Yesterday, a review I’d written for the magazine PSM3 was instead published on CVG. This site is one of Future Publishing’s biggest, a videogame news hub with all the trimmings, carrying forward a name with real heritage. Well, for us UK types anyway.

I don’t like being associated with CVG, and I said as much on twitter. This was noted by the site’s staff, who asked me why, and because I didn’t really want a bunfight I just left it there. But clearly I made an impression, because now they’ve decided to post about how rubbish my review is in the comments.

Not nice, is it? Of course I wasn’t the best fit for CVG, I’ve got a fucking brain.

So seeing as the gloves are off, I guess should explain why I was unhappy with my review being on CVG. Of course, Future’s contract with me lets them republish work across their sites, that’s not the problem.

There are three reasons, so let us pay tribute to CVG by doing a numbered list.

1. CVG deliberately misquote developers

Two months ago I visited Platinum Games’ offices in Osaka, and one of the first things said to me was about CVG misrepresenting something their developers had said. I was there for CVG’s publishers Future, so I had to take shit because of their practices. CVG’s writers might recognise the piece that came from this, it’s the one that’s been giving them bylines for the past week.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s Braid’s creator Jonathan Blow on his experience with CVG, an article called ‘CVG appear to be a bunch of lousy hacks‘. Sample quote: “CVG’s article is a deceptive, manipulative piece of sensationalist crap meant to drive hits by stoking the argument between Sony fans and Microsoft fans. It misrepresents the content of the interview almost entirely.”

2. CVG pull slimy stunts like domain squatting

One of the most incredible things I’ve ever, ever seen in the bubble of games journalism was when CVG, looking at VG247.com‘s success, decided to buy the domain vg247.co.uk and redirect it to CVG’s own homepage.

Wait, what? Yeah, that’s right. Someone at CVG thought it was a great idea to buy up a competitor’s potential future web address, and then redirect it to their site.

The ethics of this are incredible, and it’s laughable Future thought they’d get away with it. VG247 made some threatening noises and Future backed down immediately. Someone still owns it though, and I doubt it’s Pat Garratt.

3. CVG hates women

A couple of months ago, I was discussing writing an article on sexism in the games industry with an editor. It never came to anything, because I didn’t feel I had much to add to the debate beyond ‘man-children should grow up, what is this the 1930s’, and I also came to feel that it shouldn’t necessarily be a guy writing an article about the discrimination women in the industry endure.

Now it’s clear I should have been much more aggressive about doing that piece, and said stuff I thought was obvious. Because the sad thing is we still live in a world where a site like CVG thinks it’s perfectly fine to do this:

That’s a 63-page ‘Booth Babes’ gallery from this year’s E3; not only that, here’s the opening sentence that was subsequently removed:

We here on CVG like to use a 10-point review system, but if you’re more simple-minded you could just settle with ‘would’ or ‘not with yours, mate’.”

Just think about that for a second: CVG thought that the problem was with that line, rather than the gallery itself.

Is it not amazing that we live in the year 2012? Stuff like this is the bane of the industry, one of the cancers that has to be cut out in its entirety before it can become a better place for 50% of the population. The world is full of casual sexism, and the only thing it has more of is blokes who think it’s all laugh.

CVG’s editorial motivation behind this, of course, was much more calculated – it will get hits. CVG are not doing stories like this out of naivety, but because they know they can exploit these women in a way that will give their numbers a boost. It is breathtaking to think about the kind of men, and of course they are men, who consider this a winning strategy. ‘Yeah it’s sexist, but it does the numbers.’

I’m not the morality police, but fuck these guys. Sites like CVG do everyone in this industry a disservice, because it’s made by mouthbreathers that think women exist to be perved on. Julie Horup’s contemporary blogpost gave a perspective I can’t, and perhaps if you’re male you should read it.

CVG don’t give a fuck, of course, about gender equality.

That bothers me much more than the misquotations, vg247.co.uk, or a parasitic reliance on the work of others. I don’t want to be associated with CVG because I regard their sexism as old-world scumbag thinking. The kind of people who would publish something like that could only be dickbrains. Why would anyone want to be linked to them?

