Petition to Remove GameSpot and its Sponsors from Metacritic sign now

We the games community, based on the recent events that have transpired with the game review conglomerate GameSpot.com hereby present the following petition to Metacritic's chief operations officer in charge of content.



On November 29, 2007 GameSpot.com fired its chief editor in charge of game reviews Jeff Gerstmann. Because of a number of issues relating to game reviews, a number of employees left GameSpot completely even while their reviews are still up on that site.



In the process, it became immediately clear that GameSpot's reviews are largely inconsistent as well as possibly fraudulent for certain games across all platforms.



We as gamers can not, and will not tolerate shady business practices in the video games industry as in the end that ruins gaming for everyone who will not tow the line.



We will waste no time to point out that many reviews on GameSpot.com reflect a biased slant which no one can trust, where the game is physically reviewed too high or reviewed too low on purpose.



It is because of this deceptive and shady practice of giving away editorial integrity for the sake of more advertising dollars, that we call out this ugly example of games journalism for what it is. We're calling this out on the carpet today.



The following story should make it absolutely clear to your editors the situation, and what we are prepared to do about it. GameSpot is no longer a website that can be viewed with any kind of credibility, and it needs to be immediately cut off and removed from www.metacritic.com



"ORIGINAL STORY: By now, most have heard that Jeff Gerstmann, Editorial Director at GameSpot, is now the former Editorial Director at GameSpot. The short of it, confirmed through our own sources: Gerstmann was fired for his negative review of Eidos Interactive's Kane & Lynch. But there's more to the story in which Gerstmann -- one of the site's leading editors for over a decade -- was terminated this week.



The GameSpot staff is currently keeping publicly quiet, but CNET, the parent organization of GameSpot, issued a response today. "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," reads CNET's statement.



We're told Eidos had invested a sizable chunk of advertising dollars for Kane & Lynch -- check the before and after shots above of GameSpot's front page for proof -- and then allegedly threatened to pull the ads if the "tone" of Gerstmann's "6.0" review (just under the current Game Rankings average score of 70\%) wasn't changed. Gerstmann did alter the tone of his critique ahead of publication, but it looks as if that wasn't enough for management. When asked about the situation, Eidos declined comment to 1UP. "Eidos is not able to comment on another company's policies and procedures," said a company representative.



But pressure from other advertisers may have contributed to the clash with editorial. Just a few weeks prior, GameSpot came under fire from Sony Computer Entertainment America for scoring Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction a 7.5. In his former position, Gerstmann was responsible for overseeing (and defending) all reviews.



1UP did contact Gerstmann, but he declined comment, likely due to signing a non-disclosure agreement upon his termination, common in situations such as these.



What's interesting is the timing of his termination, though. GameSpot has never been a stranger to review controversy or publisher backlash. Gerstmann himself had a long history of bucking the popular trend with certain review scores over the many years he critiqued games for the site, most recently scoring The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess an 8.8 on Wii.



With no transparency into the situation, no one knows if this is something that had possibly been brewing for a while now, but sources point to a recent change in GameSpot management as the real catalyst. Stephen Colvin, former President and CEO of Dennis Publishing -- the group responsible for publications like Maxim, Blender and Stuff -- became CNET's Executive Vice President at the end of October. One of Colvin's jobs would be to oversee the growth of CNET websites, including GameSpot.



On Valleywag, an alleged GameSpot insider has come forward to deliver an anonymous response to musings on the Internet the last few days. One of his comments supports our belief the recent changes in management could be trickling down to GameSpot editorial:



"I was in the meeting where Josh Larson [Executive Editor replacement for now Electronic Arts employee Greg Kasavin] was trying to explain this firing and the guy had absolutely no response to any of the criticisms we were sending his way. He kept dodging the question, saying that there were "multiple instances of tone" in the reviews that he hadn't been happy about, but that wasn't Jeff's problem since we all vet every review. He also implied that "AAA" titles deserved more attention when they were being reviewed, which sounded to all of us that he was implying that they should get higher scores, especially since those titles are usually more highly advertised on our site."

The editorial in Maxim and Stuff, publications who routinely review games months ahead of their completion and where the line between marketing and editorial is a little less clear, is much different than GameSpot's. That was apparently reflected quickly when Colvin joined CNET. "New management has no idea how to deal with games editorial," said one source not long after Colvin came on board.



