Global Game Industry News Blog

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Power of the "Enthusiast Press"

This story began to unfold about the time I was getting stuck in a snow storm in Iowa, from which I returned and immediately left again for San Francisco and the Game Developer's Conference (GDC).

It's actually fairly impressive that Kotaku was able to pull this move, and in many respects demonstrates how the enthusiast press surrounding the gaming industry is able to exert its force not in any direct kind of way, but based upon the networks they've managed to build amongst readers, other news organizations, and other enthusiast press outlets. Kotaku is of course one of only many of these sites, but it has an impressive readership, and has also managed to get themselves well inserted.

This particular controversy is interesting. While I'm not in the business of locating rumors which to speak on, I am in the business of having a whole lot of information about where companies are going. Thank goodness I'm covered by NDA's most of the time, and I have no real interest in publishing right now everything I think I know about what's going on, which might be wrong anyway.

It's impressive what many of these organizations are able to find out about the inner workings of companies, but even more interesting the amount of respect that they are able to garner from both gamers and game developers alike.

GDC was peculiar in many ways, because there were almost two "tracks" of people who were visiting. One was the developers, and the other the press. Two very different interests, and I suspect that with the demise of E3, you're going to see a widening of the press tracks at GDC. I can only wonder what this will do for the folks interested in making games.

Sony and Kotaku Make-Up
First, I have to say thank you to all of the websites, newspapers, magazines, people who were so quick to come to our defense and supported our decision to stand by our story.

Second, I want to thank Dave Karraker, head of SCEA PR, who was big enough to call me and talk the whole thing through after this exploded.

He told me his take on the story and his frustrations and I told him mine, in the end we agreed to disagree on some level, but also decided that our readers and gamers in general would be best served if Sony and Kotaku could still play nicely together.

Sony Blackballs Kotaku (UPDATED)
The Playstation Home, we reported, would be an intriguing blending of the Mii and achievements, allowing gamers to create a virtual world for customized avatars and then decorate that space with items unlocked through game play.
Sony's decision is disappointing, not because of what it means to Kotaku, but because of what it means to the industry.

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