So that’s why I don’t like my writing appearing on CVG. It’s a shitty site in the first place, and it perpetuates and encourages sexism.

I hope that clears things up!




With thanks to John Walker, here’s CVG’s original frontpage for the Booth Babes story.

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26 thoughts on “‘CVG HATES WOMEN’ – Or, Why I Hate CVG

  1. Weefz says:

    Holy crap. “The team at CVG would not do anything to betray the trust of its readers” but is quite happy to hang their freelances out to dry.

    That’s… wow. Incredible.

  2. Wow, that’s quite appalling :/

  3. Markatansky says:

    I think this sort of thing was really why I stopped visiting their site. Here’s hoping we can eventually put a stop to all this shit.

  4. RevStu says:

    Okay, let’s see if I’ve got this right.

    1. You find CVG distasteful, but signed a contract allowing your work to be used in it for money anyway.

    2. When that duly happened – something that was entirely your own responsibility – you slagged off some fellow journalists in public (while still, I’m certain, banking the cheque).

    3. You got criticised (I know not whether justly or unjustly) in return by an editor acting in an unquestionably petty and unprofessional manner, but really no more so than you had. One-all on the “behaving like a bit of an arse” scoreboard, then.

    4. You’ve then perpetuated the fallout by moaning about it here, calling people “dickbrains” and tacking on a gratuitous, pious and rather shabby accusation of misogyny – apparently believing it to be the same thing as sexism, which I can only put down to your having a grasp of the English language that I only wish was less common among games journalists in its dismaying inadequacy.

    5. And for a final twist in this bravura display of lack of self-awareness, you add that the evil thing about booth-babe features is that they’re done for hits ie money, even though we’ve aready established that you’re happy to take money for work that can be used for exactly the same ends, namely generating hits for CVG.

    That’s about the size of it, yeah?

    • dickystanton says:

      Well, you’ve got some fair enough points. Sadly, you can’t write for Future without signing the ‘everything goes’ contract. I somehow don’t think that will be a problem in the future. Yes, I worked for money.

      Moaning on blogs is what they’re for, and I’m sorry you don’t like ‘dickbrain’. I think it’s a beautiful word. As for the distinction between misogyny and sexism, sexism involves hatred of gender. That is what it means. My post is called ‘CVG Hates Women’ because I believe things like Booth Babe galleries ARE women-hating at bottom. I don’t see what the meaningful distinction between sexism and misogyny in this context would have been. If you think it’s gratuitous to talk about sexism, fair enough, but I bang on about this topic regularly – and seriously, pious? That shows a certain mindset. Do you think I’m just trying to score points with the ladies?

      I think comparing doing a Resi 6 review for money with publishing Booth Babe pics for money isn’t going anywhere.

      As for my ‘bravura lack of self-awareness’, well that’s probably fair enough. I’m not very self-aware.

      I’ve often been given advice, in fact, concerning apparent similarities to you. Don’t slag people off in public Rich, they say. You’re burning bridges. You’ll end up like Stuart Campbell. I never paid much mind. Perhaps it’s just because we’re both Scottish, and irascible. Who knows.

      • RevStu says:

        If I’ve served no other purpose in life, one would imagine it would be to warn people what can happen if you get involved with Future.

      • RevStu says:

        “If you think it’s gratuitous to talk about sexism, fair enough, but I bang on about this topic regularly”

        It’s not gratuitous to talk about sexism. It’s somewhat gratuitous to do it in this barely-related context, and to actually make it the headline.

        “and seriously, pious? That shows a certain mindset. Do you think I’m just trying to score points with the ladies?”

        Much though it grates against weary experience, I try not to be too cynical when male journalists bemoan sexism while working in an industry that still caters predominantly to adolescent boys. That becomes much more difficult when people lazily equate it to misogyny.

      • Arremer says:

        “My post is called ‘CVG Hates Women’ because I believe things like Booth Babe galleries ARE women-hating at bottom.”
        How do you get into such a frame of mind? A gallery of pictures for people to admire (not quite the right term, but certainly not sharpen knives at) is hatred? Would you be calling misandry if they did a gallery of all the manly muscled men there?
        Stuck-up white knight attitudes only serve to degrade the rest of your points, as well as making you sound like someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Sexism is not implicitly misogyny. Any statement about any sex placing it either above or below another is sexism. Misogyny is hatred towards women.

