Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure

News.com.au tells the tale of Toby McCasker, a former deputy entertainment editor for the magazine ZOO Weekly, who claims he was fired for blowing the whistle on efforts by Rockstar Games to influence coverage of Red Dead Redemption. McCasker posted excerpts on Facebook of an email allegedly from Rockstar saying: "This is the biggest game we've done since GTA IV, and is already receiving Game of the Year 2010 nominations from specialists all around the world," going on to say: "Can you please ensure Toby's article reflects this — he needs to respect the huge achievement he's writing about here." The Facebook posting is now removed, and McCasker is no longer with ZOO Weekly. "I did not sign up to become a journalist to write advertorials masquerading as editorial," he says. "This 'cash for comment' culture that is fast becoming the status quo within print media bothers me a lot."

Kotaku has a response from ZOO editor Paul Merrill saying: "I would like to make it clear that at no time has Rockstar EVER sought a preferential review in return for advertising. In fact no games company has ever suggested this. And Zoo would never give a positive review to a game we didn't rate in return for ad dollars. Toby McCasker was sacked for a number of reasons, one of which was his decision to post a private email on his Facebook page. This email was not referring to a game review. He should not be considered a credible source of information on this matter." News.com.au also has a comment from Rockstar Games Australia: "We are not clear on what the story is here. We always try to present our games in the most compelling way to media and fans alike and of course we, like every other video game publisher in Australia or anywhere else for that matter, want to have our games seen in a positive light." The article also says: "It is understood McCasker had earlier received two official warnings about his behaviour."
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66 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 1.
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 10:34
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 10:34
Apr 7, 2010, 10:34
 
ground floor:
game journalism.

it's like 1960s las vegas. everybody knows what's going on.
Avatar 49584
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 10:36
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 10:36
Apr 7, 2010, 10:36
 
I bet all three parties in this are selfish shits.
Avatar 54622
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 10:41
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 10:41
Apr 7, 2010, 10:41
 
Yes, let's discredit a very explicitly detailed email by attacking the credibility of the one who posted it. I would say this culture is far worse than the one McCasker is worried about.
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 10:46
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 10:46
Apr 7, 2010, 10:46
 
Games journalism is no different from any other sphere of journalism: There are some who are afforded the luxury of independence of thought and might write good stuff as a consequence, but the vast majority of games journos are freelance copywriters regurgitating press releases under pretence. Kudos to the ZOO guy for realising he was one of the latter and who stood up to the PR assault for as long as he could. I hope he finds a more worthy ladder to climb.
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 11:06
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 11:06
Apr 7, 2010, 11:06
 
As if we needed yet another example to remind us that reviews in the gaming media are not to be trusted. Hope this guy does well elsewhere. A big FU to ZOO and Rockstar too.
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 11:09
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 11:09
Apr 7, 2010, 11:09
 
Survival of the fittest holds true for any part of life. Blackmail, extortion, bribes; it's all in good fun and game reviews.
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 11:46
Rigs
 
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 11:46
Apr 7, 2010, 11:46
 Rigs
 
Hmm, so the 'status quo' is underhanded dealing and bribes to get the best review and peachy testimonials on the box? I say Nay. You guys are too quick to green light 'conspiracy' when there just may be something else going on. While it's always rough to see yet another 'whistleblower' thrown to the dogs, it is interesting to see that the consumers reaction (ie. the ones reading the reviews) is to place said reviewer in a positive light. Why? Because he posted a supposed email from a company that you all love to hate (until it's time for the next GTA release, that is)...Someone posted that it's like Vegas in the 60's - everyone knows. Indeed, but that doesn't mean what you see, no matter how much you may agree with it, is real...grains of salt, my friends...


=-Rigs-=
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 11:51
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 11:51
Apr 7, 2010, 11:51
 
Who the f is ZOO Weekly? And why should we care? Everyone knows this is how advertising/media companies work. They always have and always will.
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 12:10
Rigs
 
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 12:10
Apr 7, 2010, 12:10
 Rigs
 
They always have and always will.

Proof please...and don't give me any Gamespot crap either...

Edit: I'm not saying it doesn't happen. I'm sure it does. But I seriously doubt that it's as wide spread as some of you say...


