On the relationship between journalists, devs, and the folks in the middle

This week, a select group of gamers are rallying to make their voices heard. They’re complaining about what is perceived to be an overly comfortable relationship between the games media, and those who battle for its column inches: developers, PRs and advertising people, all with an agenda to fulfil.

As you may have heard, this whole thing was triggered by some particularly unpleasant private-life nonsense spilled by a former partner of an indie developer. Horrible, spite-filled stuff, which should never have appeared on the public domain, fuelled by speculation and imbued with a heavy undercurrent of misogyny. I won’t waste any more words of this blog post by talking about that, and instead focus on that frosty issue that comes up from time to time: how does the relationship between the games industry and the games media actually work? Isn’t it supposed to be corrupt? What shady deals go on, and how can good old honest gamers ensure they’re not duped?

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At the risk of sounding like I’m introducing a BBC documentary about cartels in Colombia or something: My name’s Lewis Denby, and I spent several years working as a freelance video games journalist, and also as the editor of a gaming website. I’ve also developed and launched two indie games, and now work in video games PR. So you might say I’m in a reasonably good position to look across the board and talk about my experiences. Do bear in mind that I’m one person, and cannot purport to speak for anyone else either inside or outside of the games industry, but here are some of my thoughts and experiences on the topic, based on the time I’ve spent working in these fields.