Indeed. " http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3164656



Indeed is right, we here the games community will no longer tolerate this. Whether it is Sony, or Activision, or Microsoft buying off reviews and padding scores with their gifts of advertising it doesn't matter anymore. Whether it is Nintendo who is doing it, it doesn't matter anymore.



The only thing that matters is our entire Games Journalism community suffers as a result, and we aren't going to tolerate it anymore!



We will no longer tolerate websites like GameSpot who are being told to score games low or score games high! The second reviews and content is controlled, is the second we all lose.



Never again will we stand by, esteemed editors of Metacritic, while the games industry suffers as a result of slimy business practices.



So we the game playing, and game buying public make the following demands and respectfully ask that you meet those demands.



Number 1: Review the content of Metacritic's present metascores and detailed listings, when it comes to the website Gamespot.com



Number 2: Decide on appropriate action, and take it by removing GameSpot from the metascore system



Number 3: Remove GameSpot from the recommended sites list until it is absolutely crystal clear, their content can be trusted. And tell all your partners to do the same.



And finally but certainly not the least, send these comments on to CNET so they know that we want someone fired.



Number 4: We want the head vice president in charge of GameSpot to step down immediately or fire their directors. Or else, we will tell all advertisers who are still working with them that they need to take their business elsewhere!



Our request is that you comply with all of the following demands we have made, by the date 12/20/2007 or just after. You have one month to do this.



We want GameSpot entirely removed and gone from Metacritic, we the games community. Gaming journalism belongs to the gamers, not to the publishers!



If the demands are not met in accordance with this written petition, we will tell every single person across the net and further to boycott GameSpot and its sponsors until such time that the site may close down.



We will further send a message to GameSpot's owners, by delivering this to every single gamer we can and having them cancel all services or subscriptions associatied with GameSpot and GameSpot's sponsors.



We will do so until the sponsors give up, or GameSpot shuts down. The integrity of our video game industry is at stake.



Please do the right thing, remove GameSpot.com from Metacritic after careful analysis and tell everyone to do so & deal with this situation immediately.



From the Game buying, Game playing public,

Thank you and that will be all.

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Latest Signatures

  • 27 February 20161000. Tom Z
    sell outs
  • 27 February 2016999. Mark F
    I support this petition
  • 24 February 2016998. Otacon Hodge
    I support this petition
  • 23 February 2016997. Vaggelis M
    I support this petition
  • 22 February 2016996. Alex P
    I support this petition
  • 21 February 2016995. C S
    I support this petition
  • 16 February 2016994. Sean M
    I dont think gamespot needs to be shut down, but I do believe their opinions to be biased to a sickening level.
  • 16 February 2016993. Tim B
    I support this petition
  • 15 February 2016992. Darren Harrison
    Pwnted
  • 07 February 2016991. John Abbott
    take em down
  • 06 February 2016990. Alex T
    I support this petition
  • 05 February 2016989. Uzef Dixon
    Gamespot FTL!
  • 03 February 2016988. Ed D
    Gamespot is dead to me.
  • 27 January 2016987. Ramon Delag
    This needs to be done, otherwise it hurts the entire gaming industry
  • 25 January 2016986. Jason M
    Gamespot Phails. We need moar desu.
  • 19 January 2016985. Gabriel Z
    I support this petition
  • 18 January 2016984. Alex Howell
    I support this petition
  • 16 January 2016983. Artras Schwartz
    I support this petition
  • 06 January 2016982. Douglas G
    Gamespot are a disgrace; lets have nothing to do with them any more!
  • 06 January 2016981. Leonel T
    I support this petition
  • 05 January 2016980. Shadowferret Lutz
    This is the most disappointing news in gaming for a long time.
  • 02 January 2016979. Danoel Vincent
    I support this petition
  • 01 January 2016978. David F
    FOR THE GAMING INDRUSTRY
  • 31 December 2015977. Heinrich L
    I support this petition
  • 31 December 2015976. Vernoux Gaines
    I support this petition
  • 29 December 2015975. Michael F
    I support this petition
  • 25 December 2015974. Joseph P
    I support this petition

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