Editor's Blog (last updated: 5 March)

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Editor's Blog (last updated: 5 March)

Unread postby Tim Colwill » 18 Feb 13, 4:37 pm

New updates:


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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.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby Makena » 18 Feb 13, 4:58 pm

Personally I thought calling the integrity of yourself or anyone involved at GON was silly, especially based on that.

However I can see the point of view re game of the month, so I'm glad to see that being changed to something that could be ever better.

(Also thanks for taking the time out to address stuff like this during what's probably a pretty hectic interstate move!)
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby Bicketybam » 18 Feb 13, 5:14 pm

I see it as being the game that every one is talking about... is it ****? yeah but it's still the most talked about game of this month. :P
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby Artful-dodgeR » 18 Feb 13, 5:36 pm

Wait, you moved to Sydney? Why would you, this place is horrible :-P
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby El_Funko » 18 Feb 13, 5:40 pm

Artful-dodgeR wrote:Wait, you moved to Sydney? Why would you, this place is horrible :-P


He chose poorly.

West West y'all.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby revengous » 18 Feb 13, 6:13 pm

I like gon and have nothing bad to say about it
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby Tim Colwill » 18 Feb 13, 7:18 pm

Artful-dodgeR wrote:Wait, you moved to Sydney? Why would you, this place is horrible :-P


It's the games media capital of Australia! Everything is here, y'know. Also Jess was born and raised in Sydney, so there's family here and stuff.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby Artful-dodgeR » 18 Feb 13, 7:45 pm

I'm trying my hardest to get out of here >_>

Enjoy the stay though. Not sure if there are enough of us to bother with a gon meet...
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby c0mc0 » 20 Feb 13, 8:21 pm

The explanation make sense, Tim.

For the record - just to give you an idea what a regular to the site made of the whole affair - I assumed that "Game of the Month" was much like Times' "Man of the Year" - ie, not an endorsement but an acknowledgement of a significant title that was generating discussion/interest.

I admit it did start look a bit fishy when ACM remained as GotM and you guys were a little behind other sites in releasing your review and, as far as I could see, no news article to that point had made any mention of the huge fuss being thrown up all over the gaming community regarding ACM at the time. I never believed GoN would release a compromised review due to sponsorship, but I did wonder if you guys were holding off on unflattering coverage until an (assumed) contract to promote the game was over. I was wrong, and I never should have doubted you. :)
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby Tim Colwill » 21 Feb 13, 6:25 am

Yeah, look, and fair enough. I can see how the delay on our review would be suspicious.

It's an unfortunate reality of PC gaming (at least here in AU) that many companies give out their press review copies with codes that will only unlock at launch. If we were to review the console version of the game, we'd have been able to play it for probably 4-5 days ahead of launch as you just pop it in yer' XBox and you're done.

It's actually really rare that a publisher will hand out keys which work ahead of launch for PC. For example, Crysis 3 -- our review of which is going up today -- was only possible for us to get done in time because we used a VPN on Origin to unlock early. If we'd accepted a 360 version to review, this wouldn't have been an issue.

Anyway look I hope this helps clear up why our review was (and occasionally, will continue to be) late. It's never intentional obviously as earlier == more traffic but it's just the way it is.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby -Slayer- » 21 Feb 13, 11:37 am

Bicketybam wrote:I see it as being the game that every one is talking about... is it ****? yeah but it's still the most talked about game of this month. :P

What Bicketybam said, never thought once it was being endorsed by games.on.net.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby exe3 » 21 Feb 13, 2:41 pm

Tim Colwill wrote:
Artful-dodgeR wrote:Wait, you moved to Sydney? Why would you, this place is horrible :-P


It's the games media capital of Australia! Everything is here, y'know.

Really? I thought Melbourne and Brisbane were the places to go for gaming media. The only thing I can think of that's happened here was the EB Expo last year.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby Tim Colwill » 21 Feb 13, 2:53 pm

The expos are just consumer focused. In terms of companies and press, everything is Sydney based. EA, Acti, Ubi, everybody, all in Sydney. Melbourne is a close second, Brisbane/Adelaide probably equal third in terms of games press, and Perth is way, way, way down at the bottom of the list.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby Tim Colwill » 21 Feb 13, 3:22 pm

Alright. The Game of the Month sidebar piece is now gone, baby, gone.
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Re: Editor's Blog (last updated: 18 February)

Unread postby GammaD » 23 Feb 13, 9:06 pm

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 accommodation 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.


This reads more like a mission statement. Good on you for making this statement.

And you're totally right, it should certainly be a case of not having to defend the site at all if its integrity is transparent enough for the viewers to clearly see whats going on.

Really glad to see this acknowledged.
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