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Parent Company: CBS Corporation
Owner: CBS Interactive
Editor-in-Chief: Ben Howard
Boycott: yes

GameSpot is a gaming news website that was founded in 1996 and is currently owned by CBS Interactive, a company that also owns GameFAQs and Giant Bomb. [1] GameSpot is infamously known for the Jeff Gerstmann incident, a case in which a games reviewer was fired over a negative review given to a game that was heavily advertised on the website at the time. In regards to GamerGate, GameSpot is neutral and uninvolved.

Gerstmann Incident

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men ads and site skin

On November 28, 2007, Editorial Director and game reviewer, Jeff Gerstmann, was fired from GameSpot. [2] Because Gerstmann's termination closely followed his negative review of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men—a game that was heavily advertised on GameSpot at the time—rumors erupted that he was fired as a result of giving the game a poorer review than what the game's publisher paid for.

GameSpot denied that Gerstmann's dismissal was related to his game review but gave no further details, citing legal constraints. [3]

A month after Gerstmann's termination, freelance reviewer Frank Provo left GameSpot after eight years stating that "I believe CNET management let Jeff go for all the wrong reasons. I believe CNET intends to soften the site's tone and push for higher scores to make advertisers happy."[12]

GameSpot staffers, Alex Navarro, Ryan Davis, Brad Shoemaker, and Vinny Caravella also left as a result of Gerstmann's termination.[13][14] Davis co-founded Gerstmann's subsequent project, Giant Bomb, and was later joined by Shoemaker and Caravella. Navarro later returned to Giant Bomb, where he currently works as a Senior Editor.

On March 15, 2012, it was announced that CBS Interactive, the parent company of GameSpot following the former's purchase of CNET, had acquired the Giant Bomb and Comic Vine websites from Whiskey Media. As part of the deal, the non-disparagement agreement between Gerstmann and CNET was nullified, allowing him to finally speak publicly about his termination over four years prior. Later that evening on GameSpot's On the Spot web show, GameSpot VP John Davison appeared on camera with Gerstmann, marking Gerstmann's first appearance on the GameSpot web site since November 2007. In the segment, Gerstmann revealed that his firing was in fact related to the low review score he had given to Kane & Lynch, though his explanation cited other similar events that led up to the termination, including a 7.5 (good) rating given to Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction by Aaron Thomas, then an employee under Gerstmann.

Recent Conflicts of Interest

On August 14, 2014, GameSpot Writer Chris Watters hosted the World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor reveal event. This event was also broadcast through GameSpots website and video player, which carried GameSpots logo. [4] [5] They also ran multiple ads for Warlords of Draenor during its release.[6] GameSpot reviewer Brittany Vincent gave the game an 8 out of 10, with no disclosure for the reveal event, which was a conflict of interest for the entire site. [7]

On November 3, 2014, GameSpot posted its review for Call of Duty: Advance Warfare giving the game an 8/10. They did not disclose the review event they would have had to attend in order to get an accurate test of the Multiplayer aspects of the game. Also of note, the site was wrapped in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare game ads during the time of the review. [8]

Disclosure Improvements

On October 27, 2014, GameSpot writer Eddie Makuch wrote an article for Day For Nights's new game, The Black Glove, getting a PS4 version added to the supported platforms on launch. The founder of the game studio, Joe Fielder, is a former site director of GameSpot, leading to a potential conflict of interest, which was disclosed.[6]

Other Various Complaints

Stolen Footage

On April 14, 2015 YouTube user undercoverdudes uploaded a video which showed evidence that GameSpot, through its GameSpot Gameplay YouTube channel, had stolen his gameplay footage of Combat Arms.[9] Within a few hours of undercoverdude's video being shared, GameSpot made their copy of his video private.[10]

Role in GamerGate

GameSpot has remained relatively neutral of the revolt on their website, and while they discuss the various threats commonly linked to GamerGate, they do not link them to GamerGate outright. Outside the site, several editors such as Kevin VanOrd take a strong Anti-GamerGate stance.

Censorship/Open Discussion on GamerGate

Kevin VanOrd

Sexism in Gaming

  • On April 10, 2015, GameSpot released an episode of The Point in which Danny O'Dwyer discusses the role of the press during the topic of game censorship, stating that "there is something to be said for games press taking logical leaps in service of their own opinion, and ultimately I think that benefits nobody."[11]

Ethics Policy

On February 20th, /r/KotakuInAction user TheAndredal posted the thread 'Working on an ethics policy for Gamespot, want advice', a Mod-verified claim that GameSpot was going to be working on a new Ethics Policy, and that TheAndredal could have input. Within 12 hours, after some good points were brought up, an update to the thread was posted that stated: "Ben Howard saw this and has now stopped talking to me all together. Saying i somehow lied. Which is wrong. It doesn't look like they're going to listen to us after all. He removed himself from the conversation that we had and i've not recieved any update from them on this. If you really want to help me, send them emails."[12] Ben Howard subsequently made a post clarifying his position, stating "He is not working on an ethics policy for us, that is something we continue to work on internally. I did mention that we have and will declare when preview travel and accomodation is paid for - as in the case of Danny O'Dwyer's trip for WWE last. Most preview trips are budgeted and paid for by us ourselves. This thread has become a (mostly) useful feedback thread however, so i can assure you we do read and listen to these threads."[13]

If GameSpot Were 100% Honest With Us...

What would happen if Gamespot, IGN, and Kotaku were 100% honest with us? - by Gaming Wildlife

GameJournoPros Members




GameSpot is on Tier 1 on Kotaku in Action's blacklist. Tier 1 sites have a questionable history, but is probably OK. Mods may ask for an archive on a case-by-case basis. [14]

GameSpot has a Steam Curator:

See Also


Giant Bomb