Free Jeff Gerstmann!

The online gaming community is buzzing today over reports that longtime GameSpot editor Jeff Gerstmann was fired for tagging Eidos’ crime game Kane & Lynch with a mediocre review. From Gerstmann’s write-up:

While [Kane & Lynch] sounds interesting at first, and has a few bright points, it’s weighed down by bad storytelling, a real lack of character development, and a host of gameplay-related issues. The end result is a game that squanders much of its potential and just doesn’t come together as well as it probably should have.

Joystiq reports that the GameSpot Forums are bubbling over with posts on the topic, with one thread attracting more than four thousand entries.

GP: If this story is as it now seems – a journalist fired over advertiser pressure – then it won’t be taken lightly. Game companies simply can’t be allowed to push writers around.

UPDATE: Perhaps there is more to the story. Over at Wired, Susan Arendt has this from an anonymous “insider”:

The [Kane & Lynch] ads went up and the Eidos brouhaha was settled over two weeks ago. Jeff got fired yesterday. Furthermore, I’d heard a few people tell that he’d already been skating on thin ice for “unprofessional reviews and review practices.” I don’t know much about that, though, so I can’t say one way or the other.

My gut tells me that he got canned for larger reasons. Maybe the Eidos debacle was part of it — I don’t know. But I sincerely doubt that Eidos made Gamespot fire him. CNET doesn’t kowtow to its advertisers, and I’ve more than once seen the higher-ups turn away big advertising dollars for the sake of the company’s integrity. I think the whole thing is likely a combination of factors, the biggest being poor timing

UPDATE 2: Joystiq is reporting that Cnet, which owns GameSpot, has issued a statement on the matter:

GameSpot takes its editorial integrity extremely seriously. For over a decade, Gamespot and the many members of its editorial team have produced thousands of unbiased reviews that have been a valuable resource for the gaming community. At CNET Networks, we stand behind the editorial content that our teams produce on a daily basis.

[As to Gerstmann,] it is CNET Networks’ policy not to comment on the status of its employees, current of former.

UPDATE 3: My buddy Duke Ferris over at GameRevolution writes that pressure from Eidos did indeed prove Gerstmann’s undoing:

As some of you may have heard, Gamespot has terminated their long-time reviewer Jeff Gerstmann, ostensibly over his Kane & Lynch review, and Eidos subsequently pulling their advertising dollars.

It’s impossible for a company as large as C-Net (Gamespot’s corporate overlords) to keep such a thing completely quiet, and I have sources that confirm that this is in fact true.

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  1. 0
    Tru says:

    Everyone just stop going to gamespot. Thats bullshit he got fired for making a review, about a game that sucks, and saying it SUCKED. Wow, its a REVIEW, personaly opinion. Fuck CNET

  2. 0
    Kyle says:

    Jeff Should have not been fired, Content is not effected by advertising, its is being controlled by it. And now it seems advertising is controlling everything. I want Jeff Back!

  3. 0
    solarisdeschain says:

    “What if

    And this is a radical notion, I know, but bear with me

    What if he got fired for being a terrible reviewer?

    Because this dude was terrible at his job, and has been for years. Criticism isn’t just about making lists of good and bad points, there’s a craft to it – a craft of which Gerstmann had no understanding or in which he had no interest.

    Look at his other reviews and try to tell me with a straight face that he isn’t just a cocky nerd who thinks he’s better than everyone. I don’t necessarily disagree with all his scoring, but the way he constantly talks down both to the people who make the products he reviews and to his own audience is amazingly unprofessional and adds nothing to the discussion.

    Maybe some backroom deal with the advertisers did lead to him getting the ax – I’m not saying that is out of the question. If so, that is the weakest of sauces. But what if he just got fired for being terrible? What if it’s just an unlucky coincidence in terms of timing?”

    I’m with Drew Habits. I’ve been sick of Gerstmann since his review of Metal Gear Solid.

  4. 0
    blackettle says:

    Gerstmann should take the opportunity to open his own editor site as many people will trust in his reviews based on this situation. Gamespot has been discredited fully in my view, but I would read this guys review simply because he gives his honest opinion.

