Our Responsibilities.

There is a lot of responsibility in what we do here. I’m not bemoaning our rotten luck – to be tasked with writing about what goes on in the world of videogaming is not exactly a hellish nightmare. We enjoy it. If we ever stop enjoying what we do here we would probably just walk away, stop posting articles to the site and have a nice holiday somewhere sunny. I hear Morecambe is nice.

So it’s not hard work, it doesn’t force us to endlessly toil, bent double in a field with the tireless sun beating skin cancer into our stiffening backs. There is a certain responsibility though and sometimes, just sometimes, that plays on our minds a little. We genuinely worry about whether our latest article lambasting the pointlessness of Sony’s PSP Go will affect sales. We lose sleep over how excited the comments are when we suggest an Xbox favourite will soon also be appearing on the PS3. We feel bad for developers when we review a game we didn’t enjoy. What we do affects other people’s careers and lives and professional wellbeing. Or does it?

So what’s my point? Well, this week is the last that Midway Newcastle is in business. They are the studio responsible for the under-rated Wheelman and the now potentially lost Necessary Force. Is it our fault that Midway’s business, at the forefront of the gaming industry since 1958, has declined so much? Similarly, we thought that Haze was an awful game and when Free Radical closed their doors earlier in the year a lot was made of the bad reviews and subsequent poor sales. Was it the fault of those scathing reviews that Free Radical ended up unable to secure funding to make the rumoured sequel to TimeSplitters?  We joked about Damnation, too…

A lot of people would like to blame journalists. Sometimes we even blame ourselves. The plight of the small development teams weighs heaviest on our minds but we also worry about whether the things we write affects Sony’s profits or even Microsoft’s. Huge companies that deal in figures we can only imagine and yet, if we thought that our sarcastic mumblings lost them a few hundred pounds we’d be annoyed with ourselves.

It’s a strange contradiction. To simultaneously enjoy what we do but have enough of a conscience to hope nobody pays too much attention to us. In reality though, it’s not our fault. We write about the industry. We comment on it. We don’t compete with any developers, we don’t attempt to influence their projects in any real way (except when I beg for a remake of Road Rash or pray that every FPS will contain crossbows…). Likewise, when Sony announced the new PSP Go we comment on it. We talk about it. What you see is our opinion. When you see the news that a previously Xbox-based title is about to make a move to be alongside other formats we are passing comment on that particular story. Not because we want you to stop buying Xboxes (in anticipation of one game which may or may not be something you would enjoy) but because it’s happening.  We also can’t influence how other sites pick up on our news, or how they interpret our words.

If you read the things we write and use them to make your purchasing decision then that’s your responsibility. If a studio puts out a product which we don’t like we tell you but we’re not responsible for the poor product. All we do is write about what goes on. That’s all. It’s our opinion and hopefully it’s put forward in a way you find entertaining and like to keep returning to read.

We are not making huge piles of cash out of this, we get enough to pay for the server and that’s all we can hope for. We have no agenda to serve; we talk about PlayStation because we enjoy it, we like the product and we find it interesting to comment on the things that happen (and hear your thoughts on the subject). When we’re not writing for this site we like to talk about the Xbox 360s that a lot of us own, and we should have something else to say on this very subject quite soon. Likewise, I’ve even held conversations about the Wii and I believe that Alex (nofi) is difficult to shut up if you get him talking about the Spectrum. Does he worry that what he says is affecting Commodore 64 sales? Possibly but he has no reason to. If a product is good, if there is enough quality and value in it then it will sell. It ultimately does not matter what our opinion is. If I told you that I thought Killzone 2 was rubbish you would think that I was an idiot and buy it anyway. Because the product is good quality.

So I hope that this article hasn’t put you off reading anything else we write, I hope that you keep coming back and commenting on our stories. Hopefully we won’t see a dip in visits that I will feel responsible for but I’ll keep that holiday cottage in Morecambe on reserve, just in case.

Your Editor.