all kinds of legal reasons why they won't say exactly why he was fired but the thing to watch for is a lawsuit from Jeff. If he really feels like they fired him for giving unbiased reviews there will be a lawsuit. If there's no lawsuit then there were probably other factors involved.
December 2, 2007 6:17:13 PM

Ananan said:
But, with all due respect, you just admitted you don't know the story so how can you automatically assume the speculation is grossly exagerated?

Why doesn't Gamespot just tell the "true" story to end all this speculation?

edit - I posted before your edit appeared.

I'm sorry - it looks really bad to an outsider and the questions surrounding this are legitimate.


Ananan, I agree -- this looks terrible, and I have no problem with people questioning GameSpot and the entire fiasco. All Travis and I are saying is that, being in the media, we know how some things like this get blown out of proportion, so before we burn Cnet at the stake and boycott them, we should just keep in mind that we haven't heard the whole story yet. I think once Jeff comes out and tells his side of the story, then we may have a better idea of what happened.

December 2, 2007 7:36:02 PM

Having spent 20 years in the corporate world, I have to say that in most states a company can fire anyone without cause. Most states are what's called "Right to Hire". This also covers right to fire. Employers are given the benefit of doubt in these states. A fired employee must have an air-tight employment record to win any lawsuit. Even being 5 minutes late after their first warning is legal grounds for being fired years after the late offense. I've seen countless co-workers try to sue and all have failed.

Also, his review will never be unbiased. He IS a critic afterall. He's biased and no lawyer would try to prove otherwise. It's the aspect of his bias and they way it fit with GS's bias which enabled him to be an editor. In this day and age it's all about advertising and money. Anyone thinking otherwise is naive. No offense people, that's the reality of the new media and all these professional critics. One deviation is all it takes. I've seen food critics get canned for similar reasons. It's his job to make sure he doesn't bite the hand that feeds his employer.

Sucks for us because we truely can't believe reviews anymore. I mean come on, look how many crappy games get 4/5 stars or 8/10. 15 years ago you actually saw a lot of 2/10 because they really were that bad. Problem was, that meant loss of sales, which leads to loss of future budget which leads to loss of revenue for reviewers and ad based sites.

Gamespot lives and breathes off it's sales. Giving a game a bad review means they will lose sales. In any business, costing your employer revenue by your actions is immediate grounds for termination and likely litigation from the employer.

Personally, I think it's a shame. Professionally, I understand. I don't like it, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.
December 2, 2007 8:10:26 PM

stromm said:
Sucks for us because we truely can't believe reviews anymore.


See this is what we're trying to avoid. Gaming magazines have been published for over 20 years and they all sell advertising to game companies. But somehow...NOW we can't trust ANY game reviews because of an isolated incident that is only rumored about? Really? By this rationale you also can't trust any movie reviews, any book reviews, any food reviews, any music reviews, any reviews of anything published in any medium that takes money from advertising.

GameSpot does live and breathe off it's ad sales but those ad sales are DIRECTLY related to their traffic. Giving a game a bad review DOES NOT mean they will lose sales just like giving a game a good review DOES NOT mean they will increase their sales. They increase their sales by increasing their traffic and they do that by convincing their readers that they are providing honest reviews of products. It's in their best interest to be honest so they can maximize the number of readers and maximize the number of advertisers - as opposed to catering to a single company.

This whole fiasco is going to hurt GameSpot regardless of what the truth of the matter is because their integrity is under fire. God help them if they EVER actually like a game that's advertising on the site. If they did fire Jeff for a single less-than-glowing review of a product than the company is in terrible hands.
December 3, 2007 7:01:58 PM

I stopped going to GameSpot the day EB merged with them. I am personally a PC gamer.. and GameSpot carries maybe 15 PC games on a small shelf hidden in a back corner like some red headed stepchild. I remember calling GameSpot to find out if they had a copy of Tabula Rasa (which in its right is actually becoming pretty popular).. and then I asked if the guy could hold it for me for 15 minutes while I drive over to the store. He told me no. I bought it online and downloaded it from PlayNC instead.

Of course this experience of mine is completely unrelated to the current thread.. however I shared because It really does not surprise me. Its all about the Green eh?
December 3, 2007 7:56:10 PM

Hang on, Cirga. You're thinking of GameStop.
December 4, 2007 11:57:00 AM

Man I still thought "Big Rigs" was a great game .... in alpha mode
!