  5. 0
    The Wombat ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Any speculations about this are pure fiction until more information is known. What we know so far for sure is:
    – He was let go for reasons unknown.
    – This happened after he wrote a skeptical game review of a major client.
    – CNET is well known for losing money to retain their unbiased rep.

    Possible scenarios that MIGHT have happened:
    – somebody at GameSpot made a pro-ad revenue decision to fire him, resulting in compromised integrity for GameSpot and CNET in a very public way.
    – he was let go for other reasons yet undisclosed.

    At this point everyone involved has big ??’s over their heads, I hope that verifiable information comes out soon so that any good names are cleared and speculation can end. And an end to pointless “I will NEVER…” type postings…til the next teacup tempest.

  6. 0
    That Girl Hates You says:

    This comment goes towards the first update….

    Even if he was on thin Ice it still should not have been part of the reason to get fired, because it’s still saying that the advertisements have more power than anything. This still sticks up to high heaven and the more I read about it the more I feel like something just isn’t right…

    Just like the papers… they’re not for the news but for the advertisements.

  7. 0

    […] Finally, some commenters are claiming that Gerstmann wasn’t fired because his Kane & Lynch review was negative in tone, but because he did not actually play the game sufficiently before reviewing it. The supposed evidence, as often happens with such allegations, is Jeff’s Xbox Live Gamercard, which only has six achievements and 90 Gamerscore points for the game (some overstate this claim to say he only got one achievement. Fact check your rumors, people!) Reviewers often start reviews playing early code that might not have achievements unlocked. Gerstmann could have been playing on Microsoft’s private PartnerNet system when reviewing the game, or simply been on a separate system/Gamertag when doing some of the playing. Furthermore, the content of both the text and video reviews seems to clearly indicate deep involvement with the game. We’re waiting to hear back from Gerstmann on this issue directly, but until we do, it’ll take more than a Gamercard to convince us Jeff was anything less than a professional in this matter. […]

  8. 0
    Toxicity² ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I haven’t always agreed with Jeff’s reviews (Tony Hawk 3 being a perfect 10, for example) but he was a good guy. If GameSpot did indeed fire him because of his review, their credibility is fucking DEAD.

  9. 0
    JustChris says:

    I’ve seen Jeff Gerstmann quotes in people’s signatures all over the gaming corner of the internets. As half-baked as some of GameSpot’s reviews are, though, they are not as bad as 1-Up’s, whose writing style seems to jump from short experience to short experience without making any connections. They are totally brief and devoid of much detail.

  10. 0
    ronnoc ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    A lot of people have mentioned that GameSpot reviews don’t play the games very long/much. I dislike the post-release side of their site because the reviews commonly come out weeks after the games. (F.E.A.R. Files, Blacksite Area 51, and Soldier of Fortune: Payback are all recent reviews of games that came out at the beginning of November.) If they aren’t playing the games, what are they doing for 3-4 weeks before the review comes out?

    Also, GameSpot may have received the video review, but the written (aka, the one that actually matters) review remains on the site.

  11. 0
    AdamB says:

    Kobra: First of all, it’s GameSpot, not GameStop (which is a retailer).

    Second, and most importantly, I’d encourage everyone to READ their Constitution once in awhile.

    First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    Note that it prohibits Congress (which has been interpreted as the governing bodies) from abridging the freedom of speech. This does not apply to private parties.

    If I go to my local 7-11 and start shouting curses, they have every right to make me leave, just as I have the right to kick out a drunk friend who’s over at my place and making lewd passes at my girlfriend.

    First Amendment is not the issue here, but certainly integrity is. There’s no law that says GameSpot can’t take money for scores, but it definitely would hurt their credibility, which would decrease their readership and thus be very bad overall.

  12. 0
    nrad99 says:

    This is certainly a big deal. Quality journalism and reviews are essential to any art form. If the journalism is not good, games in general will not be respected as much. There needs to be a clear demarcation between highly innovative games like Bioshock and recycled trash like Halo 3.

    Gamestop has gone down hill since Kasavin (think that’s how you spell his name) left anyway. I used to expect quality when reading a Gamespot review or watching their weekly show. Now IGN, 1up and Gamespy are superior in every way. I don’t know what happened. Still not as un-objective as Game Informer (owned by Gamestop) though.

  13. 0
    G-Dog says:

    I just can’t believe anybody still reads Gamespot after the Savage Lands review. If you don’t remember, a Gamespot reviewer gave The Savage Lands (an online shooter) a low score.

