Leigh Alexander has a nice piece up on what she calls the "dysfunctional family circle of game industry, game media, and game consumer," focusing on the whys and wherefores of the 'hype cycle,' hot (sometimes misleading) headlines, and a culture of jaded consumption. There's been a lot of talk of the problems of game 'journalism' lately, but Leigh's piece is particularly well-written and reasoned. Are we dealing with a chicken or the egg question?:
Has the audience been trained to expect disappointment, to have minimal attention spans, by the hype-driven (and thus continually disappointing) game industry? Have the mechanics of games themselves engineered a culture that demands logically-placed, tiered rewards interspersed with occasional, unpredictable conflict? Has the audience developed its resentful mob mentality by being told what they do and don't want by a slate of envious, immature game journalists whose largest qualification is that they are more obsessive enthusiasts than those for whom they write? Journalists and developers will say that they've become whatever it is they've become because of turning backbends to please an unpleasable audience; the audience can just as easily say they've been made what they are by the media they consume.
Vicious cycle, no? In the general gaming marketplace that's extremely competitive, hype building is the name of the game — and is often inherently at odds with what we might call "responsible journalism." The big question that none of us can answer is how to get out of the cycle. Hot Headlines And Hype Cycles — Who's Responsible? [GameSetWatch]