April 23, 2007 3:14 PM | Simon Carless
To remind you, Mr. Gifford praised the front news and analysis section of Game Informer, but was a tad disapproving over the longform previews of Grand Theft Auto IV and the new 2K Sports football title, noting: "Both articles are interesting if you are interested in the game in question in the first place. They are glorified feature lists enhanced with developer quotes and insulated by hundreds of words of filler."
McNamara says a little more than this, but here's the meat of it: "I fail to see how getting world exclusive content that you can't get anywhere else isn't offering our readers something unique and worth the price of a magazine.
We also work very hard to make sure that those 16 to 20 pages of previews have as much unique content as possible, including many exclusive details and screens that aren't available online (I would say about 60 to 80% on average). Our reader feedback has always shown great support for our cover stories and features.
Saying that the magazine isn't completing its goal because the previews will be online months later seems an unfair judgment. By that same logic you would say those online sites shouldn't do the previews because Game Informer did it months before."
Kevin also weighs in, and indeed, here's the crux of his reply: "Speaking as a reader and a guy who loves print media and wants to see it stay as relevant as possible, once the next big exclusive reveal comes around, the way I'd like to see it approached is "All right, I have some screens and some features I'm allowed to talk about -- now what can I do to make the 6-8 pages I need to fill honestly interesting, to the point where people would want to read the feature even if they didn't care at all about the game/genre it was talking about?""
I have to say that I agree with Mr. Gifford here - I was disappointed in the GTA IV preview because it felt so 'managed' from the Rockstar end. It's clear that a very small amount of information was made available besides the screenshots, so there was nowhere to go from an actual reporting point of view.
Having said that, as Kevin also notes, I feel that Game Informer is building a strong base of well-researched, well-thought out pieces outside of the previews and reviews coverage, where they don't have to play ball with restrictive PR/marketing types. Which is great - they could sit on their laurels thanks to the subscription base they've built up, and they're certainly not. So it's just a question of getting Rockstar to play ball, eh? (As if!)