    The developers of said took issue with this and did a little digging into their server logs. They found out that the reviewer played the game for less than two hours before writing the review. After this got out, they pulled his review and replaced it with another that was more favorable.

    And remember when Atari was caught paying people for high review scores of Driv3r?

  14. 0
    Luke says:

    I’m sure 1UP, IGN, etc want so-called “team players” (IE folk who bow to $$ from publishers).

    1UP is one of the more credible games journalism outlets. I would never lump them in with the likes of IGN, or now, apparently, Gamespot.

  15. 0
    deuxhero ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If he generaly all around fails at doing his job and his fireing shines a light on coc*gets censored* bribe takeing reviewers

    Hells ya!

  16. 0
    Buckeye531 (formerly general531) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Why are you happy that someone you don’t like lost his job because of Eidos pressuring Gamespot and CNET?

    @the article
    I don’t care how anyone spins the story, this is a piss-poor way of handling a bad review. Gamespot, CNET, and Eidos should be ashamed of themselves. Sony’s reaction to the Lair reviews thinks that this is jacked-up (if you listen to Jim Rome’s radio show or watch his TV show, you will understand what I meant in the last scentence).

    I will NEVER read Gamespot again, I will never go to any CNET site again, and I will NEVER play any Eidos game again.

  17. 0
    Dracis says:

    I guess it just comes down to this: I’ll never ever use CNET/Gamespot again or ever buy a game from Edios. Now they can join the scum over at Lucas Arts and SOE on my “do not buy” list.

  18. 0
    Ace of Sevens ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Here’s a hypothetical to you all: imagine if when Jayson Blair got fired, the NYT would only say no comment and went back and edited/removed his previous stories in the online archive. The rest of the media would have had their heads with good reason. If Jeff was fired for some reason having to do with the Kane & Lynch review (and why else would it have been altered and hte video removed) CNET has an ethical duty to inform their readers of this fact.

  19. 0
    GrlGmr ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Because you can OBVIOUSLY tell someone’s sexual orientation based on the game reviews they write.

    On the other hand, I can definitely tell someone is an idiot based on what they wrote.

  20. 0
    Ace of Sevens ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Another thought on Gamespot’s claim: this clearly is related to the Kain & Lynch review, or they would’t have pulled/edited it. Not commenting on personnel matters only applies if he were sexually harrassing Carrie, rolling into work an hour late every day, etc. If he were fired for unethical journalism, whether this was taking bribes, reviewing games he hadn’t played or whatever, journalistic ethics would demand GameSpot make a public statement. See what happened with Jayson Blair and every other reporter who’s been caught making shit up recently. Even if Jeff’s firing was clean, a video game journalism site is being run by someone with no knowledge of journalistic ethics. I am not reading GameSpot or any other CNet site, and I used to frequently read GameFAQs, until the current management eithe rmakes this right or is gone.

  21. 0
    jadedcritic ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Gamespot’s toast, I don’t know what TimT did for them, but more people quitting is really not a good sign. Doesn’t even matter so much whether he actually did get fired for criticizing Kane & Lynch anymore. About the only thing that could conceivably save them at this point is if Eidos and Gamespot came forward and made a joint public statement that the ad money was not pulled because of of the Kane & Lynch review. These weak public affirmations of “editorial integrity” aren’t going to cut it.

    If they aren’t on the front page of the gaming news-zines, come monday; they’re just done. Even if they struggle along for a while, they’ll be rebuilding cred for YEARS.l

  22. 0
    finaleve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I don’t follow reviews much, or ever. I just read up on the game before buying like features and things like that (Bioshock for instance) or buy because its a sequel to a game I like (Mario Galaxy)

  23. 0
    Tammej says:

    With both their best authors (Greg and Jeff) gone, Gamespot doesn’t mean that much to me anymore. Regardless of what Jeff may or may not have done to get himself fired – he was a senior editor. You can safely say that after Greg was gone, Jeff took over and ran most of the show.

    Now it’s up to Alex, Ryan and others. They are also fine game review authors, but that won’t bring back their most prominent staffers. There used to be video game reviews without techno music in them. There used to be game reviews that were lengthy and showed off a great deal of the games, like for example – the one for Divine Divinity. Heck, Jeff’s video reviews of the Grand Theft Auto games are some of the greatest on the site.

