Food to rock the NFL!

He said, Hsu said; EGM interviews Peter Moore

In case you don't remember, Dan "Shoe" Hsu, the editor of gaming-mag EGM, wrote an editorial last month beginning, "My industry pisses me off." In it he railed against the lack of journalistic ethics in the video games press; against the buying of coverage and the lack of critical response. People got in a huff that he didn't "name names," and so it was that another chapter in the saga of "video games journalism sucks" began.

Hsu took it upon himself to show the kids how they're supposed to play when he sat down to interview Microsoft's top marketing exec, Peter Moore. It should be stated that trying to get a professional salesman like Moore to slip up in an interview is like trying to herd cats, most people just don't do it; there's a reason Microsoft sends this guy out to do this stuff. Nevertheless, Hsu insisted on trying to round him up.

He prefaces the interview boasting, "...this interview is no walk in the park...." He proceeds to ask him a series of loaded questions that aren't any more insightful than the banter of a gaming forum. Why aren't the graphics better; why is the console so loud; why is Barbie's Horse Adventures compatible while Splinter Cell isn't? What is most obnoxious isn't the questions themselves, but the fact that the answers are all known; we know the answers, Hsu knows the answers. There wasn't a chance Moore was going to stumble and say, "Oh, the system's loud because we really rushed the hardware design... oops," or, "We really anticipated that more Xbox owners would enjoy Barbie's Horse Adventures."

It's an exercise in humiliation, the goal being to make Peter Moore squirm while affirming Dan Hsu's role as an "investigatory journalist." It's not that tough questions are out of bounds, but the verve with which Hsu made his point seemed to be not so much in the name of journalistic integrity as it was didacticism.

Reader Comments (Page 1 of 1)


1-23-2006 @ 12:30AM

ShaleX said...

Okay, so, I read this laughingstock, and Yeah... Seriously, all but the Sonytendoist of Fanboy could see it was futile. People must think that.. cause Microsoft is offering to fix broken and DOA 360's that they are trying to hide that 5% of them are bad. I think the thing that pissed me off the most, was they were using the laziest of ports to attack the console manufacturer.

It's like "Well, your right, Gun and Tony Hawk were redone with new textures and such, but the Xbox downgraded all the stuff the developer did to make it look like a previous gen game."


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Tom Crymes2

1-23-2006 @ 8:51AM

Tom Crymes said...

Christopher. I think you get it, and it's not because I'm an XBox360 Fanboy. Hsu didn't ask anything of relevance. It was a blatant attempt to say, "Hey look at me. I'm attacking the head of a company. Weee." Nothing was gained. It was a petulant act.

Here is how real reporters do it. They dig up some juicy information, and armed with facts, they interview a subject and ask them questions using those facts, and hope something juicy falls out. He did none of that.

And then he uses loaded questions instead of honest, direct ones. Asking Peter Moore which games are better adds nothing to the discussion. Asking him why some of the better games are not backward compatible, while lesser games are, is a better question. And you correctly pointed out that he already knows the answer to the question. Anyone who has been surfing the net knows.



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1-23-2006 @ 9:50AM

Nossy said...

Yeap like I said, there were far better questions he should've ask. I think he was set out to try to get Peter Moore admits that the 360 is a "faulty" console. And what's the deal with the RARE question? Is PDZ and Kameo SO bad that MS needs to get the company off its hand? (Hsu didnt seem to like Kameo and PDZ).


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Pixelantes Anonymous4

1-23-2006 @ 10:57AM

Pixelantes Anonymous said...

I think the interview had a great idea, but it didn't quite deliver. What did he expect? Peter Moore to admit everything and cry? You can't get a professional marketing person to do anything like that unless you lock him in and torture him for a while (or you're their publisher after they get out of the industry and you're publishing their "expose" book). It was good to see the questions asked though.

I think it was a good effort, and here's hoping he and others in the video game publication industry keep it up. Maybe if they practised this sort of interviewing more often, they'd be better at it.


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C. Grant5

1-23-2006 @ 10:57AM

C. Grant said...

I really didn't like Kameo at all, and I think Rare has not been paying off for them at all, so I can't begrudge him that! :)

Thanks for the thoughts Tom. I think petulant is a great way to describe how he handled it. I'm most certainly not opposed to calling people out, especially Microsoft. His eagerness to do so is what really turned me off.


