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The Sad Truth about PR in Video Games



Cordova, TN; September 19, in the year of our Lord 2014--Family Friendly Gaming, the industry leader in covering the family friendly video games is cataloging the sad truth about PR in video games. PR can stand for press relations, or public relations. They are similar with a few different nuances. Some companies have internal PR employees, and others hire outside vendors known as PR firms. A PR firm/PR employee works to make their employer look good. This can come out in propaganda statements, spin, focusing on the positive only, and more. Every video game journalist needs to be on guard, and to understand the motives of the statements they are being given.

One of the most interesting things I have noticed from press releases is all these companies that describe themselves as ‘leading.’ Call me crazy, but there is only one team a year that wins the World Series. There is only one team a year that wins the Super Bowl. There is only one team a year that wins the World Cup. There is only one team a year that wins the NBA Finals. There are not twenty teams all tied for first place. If you take what the PR firms tell you as gospel you will think they are all leading. Overall sales, and overall profit are great ways to tell who is actually in first.

The most disgusting thing that happens in the video game industry is punishment for reviews. We have experienced it here at Family Friendly Gaming. I have talked to numerous other gaming journalists who have experienced the same thing. A PR firm does not like a review, complains about it, and then conveniently forgets to send over a press release. That way your gaming outlet is late in reporting the news. Or they conveniently forget to send a reviewable copy of something. Some go as far as purposely fail to respond to emails - this is referenced as black listing. See the PR only want awesome, positive, go out and buy this product reviews. They use unethical methods to get their desired outcome. Plenty of gaming sites have caved into the pressure.

Coming in close in terms of being the most disgusting is selfishness. The PR firms are paid handsomely to try and get coverage of their client’s products. What happens when we in the gaming media make them a lot of money? They get to stay employed, and some earn bonuses. They don’t share with the gaming media even though we made them that money. What happens when we pass on running their stories? They can get mean, nasty, and out comes the punishment stick again. I have lost track of how many threats I have received from PR employees because I won’t give them their way. Temper tantrums from two year olds seem mild in comparison.

Poorly targeting stories irritates me to no end. I get all kinds of odd press releases. From diapers to automobile web sites. Over a year after our Kickstarter and free app policy was implemented we still get flooded with requests to make their dreams come true. Not one of those PR employees care they are poorly targeting. They are trying to get their client as much exposure as they can. Even when it is way outside our coverage parameters. It is amazing how rude, ugly, and hateful they are when I politely explain to them what we cover. I learned something - they don’t care. They just want their way. They see us as a way to make themselves rich.

There are a few good ones out there. I know the negative people can drown out the positive people. There are PR employees who make sure advertisements are sent our way. There are PR employees who buy us games from their own budgets when we were mistakenly missed. There are PR employees who send us money as a thank you for the promotion we helped them earn. There are PR employees who quickly and honestly tell us they can not get us a reviewable product and why (then they make sure we get a copy of the next product). I just wish the bad ones would learn from the fine example the good ones have set. I also hope all of the bad PR employees read this news article.

God bless,
Paul Bury
Family Friendly Gaming


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