With the release of the latest expansion for Blizzard’s Hearthstone we sit down with the development team to learn about its development.
Hearthstone Interview - Inside the Halls of Scholomance Academy
With Sony and Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn hitting CPUs and GPUs, Kosta finally steps into the post-apocalyptic shoes of heroine Aloy to slay some robo-dinos.
Horizon Zero Dawn is the Best Game I Haven’t Played
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 is one of the most talked about gaming laptops of the year for good reason - it packs the AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS mobile CPU in a tiny package.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 Review
The World Game is back, natch, so we go through all the big changes coming in EA’s FIFA 21.
FIFA 21 Preview - Inside the Big Gameplay Changes Coming
Welcome to The Wrap Up - Red Bull Launches New Gaming Show
Steve Farrelly
AusGamers Editor
Sydney, New South Wales
8589 posts
And we had a bit of a hand in it. This is a pilot episode, so let's all give it a chance to percolate and breathe, but as far as shows looking at both gaming and esports, while confidently chatting about hardware and tech, with *almost* no "smash that Like button"-type references, well, you'll struggle to find them anywhere, let alone locally or with a fun tone like this.

Presented by Danny Clayton, Kori "Vandie" Hallows and Steph "Hex" Bendixsen while featuring content from Aussie legends like Kosta Andreadis, Joaby Gilroy and Nathan Lawrence with some lighting direction from yours truly (or something), the show covers off esports, games and the gaming world at the moment with the pilot touching on: who's the best of the best at MOBAs in the country, what of Mixer, and therefore, Ninja? AMD vs NVIDIA joins Sony vs Xbox and the new Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 nd 2 cops a bit more than a mention alongside a lot more.

This is locally written, produced and starred-in (with a mind to become regular and more in-depth). Throw some support its way.

07:18pm 06/07/20 Permalink
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07:18pm 06/07/20 Permalink
Darkhawk
Melbourne, Victoria
216 posts
I like that you can skip segments, I have very little interest in e-sports but I'm glad it's represented.

I will say games journalists have to stop bashing gamers for voicing their valid opinions, Hex!
11:26pm 06/07/20 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Other International
40020 posts
what makes an opinion "valid"?

When a gamer voices an arguably wrong or stupid opinion, is it still valid just because they are entitled to have an opinion? or do you mean everything anyone says as an opinion, no matter how arguably wrong or stupid it is, is valid simply because they're free to have opinions, and that games journalists shouldn't call it out?

I would argue games journalists, like regular journalists, have a duty to comment on the opinions of the games community. Just like I would expect a sporting journalist to interview a fan after a game of sportsball, in addition to them being able to talk about the match itself, and interviewing the players. I would expect a political journalist to go and talk to citizens as well as politicians, and so on.

Whether or not they are "bashing" is going to come down to subjective interpretation - I have seen far too many gamers fly off the handle in a fit of childish pique because a reviewer gave their game a 9.6 instead of a 10 to think that all gamers uniformly deserve immunity for their comment or otherwise don't deserve the occasional ribbing from games journos. I don't know what you're referring to in this video - I flicked through it but I don't have the attention span - so maybe I would agree with you.

But I note this is (IIRC) your second comment in a week or so having a go at journalists for having an opinion about their audience, so there's obviously something deeper going on here, but I still don't know what it is or what you want. And I'm genuinely interested because I (and I'm sure the editors of this site) would like to know what gamers actually want to see from games journalists.

Maybe next time if you want to register a complaint about games journalists you could be more specific and reference exactly what it is that you disagree with so we have some context for a discussion - if you can be more specific about what part of this video you are taking exception with (e.g., what time the comments are made, I don't expect you to write out a transcript!) I would be interested in taking a look.
09:32am 07/07/20 Permalink
Darkhawk
Melbourne, Victoria
217 posts
Thanks for replying, it's good to see someone actually wanting to talk about the issue and the fact I frequent this site means that it is not directed at you guys.

My issue is with mainstream gaming websites like IGN and Kotaku who seem more interested in protecting developers interests ahead of gamers and this was made evident back in the GG days. TLOU2 may have been a technical success but the story and obvious political agendas had me return the game (yes I saw the leaks) within 24 hours and these so called review bombers were not unjustified in their assessment of the game because it showed massive disrespect to its audience and was further proof that publishers and developers care more about pleasing the media than they do their patrons and has resulted in a disconnect.

