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What Mainstream Media Think of Gaming 65

John Callaham writes "Video and PC games are a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry. So why don't they get the attention of movies or TV? FiringSquad interviews several members of the mainstream media, including reporters from Time, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly and more, to find the answers and see how journalism will cover games in the future." From the article: "I guess all I'd add is that gaming journalism is at a very interesting place right now. There are still a lot of people who are suspicious of games, and who don't understand their appeal, and there's an opportunity for people who write about games, if they do it well enough, to bridge that gap, and make games interesting to people who don't get them yet."
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What Mainstream Media Think of Gaming

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  • And let the Gen-Xer's cover games. Generations that didn't grow up on games just don't get them, and don't want to get them.
    • Gen Xers are in their 30s now. You don't think there are journalists in their 30s allowed to publish stories? Or were you really referring to editors?
    • Bah, my mom is in her 70s and finished Baldur's Gate (and Baldur's Gate II). She's now trying her hand at slash'em.

      There are always exceptions to the rule..., or in other words, all generalizations are false.

    • by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @05:38PM (#15506238)
      You might want to give up that teenage angst one day, there's nothing to 'get' about video games. The answer to why games aren't covered the same way as TV or movies is quite simple. They aren't TV shows or movies. Shocking isn't it? There is no big star to know the intimate details of or be called this seconds sexiest man or woman. You don't go out for an evening to sit back and watch a movie, or spend a quiet night at home watching something. You don't have to do anything to enjoy a movie or TV show and the reviewer of them had the same experience that you did. It's not like that with a game, unless the game was so poorly done as to give the player no control over either the characters or the outcome of events.
    • How i figure it is that people tend to watch tv and movies about things that interest them, but they are too slack to go out and do themselves. Sport for example, how many of the soccer world cup fans actually play soccer at a professional level? Not a lot, most dont even play at an amatuer level or at all, because it is too much effort. Games however take little effort to play. The majority of people (people that are cripple or lost all their limbs in a tragic soccer-goal-post-falling-over-accident) can
  • Ummm.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:33PM (#15505780) Homepage
    ""Video and PC games are a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry. So why don't they get the attention of movies or TV?"

    Aren't they making a movie out of World of Warcraft? Perhaps they are getting to the point of popularity that movies and TV ARE starting to take an interest.
    • > "Video and PC games are a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry. So why don't they get the attention of movies or TV?"

      Your Senator or Congressman can hardly be blamed for preferring to snort his cocaine from 'twixt Titney's Spears than the alternative of seeing a can of Jolt Cola poured over the manb00bs of a software developer.

      Let's face it. RIAA and MPAA lobbyists really do have more to offer their represenatives than software industry lobbyists do.

      • That's why you send them "booth" babes, not developers. You don't want your developers to leave the office anyway, they might snap up some talk about "worker rights" or "40 hour weeks".
    • Aren't they making a movie out of World of Warcraft?

      I think I'd rather see one based on Pac-Man, actually.

      Or Super Monkey Ball. That would rule.
    • Blurb (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Mitaphane ( 96828 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @05:23PM (#15506133) Homepage
      That blurb is misleading; it sounds as if the article is talking about how the video game medium is represented in other media like TV and film. The topic is how the gaming industry is covered by the big news media(e.g. CNN, Wall Street Journal, etc.) compared to other entertainment industries that make just as much money as the video game industry.

      The underlying assumption here is that if the gaming industry makes as much money as the movie industry it should be covered in the news as much as that other industry. Of course that's not the whole picture. People in big media report things that are important, but they also have to report things that people want to hear about. There is a huge audience that want to hear what Brad Pitt's new movie is, who's playing in the World Cup today, what Microsoft's business plans for future are, and what is going on in Capital Hill. The audience that wants to hear what John Carmack's new game engine will do is small.

      Also, just because the gaming industry makes as much money as the movie industry doesn't mean it reaches as many people. The entry level cost to get into gaming is much higher. The learning curve is much steeper too, especially if you've never grown up with videogames. However, the time that can be spent on game(vs. a book, movie, or tv show) is much higher. In short, gaming has a significantly-sized, time-dedicated audience compared to other entertainment media; however, other media have a much larger audience and probably always will(unless you make video gaming cheaper and easier to learn). Thus, the gaming industry will never be covered in big news media as much as other entertainment industries.
       
