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Author Topic: Jeff Gerstmann fired from Gamespot for a review a publisher didn't like  (Read 8610 times)
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Tebunker
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« on: November 30, 2007, 02:48:30 AM »

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/11/29

http://kotaku.com/gaming/rumor/gamespot-editor-fired-over-kane--lynch-review-328244.php

W T F?

If true, fuck Gamespot, no longer has any credibility. Even to have the story come out in rumor is bad enough. Their integrity should never even have to be questioned. This makes me sick, and if even an inkling is true I will never buy another Eidos title ever.

Jeff wasn't necessarilly the best reviewer or editor there, but he was willing to call it how he saw it, giving several big profile titles harsh reviews, and he's also the big fat guy who sits down while play Wii sports, but he still shouldn't get fired for this kind of BS.
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2007, 02:53:01 AM »

Wow, that's awful. (if true)
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2007, 02:56:39 AM »

Holy crap. Just...crap.

As a former employee for GT, a story like this hits me hard.

Stuff like this just shouldn't happen. This basically proves that bigger sites (McGriddleIGN and KaneSpot) are run entirely by their ad department and nothing else.
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2007, 02:59:04 AM »

Gamespot went down the toilet when Kasavin left IMO.  I've never cared for Gerstmann as a reviewer at all but, that said, this is insanely inappropriate and just furthers my attitude not to use Gamespot as a review source. 

It's also pretty crazy considering that his review is hardly out of the norm for the title. 
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2007, 02:59:26 AM »

That's pretty messed up.

On the positive side, maybe he could record some new Midnight Brown tracks...  slywink

Reading the contents of the review for Kane & Lynch and really, I have no clue how it was given a 6.0.  Guessing a score from the content, and I would go much lower.  I'm guessing it was given a 6.0 just because 6.0 has a "Fair" tagged to it.
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2007, 03:03:55 AM »

Pretty messed up.  And I always held Gamespot in high regard (at least compared to IGN).
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2007, 03:04:14 AM »

Here I was thinking that gaming would be slow with all the major releases out but today we get news of a potential fracturing at Irrational and now this!  Exciting stuff!
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2007, 03:07:15 AM »

I haven't read the links yet, but if true, holy fucked up batman. This is very interesting, and if true, very very despicable of Gamespot.
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2007, 03:08:48 AM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on November 30, 2007, 02:59:04 AM

Gamespot went down the toilet when Kasavin left IMO.

You know, the first thing that came to my mind was "He (jeff) should lure kasavin away from whatever developer he went to work for and start a new game review site." Guess I should have posted that in my initial reply. smile
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« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2007, 03:19:34 AM »

I wondered if the site went downhill after Kasavin left or if Kasavin left because he could see which direction things were heading.
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2007, 03:37:56 AM »

Wow, that's stupid. I thought Jeff was harsh on games, but I liked it that way. It showed he stuck to his guns. I know reviews are a lot of personal feelings, but most often than not he kept them pretty objective based.

Actually, this may be true. There should've been an "on the spot" and there wasn't. Jeff co hosts it with ryan.
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2007, 03:40:38 AM »

For all the hate that Gamespot gets, I actually liked their reviews and reviewers like Kasavin and Gerstmann. Shame on Gamespot for being marketing whore sellouts and shame on Eidos for flexing muscle to promote a shitty game.
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2007, 03:46:08 AM »

this reminds me I never picked up my pre-order of K&L......
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2007, 04:03:36 AM »

So, a Gamespot freelancer (or maybe a full-timer, couldn't tell) has independently confirmed that Gerstmann was fired yesterday, but has no concrete information otherwise as to why. However, he does say that to his knowledge, it was not Gerstmann's desire to leave-ie, he definitely was let go, and its very possible the K&L thing had something to do with it.

Fucked up story, and I guess Gamespot goes off the list of trusted review sites? I mean, people get fired, but there is that fourth wall between advertising, money, and editorial. We all know its sometimes pretty weak, but its there for a reason, and this, if true, is a disgusting example of that wall collapsing and an awful precedent. Eidos-if you don't want your games to get bad reviews-stop making shitty games.
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2007, 04:15:29 AM »

Quote from: Calvin on November 30, 2007, 04:03:36 AM

Eidos-if you don't want your games to get bad reviews-stop making shitty games.

I like it!
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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2007, 04:24:04 AM »

Quote from: Destructor on November 30, 2007, 02:56:39 AM

Holy crap. Just...crap.

As a former employee for GT, a story like this hits me hard.

Stuff like this just shouldn't happen. This basically proves that bigger sites (McGriddleIGN and KaneSpot) are run entirely by their ad department and nothing else.

