Cliff Bleszinksi Holds the Key to Quality Game Journalism

My friend Cliff Bleszinski, the amazingly talented designer from Epic Games, sent out a tweet praising an excellent article by Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo. It was a great read and Cliff was right to call out Totilo’s superior work. The second half of the tweet amused me. Cliff wrote, “Take note blogs, more of this, less rumors and flame bait please.”

Gaming blogs do spend too much time reporting rumors and…encouraging debates. Those kinds of articles generate the most traffic and reader comments. I fully admit that I post both types of stories (though I’m a verbal entertainer, not a journalist, so it’s totally cool). For most blogs, it’s what the readers and advertisers want.

The thing is, unlike most people that read gaming blogs, Cliff is in a position to do something about the type of writing that gets page views and advertisements. That’s why I tweeted back, “Tell your publishers to advertise on sites with quality writing and there will be less flame bait/rumors.” Certainly he can’t tell Microsoft, “You’re only going to advertise Gears of War 3 on Gamasutra, The Escapist, and The Huffington Post,” but he can nudge his publishers in that direction.

Our brief exchange — which I’m positive he didn’t read until I pointed it out to him — reminded me of this moment at DICE 2009. Several high-profile developers were on panel and complained about the quality and type of writing most game journalists produce. My friend Tom Russo, former editor-in-chief of Next Generation, quickly spoke up and told the developers that Next Gen had the content they wanted but publishers didn’t support it with advertising. If that’s what they really wanted then they should have done something about it. (By the way, this was a moving speech that’s up there with Bill Pullman’s rally in Independence Day.) I’m sure there were other factors other than what Tom mentioned, but I’m also sure that the lack of publisher support was a major reason Next Gen shut down.

So yeah! A lot of people — developers, publishers, gamers, chimney sweepers, etc. — claim that they want smarter coverage of the gaming business. A lot of people say they’ll read quality articles with plenty of thought. Few people are in a position to support web sites that offer such writing. Cliff Bleszinski is one of the people that can help quality writing flourish. So how about if Cliff? You going to help your publishers put their money where your mouth is?

(On a related note, since I’m a verbal entertainer and not a game journalist, a special amount of Gears of War 3’s advertising budget should go to my site. Gears can have all the ad slots on the site for a year for a special price of however much it costs for me to live/work in Koh Samui for a year.)

Author: RPadTV

9 thoughts on “Cliff Bleszinksi Holds the Key to Quality Game Journalism”

  1. @ray

    friends dont punch friends in the face

    i love that you assaulted cliffy

  2. Maybe he'll give you something to get some hits. I'm sure you'd write something he'd approve of.

  3. lol i left my browser open and when I came back I noticed that you used a glamour shot of Cliff lol. That's good stuff.

  4. The flow of money is always bad and this shows the kind of disconnect publishers have with devs. (or more accurately, the disconnect publishers have with the industry) They want money first and for most and there are very few gamers, it seems like, amongst the publishers. Unlike the developers that, seem to, have many gamers amongst them. Why spend money on ads for a site with low traffic after all? (Especially when you don't care about the medium as a whole.)

  5. @Sandrock

    Reading that just screams Bobby Kotick to me…he might say he really liked games before and he used to play a lot, but he admittedly doesn't anymore and does talk about how they just need to make a profit, convince investors to invest, etc. Pure business, I don't see the passion for games at all.

  6. i used to think cliff was a total douchebag, but i never really had a reason…ive changed my mind though, he seems like a geniunely good dude

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