On negotiations and leverage

Originally posted on the Escapist forums, 18 Sept. 2014


Negotiations require both sides to have leverage and/or something to offer.

What do gamers want? Unbiased, factual, non-ideology-driven coverage (e already have the likes of Metacritic and Youtube for crowd-sourced and independent reviewing); toxic journalists to face the consequences of their actions; contrition on the part of the involved outlets.

What do journalists want? Ad revenue. Really, that’s it.

What do gamers need from journalists? Not a damn thing, games journalism is a middleman between the industry and the consumer.

What do journalists need from gamers? Clicks and pageviews.

And, by “need” I mean “sine qua non for continued existence”, not any lesser, looser definition. Gaming journalism exists because gamers will it.

What that means is gamers have all the leverage, and journalists have none…which means arbitration depends on what services or goods they’re willing to provide, and thus far journalists with a handful of exceptions have been willing to offer nothing.

Simply put, there’s no negotiation to be had. Gamers have the strongest-possible position, and journalists have the weakest; why should we even desire to open negotiations, when the very act of doing so is an unnecessary concession on our part?