By now, you have probably read (or heard) about Kotaku’s editor in chief Stephen Totilo crying over the fact that Kotaku has been blacklisted by Bethesda, and Ubisoft. If not, then check out our “An analysis attempt of the “Kotaku has been blacklisted by Bethesda and Ubisoft situation” article. Anyhow, as I was saying. Kotaku, the very same site Totilo is in command of running, has pissed off two of the biggest, and most influential game developers in the world. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that he’s advocating the two giants are trying to strong-arm his outlet into reporting things their way, but it does. And he’s lying.
The problem with Kotaku being blacklisted didn’t start with just Bethesda, and Ubisoft. Gaming publications have always had a way of leaking information to the public that game studios needed to keep in-house. These studios release documents to outlets in a controlled manner for a reason, as not to leak an unperfected—or concept project before E3 or the Tokyo Games Show. Kotaku, has continuously used their influence and money, to convince low rung employees of these studios to give them access to this information ahead of time for one reason: Impressions for their site.
Leaking information early to the public means traffic, which generates clicks, and that means ad revenue share. This is most likely the exchange that happened for the information leaks. So what would be the main reason for Kotaku being blacklisted by Ubisoft and Bethesda? Well, they leaked documents of Fallout 4 in 2013, including the Boston setting, the main character Preston Garvey, and several weapon concept designs. A similar situation was seen with Ubisoft, as they leaked Assassin’s Creed Victory (later renamed Syndicate) well-ahead of its announcement date. They leaked Assassin’s Creed Unity, and Assassin’s Creed Rouge as well. But why has Stephen Totilo made this such a big issue recently? The answer is simple: He might be looking for a new home soon.
Gawker’s Legal Troubles
It’s no secret that Gawker Media, owned by Nick Denton, is being sued by Hulk Hogan for leaking his sex tape. The lawsuit, which will finally see the pair in court in March—is seeking over $100,000,000 in damages for the WWE hall of famer. As a result of the lawsuit, this has caused Denton to restructure, consolidate, and compile his resources in-house. Gawker Media has decided to lay off 10 employees, and it’s already gone through seven of the necessary ten. With only three remaining, Stephen Totilo is still up for dismissal, depending on the performance of Kotaku.com and his employees.
Morning after, Deformer, and Valleywag have already been cut from the Gawker family. Jezebel, the popular feminist centric blog site—has been chosen to be revitalized as a celebrity gossip column taking advantage of the spike in political news as of late. With the US presidential election, coming up in 2016 this is quite the topic. It is surprising, considering their non-objectivity on sensitive issues. But what does all this have to do with Kotaku.com? Well, that answer is pretty easy.
Stephen Totilo wants you to fight for his job
Stephen Totilo, despite having a Master’s degree in journalism, can’t control his employees. It’s been proven several of his writers are:
– Having romantic and unethical relationships with subjects
– Giving money to same subjects in exchange for information or priority on PR
– Writing targeted pieces about games they take personal objection to
– Creating a unique brand of yellow journalism and blacklisting people who don’t agree with
Stephen Totilo wrote the Op-ed piece on his outlet, specifically to rally foot soldiers to fight for his job, and force the hand of Ubisoft, and Bethesda. If he can prove that he’s still in control of his outlet, and it’s useful, Gawker Media may choose to keep it from being dissolved. He wants you, his readership to serve as the fleet under his command indirectly to boycott these studios in an attempt to say they’re wrong for fighting back against the free press. Totilo has made one thing crystal clear in his article, and in his management of employees: He’s no better than any of them.
What results may come
Kotaku is a sinking ship, and it’s not going to set sail again. After almost 12 years of being active online, it’s gone the way of publications such as Gaming Pro, Rockpaper Shotgun, and even recently VG247. It’s in it for the ad revenue, control, and dictatorship that it breeds, and it caused its own destruction. Allying with people who earned you a quick payday doesn’t work out in the long run. Gawker will most likely dissolve Kotaku.com, and Stephen Totilo probably received the notice through the pipeline (hence the reason for the article).
His writers are most likely seeking new homes, but none will be found, as they’re tainted meat—and it’s not their fault. Their mentor, as Altair’s in Assassin’s Creed did—has failed them. Like Anakin becoming Darth Vader, he led them to their transformations as corrupt journalist, and biased media figures. If Stephen Totilo does find another job after Kotaku is disbanded, I wish for him to take himself back to basics and regain his lost sense of honor.
The Gaming Ground
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