Today I’m going to be posting a short cynical look at click baiting at the beginning of next gen. I do this because I’m tired.
The transition between generations of consoles is always a major event, and even though Nintendo already has its next gen system on the market, it is Sony and Microsoft’s machines that everyone is watching now. As such, a disproportionate amount of time and energy has been spent on almost every possible little detail. At first, this constant barrage of information is critical as gamers try to find out exactly what’s going on with each major company. However, the information eventually dries up, which leaves a lot of hype and nothing to say. For example, information was critical about Microsoft’s oppressive DRM regime, and it was equally important to find out that they reversed all of their policies. It is also important to know what exclusives are available on each system, and what the launch lineups are going to be. That time is over. We know almost all of the information, and what we don’t know isn’t going to be coming to light before the launch (such as Gaikai).
|I read many sites daily, and I can say that IGN is the biggest offender by a significant margin. It doesn’t make it a bad site, but there are some issues.
So what we have been getting since Gamescome (Sorry TGS, but you weren’t even worth covering this year) has been a fairly constant stream of editorials, speculation, and outright hype-mongering. For example, how many articles need to be posted about the relative power between the PS4 and the Xbox One? We know the specs of both systems, a fact that could be conveyed by a single article after E3. Despite this, I’ve been reading about what Microsoft employees think about the Xbox’s power (unsurprisingly good) and what Sony developer think about the PS4’s power (equally predictable). Even in supposedly neutral opinions, there is no content here. We aren’t playing two games side-by-side to see who is at the top. No, all we’re getting is a continuation of a conversation nobody is going to win, which exists for the sole purpose of fanning the console war.
|This is pretty much it. If you don’t understand tech gibberish, know that bigger numbers means better.
And I’m sick of review sites pushing the console wars. All it does it further create some imaginary divide as if your ownership of a piece of technology actively creates an unbreakable allegiance. As I said, information is one thing, but a constant feed of “____ says ____ is marginally better than ____” is beyond useless and it’s starting to get tiring. We’ve reached that magical period between the announcement of new consoles and their release where not a single piece of information is really going to change anything. For the most part, everything is on the table. It has to be because both systems are in production as we speak. If you found out tomorrow that Peter Molyneux supports Sony instead of Microsoft would that actually change anything? What if, as tends to happen in these cases, what he said was a minor comment in a much larger interview and that opinion had no content whatsoever? In both cases, the answer should be “no I don’t care,” but the second one is more annoying because that’s what we’re being fed constantly. We’re all being told that Peter Molyneux and people like him have opinions that matter and aren’t entirely biased. Why are we told this? Because if you think their opinion matters then that’s another article to click on. Also for the record, Peter Molyneux is less important to the game industry than the Virtual Boy, not that you’d know that with how much he promotes himself.
|He’s trying his best to put his ego in the most flamboyantly grandiose terms.
I hate sounding like a conspiracy nut, accusing professional review sites of click-baiting, but I’m seeing it on a more frequent basis, and it’s starting to grate. It’s not their fault. Everyone wants to talk next gen, and, without new content, they have to invent content that sounds like it matters even when it doesn’t or risk losing a readership. It’ll all go back to normal when more news starts coming out, but right now, there aren’t many sites who are avoiding the practice. This is why I’m saying that it’s time to hunker down. Next gen is coming, and there’s going to be a lot more drama stirred up on every side. However, almost none of it will actually make any impact. I’m not saying to boycott or to stop reading your favourite site, only that the time for relevant next gen articles are pretty much over until launch, and that’s something to keep in mind as various sites attempt at stirring up skirmishes between fans with alarmist article titles.
– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer