Header ian

First of all introduce yourself and let us know a little bit about what you do.

Hi, my name is Ian Miles Cheong and I’m the Editor-in-Chief at Gameranx.com. I han­dle var­i­ous aspects of the web­site, includ­ing man­ag­ing social media, gath­er­ing exclu­sives, direct­ing the news cov­er­age, and pen­ning op-eds.

How did you first get into games writing? When did you think “this is what I want to do professionally?”

I first got into games writ­ing well over a decade ago on smaller gam­ing web­sites. I did it as a hobby, as video games have always been my pas­sion.

It wasn’t until around 2008 that I founded my own gam­ing news web­site with a focus on Blizzard titles. It was mod­estly suc­cess­ful and I even­tu­ally moved on to Gameranx a few years later, where I’ve been ever since.

With the rise of YouTube and unpaid user content does the traditional gaming press still have a large enough impact to be relevant?

Ian side 1I think that the tra­di­tional gam­ing press can coex­ist alongside new media like YouTube, pro­vided that tra­di­tional games writ­ers know how to cater to their audi­ence instead of alien­at­ing them with words dis­re­spect­ful of their hobby. Can you imag­ine what it would be like if a movie web­site attacked movie­go­ers? It’s ridicu­lous to think about, and yet there are gam­ing web­sites whose writ­ers and edi­tors attack the very peo­ple who share their hobby — gamers.

When you’re on your morn­ing com­mute, you’re prob­a­bly going to be check­ing your favorite gam­ing web­sites instead of brows­ing YouTube. Despite the fact that user-made con­tent on sites like Reddit are more pop­u­lar than ever, I believe that there are still many read­ers who prefer to have their con­tent curated and deliv­ered to them pro­fes­sion­ally. It’s all a mat­ter of whether the tra­di­tional media is capa­ble of giv­ing them what they want.

In recent weeks you’ve become more open in saying what you think both on social media and in your writing. Some of your previous comments seem completely at odds with your current stance. I have to ask, what brought on this change?

There were a lot of things I wished to say while I was a part of the social jus­tice move­ment that I couldn’t, because of “sol­i­dar­ity” and all sorts of other rea­sons. Dissent isn’t tol­er­ated in the move­ment and step­ping out of line will earn you whis­pers behind your back to ostra­cize you both socially and pro­fes­sion­ally. There’s always a sense that your posi­tion in the move­ment is pre­car­i­ous and that unless you stand in front of the charge, you’re going to be shut out and treated like a fair­weather ally in spite of every­thing you’ve ever done to sup­port the move­ment. It’s for this rea­son that you see peo­ple falling over each other to see who can vil­ify their tar­gets the most.

At some point, the tar­gets that get picked are guilty of noth­ing more than mak­ing a joke, or say­ing some­thing that could poten­tially be inter­preted as prob­lem­atic, but isn’t actu­ally prob­lem­atic.

I did not expe­ri­ence a sud­den epiphany that changed my views overnight. It was grad­ual, and my stance slowly changed as I opened up to friends who weren’t bought into the pre­vail­ing nar­ra­tive, who saw how deep I was and reached out to pull my head out of the water.

How have your readers and people in general reacted to you since you began speaking your mind more openly?

Positively. My read­ers, more than ever, have voiced their appre­ci­a­tion and respect for my work. I feel thank­ful for hav­ing an audi­ence that likes my work, with whom I can inter­act on Twitter.

Do you think commercial gaming websites need to include practices like advertorial and affiliate links to survive in the modern media landscape?

I think it depends on the size of the web­site and how well they’re paid in terms of their adver­tise­ments. I don’t see a prob­lem with affil­i­ate links and adver­to­ri­als pro­vided that the edi­tors make it extremely clear to read­ers the nature of these arti­cles. It’s no dif­fer­ent from how some of the most promi­nent YouTubers lend their voices to paid videos. It’s not some­thing any­one should have a prob­lem with pro­vided they do not engage in decep­tion.

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What article or story are you most proud of publishing in your career as a games journalist?

I cover the news on a day to day basis, so I tend not to fix­ate on hav­ing pub­lished one amaz­ing story once upon a time that the rest of the things I pub­lish have to live up to. I feel it’s bet­ter to be con­sis­tent.

But if I had to name a recent piece, I’d go with my piece crit­i­cal of Rockstar’s consumer-unfriendly prac­tice of remov­ing con­tent from its games.

What are your thoughts on “call out culture” and how it permeates online activism and social media?

Outrage cul­ture is incred­i­bly unhealthy and unpro­duc­tive. It’s gen­er­ally bet­ter to “call in” before you “call out”, espe­cially if you care about hav­ing a dis­cus­sion with some­one with whom you dis­agree. Calling some­one out pub­licly doesn’t do much to cre­ate dis­course because its goal, gen­er­ally speak­ing, is to silence dis­sent — at least from a social jus­tice stand­point. Beyond that, you get a cer­tain rush from express­ing your self-righteous indig­na­tion in an explo­sive man­ner and it’s the sort of feel­ing that can drive a per­son to mak­ing their whole life about it.

I’ve been guilty of it, even lately, and I’m try­ing to cut back on gen­er­ally express­ing my out­rage before I suf­fer a stroke.

