As some of you may have already seen or heard on social media yesterday, September the 28th an article dropped on Polygon with an extremely click baity title. My initial reaction to this article: “WTF is he talking about?” Phil Owen is clearly someone who has not studied art, doesn’t know shit about art, he is also not an artists and yet, is talking about it like he is some kind of expert in the field. Which he is not. Journalism 101: you know nothing about something, but you still give your opinion like you have a degree on the field. This seems to be a recurring theme especially in the gaming media, some can at least pull it off. Others, like our friends from Polygon here, are complete and total morons at it.
What it basically boils down to is an article written in the third person about an excerpt of the first chapter of Phil Owen’s book with the same title as the article. But interestingly the credits were initially given as Polygon Staff. But later changed to credit Phil Owen’s himself. This is what really gets me going about the entire article. They chose to hide the fact he wrote it himself rather than just have him write: “Hey, here’s an excerpt from my book.” My question: Why didn’t they just have an editor write the intro in the first place instead of playing hide and seek with their readers? You can only imagine the shady shit they and the rest of the gaming media is pulling behind the scenes, out of public view.
If you go take a look at Phil Owen’s Twitter, people are calling him out on this and he honestly and truly seems to think it’s not even an issue. He even went as far as to mock the people who consider this a breach of ethics. It’s not really surprising when you consider that the book itself contains sections that are just smearing Gamergate, but then again you would think online publications like Polygon would be smarter than this by now. Guess not. They have to know people are watching them like hawks, and when they post and article entitled “WTF is wrong with Videogames”, it is of course going to get gamers attention.
Remember when Polygon launched and they touted themselves as bringing a new breed of high quality games journalism to the world? I remember…Polygon is trying to hide a conflict of interest in two ways. Not disclosing you have personal ties with author you are writing about and advertising their book, which they have done repeatedly in the past. But now? Taking your name off article so you can’t be linked to promotion of a friend’s book? I would say that counts as being unethical. Most gaming journalism is awful these days. It literally boils down to the “journalists” reading and/or writing about topics they know nothing about. All the while keeping themselves busy with unethical bullshit in the background.