By: Zachary Winslett
Traditional trains of thought are often deserving of respect, but they are not immune to scrutiny.
Journalism has recently been faced with abandoning traditional thought, as the advent of news sources on the Internet has challenged print-based media. Troy University’s recent renaming of its print journalism program to multimedia journalism demonstrates the shift in priorities.
Despite the previous traditional trains of thought regarding journalism being mostly rewired, there still remains a facet of journalistic coverage that has yet to demand respect and consideration from many (especially in print publications) — video game journalism.
Oftentimes viewed as wastes of space or disreputable blights, stories based on video games are frequently perceived as too specific for mass appeal or in endangerment of creating disinterested or uninterested readers.
These perceptions are based in traditional thought, which dictates that mass appeal and attaining legitimacy through “hard” news is crucial to the news industry. The Internet offers users instant gratifications and niche content, and print media could benefit from that sort of diversified content.
However, not everyone is adhering strictly to tradition.
Since July 2012, Kotaku.com has been in partnership with “The New York Times,” and video game reviews frequently appear in the arts section of the newspaper.
This alliance of sorts signified a fusion between a standard in print media and a niche site for gaming, and it was a monumental step for serious gaming journalism.
Reviews are not the only thing that video game journalism offers to serious media outlets.
Cultural commentary and critiques are both exciting and unexpected avenues of video game journalism, which can only be achieved by the realization that video games are comparable to books or movies, i.e., they can be simple as “action porn,” or they can be complex devices for figurative concepts.
On Jan. 29, 2013 “The New York Times” published a review of “DmC: Devil May Cry” that was more than a review.
Writer, and editor-in-chief of Kotaku.com, Stephen Totilo focused rarely on reviewing the actual gameplay, and, instead, he examined the relevance of the game’s villains and setting in today’s society.
This type of article is imperative for the advancement of video game journalism.
Outside of the present situation in video game journalism, there exists numerous opportunities in the future.
Seemingly, the most influential resides in the realm of e-sports.
Riot Games— the developers of the wildly popular “League of Legends”— reported that the League of Legends Season 2 Championship reached 1.1 million concurrent viewers and 8.2 million total unique viewers.
Those are astounding numbers.
Outside of championships, Twitch.tv constantly offers amateur and professional streamers a chance to share their content with millions of people at any given time.
In South Korea there are two channels dedicated solely to competitive gaming, and the scene seems to be constantly growing in the United States.
The proliferation of e-sports may create unheard of before jobs in video game journalism.
Journalism revolving around e-sports has not fully developed, and several amateurs cover events regularly; however, there is an untapped potential surrounding the organized and systematic coverage of e-sports.
The coverage of e-sports could create jobs in reporting and broadcasting and require journalists too broaden their knowledge on video gaming.
The traditional realm of thought regarding journalism and video games is being rightfully challenged, and the legitimacy of video game journalism is becoming less and less in question.
With that being said, it is important for these revelations and innovations to maintain the standards of tradition. Quality and excellence must persevere in video game journalism, and professionalism is paramount in solidifying its role as a legitimate form of media outside of niche outlets (this remains true for all niche Internet outlets seeking validation and respect).
As the rebellious days of video game journalism are coming to close, readers and publishers will begin to see it as a medium fit for more than children or “nerds,” but, while professionalism and an adherence to style must be maintained, its uniqueness will endure.