      • feten says:

        “sexism involves hatred of gender”
        No, racism/sexism/whatever are not necessarily about hatred but are about unjust judgments/claims. Saying women shouldnt have short hair isnt hatred, but it is sexism.

    • John Walker says:

      While I’m not nearly insane enough to want to get too deeply into a sexism/misogyny debate, I think there’s little room for ambiguity when you look at the original text on CVG. The strapline essentially calls them whores, and then goes on to suggest that women at game shows should be rated out of 10. Whichever label you give it, it’s deserving of condemnation without any need for lazy accusations of “white knighting”.

  5. asdasd says:

    What a bunch of twats.

  6. nfdods says:

    The whole E3 coverage made me never want to visit CVG ever again. I wonder how it stacks up with people disgusted by the content against people who are looking to crack one off.

  7. [...] the article was published on CVG, which Stanton took offense to. On his blog Boots of Justice, he wrote a scathing critique of CVG’s editorial practices, claiming the site “deliberately [...]

  8. Lydia says:

    I had an interview for a staff writer job at CVG once & i absolutely crumbled when it came to displaying brand awareness. Had i been more aware of their practices and standards i doubt i would have applied for that role in the first place. Ugh.

  9. anony mouse says:

    I would never write anythung for Future full stop, I hear they are terrible and pay a pittance. If you sign the contract, you have to accept the conditions.

    As for the women, yes it is distasteful, but are a really surprised? As a female myself I regard it only as a pathetic means of them gaining traffic. If silly little boys think it’s amusing, then leave them and their wankhand to it.

  10. acenck says:

    This is why I like to keep a considerable distance.

  11. Skerret says:

    You’re welcome over at the Bear and Badger any time Rich. A lack of self awareness is a badge of honour at B&B.

  12. Ugh. Good for you for calling this out.

  13. Lewis Denby says:

    If a score doesn’t match the words, and it gets published anyway, that’s exclusively the fault of the reviews editor. ESPECIALLY when the review was commissioned for another publication entirely. It’s the reviews editor’s job (or whoever deals with reviews editing) to ensure that both scores and text are consistent with the brand and, if they’re not, to work with the author to rectify that. To publish the review as is, then publicly blame the writer, is extraordinary. Disappointed with Rob, a person I like and respect, over this.

    • Richard Plant says:

      That’s the story here, surely? That a well-known and connected editor who has worked in the industry for some time felt within his rights to publicly throw a freelance writer under a bus to appease some aggrieved commenters.

      This smacks of at the very least an under-appreciation of the level of courtesy required to keep working in an industry famous for institutional failure to support good workers.

  14. delrio says:

    I actually think a man heavily involved in the gaming industry is the perfect person to comment on the use of women as marketing tools.

    Any woman that provides commentary is invariably branded as being jealous, regardless of how well thought out and intelligent her insight might be. Oh and of course they’re clearly fat, ugly and probably a closet lesbian.

    Also, let’s face it, women are not the target of these marketing ploys. Men are. So as a man you could provide a good insight into how it feels to be treated like a walking sex organ. You could debate about whether they’re insulting your intelligence or just going the quick easy way they know will win over a fairly large group of young men.

    Beyond the initial ‘ooooh pretty’ reaction, I think a lot of guys are becomming disenchanted with this method of marketing. Especially when they’re standing in front of all the shiny toys the guys want to play with.

    Interestingly, attending events I tend to be completely ignored by these booth babes as (as a woman) I’m clearly not likely to be sucked in by them batting eyelashes at me. This extends to the point where I have to actively shove my way through to finding out any information I might want. I find this amusing as I have more disposable income than many they DO target.

  15. feten says:

    While that line is problematic, since when is a gallery of women perceived as “attractive” misogynistic? As someone who is attracted to men I would very much like to see more “booth hunks” or something, but that’s a problem with only pandering to heterosexual males, not of misogyny.

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