I'd prefer that websites sell out to companies like McDonalds and other non-publisher/developers companies that want to buy out the whole site's advertising. At the least we can say they are keeping their journalistic integrity. I'm not worried about IGN being paid for a great review on the McRib. I'd be more worried when I see the whole site skinned for a specific game or publisher.
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« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2007, 04:32:15 AM »

As little as I enjoyed his review, that's just messed - I say we all boycott G.Spot for the next month  ninja
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« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2007, 04:43:39 AM »

i'm shocked!... shocked!...


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« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2007, 04:55:47 AM »

For what it's worth, I notice that they've pulled Gerstmann's video review off the site altogether.  I watched it back when it was first posted alongside the text review, and it hardly suffered from any "inappropriate tone" -- he outlined the premise of the game, remarked that the controls weren't nearly as good as other competitive shooters (especially the cover system), said that the two characters were thoroughly dislikeable, and praised the multiplayer heist mode as the title's best feature.  It was not sarcastic, snide, overly harsh, or noteworthy in any particular way...it struck me as a reasonable review that fell right in line with every other review.

I don't doubt that Jeff Gerstmann has left GameSpot, but unless more information comes out, I'm having a hard time believing it was the result of this one review.

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« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2007, 05:33:11 AM »

Quote from: Calvin on November 30, 2007, 04:03:36 AM

So, a Gamespot freelancer (or maybe a full-timer, couldn't tell) has independently confirmed that Gerstmann was fired yesterday, but has no concrete information otherwise as to why. However, he does say that to his knowledge, it was not Gerstmann's desire to leave-ie, he definitely was let go, and its very possible the K&L thing had something to do with it.

And the above was agreed upon via Shacknews.

Plus, if you're curious to see the video review, head over here and watch before it gets pulled down. Personally, I think in the video review he ripped the title to shreds and offered little reason to even think about buying the game.

And Tebunker - IGN has taken out full front-page redoes of upcoming games before too. It's just the McGriddle 'experience' that's stuck in my mind when it comes to them being a sellout, that's all, as it pretty much has absolutely nothing to do with video games, or gaming period, in the slightest.
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« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2007, 06:15:48 AM »

Gerstmann is actually a GS institution- hes' been there very nearly since the beginning.  He was almost always clever funny and insightful on the podcasts and almost always wrote dead on reviews IMO.

If this went down as posited, I'm done with Gamespot- as it currently is my go to source when I check for a review.  But I will never visit it again.

I hope the rest of the old guard (Shoemaker, Davis, Navarro, Brendan what's his name, etc) follow suit and walk away.

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« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2007, 06:32:50 AM »

The story sounds like BS to me.  Hyped-up games get bad reviews all the time, and 6/10 is in line with other reviews for the game.  If Gamespot fired every reviewer that a publisher didn't like, they wouldn't have any left.  Unless they have some proof, I'll take the word of a respected, long-standing gaming website over that of some "anonymous tipster".
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« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2007, 06:53:18 AM »

Quote from: EddieA on November 30, 2007, 06:32:50 AM

The story sounds like BS to me.  Hyped-up games get bad reviews all the time, and 6/10 is in line with other reviews for the game.  If Gamespot fired every reviewer that a publisher didn't like, they wouldn't have any left.  Unless they have some proof, I'll take the word of a respected, long-standing gaming website over that of some "anonymous tipster".

I think the difference here is the fact that the publisher paid a lot of money to GameSpot for advertising K&L and a poor review for the game from the same site basically means they wasted all the money they spent on advertising there. Its no secret that publishers get in an uproar about a publication they are paying advertising dollars to giving that particular game a bad review.
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« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2007, 09:19:54 AM »

Quote from: Ridah on November 30, 2007, 06:53:18 AM

I think the difference here is the fact that the publisher paid a lot of money to GameSpot for advertising K&L and a poor review for the game from the same site basically means they wasted all the money they spent on advertising there.

Gamespot runs those full-site ads all the time, though, for games that get both good and bad reviews.  Eidos also ran major ads on other websites (like IGN) that also gave them middling or bad reviews.  It's not at all uncommon to have a publisher spend a lot of money on advertising a game that gets bad reviews.
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« Reply #24 on: November 30, 2007, 10:39:38 AM »

Quote from: EddieA on November 30, 2007, 09:19:54 AM

Quote from: Ridah on November 30, 2007, 06:53:18 AM

I think the difference here is the fact that the publisher paid a lot of money to GameSpot for advertising K&L and a poor review for the game from the same site basically means they wasted all the money they spent on advertising there.