      • People in big media report things that are important,

        Hahahahahahahhahahaha. Yeah, the corporate media have done a swell job of, say, questioning the US government, especially on issues like "the truth of 9/11" and "why did those exit polls in 2004 not match the vote count?".

        Unless you meant "report things that will help them stay in power". Then I agree with you totally.

      • In short, gaming has a significantly-sized, time-dedicated audience compared to other entertainment media; however, other media have a much larger audience and probably always will(unless you make video gaming cheaper and easier to learn).

        I know I'm a total fanboy, but as soon as I read that I thought "Wii!"

        Even the Wii magically makes gaming Fun for All Ages, I wouldn't expect to see more of them in other media. Books are a huge market, and some even make it big (Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter), but they stil
    • Aren't they making a movie out of World of Warcraft?

      It's interesting that you should mention WOW, since Rob Pardo did make the Time 100 list this year.

      Others that caught Time's attention:

      Bill and Melinda Gates, The Gates Foundation
      Ranked here anong world leaders and revolutionaries. Currrently funding 1/3 of the world's research on Malarlia.

      Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield, Flickr
      Chris Sewolf and Tom Anderson, Myspace.com
      Omid Kordestan, Google
      Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Frilis, Skype
      Matt Drud

  • One Reason (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rydia ( 556444 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:43PM (#15505847)
    The sad and pathetic state of the "games media." Mainstream media likes to deal with a certain level of what they collectively define as professionalism; proper sourcing, investigation past press releases, no rumormongering, staying out of bed with the subject. Now, that sure as heck isn't always adhered to, but in the "games media," it's almost never adhered to. People reprint press releases, rampant speculation, and in almost all cases play favorites. Journalists talk to each other. To whom is a TIME reporter going to talk to about games? Kotaku? IGN? Joystiq? IGN separates their writers based on what company-based bias they have. Joystiq revoked an internet poll they themselves put up for discussion because they disagreed with the results. Kotaku is amusing, but rough around the edges and doesn't exactly reek of credibility. EGM and its ilk share similar problems. The only group I can think of that would qualify would be Magic Box, but I'm still not convinced that the site isn't just a giant spider script (which would explain a great deal about the write-ups that they do print.

    That said, for stories that they can simply go it alone with, such as interviews, overviews of systems or financials, the mainstream media does a servicable job. TIME's article on Nintendo's new direction the day before E3 (in addition to having the first good set of Wii screens) was the best I saw before or during the show. It's just that there's not a whole lot of news to go around, and getting the extra news to fill in the gaps requires either rampant speculation or dealing with "unprofessional" people. To be quite frank, I don't blame them.
    • Mainstream media likes to deal with a certain level of what they collectively define as professionalism; proper sourcing, investigation past press releases, no rumormongering, staying out of bed with the subject.

      LOL. How long has it been since the mainstream media lived up to this ideal? All they're good at is superficial professionalism. Nice grammar and spelling, pretty layout, looking good and/or having a nice speaking voice (for TV/radio journalism). Maybe they'll feign a little neutrality if you'

    • I find Computer Games Magazine [cgonline.com] to have the best commentary and least bias out of the gaming magazines. It's quite a bit different from the usual 2/3s glowing previews, 1/3 reviews model that most mags use. I get the feeling that most of the contributors are like me, long time gamers.
      I'm kind of amazed they're still able to publish since their volume of advertising is a lot less than PC Gamer and the like.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "To whom is a TIME reporter going to talk to about games?"

      They could try the BBC:
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/2207229.stm [bbc.co.uk]
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/5040188.stm [bbc.co.uk]
      The BBC even does events in Second Life, they are ridiculously online-savvy.

      Or the Guardian (one of the most serious UK papers):
      http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/games/ [guardian.co.uk]

      p.s. the dedicated games press does all the rampant speculation stuff because it's what their readers want! I was interested in all the articles about how Nintendo's Revol
    • Re:One Reason (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cgenman ( 325138 )
      Not to point fingers, but when developers that I work at have been interviewed by the press, generally the gaming press gets things right and the mainstream press is the one that doesn't fact check. Gems have included referring to us as "The publisher" (we're the developer), "The guys who made the music" (outsourced), the guys who were just bought by Activision (our publisher did that). We've been accused of making other people's games, of making games for platforms that had died before we were around, or
    • You're joking, right? I mean, you can't honestly watch CNN/FOX/MSNBC and think that there are any journalistic standards being applied there. I should have saved a mod point to give you +1 funny since no one in their right mind can think there's anything worth of respect in mainstream news media.
  • by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:44PM (#15505858)
    Video and PC games are a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry. So why don't they get the attention of movies or TV?

