This week the editor-in-chief of the popular gaming news site Kotaku wrote a letter to his readers informing them that the website has been blacklisted by two big name video game publishers. The editor, Stephen Totilo, felt it necessary to bring this information to light as an explanation for why the website’s coverage on certain games has been slow. The two publishers being accused of freezing out Kotaku are Bethesda and Ubisoft, both of which are considered behemoths in the video game industry.
Any dedicated reader of Kotaku could have drawn the conclusion of ostracism based on the late reviews, and lack of previews for games published by the two companies over the last few months. However, it has been strikingly obvious with the rollouts out of blockbuster games Fallout 4 and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate that Kotaku was not invited to the party. In the article A Price of Games Journalism Totilo implies that he believe the blacklisting is due to the negative coverage Kotaku has given these publishers’ games in the past. As well as the history of Kotaku leaking unannounced games that Bethesda and Ubisoft have had in development.
Totilo believes that breaking leaks, and less than favorable coverage is an integral part of gaming journalism. Gaming Journalism is still young and hasn’t cemented its ethics, but Totilo thinks if sites like Kotaku only write in the interest of video game publishers they are no more than a cog in a hype machine. He stands by his writers and their stories, even if it means being blacklisted.