Gamespot runs those full-site ads all the time, though, for games that get both good and bad reviews.  Eidos also ran major ads on other websites (like IGN) that also gave them middling or bad reviews.  It's not at all uncommon to have a publisher spend a lot of money on advertising a game that gets bad reviews.

The story is definitely not BS. Gabe has confirmed on the PA message boards that he has had direct contact with JG or someone very close to him, Gamespot has admitted that JG was let go, and numerous other employees of the big mags here in the Bay Area (1up, GFW, other CNET companies) are confirming that this absolutely went down, and was a directive from the marketing department at CNET, most likely the person in charge of that division.

We might never know exactly what happened, but this went down. It's not BS, its not silly, and defending CNET or Gamespot right now is probably a waste of breath and just a bad idea-apparently Gabe has also said more details and shit will hit the fan in the next day or two. That fourth wall is there for a reason, and this just sucks.
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« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2007, 12:23:31 PM »

Calvin pretty much hit it on the head, this isn't about a review so much as it is about the amount of money being pushed around. It definitely came from someone in the sales and marketing at CNet. The hard reviews were probably making it hard for them to sell ad space, so they probably got the bright idea to forgo journalistic intergrity for the benjamins... All speculation of course.
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« Reply #26 on: November 30, 2007, 01:27:55 PM »

Link to the now deleted movie if you're interested in checking it out.

Tons of people are giving a score of one on Gamespot's site lol.  I can guarantee you that Eidos will not be happy about THAT publicity, whether things went down the way the Penny Arcade guys say.  I hope he got fired for the reasons stated because if he didn't I could see how someone might have a serious slander case on their hands.
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« Reply #27 on: November 30, 2007, 01:39:41 PM »

Gamespot is dead to me.
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« Reply #28 on: November 30, 2007, 01:44:01 PM »

Quote from: Tebunker on November 30, 2007, 12:23:31 PM

Calvin pretty much hit it on the head, this isn't about a review so much as it is about the amount of money being pushed around. It definitely came from someone in the sales and marketing at CNet. The hard reviews were probably making it hard for them to sell ad space, so they probably got the bright idea to forgo journalistic intergrity for the benjamins... All speculation of course.

Yeah, the difference between this time and all the other times sites have given bad reviews to heavily advertised games seems to be that it was CNET's marketing who basically gave in where no other site has ever has.  It's not even clear that Eidos complained any more heavily than pubs usually do. 

If I'm going to boycott anyone in this case it's Gamespot and CNet. 
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« Reply #29 on: November 30, 2007, 02:09:37 PM »

Pretty scary.

Although it's a little ironic that Penny Arcade is making a big to-do about it, since they've spent weeks decrying all the so-so reviews of Assassin's Creed (which PA has advertised heavily for and done official comic features for, to help promote), complaining the reviewers are idiots who don't "get" the game, except for Gamespot which fawned over it (9/10). PA is of course quick to say they laud games they enjoy and bash things they don't, whether it's advertised on their site or not, and if they bash something they've been advertising they've had advertisers drop out and then later come back (if I'm recalling their older posts about that correctly).

I'm a PC World subscriber, and a while back I was upset that a longtime editor-in-chief was apparently being forced out for pushing for an article about complaints about the design of Apple's products (and Apple's a huge advertiser for PC World, another irony given the magazine's title).
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« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2007, 03:20:03 PM »

Quote from: Blackjack on November 30, 2007, 02:09:37 PM

PA is of course quick to say they laud games they enjoy and bash things they don't, whether it's advertised on their site or not, and if they bash something they've been advertising they've had advertisers drop out and then later come back (if I'm recalling their older posts about that correctly).

You are correct. And in addition, when Gabe did his talk about AC, IGN came up in their audio blog and basically raised hell against PA for posting that in the first place. And Gabe wasn't even pointing fingers AT IGN in the first place (it was mainly against 1UP)!

Here's an interesting aspect to look at (and I think just might be the full truth):

Quote
In terms of wild speculation, this is how my mag-experience would suspect it went down.

Review appears.
PR or someone similar phones up and go apeshit. Really apeshit. This is par for course. A major game getting sub average reviews is something which PR *have* to phone up about. Itís what their bosses expect. Better PRs and Editors all know that itís part of the game they play with each other, and roll with it.
Problem in this case, is whoever above Greg isnít a good editor or manager. Theyíre someone who actually takes the threats seriously instead of something thatíll blow over by the next game. The panic, cave and sack the guy.
Now, this is the last thing any experienced PR would expect. I dare say Eidos are as surprised as everyone else at the sacking - and horrified, as a sacking over a review score is the worst publicity they could ever recieve if it got out (And, of course, being the internet it WOULD get out).
Internet chaos.