I'm not saying that all of these review bombers were legit and illegitimate scores do more harm than good because it undermines the message we're trying to send but to see Naughty Dog gag reviewers based on the likely backlash (it seems the reaction to the leaks made them realise they had made a huge mistake) and the media going along with it exposed where their loyalties lie. I would much rather have seen you guys break the embargo in your review to help us make a more informed decision about buying the game then go along with it out of fear of reprisal from the publisher and the rest of the gaming media.

That said I do understand that to do so would involve a lot of risk because balancing the respect of your peers and your readers must be ball breaking and you do have the respect of the industry and readers like me. I know what Hex is like with her view on the world, I used to watch Good Game from the very beginning and I did see the sort of s*** she had to deal with from the fan base (even her whiteknight supporters!) so my comment was more banter than serious, she's still a good pick up for the show :)

tl;dr Neil Druckmann owes gamers an apology
08:02pm 07/07/20 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Other International
40021 posts
Thanks for replying, it's good to see someone actually wanting to talk about the issue and the fact I frequent this site means that it is not directed at you guys.
To be clear, I am not currently involved in the running of AG or anything to do with editorial direction (other than occasionally making loud-mouthed comments on the forums like everyone else does). Just want to highlight my next comments in no way reflect any official position of AusGamers or the team.
My issue is with mainstream gaming websites like IGN and Kotaku who seem more interested in protecting developers interests ahead of gamers and this was made evident back in the GG days.
Straight up we're going to disagree on this, I suspect. I managed to ignore almost all of GamerGate so don't have any sense of nuance other than "it's about ethics in games journalism". And I can say from personal experience, having worked slighlty in that space myself but also very closely with many professionals, that anyone saying that has probably never actually spoken in person to a games journalist to find out what their job involves, or has the faintest idea how much work they put in. I will say if you don't like games journalism the biggest and most devastating thing you can do to have an impact on it is to stop visiting their sites.

Unfortunately, sorry I still don't know what you're talking about though - I haven't followed anything to do with The Last of Us 2 and you haven't included enough information to really make me understand what it is exactly you're talking exception to, other than it has "obvious political agendas" - which is something which I find simply staggeringly hard to believe (it seems infinitely more likely to me that the usual toxic part of the video gaming world had a massive overreaction to some artistic choice or subjective interpretation and is using that to troll because to them, that's more fun than actually playing a video game).
to see Naughty Dog gag reviewers based on the likely backlash
I had a quick Google and all I can see is a mention that they had a temporary embargo on certain story elements required for writers of the first reviews. As a reader I find this totally and utterly reasonable: I would hate to have the story of anything ruined because I read the wrong thing on the Internet. (I deliberately avoid reading anything about movies or TV shows I am particularly interested in for this reason.) Maybe there is more to it that I missed in my quick search?
I would much rather have seen you guys break the embargo in your review to help us make a more informed decision about buying the game then go along with it out of fear of reprisal from the publisher and the rest of the gaming media.
How would "breaking the embargo" have helped?! If you are worried about "obvious political agendas" ruining your games then why would you rush out and buy it before reading the reviews? What it seems like you are saying here is you want to have some editor (that you know in advance you might be politically aligned with) going over the game with a fine comb to make sure there's nothing you're going to find offensive to your worldview in it?

I have little confidence in gamers making an "informed decision" when it comes to their purchasing. I have been publicly pessimistic about this for DECADES, even when I was writing articles on this site and others. Gamers claim they want reviews and critical analysis to help them make informed decisions, but the reality is their purchasing decisions are driven more by a narrative in their own heads and myriad other factors. I think gamers have made their minds up about what games they want to buy long before the reviews come out. Reviews seem to provide a convenient ESCAPE GOAT to justify poor impulse control when it turns out the game is bad ("why didn't you tell me about XYZ before I bought it!"). Especially in the modern era where providing demos and videos showcasing what the game is about is just so easy, it seems totally weird to me to be relying on pre-launch-day reviews. (I don't know why people buy launch day single player games anyway, but that's another story.)