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1-23-2006 @ 11:53AM

RP said...

I think these video game writers need to keep their role in things in perspective. This isn't the end of the world, people.

Dan Hsu (and much of the Ziff-Davis crew) has this enormous chip on his shoulder. Is it because he reports on something that is, at the end of the day, unimportant in the scope of things? He is a journalist in the same way that the "Us Weekly" folks are journalists. Imagine if he put his hard-nosed tactics to use against, say, the president of the U.S.:

Hsu: Which of the reasons to go to war with Iraq was your favorite?

Bush: I liked all of them, really, especially the anthrax. But I know you didn't like the anthrax one.

Hsu: I thought it was stupid, but I know of a magazine that I won't mention that got paid to say that anthrax was their favorite.

Bush: Huh.

Hsu: Yep.


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1-23-2006 @ 12:07PM

pennywise969 said...

I was expecting Moore to break like Jack Nicholson did in "A Few Good Men." You want the truth, you can handle the truth. I eat breakfast 300 yards from where Nintendo employees are being trained to kill me.


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Justin Hall8

1-23-2006 @ 3:03PM

Justin Hall said...

Dan Hsu's interview was an important "shot across the bow" of game evangelism. We all love games; that's why we read sites like "XboxFanBoy". But we have to be more critical. Most Xbox 360 launch games were weak ports. They weren't the touted future of entertainment, yet. They certainly weren't worth $60.

Yes, we should understand and be patient with the Xbox 360. But the role of the journalists in society is to hold people in power accountable for their statements. Dan Hsu may seem to have a chip on his shoulder in this interview, only because so many game journalists softball questions and interviews.


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Tom Crymes9

1-23-2006 @ 3:31PM

Tom Crymes said...

Thinking about it. Game journalists can only aspire to be like Premeire for movies or Rolling Stone for music. It is an entertainment medium, and there is only so much you can do without sounding like a child. "Why did your last album suck?" or "King Kong was awful. Don't you think people should get their money back?"

Of course there is room for some stuff on the business side. Conspiracy theorists speculated that Microsoft deliberately underproduced XBox360s to inflate the demand and create a cult of personality.

What did the game journalists do? They just asked Peter Moore or Bill Gates (or whoever) if it was true knowing full well the answer. They would need to dig into the numbers and find out for themselves and their readers. They didn't, so all we have is Microsoft's word against speculation. Guess who wins that battle?


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1-23-2006 @ 4:35PM

BobbyHollywood said...

I agree with most of the commenters above, but I'm surprised that nobody has called out this comment:

>"Shortly after this interview, Microsoft announced all three Splinter Cells to be backwards compatible on the Xbox 360. But we still thought this conversation was funny, so we left it intact.�Ed."

So Shoe was so tickled at his little "name the game that's backward compatible" trick, despite the fact that it's been asked-and-answered so many times, he decided to leave it in the piece for the humor value?

And this is supposed to be hard-hitting journalism?

I agree that video game journalism shouldn't be sycophantic sucking up. But what Shoe did here wasn't much better.

I'm guessing Peter Moore didn't leave the interview thinking "wow, he got me good." He probably left the interview thinking "wow, what a spoiled brat."


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1-23-2006 @ 5:20PM

RP said...

Tom, you're absolutely right. Unfoprtunately, today's game writers for the most part are first gamers, second reviewers, and third, writers.

Do you think that any of these dudes would know how to analyze financial documents if he or she got ahold of them? What kind of training do they actually have? Could they be journalists if they even wanted to?

Signs point to no, especially considering all of the ridiculous attempts at "serious" games journalism lately.


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1-23-2006 @ 10:50PM

Jorge said...

How about this inane question:

EGM: Let's say you want to introduce something that will affect gameplay, like a new car or a new weapon, and you have an entire group of Xbox 360 gamers that don't have access to the Internet. How will they access this content and how will they play with the people who do have it? How will it be balanced?

Duh! If you can't access the content because you don't have Internet access, how are you going to play with other people who do have it? Don't tell me Shoe is worried about people who play on LANs.


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