- Where are your Tomb Raider and SimCity reviews? (5th March 2013)
- Game of the Month perception problems and what to do about it (18th February 2013, below)
Game of the Month perception problems and what to do about it
So I figured I'd start keeping a changelog of how things are run on the front page, why I do them the way I do them, and get a chance for feedback from forum regulars and anybody else who happens to wander through.
Today brought the realisation (via our hella harsh Aliens: Colonial Marines review) that a lot of people interpret the 'Game of the Month' section on the sidebar of the front page as an endorsement by GON of that game. This is something that should have occurred to me a lot sooner and I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it when we started this back in September last year.
The intent with Game of the Month was always to pick an interesting PC release for the month and link to all of our coverage on it, so that people could quickly get to grips with why we thought it was interesting and see if they would like it or not. It was never intended to be an endorsement of the game, we do not ever endorse a game outside of the medium of a review and any advertising is exactly that, and should not be interpreted as our endorsement of the content which we are being paid to display. We certainly don't ask publishers what they'd like to see as Game of the Month, and we sure as hell don't ask their permission to feature their game there.
So, anyway, we'll be scrapping that.
Instead, I'll replace it with a little graphic showing "Major releases this month", which will link to our PC Gaming Calendar (Part 1 here) (Part 2 here) so people can explore what else is happening that month/through out the year. We'll kick this off with March, which has a number of awesome releases including BioShock, Tomb Raider and Heart of the Swarm.
It is my intention to make sure that GON's integrity is never questioned and should, in fact, be so obvious as to never even need to be defended. We've made steps towards this with greater disclosure of reviewer's possible biases, providing disclosure of travel and accomodation expenses, and by removing review scores, so that we can't be accused of being part of the (what I consider to be) damaging Metacritic system.
Today made it clear to me that having a Game of the Month box makes this difficult. We will take steps to change that.
As a side note, the A:CM badge that was up there was initially the Game of the Month for January, not February. Due to a number of reasons, primarily my own busy-ness (I just moved to Sydney, you may remember how I gave away all my stuff), the badge remained un-changed all the way into February. My intention was to make Crysis 3 (which launches on the 21st) February's Game of the Month, but now if I changed it, it would look dodgy as hell. So I won't be doing that -- instead I'll replace it with the stuff discussed above.
Anyway! My intention with this thread is basically just to provide a place to speak about why things happen on the front page the way they do, get feedback and see what people think. If you've got a question or a comment let me know, I'll be back and forth all night but I'll keep an eye on this thread and try to answer anything.