    These times are all but gone, and I have to sadly admit that they have lost my subscription for good.

  24. 0
    MR.B says:

    I went to the forums section from gamespot’s homepage and saw “The forums are down for maintenance.Please check back later.” Way to go gamespot for finding a new way to chickening out like that.

  25. 0
    Vladmire Triskavanski ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    No one would be familiar with a letter based system, because its odd and consfusing. I mean those letters could stand for other things like A could be awful, B could be bad, C is crap, and D is dumb and F is fantastic.

    I mean really what could possibly allow us to know really what those funny little letters mean?

  26. 0
    Vladmire Triskavanski ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Ace of Sevens

    I’d have to also agree with that number.. maybe a little too favorable to the game though. LoZ:TP was great, fun and beutiful, but way too easy. Maybe its like the new stuff.

  27. 0
    CowboyBeboper says:

    While I have found better places to go for my reviews than Gamespot, I always liked Jeff and his reviews (regardless if I disagreed with them or not). He always was likeable to me.

  28. 0
    Adaptor ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ofcourse Gerstmann could have been fired for a lot of other reasons than his K&L review and I agree that most of the outrage is based on rumours.
    But.. the thing that really strikes me as being odd is the fact that CNet issues a statement saying “At CNET Networks, we stand behind the editorial content that our teams produce on a daily basis.” while at the same time they pull Jeff Gerstmann’s video review of K&L.

    Am I the only one who thinks this is contradictory and smelling of a cover-up?

  29. 0
    OGVGPlayer says:

    This is just an example of corporate corruption. Back in the days when the games industry was the “redheaded bastard child” of the computer industry reviews tended to be more-or-less objective. Enter the investors, a few years after the fall of dotcoms, and now (as suspected) reviews are tied to how much money a developer/publisher pays a magazine or media review outlet.

    GAMES PAYOLA! We’re back to the corrupted style of the music industry.

  30. 0
    Phantom says:

    @ truth

    As I stated above, I’m from that forum. I’ve known the “source” in question for several years. He doesn’t work at Gamespot, and has never claimed to actually work for them. That was made up by Wired, presumably to make it seem like their source was more knowledgable than he is. If anything, it’s well-informed hearsay.

    Where does it say that it comes from the art designer of the ad? That’s not true, and he’s never claimed that. PA’s newspost falsely indicated he was part of management, which is equally confusing. The amount of internet rumor-mongering going on about that quote is astounding, and I’m hoping it doesn’t get twisted so far out of context that it costs him his job. It’s certainly a sign of flaws with the blogosphere, and why any news story you see should be taken with a grain of salt.

  31. 0
    truth says:

    You’re first update, the one from wired, used a message board post on A link to the exact ‘source’ can be found here:

    It supposedly comes from the art designer of the ad that as of yesterday was blanketing gamespots front page. The person at wired didn’t get any special information, they ripped right off a message board. I wouldn’t quote it, as nobody actually knows if this person really works at gamespot.

  32. 0
    Mad_Scientist ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Interesting. This could have a pretty huge effect on Gamespot if it all turns out to be as bad as the rumors say. I’m still hoping to get more info soon.

  33. 0
    Ace of Sevens ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I always like Jeff’s reviews for his ability to callt hings like they were, such as his 8.8 Twilight Princess review. If he was just a bad reviewer, why did they keep him around ten + years and make him senior editor?

  34. 0
    jadedcritic ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Had a thought. Does it strike anyone else as a peculiar coincidence that this is sort of Manhunt2-ish in the sense that the controversy is more interesting then the game?

  35. 0
    LightWarrior ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @E. Zachary Knight
    Yeah….Mort is a bit right though about that “Media” part….this game at least to me was released quietly…there was no outrage….and you are right about the whole Take-Two and Rockstar.

    I find it funny if you guys say this is a game where you kill good cops….and yet no one makes a peep…’s more proof that Rockstar is just the whipping boy of the industry.

  36. 0
    Dave ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    An interesting note, I was reading on the GameFAQs forums a week or so back about Jeff’s Kane and Lynch gamerscore. Someone was poking around, and they found that he had the achievement for finishing the first level, but not much else.

