Videogames Get No Respect

Posted by jgaudiosi :: Hollywood & Video Games

EwThe mainstream media still doesn't give videogames the respect they deserve. One of the most blatant examples of a pop culture magazine virtually ignoring interactive entertainment is "Entertainment Weekly." I've been a fan of this magazine since it launched, because I'm a fan of entertainment. While I skip the stage and book reviews that the magazine includes regularly, I like the movie and TV stories. What I'd like to see more of is videogame coverage. A few years back the magazine tried a few weeks of regular videogame coverage, but that was evidently killed by older editors who don't "get" games. Now there's an occasional box review for a few games. Not even big videogame movies get much play. And E3 is virtually ignored.

As a freelance writer, I'm looking forward to the days when more mainstream magazines, newspapers and TV networks devote time and resources to videogame coverage. The average age of the gamer today is 33. These same TV networks and newspapers that are watching their readership die off are wondering how to attract gamers. Ignoring the game industry is not the route to success. Games are as ubiquitous as movies today. And every week there are new games introduced into the market.

Despite the huge audiences that gaming sites like GameSpot.com and IGN.com attract, there's still a huge window of opportunity for mainstream game coverage. There are many more casual gamers out there than hardcore gamers. And there's a way to reach this audience, and attract advertisers, through smart online/print/TV packaging.

Even the big media giants aren't taking advantage of this. Yahoo! is certainly doing more original content than AOL, but there's room for improvement for these sites. MTV is the best example of fusing multimedia games coverage into a great package, but even that network waited years to move into the games category.

There are still opportunities for big newspaper conglomerates to fuse together a single, powerful Web site to cover games, technology and entertainment for the mainstream audience. As editors, producers and executives who gamed their entire lives move into positions of power, these types of opportunities will occur. It's just a matter of waiting it out for the "old thinkers" to retire and the fresh blood who "get" games to make their mark. This transition can't happen quickly enough for me.

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