I suspect the next sacking weíll see is the whoever made the sacking decision.

(The second possibility is someone upstairs from the editorial team felt threatened by the noise Eidos were making at the publisher level, and dictated something to the editorial team. Who then caved, instead of explaining why this just wonít work to the bosses).

This is, as far as I can make out, just a spectacular failure of nerve.

Talk about a BIG ass blunder for Eidos if it's all true.
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« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2007, 03:20:57 PM »

hey, ROTC didn't give The Witcher a perfect score.... fire him!!!!!  






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« Reply #32 on: November 30, 2007, 03:37:01 PM »

I may not like PA in the slightest but if they hate something they at least share it. They keep going back to the well on their PoP: Warrior Within experience where they sold ads for it then ripped it because it was a fucking horrible game. Ubisoft reads these boards as well and they know by now of my long-standing hatred for it as well as that of plenty of other people. But we don't have a massive marketing team nor does PA (to my knowledge) and I like to think that if we did and the guy/girl running that department went to Ron and told him to fire Reviewer X for a poor review, then Ron would can the marketing guy/girl on the spot for being stupid. Objectivity is only valid if it remains free of pressure from outside sources and the second that is compromised it all goes down the toilet. We've spent years slaving away working to establish our reputation in the business and something like this would completely undo all of that in the blink of an eye.

There is no reason to point to Eidos as the lone 800-lb gorilla in the room because they simply aren't. The only thing we at Gaming Trend can do is hold our heads high and say we hold ourselves to a higher standard and hope that our readers welcome our honest opinions on a subject we all love.
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« Reply #33 on: November 30, 2007, 03:45:42 PM »

He deserves it for giving Twilight Princess an 8.8.  finger
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« Reply #34 on: November 30, 2007, 03:49:51 PM »

Crazy times!  I honestly wouldn't have thought this could happen in this day and age.  I always liked Gerstmann and thought he was definitely someone you could count on for an honest opinion, especially since his Zelda review (that I thought was very fair).  Gamespot was really my go-to site for reviews, but this basically wipes them right off my radar completely.
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« Reply #35 on: November 30, 2007, 03:56:16 PM »

Quote from: ATB
I hope the rest of the old guard (Shoemaker, Davis, Navarro, Brendan what's his name, etc) follow suit and walk away.

Tim Tracy has posted a cryptic entry on his GameSpot blog which people are interpreting as a notice that he's leaving the company.  Depending on the facts behind the firing, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Ryan Davis and Alex Navarro follow suit, but we'll have to see.

Quote from: The Grue
He deserves it for giving Twilight Princess an 8.8.

Is that because you feel the score is too high or too low?

-Autistic Angel
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« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2007, 04:03:54 PM »

Quote from: whiteboyskim on November 30, 2007, 03:37:01 PM

The only thing we at Gaming Trend can do is hold our heads high and say we hold ourselves to a higher standard and hope that our readers welcome our honest opinions on a subject we all love.

bravo sir!



(Spiderman 3 for the Wii review non-withstanding  Tongue)
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« Reply #37 on: November 30, 2007, 04:08:16 PM »

Edit: Misread WBS's post. I blame the combination of cold/decongestant for this. If you read my original reply.. bah, reading comprehention for the win.

Go GT! I think you guys have consistent integrity from Ron on down... and that's what it takes.

I hate to see Jeff get canned over this. I really liked his reviews on Gamespot. I've found him to be pretty spot on, and even if I didn't agree with his points on every review, I at least knew where he was coming from and found him to be pretty consistent. But Gamespot (IMO) has been in decline for a while, and this is probably just the end result of that.
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« Reply #38 on: November 30, 2007, 05:17:04 PM »

Quote from: Autistic Angel on November 30, 2007, 03:56:16 PM


Quote from: The Grue
He deserves it for giving Twilight Princess an 8.8.

Is that because you feel the score is too high or too low?

-Autistic Angel

Too low.  I am mostly kidding, though.  The score I would have given it would be in the 9s, but there isn't much difference between an 8.8 and something like a 9.3.
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« Reply #39 on: November 30, 2007, 05:25:56 PM »

I have gotten to the same point with game reviews as I am with movie reviews.  I don't even bother with them.  If I'm interested in something and it gets decent buzz on message boards I'll give it a rent and see if I like it.  I've determined that just because a game gets great reviews doesn't necessarily mean I will enjoy it.  At the same time I have enjoyed many games that got terrible reviews.

Reviews are a waste of time for me.
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