    There are a number of possible explanations for this, some which would exonerate the man and others which raise serious issues. Still, I thought I’d put this out here.

  37. 0
    jadedcritic ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    As much as I find this issue fairly interesting – I would caution everyone seriously against whipping out the torches. (angry mob metaphor.)

    Innocent until proven guilty, remember?
    Don’t misunderstand me, all I’m trying to say is that the evidence is largely circumstancial (sp?).

    Now that I’ve been devil’s advocate, I will admit that if Gamespot doesn’t come up with something one heck of allot more convincing then that press release, they WILL be removed from my bookmarks. It’s not that I care so much about reviews, come on, you cannot play games for any real length of time and not learn that reviews cannot be taken at face value. I’ve been applying grains of salt to the ones I read for decades.

    HOWEVER, if this in any way true, I’m not particularly interested in supporting a business that would be that spineless.

  38. 0
    Verbinator ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This is how the universe works … Highly visible employee is fired. Agitated, but clueless online community always looking for a reason to “stick it to the man” jumps to the conclusion that the cause is something recent and visible to them. They pillory the former employee’s employer. Employer can’t comment because that would violate the confidentiality agreement between employer and employee. Clueless online community sees that as admission of guilt and continues to pillory employer building up in furor.

    Chances are Jeff Gerstmann had accumulated a number of issues that finally resulted in his termination.

    As far as journalistic integrity goes in this industry … I laugh. All reviews are biased, even the ones where the reviewer actually takes the time to play the game (you think the ESRB are the only ones not playing the games they review?).

  39. 0
    Mort ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Assumptions will make an idiot out of you. Eidos tossed a lot of money for advertising, as does every publisher, it is their job, market to make money. Microsoft has done it, Sony has done it, EA, and so on all have done it.

    No one is happy getting a bad review and will often express that dissatisfaction instead of just lying there and taking it. So I am sure that Eidos expressed the same dissatisfaction when the latest Hitman game was panned. Was anyone fired then? No. Did they put a lot of money into the advertising? Yes.

    Until you have all the facts you have no ground to make anything but assumptions. The absence of evidence does not mean the evidence of absence. Mr. 8.8 had been complained about for years, this latest dissatisfaction at his performance could have very well been the straw that broke the camels back. I would wager more on that than the “Money did it!” conspiracy.

    As far as the game? Not the best, I like the gritty feel to it though. It is full of bugs to the point of unplayable for a week until it was discovered that AMD dual cores had an issue and a fix was found. I have found plenty of other bugs. This is a game in the 6.5-7 range on a 1-10 scale, not on the current 6-10 scale. It is amusing and challenging.

    However the media should be all over this one instead of manhunt. You kill good cops in this game… LOTS of them, intentionally, repeatedly. Jack should have waited for this game to come out to start on his crusade. He might have had a decent excuse for the “You kill cops!” bit.

  40. 0
    -Jes- ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Mort:

    Sorry, even if you Had an Edit button, you’d still look dumb.

    As is plainly visible, Eidos poured a lot of dough into marketing for their latest title, especially to GameSpot. Then one of GameSpots reviewers gives Eidos’ latest new title a bad rep.

    That’s not good for GameSpot as they’re getting paid by Eidos to promote the product.

    So Yes, it IS all about the mighty dollar.

    Is it a deplorable tactic? Yes. Is it a new one? Heck no. GameSpy, IGN and a few other big ones have been exposed as doing the same on more than a few occasions.

    Were the reviewer right about the game though? Probably. Can’t say the same for a few other reviews from him.

  41. 0
    King James says:

    @ Drew Habits,

    I’d buy it, but I don’t think that the quality of his review was much better or worse than other reviewers on the site. And if he’s been a bad reviewer for all of these years, and they’ve been meaning to fire him, then this was about the worst timing I could imagine. There’s no proof of collusion, but it sure looks that way. And canned corporate PR drivel like they put out today isn’t going to do in terms of a refutation of these rumors.

  42. 0
    kaemmerite says:

    I would be more inclined to believe it was “bad timing” or a “coincidence” if they had left the video review of Kayne & Lynch on the site. But they didn’t, they pulled it, while leaving his other reviews intact.

