This Just In ... This Week in Non-News

Meeting deadlines and keeping homepages fresh is a daunting challenge for any writer.  Because of that, from time to time, gaming sites post what I like to call non-news news.  These are the articles that sound like a good idea on the surface, but in the end manage not to say much at all.  This Just In is my attempt to point out some of these articles.

I’m not really trying to pick fights with other sites, I just think it’s kinda funny.

IGN: Dragon’s Dogma Demo Dated

http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/122/1223067p1.html

In general I’m not a huge fan of gaming sites keeping OCD-like track of release dates.  It’s fine to put them all in a chart and make that available to your readership but it’s my opinion that announcing release dates as news articles is generally a waste of homepage space. You may agree, disagree, believe that exceptions should be made for big games, etc …  I respect that this is probably just my own hang-up.

But let’s be blunt for a moment - a console demo is an advertisement.  It’s something people put out to hype up a future game.  Something we definitely don’t need is an announcement giving us the arrival date for an advertisement.  If gaming sites ever want to know why we think they “parrot press releases,” they can refer to articles like this.  The PR agent wants eyes on their advertisement, the gaming sites oblige - and that can sometimes seem a bit too close to collusion for comfort.

Especially with an article on the same page pointing out that demos are marketing and can sometimes be misleading to consumers. (http://games.ign.com/articles/122/1223057p1.html)

IGN: The Conference Rooms of IGN

http://games.ign.com/articles/122/1223035p1.html

It’s a photo gallery of the conference rooms at IGN.

I’m not going to lie, some of those conference rooms look pretty cool - but come on.  That’s pretty weak.

IGN: F-Zero Might Find Home on Wii U

http://wii.ign.com/articles/122/1222874p1.html

… then again it might not.  In an interview with Edge - when asked specifically about F-Zero, Shigeru Miyamoto said

“I think at the time it was a really big surprise, a new thing, a product that made sense, … I don't see with current hardware how you could create a similar surprise. But maybe with future hardware, with Wii U coming up, maybe we could create something that does make sense, either as a smaller game, or a fully fledged title.”

Now, maybe I need to point out that Shigeru Miyamoto is famous for thinking aloud - he talks about possibilities and options, not necessarily anything anybody’s planning to make.  Super Mario 128 was never a game, and Pikmin 3 has apparently been in development for 4 years now.  He’s a luminary, a genius, and a legend in game development - but he’s an unreliable source for upcoming product announcements.

Couple that with the fact that he didn’t actually say anything was in development, just that he guesses it might work out okay on a new platform, and you’ve got a whopper of a non-story.

Kotaku: Watch This, Play This Begins Now

http://kotaku.com/5902289/watch-this-play-this-begins-now

Here’s the article in its entirety. “Stuff to play, stuff to see, here comes Watch This, Play This. Confused? Read this.”  The article it links to mentions “Watch This, Play This” for one whole sentence about halfway through the article.  Why not just pull in that sentence and save the reader the hassle?

Or, better yet, since the next article was the first “Watch This, Play This,” why not just explain it in the first paragraph of the article?  (Instead of, as it turns out, not putting any text in there at all.)

Kotaku: Stops Creeps From Looking Down Your Shirt Forever

http://kotaku.com/5902248/stop-creeps-from-looking-down-your-shirt-forever

I don’t want to dwell on this, but you can’t put up a “lol look how silly Japan is” article about a product that’s been advertised on late night US TV for years - the Cami Secret https://www.google.com/search?q=cami+secret. This isn’t a strange thing coming from those crazy Japanese.  I could go out to CVS right now - in New Jersey - and pick one up.

GamesIndustry.biz: PlayStation Network’s free service could be stripped down, says Pachter

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-04-13-playstation-networks-free-service-could-be-stripped-down-says-pachtering-staff-and-user-behavior

Okay, so here’s this article’s premise.  Get a bunch of “market analysts” into a room and have them guess (seriously, just straight up guess) how they think Kaz Hirai will change the way Sony works and account for their massive shortfall.

They don’t have any rumors or information to back any of this up - they’re just guessing.

But what’s really infuriating is that this is something Sony already did by introducing PlayStation Plus.  (http://us.playstation.com/psn/playstation-plus/) While the subscription version of PSN has some bonuses (discounts and free games, notably), it also “adds value” by witholding certain features from base PSN (like access to demos or automatic system updates).

Or better yet - the possibility that Sony might build a PS4 into a Bravia based on precedent.  The precedent they mention is when Sony built a PS2 into a Bravia and it was a massive commercial failure not worth repeating with the PS3.  But who knows?  Maybe in the face of that utter flop Sony will do the exact same thing.

Gizmodo: The Blog is Dead; Long Live Tumblr!

http://gizmodo.com/5902236/the-blog-is-dead-long-live-tumblr

A) Gizmodo is a blog.

B) XKCD strips are not news - and articles explaining the joke aren’t humor.

C) Of course Tumblr is searched more frequently on Google than just the word “blog.”  People already know what a blog is.  What kind of moron is still searching for the word “blog?”

The Verge: Samsung will unveil ‘next Galaxy’ phone at May 3rd event in London

http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/16/2951622/samsung-next-galaxy-phone-launch-date-may-3-london

Okay - just a quick note for The Verge.  When Samsung sends you a note telling you that it will be announcing a new phone, it’s not because you’re supposed to re-post that note on your website and call it news.  They’re talking to you - telling you to show up at this event and report the actual product announcement when it eventually happens.

Please keep this in mind the next time someone sends you a meeting request on Google Calendar.  It’ll be A-OK if you don’t loop us in.