In a year of many great games taking back the spotlight of a games-as-a -service ridden industry. Many people have come to appreciate the art form that videos have become. Whether you rocked out to Hi-fi Rush, made your own journey in Baldurs Gate 3, gloriously swung around as the hero in Spiderman 2 or simply took to the stars in Starfield. There was a little bit of everything for everyone to enjoy. But one thing that has popped back up time and time again from console fanboys is the ever persistent “media bias”.
As the name suggests, it would lead people to believe that those in the media, such as myself are “Biased”. This is a conversation that mostly pops up when discussing review scores from major websites. Such as IGN, Gamespot and many others. When games from Xbox are reviewed negatively, or games from PlayStation are reviewed well. This topic always comes up and it is becoming very tiring. Considering this is never brought up when games from Xbox are reviewed well and some reviews for PlayStation titles are negative.
But we can get back to this after hearing some thoughts on the topic from some of our team. Considering it is a topic worth discussing, but one that has an inherent flaw that nullifies it, and I will be diving deep into that.
Mahmood Ghaffar, Editor-in-Chief of Lords of Gaming
Every human being has their own preferences and that’s perfectly normal. In fact, claims of being unbiased in a professional critique setting are unrealistic. As long as a content creator is upfront about their preferences with their audience that is what I consider best practice.
While a lot are quick to tout the horn of media bias in video game coverage (especially when it comes reviews) I don’t think it’s a widespread conspiracy that a lot of people make it out to be on social media (especially on Twitter).
Many of these outlets are beholden to Search Engine Optimaztion (SEO) and will satiate it for engagement and revenues purposes. If outlets manipulate their readers for engagement to increase SEO ranking? It’s dishonest and I implore readers to recognize signs of manipulation and not engage with it. Otherwise, they’re falling for it hook, line, and sinker.
Cleonel Bottex, Associate Author of Lords of Gaming
In social science research (e.g., psychology, sociology, pedagogy, economics) we are trained to identify our positionality with regards to the subjects or participants that we study.
Our beliefs about reality, knowledge, society, and identity inevitably influence how humans’ study other humans. Hence, we are required to declare our positionality and indicate how we are trying our best to mitigate potential biases. However, we also recognize that being bias-free is not really an achievable goal. The best we can do is be open and direct about the ways we try to keep our identity, beliefs, and experiences from unduly corrupting how we communicate to the consumers of our research.
I do not know if people who critique art are trained to do this in a similar manner, but such declarations may be the only way to maintain trust with an audience when discussing things that are inherently subjective.
Joseph Repko, Associate Editor of Lords of Gaming
A great bible verse a lot of people should be acquainted with is “he who is without sin, cast the first stone”. As this verse can be applied to this topic. Yes, we are all biased. But for some reason, even when reviewing products or discussing topics. Bias is brought up as a way to discredit how someone feels. Their subconscious bias is always going to be in their work. In fact, when it’s come to written or even video work, no one is going to think they are biased, because it just does not make sense.
We all have our own tastes and trying to claim someone is wrong or right from your own point of view is silly. If you want people to admit they have inherent bias for whatever game of the week you point out to. Why not do so yourself? Why not say you hate PlayStation games and think they should be reviewed lower due to your own tastes? At the same time, why not declare that you think Xbox games should be scored higher because you say so? “But these people contribute to the metacritic score!” Metacritic and even Opencritic only has as much power as individuals allow.
So why make everyone who is just doing their job or reviewing out of the sake of their own passion toe the line of your arbitration while claiming they cannot have their own arbitration? At the end of the day, I am biased, you are biased, and everyone is biased. To always exclaim is to point out that you do not truly believe your own words out of fear for someone else’s bias for or against a particular piece of media.
If you do not like how discourse happens in games media, I am certain you will not like it anywhere else.