As you note though, breaking the embargo does carry a lot of risk. It is frowned upon by the industry massively because breaking an embargo generally disadvantages everyone - it is totally an honour system thing and it helps keep the playing field even when otherwise it would be only the big publications that win (which they mostly do anyway, but at least this helps balance the scales. (Random unrelated anecdote: remember the old days when people used to have to line up to download Counter-Strike patches? Several times the distribution plan was ruined because one site broke embargo on the release time for the patch because they wanted to get all the clicks first. This screwed it up for all the other major distributors, like us, who might still have been in the process of downloading the patches to distribute, which then completely screwed it up for the majority of gamers, who now had to wait even longer to download the patch because the local mirrors didn't have a copy.)

Breaking an embargo might be necessary in some cases. I can think of examples in real news; it's a bit harder with video gaming news. But not liking the story of a (single player!) game doesn't seem like a strong enough reason to me to break an embargo, when the alternative is gamers can just wait a day or two for the embargo to be over.

I give you props for putting your money where your mouth is and not buying a game based on reviews, although again I note it seems weird to reject what is by all reports an exceptionally large, detailed piece of art because it contains a couple of political elements you don't like (I write this having literally ZERO IDEA what they are; I barely even know what the game is about, I think some sort of zombie survival horror?). Sounds like the sales of the game haven't suffered at all, which is, of course, the real metric of success.

(I had a glance at Metacritic and thought this review, currently on the front page for Last of Us 2, was pretty funny, and makes me wonder as to the quality of the meta-score from gamers.)
tl;dr Neil Druckmann owes gamers an apology
Again I had to websearch to find out who this is and get some context; all I can find is one poilte tweet taking exception to people making jokes about another journo who compared the game to Schindler's List, so again, maybe I am missing something - but without you providing context or details it's hard to tell.

But. Nah. He owes them nothing. He makes a game and the market can decide if it's a good one buy buying it, and critics can decide how "art" it is by critiquing it. If gamers are upset about the game, they need to do what you did: not buy it in the first place. Or maybe take it back for a refund, if that is possible. Otherwise he has the exact same rights to say whatever he wants as all the people sad about him making a game that didn't meet their expectations.

(Reminder that this is my personal opinion; I have no idea what the AusGamers team thinks about this stuff)

edit: I hope I don't sound dismissive of your opinion or thoughts; I appreciate you taking the time to respond (and commenting in general). I am genuinely interested in the broader topic of "what can be done to make sites more relevant to audiences" even if I am not particularly interested in the specific details of Last of Us 2, and I think it's relevant to this new show from Red Bull as well (though I am unlikely to watch it myself). I have been talking to the AusGamers team about a podcast recently and it's this kind of feedback that I think would be helpful in having them shape it in a way to appeal to the most users and alienate the least.
10:12am 08/07/20 Permalink
infi
Brisbane, Queensland
24695 posts
When I see the massive divergence of user ratings from those of experts at a site such as metacritic, it makes one wonder what is motivating the experts to give such ratings.....
12:02pm 08/07/20 Permalink
fpot
Gold Coast, Queensland
27114 posts
Any game in particular? Often when I see a huge disparity it's because of a single issue. I ignored NBA2K games for ages until I actually looked and saw the terrible user ratings were because of the microtransactions which can be totally ignored if you just want to play the CPU.
01:32pm 08/07/20 Permalink
ravn0s
Brisbane, Queensland
19225 posts
(it seems infinitely more likely to me that the usual toxic part of the video gaming world had a massive overreaction to some artistic choice or subjective interpretation and is using that to troll because to them, that's more fun than actually playing a video game)


You hit the nail on the head.

Also, they're doing more than trolling. They're abusing the hell out of anyone involved in making the game, even sending death threats to their children.
02:56pm 08/07/20 Permalink
Darkhawk
Melbourne, Victoria
218 posts
Mate I could not be happier with your response because it's good to know there are people in the industry who want to listen to their readers. Disagreements will always happen but as long as respect is shown between each other things will head in the right direction for everyone.

I bought TLOU2 day 1 because it is a narrative focused game and I was still wanting to play it without too many spoilers beyond the leaks, other than that I do agree with you that buying games shortly after release is a poor idea because so many are broken and need patches and is one of my pet hates about the industry. That said I have preordered Cyberpunk 2077 out of sheer excitement and CDPR do have a good record of being consumer-first. I will get TLOU2 again when it is in a bargain bin on the PS5 because despite the issues I have with the direction of the story and characters it is a wonderfully crafted game.

