Last winter GameSpot, one of the web’s largest video game sites, was embroiled in a scandal that led to the loss of a number of veteran employees and, as far as many gamers are concerned, any shred of credibility. On November 28 the site suddenly fired Editorial Director Jeff Gerstmann who had been with the site for over 10 years. Rumors soon emerged that Gerstmann had been fired for posting a lukewarm review for the game Kane & Lynch after the game’s publisher (and GameSpot advertiser) Eidos Interactive put pressure on the site to take action. In the subsequent months, GameSpot lost a number of its core staff who had been with the site for years.
Now Gerstmann has teamed with a handful of fellow GameSpot refugees to launch GiantBomb, a new videogame site that will feature both editorial content and a user-edited database of everything related to gaming. The site uses a powerful relational database that Gerstmann says will give users the tools to create professional entries, while still allowing administrators to effectively monitor edits.
One of the biggest problems with modern gaming sites (advertiser controversy aside) is that they tend to cover absolutely every game. Gerstmann says that his small team (3 writers and a video guy) will acts as a video game “strike team”, forgoing the overabundance of news found on sites like IGN and Gamespot in favor of articles related to only the most important issues in gaming.
These gaming articles and reviews will complement the site’s encyclopedia, which features entries on individual games, their characters, items, and a number of other elements. The site hopes to become a definitive resource for games, and while some might say such a resource is totally unnecessary (why should we care how many games Mario has appeared in?), gamers are generally a passionate crowd.
Gerstmann’s experienced team will be facing long odds – the gaming space is very crowded, and is dominated by a number of well established players like Kotaku, IGN, and GameSpot. That said, GiantBomb may well turn into a place for gamers “in the know”, who respect the team’s experience and are ready for a change.