    First, who the heck concluded it doesn't get enough attention. I'd say it gets enough attention, notice the E3 coverage on Internet... And there we get to the point.

    TV and Movies have been here for over 70 years, part of our culture. If something is on TV, "it gets enough attention".. Aparently TV is shown on TV, and movies are shown on TV and cinemas as well.

    We're used to considering what's on TV "important". The fact that thousands of online media followed who sneezes at E3, is a lot less important.

    Conclusion: we just need some more time so that Internet truly becomes a respected mainstream media to non-techies, where "important" stuff can happen. Gaming is the same. Give it more time, let the gamers grow some more.
    • Agree with parent.
      I was elated to see the main BBC evening news have a lengthy special report on E3 whilst it was on. This would have been unthinkable years ago; but as gaming becomes more and more mainstream, more and more of the media's demographics will want to see gaming news.
  • by Kesch ( 943326 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:46PM (#15505871)
    The mainstream media doesn't write much about games because it doesn't appeal much to a mainstream audience.
    • You said: The mainstream media doesn't write much about games because it doesn't appeal much to a mainstream audience.

      The article said: Video and PC games are a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry.

      I see. So how much do they have to make in sales to *become* mainstream, exactly?

      Reminds me of a quote by Green Day's lead singer, back around 1998. "People call us an alternative band. Alternative to *what*? We sold 3 million records last year. That's as mainstream as you can get!"
  • Slashdot (Score:5, Funny)

    by soft_guy ( 534437 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:49PM (#15505889)
    Are you trying to tell me that Slashdot isn't the mainstream media??

  • Should we care? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:58PM (#15505953)
    Think about it like this...

    The video game and computer game industry make more money than TV and movies combined.

    But the porn industry makes more money than the TV, Music, and video game industry combined.

    Yet we don't hear mainstream media talking about porn all that often other than the "Think of the children!" diatribes by hotair pundits.
    • Re:Should we care? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chainsaw ( 2302 )
      But the porn industry makes more money than the TV, Music, and video game industry combined.

      Can we please stop the lies about the porn industry, please? All of the porn industry combined doesn't really make that much money. Try to name one company in the porn industry that is within the Fortune 500. You can't, because there is none.

      Hate to break it to you, but the porn industry isn't bigger than Haliburton.

    • Wait, wha? Let's have some evidence, bud. I find it hard to belive that video games are making more money than an industry where they have gross profits of hundreds of millions of dollars per hit (movies).
      • Re:Should we care? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by edunbar93 ( 141167 ) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @01:55AM (#15507952)
        Two things: There's a big difference between net profits and gross sales. They're talking about gross sales. That's the amount of money that we the public spend on the products they produce. A $7 movie ticket is a wee bit smaller than an $80 game. Thus you need 1/10 the audience to produce the same sales numbers.

        Second, there's kind of a fake-out, like how the porn industry can rake in as much in sales as the "mainstream" movie industry. How many movie studios are there left? There's about 3 or 4 big ones left after all the mergers. How many porn producers are there? Thousands. Heck, tens of thousands. Porn is cheap to make, and many thousands of titles are released every year. How many game studios are there that make the biggest hits? Dozens of big players like Sony, Nintendo, and EA, and at least hundreds of smaller ones like Pandemic, ID and Ubisoft.
  • by PhoenixOne ( 674466 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @05:45PM (#15506298)
    I gave up on "mainstream media" a long time ago, but most of the entertainment news I hear is about actor X's marriage to actress Y, which is really a sham, because he loves actress (or actor) Z. Oh, and what are they going to name "the baby".

    So, until we get some juicy info on Lara Croft's relationship with Duke Nukem, I don't think the mainstream is going to give us as much love. ;)

  • About time (Score:3, Funny)

    by Municipa ( 99320 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @06:50PM (#15506677)
    I have become increasingly concerned that mainstream media's opinions on things were not getting enough attention. Thanks, slashdot, for at long last shining a spotlight on the mainstream media's take on gaming.
  • my quick reply (Score:3, Insightful)

    by British ( 51765 ) <british1500@gmail.com> on Friday June 09, 2006 @11:54PM (#15507667) Homepage Journal
    Hmm

    1. movies based off of Video games. They failed

    2. A tv network based on video games(G4). It failed.

    3. A sitcom with animated characters from fictional video games(game over). It failed.

    The last good video game coverage I saw in mainstream TV were episodes of "That's Incredible!" and "Starcade". That was over 20 years ago. That time has not come back.

