The PC Gamer editorial team were invited to Reddit’s PC gaming subreddit for what was supposed to be a friendly AMA. Instead they were absolutely grilled by Redditors over ethics concerns, over-politicization, and annoying mobile ads. And at some point they got to answer a few questions about video games.
The top rated question was kind of Gamergate-y, documenting times PC Gamer might have docked review scores or wrote negatively about games for political reasons and other ethical breaches.
“As with many mainstream gaming journalism sites, PC Gamer has been claimed to have taken a nosedive in quality in recent years, the Redditor wrote. “For example, PC Gamer actively censored comments that disagreed with the personal politics of staff (1), suggested that MGSV supported “ingrained cultural misogyny” (2), gave a questionable score to Hotline Miami 2 while criticizing its fake rape scene (3).”
But they weren’t out of the frying pan yet.
“Can you guys please address the issue with ads ruining your site on mobile devices, the entire page gets covered and it’s almost unusable,” asked another.
“I hear you,” they responded. “We read our site more than anyone, so we’re definitely aware of what is and isn’t affecting the reading experience.”
The next questions were even more cutting.
“Long time PC gamer here (30+ years) … why do you and the rest of the gaming journalism community feel the need to cram your politics down the throats of gamers?”
“Games are a creative medium, and creative work often has political aspects,” PC Gamer responded. “Would you ask a book reviewer to ignore the political aspect of Dickens or Bradbury because people should just enjoy it for what it is?”
“Why was the review for shadow warrior 2 shit?” another Redditor asked. “Your reviewers time and time again keep letting their personal beliefs hurt the score of the game they are reviewing.”
We’ve given plenty of high scores to games that are ‘offensive’ and it’s not really a matter of personal beliefs getting in the way,” they replied. “Shadow Warrior 2 is a decent game but gets a bit thin, and the humor is … well, it’s not very funny.”
Finally at the about the 8th question down, the conversation finally got to a fun question about video games.
The PC Gamer folks were pretty good sports about the onslaught of negativity, and took time to thoughtfully answer each accusation and even some general insults not phrased as questions. But it’s clear there is a pocket of resentment towards them from gamers. Just imagine if a truly controversial site like Kotaku or Polygon did an AMA?
“Hahahaha pcgamer reaping the massive disconnect with their ‘audience'” another Redditor asked.
“It’s fine; it’s not like we didn’t expect people who have strong views about folks who write about video games to appear and want to be heard,” the editor-in-chief responded. “They’re entitled to their thoughts and I’m really happy with how we’ve engaged with that rhetoric and how the AMA’s gone. Also, that ‘audience’ is 10 million people.”