This may not seem like a Big Thing (TM), but in the course of the discussion a lot of light has been shed on the issues plaguing gamers and Jason has unwittingly became the face of video games journalism. Bridges were built (and subsequently burnt down), opinions exchanged and at the end of it, what did we discover?
A little bit of context. Jason Schreier is a well-established journalist working for Kotaku, whose reputation within the industry has a pretty great track record. His name has recently been brought back to the limelight again with his leaks concerning the development of Diablo Immortal. YongYeah, on the other hand, is a YouTuber who could be described as an independent game journalist and an entertainer.
In the running up to the conversation he has been described, perhaps uncomplimentary, by Jason as a “provocateur”. While YongYea certainly has strong opinions about the wider gaming industry, he’s no Jim Sterling and at least to his core audience on YouTube, Yong appears as a balanced and reasonable person.
The discussion is definitely interesting and something that we see way too little of, ever since GameGate irrevocably soured the relationship between gamers and the gaming journalists (I am sorry for summoning back that hellish specter, but it’s prudent to do so). It was also very polite on both sides and an agreement was reached, as you’d expect from two well-adjusted working adults who are just trying to do their jobs while remaining ethical and true to their hearts.
It’s well worth to watch the entire conversation, but the most important takeaway is twofold: first, Jason contested Yong on the somewhat popular, highly negative opinion about the state of the industry going downhill due to excessive monetization and microtransactions. The greatest point of contention here was, what else, Diablo.
Jason expressed the opinion that, while the “gamer rage” is understandable and a lot of it seems to be just optics due to Twitter being seemingly purpose built to exploit rage, it is completely counter-productive. The rage gamers feel seems entirely misguided and directed at people completely un-involved with the decision-making process. Names were dropped, fingers were used to point at specific people who I will not call out because I, like Jason, have a job to do here.
And second, the two journalists discussed the modern quality of games. The conclusion, at least to me, is that the industry has reached the point where redundancy is prevalent. Games are no longer an all-or-nothing business where it has to be a fantastic hit, or it’s over. To paraphrase Jim Sterling again: the gaming industry needs its meat and potatoes. An argument could be made that the existence of games like Diablo Immortal is what allows games like God of War to exist. I wouldn’t make that argument, but it could be made.
Of course, the reaction of Yong’s audience has been… Predictably harsh. This of course doesn’t speak badly about Yong himself, but it does serve to somewhat validate Jason’s point. The reactions from the gaming community is consistently wasteful, using the energy in fits of rage that don’t actually go towards solving the issues causing the rage in the first place. A call for a wide-spread letter campaign was made, which while I can’t talk about at lengths, I can heartily encourage.
Ultimately this appears to be a matter of perspective. Both Yong and Jason presented valid points and while it’s fallacious to think that a middle ground between two extremes is always the most reasonable opinion, it appears to be in this case.