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When I sit down at a computer, my left hand falls automatically into the inverted-V shape known well by all of you; middle three fingers arched across W, A, S and D. Pinky hovering over left-shift, my thumb resting lightly on the space bar. There’s a poetic comfort in this for me. I do it without thinking. These letters are the ones I always come home to.
If you know the name Jim Redner, there’s a good chance you know him for the single Duke Nukem Forever tweet that caused a brief public relations shitstorm last week. If you don’t, Jim Redner will tell you all about the “brain fart” that caused Duke Nukem Forever’s publisher to drop him like a bad habit.
You know, we get asked the following quite a lot: “hey, you guys should find out about [some game] “. It’s asked like finding a lot of stuff out in this indsutry is easy. Well, it’s not. And you know why it’s not easy? Because of games PR. The slick-haired filter between what we want to know and what game companies get to tell us. While some (some) are proud gamers and are also super-helpful, others are clueless, and some – the worst kind – are lying shitbags. Want to know more? Brandon Sheffield’s written a nice piece over on GameSetWatch, giving you guys a helpful breakdown on how games PR works, what’s wrong with it and what he thinks can be done to fix it.
Opinion: The Game Industry’s PR Problem [GameSetWatch]
Last week, Gamasutra ran an interview with Tom Ohle, vice president of PR & marketing for CD Projekt, creators of The Witcher. They obviously get to talking about games PR, and in particular some of the challenges facing a public relations team when deciding how to market a game. While I don’t agree with many of their points (Ohle’s or that of the interviewer), especially that “major blogs just don’t really cover” the PC that much (we try to give it it’s due whenever & wherever possible), it’s still an interesting read, if only for Ohle’s idea that even a site with just one reader’s worth taking care of, because that’s still one potential customer. Q&A: CD Projekt’s Ohle On The Witcher, PR’s Place In The Blogosphere [Gamasutra]
Sorry, that was a little alarming. You, of course, knew that already. It’s not as if games PR types sit around in ivory towers getting their information from carrier pigeons and whispers on the wind. They find out what you like, don’t like and go “eh” about their games by, yes, trawling through your favourite forum, and reading up on what you – Average Joe – thinks about their games. Same goes for developers as well. Keen to hear more about how it all works? Please, hit the link below for the full 1UP feature, which features chats with, among others, PR reps from 2K & Capcom, as well as NeoGAF owner Tyler Malka. Chairman of the Boards [1UP][Pic]
Gamasutra have posted a fairly fascinating look into the relationship between publishers and the gaming press. It’s a good read regardless, but the highlight has got to be a bunch of quotes from journo Todd Zuniga, who did a stint at Rockstar working in PR. Between Jeff’s blog posts and now this, it doesn’t seem like the nicest place to work. Here’s a highlights package of Zuniga’s experiences: Rockstar was big on trying to get specific people to review specific games,” says Zuniga. “But it’s a fine line – you can’t just come out and ask, because it seems like you’re trying to take away editorial control.” They went so far as to track seemingly pointless personal details of some writers. “Hilariously, we even had a list of journalist preferences: Likes cake, married, went to school at Indiana U. Shit like that,” says Zuniga. “It was a weird f*cking place to work.”