  43. 0
    Drew Habits ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    What if

    And this is a radical notion, I know, but bear with me

    What if he got fired for being a terrible reviewer?

    Because this dude was terrible at his job, and has been for years. Criticism isn’t just about making lists of good and bad points, there’s a craft to it – a craft of which Gerstmann had no understanding or in which he had no interest.

    Look at his other reviews and try to tell me with a straight face that he isn’t just a cocky nerd who thinks he’s better than everyone. I don’t necessarily disagree with all his scoring, but the way he constantly talks down both to the people who make the products he reviews and to his own audience is amazingly unprofessional and adds nothing to the discussion.

    Maybe some backroom deal with the advertisers did lead to him getting the ax – I’m not saying that is out of the question. If so, that is the weakest of sauces. But what if he just got fired for being terrible? What if it’s just an unlucky coincidence in terms of timing?

  44. 0
    Buckeye531 (formerly general531) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    In addition to my last post (I was a little rushed when I made my first one)

    The job of any game critic is to be honest. If Kane & Lynch was as bad as Jeff said it was (I didn’t play it), then he should NEVER have been terminated. This is an example of commercial and corporate greed. This will hurt, very badly, Gamespot’s credibility and sadly the credibility of the reviewers in other game outlets.

  45. 0
    King James says:

    @ Soup,

    You’re right, this is a larger issue about the integrity of video game journalism. If this rumor is true in any way, and right now there’s at least smoke suggestive of a fire, then this is something that needs to outrage us.

  46. 0
    Donny D says:

    This is complete BS. If this turns out to be true I plan on canceling my GS subscription. Jeff was one of the best reviewers they had on the site. The quality of the content on GS has been declining in the past year or so. This firing of Gerstmann would be the icing on the cake for my decision to cancel.

  47. 0
    jds ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Considering how much money is spent on producing and advertising these games, coupled with the influence the reviewers have on purchasing decisions, I can see Eidos pressuring for his removal.

    Considering also that most Eidos games have been poorly rated, this doesn’t surprise me.

  48. 0
    Soup says:


    The point is not whether we need GameSpot, it’s whether reviewers should have the freedom to openly express their opinions, even on “professional review sites.” I hardly visit GameSpot myself, but I am all fired up about this because it is an attack on journalism as an institution; it’s a much larger issue.

    Although, if you’re suggesting an Internet-wide ban on Gamespot in order to shame them into fessing up and/or rectifying the situation, I will be the first to follow you.

    also, of course Edios didn’t “make” Gamespot fire Gerstmann, they simply voiced their “displeasure” to the website and “suggested” they take steps to appease the game-makers.

  49. 0
    Hart704 says:

    If CNET doesn’t reverse their lame ass decision, then they can kiss my buns of steel! I can guarantee that every review score from this site from now on will be a lot higher just because they won’t want to get fired. They shouldn’t have to do that.

  50. 0
    Phantom says:

    RE: Susan’s “Gamespot insider.”

    The guy posts on a forum I hang out at (the linked Forumopolis). He’s not actually an employee with Gamespot. He works at, and has heard various rumblings through the company grapevine. He shouldn’t be considered an official source, and Susan’s quoting of him strikes me as a reckless use of hearsay as an official source. The fact that PA linked the article and linked it by implying that “management has a different story” is hilarious, and reminds me of the old “telephone” game we played in grade school. Before you know it, this guy (who works in IT) will be the CEO of

  51. 0
    MagicPipe ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    As much as I dislike his reviews, I do have to admit that if that’s the reason he got fired, well who needs Gamespot? They’ve sucked for a while now anyways.

  52. 0
    Mort ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Jes

    Let’s at least wait until we get the facts before invading a foreign country because someone says they are an imminent threat…. err blaming the site and publisher for maybe getting a guy firing based on money. Sorry, easy to confuse the two and make a mistake that makes you look dumb in the future.

  53. 0
    -Jes- ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Game firms pushing reviewers around with money? Gasp, it’s, like, only 12 years old AT LEAST.

    So GameSpot messed up bigtime in their handling. Hurray, just another step towards less money-boosted reviews.

  54. 0
    GameDevMich ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @deuxhero – I read the article a few times, and no where did I see something along the lines of:

    “This shocking event, which must be a first or at the very least uncommon, is terrible.”

