Where do you go to get your reliable reviews?
We're sure you remember the fiasco: Jeff Gerstmann leaving GameSpot under suspicious circumstances after posting a less-than-favorable Kane & Lynch review, a game that received a lot of advertising and promotion at GameSpot's website.
After he left, there was quite the exodus, as a number of GameSpot employees left. The general consensus was that Gerstmann had been fired for not playing ball; i.e., the site was given a lot of advertising revenue for Kane & Lynch , and the publisher expected a good review in return. Leaked information from other former staffers pseudo-confirmed this, although Gerstmann has never spoken about it since leaving and forming Giant Bomb.
That has all changed now, though: In an interview with GameSpot's John Davison , Gerstmann confirmed why he was fired. He said he was called into a room by CBS management (who owns GameSpot), and they told him he was terminated because apparently, he "couldn't be trusted" as the editorial director. Evidently, this decision came about specifically due to his Kane & Lynch review. Gerstmann also gave the example of how Sony threatened to pull ad money if Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction earned anything less than a perfect score. GameSpot gave it a 7.5, but we didn't hear anything after that.
Bottom line? Websites are businesses. Especially big websites. They're free to read so their only revenue comes from ads, and big-money ads can often come from game publishers…who just might expect a little something in return besides the advertising space. It's a tough world.