|This generation has highlighted the difficulties mainstream news has on reporting about the Games Industry|
This is something that keeps popping up every few months, and it seems to have gone to new levels of craziness over this current generation (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii). As we move into a newer console generation, and ultimately find even more people are online and gaming regularly, I’m now of the opinion the news that is being reported on generic websites needs to handled differently.
It only seems to be a mainstream news problem too. Websites and other specific interest websites, with trustworthy news sources, regularly get the news right. Not only do they focus on the correct details of the news, but also aren’t afraid to throw out comments and opinions, backed up with reasoning, to demonstrate how this news impacts on the wider gaming community. Websites like Game Trailers, Game Spot and PSXtreme have all built, in my opinion, a strong loyal following because they broadcast news the moment they are aware of it, and offer constructive and critical opinions on them.
Then we come to the mainstream generic news organisations. I’m based in the
so the BBC is where I get a lot of my news from. Then we have the press - The
Times, Mirror, Sun, Telegraph etc, who don’t give gaming as much attention as it
I remember an article that was published on the BBC website a few years ago that said the PS3 was struggling to sell well because ‘There weren't many games available’. I think this article was written around 2009 (sometime around the release of Killzone 2), a time when the PS3 had been available for a number of years, consumers where just beginning to see a surge in 1st party games being released on the console, and all of the fantastic 3rd party games where multi-format and available on either 2 or 3 of the gaming consoles. To say the PS3 had fewer games then the other consoles was completely inaccurate.
The worse thing about this kind of news article is that it seems out of date and written by someone who has no knowledge of the industry. If this article has been published in 2006/2007, when the PS3 really was up against it, it would have held more merit. But the fact that such an article was written a couple of years later merely shows how far behind they are with their information and views.
Considering games are on par, if not above, Hollywood movies with regards to income, values, and the time consumers spend actively using them, it’s about time the mainstream news started paying attention.
A couple of days ago the BBC published another article about how Xbox One will charge for some features (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23613754). To me (and apologise if I'm in the minority here) this isn't news worthy. This feature has been in place since the original Xbox, and in order to get the best features out of your console you have to pay an annual fee for ‘Gold Membership’. The PS4 will have a similar model in place for online gaming, and to a lot of gamers it is acceptable and makes perfect sense. Companies have to maintain their servers and other IT equipment, so to have to pay a fee to connect to them seems fine to me.
I'm aware I've focused a lot of attention on articles on the BBC website. This is simply because it’s easy to access the site, and I'm aware that other news companies regularly output similar content. If the news wants to gain respect from a fantastic industry they should learn to appreciate what warrants being published.
At a time when new consoles are about to be released its crucial consumers are aware of the differences in each console. Xbox One is hogging a lot of the limelight at the minute, simply because their announcement was so shambolic they've had to reverse a lot of their decisions (and I’ll get to that in another blog soon). But don’t forget to tell people about the positives of gaming too. Games are helping people over come social boundaries, the industry is becoming less male dominated and new ideas are flourishing. Games are even helping people out of hardship by letting developers publish their own games on phones, and soon console devices.
I’d much rather hear the stories of game developers and how gaming is helping to improve our lives. It sounds so much better then reading news that is 3 years out of date, inaccurate and, in some rare cases, becomes the point of blame when a tragedy in the world happens.
The games industry is a thriving place of creativity and excitement. Is it so much to ask for journalists to get the news right and show this fantastic atmosphere, and properly educate the masses?