    You are correct to assume that most people know that game review sites face the issue of corrupted reviewers (sounds a lot more serious than it really is).

    The article merely placed an event and face on an action.

  55. 0
    KTP ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Game sites/magazines giving more than favorable reviews in exchange for something isn’t exactly new. It’s not too uncommon for them to give a title a better score than it deserves in order to get exclusive previews on upcoming games from the same publisher. To them, the sales/hits from the previews will more than compensate for the fact they decided to ignore some negative aspects of a single game in a review.

    Hasn’t this guy worked for Gamespot for a VERY long time? Like, since they were rather young and didn’t have as much pull/power as they do now? It seems odd that all of a sudden, after several years, he’s getting fired because of “unprofessional reviews and review practices.”

  56. 0
    King James says:

    @ deuxhero

    Stop with the condescension, or at least spell check if you’re going to act like that. This is a big deal, involving a major gaming news source, a major gaming company and a well-known reviewer. Since you’ve obviously done your homework, since you’re telling other people to do theirs, tell me of another time that a website fired a reporter for doing his job under what appears to be advertiser pressure. Give me an example of this happening like this. If you’re suggesting that there’s been a payola scam, and this is the first time someone went against it and got fired, that’s one thing. But I don’t think that’s what you’re getting at.

  57. 0
    LightWarrior ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    What ever the real story is.

    The uproar everyone is having is a good thing still. It’s setting some kind of preseedent that we are not just ingorant conumsers. Aren’t Reviews also some form and type of guide to help us get to know a game a little bit that we have not played yet?….I been known to buy games with bad reviews and still enjoy them myself…

    I don’t base my perchases off reviews…

    But seeing as how everyone is in a uproar might scare the Corporate bullies that they can’t do this.

  58. 0
    Vladmire Triskavanski ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    As much as i disagree with thier reviews.. It is still only one mans opinon.

    What kind of world are we living in where people are fired for giving thier opinons? (esspecilly when they are paid to do so.)

  59. 0
    Mort ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I have my doubts that Eidos caused him to get fired. If they were upset about the review then yes it could have had something to do with it, but one would hope that GameSpot would have the stones to stand up and say

    “It is a review site, we are honest in our reviews. Feel free to pull funding, when people hear about us standing up they will come to us asking to advertise here and our reader base will go up because they know we stand up to greedy producers.”

    I honestly was not a fan of his reviews, low quality and I think the only number on his board was an 8. (He gave a lot of games 8.8). The real problem lies in the review system. It is not a system of 1-10, it is a system of 6-10. Crap games get 6 or 7, wonderful games get 10. I’m sorry but nothing is perfect on release, there are always flaws. If you don’t give anything below a 6, just change the system to 1-5.

    I miss the old days of “grade” reviewed games or scales of 100.

    If a game was an A+ it was as good as it gets, A was great go get it now, B, you know it was “Good enough to pick up and enjoy for a while.” C was might want to avoid it, D was this is pretty bad, and F was don’t touch this.

    Of course if we had that system everything would be getting A+. So maybe we just need to fire every reviewer and get some people who are honest and tell it how it is. Perhaps have a school on “How to review things intelligently.” You know, find people who have degrees, know how to think. Instead of idiots who just spew driven because they want to be popular.

  60. 0
    lumi ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well, he certainly has the credentials to land another game review gig. But I agree, this is pretty shameful behavior on Gamespot’s part.

    Two weeks doesn’t seem like enough time to completely disassociate the firing with the “brouhaha”. This just doesn’t feel right to me.

  61. 0
    deuxhero ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    His wording heavily sugjust he is surprised stateing that it is not to be taken lightly, if you do your homework you will find this has been going on for years.

  62. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @the update

    Interesting, this certainly seems to be polarising in opinions at the moment, there are those that are certain that this was caused by Eidos, and others who are not, at the moment I’m still undecided until I get more evidence either way.

    As I said before, if this is true, I’m bloody furious, and I suspect Eidos will suffer from consumer pressure, but I’m willing to wait until I find out if it is true or not.