  • When you're ratings are in the tank, and people are spending more on games than movies - you expect raptures of appause from these media outlets? Stories about kids carving their names into their wrists and shooting up the school because they touched a game console - sure. But actually showing them in a positive light?

    Oh yes - any day now. I've only been holding my breath for over 30 years. I've never seen my skin turn so many shades of blue before I passed out.
  • Thoughs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lifelike ( 937107 )
    I would say it has more to do with the movie and TV industry being OVERhyped relative to games rather than the inverse. At the supermarket yesterday every single magazine I could see had Angelena on the cover.

    And I think a major rationale behind movies and games being so strongly hyped is that the actor/celebrity is so much more than the role that s/he plays. The mags these days don't talk exclusively about the current star's acting, they talk just as much if not more about said actor's glamorous life. Peop

    • People read the magazines to have a taste of stardom and fantasize what they would do if they were as glorious as the stars. Videogames don't offer that about their characters, their limited to the world of the game.
      Video game characters aren't movie stars, but half the point of most video games is to be someone you're not.
  • I think it's because computer games aren't social. TV and movies are. You can watch a TV show with your friends or even talk about a TV show with your friend and you don't feel like you should be watching it instead. The same goes for movies. Even with a massively multiplayer online game, you're still sitting by yourself at your computer. Talking to someone out of game about the game is silly, unless you're trying to talk them into playing.

    I had an opportunity a while ago to visit a "gaming center" fo

    • Most people that show up to these things have the spare time, this goes hand in hand. For those of us that are busy (read: normal), whenever we do setup a LAN party, it's friends, and we are all very social. And usually very drunk :).
    • I think it's because computer games aren't social. TV and movies are. You can watch a TV show with your friends or even talk about a TV show with your friend and you don't feel like you should be watching it instead. The same goes for movies. Even with a massively multiplayer online game, you're still sitting by yourself at your computer. Talking to someone out of game about the game is silly, unless you're trying to talk them into playing.

      Bzzt! Very wrong. There are a ton of social aspects in many games.

  • by crhylove ( 205956 ) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Saturday June 10, 2006 @04:49PM (#15510527) Homepage Journal
    This just in! People who play video games are under represented in mediums which they are less interested in! Why doesn't bloomberg cover reggae concerts more often? The medium most gamers prefer is THE INTERNET (or technically, the WWW). So of COURSE there isn't going to be more video game coverage on TV and the movies. Gamers don't watch as much TV and movies, and they are more than happy to read about games online. In fact, as represented by the huge popularity of "The Office" and "The Daily Show" on torrent sites, I'm guessing that TV is more likely to get co-opted onto the computer than vice versa. TV, Movies, and the recording industry are dead. Long live TV, the movies, and the recording industry on bit torrent!

    rhY
  • Gaming isn't really mainstream like movies/TV are. Everyone knows the most popular TV show, the basic plot of said TV show, probably one or two actors on the TV show etc. That isn't true of gaming -- at least not yet. Try it yourself. Go to a mall in the county and stand outside a Sears or Dillard's and ask them who Peter Maleneux or Sakaguichi or Kojima are. As long as you don't cheat and stand outside EB Games or Radio Shack, I'll bet that the number of people who know even what industry those folks
    • Let's use a handy little tool, found at http://www.westegg.com/inflation/ [westegg.com]. It calculates the value of money corrected for inflation across the years. The Empire Strikes Back, according to the IMDB's list, made $290,158,751 in 1980. Let's just plug that into our little calculator, correcting to 2005...

      $736,904,249... Oh, and 53 cents. Just *slightly* more than the $380,268,258.46 that the Passion of the Christ made, corrected for the extra year.

      A much more helpful list can be found at http://home.earthli [earthlink.net]

      • Ok, with inflation I can see the point. But the on topic point was that games just aren't mainstream. The Greatest Hits (PS2) or Platnum (XBOX) are supposed to be best sellers. But in order to make greatest hits, you don't have to sell all that many games

        http://ps2.gamezone.com/news/02_28_02_07_00PM.htm [gamezone.com] THQ's RED FACTION TO BE RE-LAUNCHED UNDER PLAYSTATION 2 "GREATEST HITS" COLLECTION Critically Acclaimed Action Game to be Available April 1 for $24.99; Highly Anticipated Sequel Red Faction 2, Schedule

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