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Feature: 'Podcast Transcript - Game Reviews Roundtable'

In today's Gamasutra feature, Gamasutra Podcast host Tom Kim gathers editors-in-chief from Ziff Davis, GameSpot, and PC Gamer to discuss game review policies, interactions with marketin
In today's Gamasutra feature, Gamasutra Podcast host Tom Kim gathers editors-in-chief from Ziff Davis, GameSpot, and PC Gamer to discuss game review policies, interactions with marketing, and how to improve the media-to-developer relationship, in this Gamasutra Podcast transcript. Joining Kim for the panel on Game Coverage and Reviews, was John Davison, Senior VP and Editorial Director of the 1UP Network, Greg Kasavin, Editor-in-chief of GameSpot, and Greg Vederman, Editor-in-Chief of PC Gamer Magazine. As the show's introduction says: "For this show, we present the first half of an expert roundtable on game reviews and press coverage. Our guests talk specifically about how developers can work more efficiently and harmoniously with the enthusiast press to get the coverage they want. They also share their opinions on the value of game reviews, how the process can be improved, how developers can take a more active role over their own communications, and how they really feel about gamerankings.com." In this excerpt, the panel turns toward the subject of removing scores from game reviews, and upping the critical ante in the review itself: "Vederman: It's struck me, for quite a while, that it's much ado about nothing. I've never once... I mean, we - as, I'm sure, both of you guys - get hundreds, thousands of emails a week, and not one of those people has ever said, "You know, I wish you guys were giving me less information. I wish you'd just drop the scores, because I really don't want the scores, and I really don't want the little highs, lows, and bottom line, like in a nice little tasty morsel at the bottom there, where I can easily digest it. I don't want that. Please remove that." Nobody does that. What it is is, it's pressure from journalists internally. It's like, a lot of us, for some reason, want to move into this Rolling Stone era of games journalism, which is ridiculous. Kasavin: I think that's totally backwards as well. I think people mistake that type of attitude for innovation, but that's not where innovation on game reviews is going to happen. People could always be better writers for sure, but just writing more articulate, more high brow articles - that's just going to limit the audience, not grow it. At the risk of speaking for the three of us, I'm pretty sure we're all in the business of growing our audience. We're not trying to cater to the elite enthusiast. We're helping to get the word out about this stuff to anyone who cares to have a discerning opinion. I think it's more about ease of use, more about breaking things down more clearly to people and finding new ways to do that. I enjoy the craft of writing, but I don't think, for everyone writing about games, for them to become better writers is the solution to having better game reviews. I think it's a little more complicated than that, and it gets down to the question of what is it that people are looking for really from a game review. They want to know what the game is like." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, with much more from the panel on the business of game reviews, the trouble with GameRankings.com, and interfacing with developer and publisher PR (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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