Again thanks for your reply, I really do appreciate you taking the time to explain to everyone what it means to be a gaming journalist and I will encourage others to read it as well :)

BTW I have heard that people aren't happy with Metacritic and suggest going with Opencritic if they want a more accurate representation of a game's quality from reviews, just thought you may be interested in that :)
05:13pm 08/07/20 Permalink
infi
Brisbane, Queensland
24696 posts
Any game in particular? Often when I see a huge disparity it's because of a single issue. I ignored NBA2K games for ages until I actually looked and saw the terrible user ratings were because of the microtransactions which can be totally ignored if you just want to play the CPU.


Not so much with games recently as I have not used metacritic to research a game, but I use it often to vet TV shows and there is always a huge divergence. Maybe it is the trolling aspect of any review platform. They only register to complain.

I will be more interested to find a listing where the user scores rate higher than the critics.
06:33pm 08/07/20 Permalink
fpot
Gold Coast, Queensland
27115 posts
Just did a search on that and it mainly seems to be games with a niche audience. A Spongebob game is currently top of the 90 day list. I've always found that any major release that shows parity between critic and user score is a quality game with Witcher 3 being a good example.
06:49pm 08/07/20 Permalink
bLaZe
New South Wales
138 posts
gamers: "we hate mtx", then proceeds to spend $5b on mtx.
09:36pm 08/07/20 Permalink
Darkhawk
Melbourne, Victoria
219 posts
Spongebob coming out as gay just before Pride Month? Now it all makes sense :)
10:42pm 08/07/20 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Other International
40022 posts
When I see the massive divergence of user ratings from those of experts at a site such as metacritic, it makes one wonder what is motivating the experts to give such ratings.....
I just remember Boaty McBoatface and remind myself of the limits of usefulness of online polls (not to mention your recent comments about downvote brigades!).

There are two obvious hypotheses to explain the divergence

1) that professional game reviewers are better able to come up with a score that is more representative of what the majority of "typical gamers" will think about a game, and that those giving low scores are rating based on a particular feature/bug/element that they hate. If you have ever taken the time to read some Amazon reviews you will have seen this behaviour a million times - people that give one star ratings because the product arrived and it was broken because it was dropped by the delivery guy, or it was left in the rain by the post office, or something.

(INTERESTINGLY I notice that the obvious bizarre negative review that was actually just a pro-China plant I saw yesterday has since been silently removed (it looks like all posts by that user have been deleted, not sure how many there were), which raises the question of how many other user reviews they remove and under what circumstances. Also there are like 40,000 more user reviews today than there were yesterday. )

or

2) there is a conspiracy amongst every games journalist and site on the planet to take big bucks in return for giving a positive score, so they all operate in unison. I can think of maybe one or two cases where a journalist behaved badly, like not disclosing a junket or something. I don't think I've ever heard of any cases of outright bad behaviour like taking money. Not to say it hasn't ever happened but I think the evidence for it being a global, systemic problem is ... thin, to say the least.

gamers: "we hate mtx", then proceeds to spend $5b on mtx.
I don't know what mtx (s*** I'm SO BAD at gaming, why am I even allowed to have an opinion), but the spirit of this is spot on. "Microtransactions are bad! EA, shut up and take my money!" The "vocal minority" making all this noise have almost zero impact because often they can't help themselves and end up buying the game anyway!
04:47pm 09/07/20 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Other International
40023 posts
Mate I could not be happier with your response because it's good to know there are people in the industry who want to listen to their readers. Disagreements will always happen but as long as respect is shown between each other things will head in the right direction for everyone.
are you sure you're a gamer? agree 1000%
BTW I have heard that people aren't happy with Metacritic and suggest going with Opencritic if they want a more accurate representation of a game's quality from reviews, just thought you may be interested in that :)
ta, I had a quick look and it looks interesting (bit surprised to see some AusGamers reviews there actually!); I'll try to find time to have a more comprehensive comparison between the two sites.

Back in the day I wanted to put a "metareview" thing on AusGamers - not so users could add their own reviews, but so they could say whether or not they agreed with the AG review - e.g. a simple bar thing where you can just say if you think it's "way too high", "way too low", "about right", kind of thing. I feel like that would be a useful tool for individual sites, to easily gauge what their own community thinks.
04:49pm 09/07/20 Permalink
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04:49pm 09/07/20 Permalink
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