Monday, December 3, 2007
"New Games Journalism", Indeed
Nov 13 - Jeff's review of Kane & Lynch goes up. The score is a 6.0 and the review, as well as the video review, are rather scathing in tone. It's worth noting at this point Eidos had been running full page front page ads for Kane & Lynch for a while. These ads would remain up until Nov 29th.
Nov 28 - Jeff is fired.
Nov 29 - The story is broken by Penny Arcade with a comic alledging that GS fired him over his review. In a rare act, Gabe comes onto the Penny Arcade forums to certify that the story is true. Jeff's firing is confirmed by NeoGAF poster mobius, a.k.a. GameSpot freelancer Frank Provo.
At this point, continuing through the next day, some sources come forth confirming that Jeff was fired due to his review of Kane & Lynch, citing annonymous sources. Primotechnology: "According to a fellow Gamespot contributor and close friend of Gerstmann who wished to remain anonymous, the editor was fired Wednesday morning because of his negative review of the game, which he awarded a 6.0."
Rock Paper Shotgun: "We have a reliable source who tells us that while Gerstmann wasn't the most popular man with the CNET owners, it was his Kane & Lynch review alone that allegedly saw him lose his job."
The most explicit was Tycho's comments explaining the PA comic:
"I will tell you the Gerstmann Story as we heard it. Management claimed to have spoken to Jeff about his "tone" before, and no doubt it was this tone that created tensions between their editorial content, the direction of the site, and the carefully crafted relationships that allowed Gamespot to act as an engine of revenue creation. After Gerstmann's savage flogging of Kane & Lynch, a game whose marketing investment on Gamespot alone reached into the hundreds of thousands, Eidos (we are told) pulled hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of future advertising from the site. Management has another story, of course: management always has another story. But it's the firm belief internally that Jeff was sacrificed. And it had to be Jeff, at least, we believe, precisely because of his stature and longevity. It made for a dramatic public execution that left the editorial staff in disarray. Would that it were only about the 6.0 - at least then you'd know how to score something if you wanted to keep your Goddamned job. No, this was worse: the more nebulous "tone" would be the guide. I assume it was designed to terrify them."
Further, Kotaku has some quotes from a poster on the Valleywag claiming to be a GameSpot employee with some interesting insight. Those can be found here.
K&L is now rated 2.0 by users on Gamespot. Many subscribers are cancelling and there's a move to boycott Gamespot advertisers, which seems to be having some effect.