=-Rigs-=
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 12:13
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 12:13
Apr 7, 2010, 12:13
 
I believe McCasker. And I don't blame all of Rockstar for the sins of their marketing/PR department... the devs do their job and try to make a great game, but it may not always come out that way. The PR jockies drop these little hints and do back-door dealings with magazines or websites to boost their reviews in exchange for kickbacks. It's not the first time I've heard of review 'scores' getting pumped because a developer's paper-pushers decided to grease someone's palm. "Advertorial" versus "editorial" about sums it up.
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 12:13
Sty
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 12:13
Apr 7, 2010, 12:13
Sty
 
Nothing new or surprising here.
You know selling dlc before you patch the client doesn't impress upon me the need to support your shit. -massdev
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 12:21
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 12:21
Apr 7, 2010, 12:21
 
It's a weekly lads mag. Smutty jokes, lots of breats. It's pretty low brow stuff but then again that isn't a bad thing. I actually read Nuts as it's pretty similar. It's a good 30-45 minute read really.
<+pihlopase> Jesus Saves
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 12:24
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 12:24
Apr 7, 2010, 12:24
 
Lincolns Mullet wrote on Apr 7, 2010, 10:41:
Yes, let's discredit a very explicitly detailed email by attacking the credibility of the one who posted it. I would say this culture is far worse than the one McCasker is worried about.

That's exactly what I thought when I read it.

Very political...if you can't argue with the information, discredit the source.
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 12:34
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 12:34
Apr 7, 2010, 12:34
 
Use Metacritic. I rarely bother going to a particular game review website unless it's a video review. And on those I'm more interested in seeing actual clips of gameplay. I could watch them on mute and never see a score and make my decision. I doubt I'm the normal game purchaser though...
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 12:47
15.
Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 12:47
Apr 7, 2010, 12:47
 
He isn't credible, eh? Hahaha, these guys must think we are all brain-dead morons. This type of stuff is indeed the status quo. Look no further than your own government.
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 12:50
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 12:50
Apr 7, 2010, 12:50
 
Wow, really? Just how petty and selfish do you need to be to pressure Zoo Weekly?

I was actually very interested in this game (excluding concerns about its long development,) but it's an instant no-buy now.
Greed...GREED...GRRREEEEEEDDDDDD... So sad that's all life is to many.
Hoping that division fails,
Ray
Everything is awesome!!!
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 13:01
17.
Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 13:01
Apr 7, 2010, 13:01
 
Paul Merrill saying: "I would like to make it clear that at no time has Rockstar EVER sought a preferential review in return for advertising. In fact no games company has ever suggested this. And Zoo would never give a positive review to a game we didn't rate in return for ad dollars."

1. Of course he's going to say this. What else is he going to say? The editorial independence of his mag is at stake.

2. For him to say, "In fact no games company has ever suggested this," is a straw man argument since Toby didn't say they said this. He doesn't have to say it directly: it's all implied by the publisher.

3. "In fact no games company has ever suggested this," is also a total lie. This it happens all the time and has been for decades. If a mag gives a bad review, companies sometimes pull the advertising. Jeff Green talked about this on the CGW/GFW podcast on several occasions, and pined for the days when GFW could run Ford and Coke ads instead of EA and Ubisoft ads.

Sorry, I'm inclined to go with the journalist on this one.
To prevent CV-19, avoid the Serious Seven: weddings, funerals, faith-based activities, bars, gyms, house gatherings and other small events.
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 13:07
18.
Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 13:07
Apr 7, 2010, 13:07
 
Paul Merrill saying: "......In fact no games company has ever suggested this..........
That's proof at least merrill is lying.
The worst criminal in human history, undeniably. There has never been a figure in political history, so dedicated to destroying the prospects of organized human life on the planet, in the near future.

Beating and Gassing Americans for Jesus!
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Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 13:13
19.
Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 13:13
Apr 7, 2010, 13:13
 
wait - are they saying that people will lie to serve their own self-interest?

thats completely shocking and totally new information!!
20.
 
Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure
Apr 7, 2010, 13:14
20.
Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 7, 2010, 13:14
Apr 7, 2010, 13:14
 
Ray Marden wrote on Apr 7, 2010, 12:50:
Wow, really? Just how petty and selfish do you need to be to pressure Zoo Weekly?

I was actually very interested in this game (excluding concerns about its long development,) but it's an instant no-buy now.
Greed...GREED...GRRREEEEEEDDDDDD... So sad that's all life is to many.
Hoping that division fails,
Ray

Yeah, I'm not buying it either. Oh wait, I can't buy it since its not coming out for PC.
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