  63. 0
    King James says:

    I’m trying to imagine Roger Ebert getting fired for trashing a Paramount Stuidios film. In fact, I’m trying to imagine some film critic for the Podunk Times being fired for giving a bad review of a film for which the paper carries an advertisment. Just because the review is for an online source doesn’t make this better; in fact, it’s worse. It’s worse because it undermines the notion of objective press on the Internet. If the world is moving away from traditional journalism (broadcast news, newspapers, magazines) and into the Internet, this is the time that journalistic integrity has to stand. Yes, reviewing is a subjective experience, but a reviewer should be allowed to honestly do his job. If there’s a suspicion of pressure, the entire news source becomes discredited.

    It seems to me that corporate interests are as dangerous to freedom of the press and freedom of information as any government legislation would be. But it’s not like “indie media” is all that viable an alternative. Enough people start reading an indie media source, it gets big and then it gets acquired by a major news conglomerate. I don’t know how, beyond companies and executives willing to sacrifice money for integrity, this can ever turn around. And maybe I’m just cynical, but I don’t think there’s that many people out there who have the fortitude to do so.

  64. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Yes, we know the pressure exists, but when a company feels it has the right to behave in such a blatantly disgusting manner, then it is something new, they don’t normally push their luck that far, so no, Dennis isn’t acting like an unintelligible sentence as you suggest, he’s acting like a reporter reporting on games and the politics involved in them.

  65. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 2 ) says:

    Stupid spam catcher keeps eating my posts.

    I had read an article about this same sort of thing on IGDA in the June 2007 Culture Clash article. (I think the links are causing the post to be eaten)

    Something similar happened with Lair as well. Lair was getting marginal reviews at best so Sony sent “Reviewer Guides” to game reviewers so that they could play the game properly.

    I have always been wary of game reviews. They make money off the ads and yet review the same games that are paying their wages. There is always the possibility of a conflict of interest.

    It is nice to know that there are game reviewers with integrity and I hope that Gerstmann gets another job (judging by his experience, it won’t be a problem.)

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  66. 0
    deuxhero ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Dennis, please stop acting like… *attempts to think of WS term* bribe takeing media outlets are something new, your makeing yourself seem ignorant.

  67. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’ve been following this, and if it turns out to be true I am bloody furious. This is corporate manipulation in its purest form, they are basically saying ‘We can write any old shit we like, because we control the reviews.’

    Basically, if Eidos are admitting that they manipulate the reviews of their products, then I certainly don’t want them.

  68. 0
    Zerodash ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I wonder if he will find work at another commercial review site/mag. I’m sure 1UP, IGN, etc want so-called “team players” (IE folk who bow to $$ from publishers).

    This is just a sign of the times as the stakes in game publishing get bigger.

  69. 0
    Phantom says:

    I can’t possibly imagine why Gamespot thought they could get away with this. Did they honestly expect that word wouldn’t leak out? Their entire credibility was on the line here. It’s amplified by the fact that PA just talked this week in newsposts about how important a reviewer’s credibility is to the reading public. It’s not like this is some long-forgotten idea!

  70. 0
    Cpl_Bulldog1 says:

    Jeff has the right to freedom of speech as all of us do and just because the sites advertised by the people who make it just fire him! he gave a review which is fair and tells people what he thinks of it! others may like it and their are many MANY low rated games but their reviewers did not fire them!!! im in get Jeff Back!!!!

  71. 0
    BearDogg-X says:

    How times have changed.

    I remember way back when, Acclaim threatened to pull advertising from EGM because EGM gave Total Recall deservedly poor reviews, and EGM basically told them, “Go ahead, we’re not changing the reviews”.

  72. 0
    Pandralisk says:

    I would not be surprised if he was fired for writing a review that criticized a mediocre game. This industry has devolved into a commercialistic joke. Reviewers are bound by the advertising dollar, and many consumers are dumb enough to have their qualatative standards set by the industry and its review “critics.”

    Many consumers are also guillible enough to buy franchised sequels until their eyes explode; hell, a good plot writer can’t be found for the love of God these days. I doubt this industry could survive long if games were judged solely by the quality of the content and depth of their plot. I’m glad that Jeff places a small amount of intrest in the quality of a plot. One reasons games can’t get any damn respect is because the plots/setting/context do not approach moderate quality literature and film.

    A shame this happened to Jeff. But buisness is buisness, and gamers are more than happy to keep visiting Gamespot and fueling the low standards the industry sets.

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