No #GamerGate, I'm not going to view @Kotaku or @stephentotilo as victims
On The Alleged Publisher Blacklisting Of Kotaku
I'm seeing a lot of posts about how #GamerGate should not be gloating over Kotaku's claims of being blacklisted by Ubisoft and Bethesda. That in fact, #GamerGate should be deeply concerned by this "unethical" publisher behavior.
The people making those posts are wrong for many reasons. Here are a few of them:
1) Publisher Corruption Has Never, At Anytime, Been In Dispute
All game publishers, since the dawn of game publishing, have as their default mode of operation, used bribery, exclusive access, threats, sex, substances, lies, influence peddling, and every other form of corrupt discourse you'd care to name in order to market their products.
It doesn't matter who the "press" has been, print publications in the 80s and 90s, first generation websites like Gamespot and GameSpy, the blogs like Kotaku and Joystiq that supplanted those sites or the Youtubers who are currently ordering those blogs into their freshly dug graves at gunpoint, publishers have attempted to get their thumb on the scale in order to better market their products. Game publishers are inherently corrupt.
2) I Don't Trust Stephen Totilo's Version Of Events And Neither Should You
Stephen Totlio said Nathan Grayson did not have a conflict of interest with Zoe Quinn.
Stephen Totilo said that it was too hard for his staff to tell when they were too close personally to a subject.
Stephen Totilo said that stories about corruption in gaming were not interesting to him.
Stephen Totlio said that boycotting Kotaku was censorship.
Stephen Totilo said that Kotaku did not need an ethics policy.
So why on earth would you believe Stephen Totilo when he claimed that Kotaku was being subjected to an unethical "Blacklisting" in retaliation for printing two specific articles?
It's POSSIBLE that Totlio's telling the truth, but since he, Jason Schreier, and Patrick Klepek have no credibility remaining whatsoever, it's going to fall to credible investigators to work out the truth.
3) Publishers Are Under No Obligation Legally/Morally/Ethically To Provide Access To Any Outlet/Organization/Person
This is the big one. Kotaku is not entitled to free goods, access to publisher/developer facilities or staff, access to pre-release code, etc.
No outlet is.
Publishers give outlets access, commonly with some sort of strings attached (see point 1), in order to market their products.
When your writers have a habit of smearing products they are given advance access to as problematic/racist/misogynistic, why on earth would you as a publisher continue to give them advance access? Even if an outlet hadn’t smeared your game. If you watched them burn, say, Tomb Raider at the stake based on pre-release access, why would you ever invite them to take a gander at your game before launch?
4) Defending Kotaku Is Not Going To Fix Publisher Corruption. A Functioning Gaming Press Can Fix Publisher Corruption
The only defense against publisher corruption is gaming press that is willing to do actual journalism.
A gaming press that can't be cowed by blacklisting, because they aren't completely and totally dependent on publisher access in order to do their work.
Blacklisting an outlet that enjoys the absolute confidence of their readers would be unthinkable for a publisher. It would in no way harm such an outlet, in fact, it would only serve to burnish it's reputation as an uncompromising teller of truths.
Blacklisting Kotaku? Not so much.
A functioning, healthy, competitive gaming press would go a long way towards shifting the cost/benefit ratio towards publisher honesty, and at the end of the day, that ratio is the only thing that publishers care about.