Do you think the subscription model of media will continue to make a comeback or are people just to reticent to pay for online news/ editorial?

I think it depends. Some sites, notably Giant Bomb, have achieved mod­est suc­cess with sub­scrip­tions. I don’t see it hap­pen­ing on a wider scale, though, because most web­sites just don’t have that kind of fan­base. Most web­sites earn their traf­fic through Google News.

Ian side 2You recently announced Gameranx would have an ethics policy. What spurred on that decision and do you think an ethics policy is something all gaming sites should have?

We’ve had an ethics pol­icy for awhile now, but it wasn’t until recently that we decided to make it pub­lic.

I think that earn­ing the trust of our read­ers is incred­i­bly impor­tant, and pub­lish­ing a pub­lic ethics pol­icy is a good way towards that. It sur­prises me that more web­sites don’t have them, and I believe it’s impor­tant that media pub­li­ca­tions (not just games web­sites) should have them, because it rep­re­sents a stan­dard for jour­nal­ists to adhere to.

You spoke recently about the trend of “dehumanizing Gamers” in reference to the “Gamers are dead” articles. Why do you think those articles happened in the first place and what did they hope to achieve?

I believe that the arti­cles were writ­ten with the intent of blam­ing gam­ing cul­ture for sex­ism, misog­yny and harass­ment in the games indus­try. They were writ­ten as a response to the Zoepost and the harass­ment against Zoe Quinn that fol­lowed its pub­li­ca­tion.

The arti­cles should have addressed the harass­ment she was fac­ing directly instead of attack­ing games cul­ture as a whole, because in doing so, they smeared a lot of inno­cent peo­ple who are guilty of noth­ing more than enjoy­ing video games.

The writ­ers, myself included, got ahead of them­selves in attempt­ing to explain why the harass­ment was hap­pen­ing and found an easy tar­get to blame all of it on. I don’t think most of the pieces were writ­ten with ill intent, but they were cer­tainly mis­guided. I know I was.

You’ve been the subject of some controversy in the past, questions around your Reddit moderation and some comments you made on forums in your earlier years. I see these brought up time after time whenever you are mentioned, is there anything you would like to say to clear the air on these instances?
Very much so. I wrote some very stu­pid, very thought­less, very offen­sive things when I was younger and par­tic­i­pat­ing on the RPG Codex forum. When con­fronted, I blamed “toxic gamer cul­ture” on my behav­ior instead of own­ing up to it as I should have. No one made me make those posts or say those things, though I def­i­nitely never espoused the views I expressed in those posts. I’m sorry for hurt­ing any­one with the com­ments I made.
Ian insert 1
Concerning red­dit, while I served as a mod­er­a­tor on front­page sub­red­dits, I sub­mit­ted and pro­moted arti­cles for var­i­ous orga­ni­za­tions for pay. It was very uneth­i­cal of me to do so and I’d like to apol­o­gize again to Hueypriest (if he should ever read this) and the rest of the site’s mod­er­a­tors that I worked with for betray­ing their trust in me, and I’m sorry to any­one who looked up to me as a power user on red­dit.
With that said, I have to com­mis­er­ate with all the hard-working mod­er­a­tors who work tire­lessly to keep their com­mu­ni­ties in shape, and it really fuck­ing sucks to see them thrown under the bus by peo­ple who don’t under­stand red­dit or how it works, espe­cially lately with the recent events and the media’s unfair cov­er­age.
Do you feel these were mistakes you learned from and grew from or do you stand by your past actions and comments?
Yes, these were absolutely mis­takes and I’m thank­ful to have friends and sup­port­ers who have steered me right. I owe it to them to be a bet­ter per­son than who I was.
Where do you see a site like “Gameranx” and games media in general being in five years’ time?
Gamers didn’t have much in the way of options ten years ago when it came to get­ting infor­ma­tion about their favorite games, but given the rise of YouTubers and Twitch stream­ers, and PR peo­ple wak­ing up to their promi­nence, gamers have a much broader range of options than ever before.
The tra­di­tional games media can go with the tide or drown beneath it.
Beyond that, the tra­di­tional games media needs to know not to demo­nize the very audi­ence that keeps it alive. I don’t see sites that con­stantly belit­tle their read­ers last­ing for very much longer.
I’m struck by the glut of editorials, like this one from Polygon, saying games are promoting real-world violence and discrimination. What’s your opinion on the resurgence of the idea that Videogames further violence, racism and sexism?
It‘s tripe. We fought against this anti-game nar­ra­tive when it was cham­pi­oned by Tipper Gore and Jack Thompson. The fact that we now have to fight it from within seems absolutely ridicu­lous, espe­cially since the argu­ments being made against video games have no ground­ing what­so­ever in real­ity and remain purely in the realm of con­jec­ture, dri­ven by agenda.
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With central and eastern European developers like CD Projekt RED and Warhorse Studios coming under fire, do you think there is enough effort made to understand games from cultures outside of the USA?
I don’t think enough effort is being made to under­stand games cre­ated out­side of US cul­ture. There’s are unfair expec­ta­tions placed on these games to com­ply with cul­tural norms estab­lished in the United States, that serve only to erase and homog­e­nize the cul­tures in which these games were made.
While it’s arguable that games like The Witcher 3 serve a global audi­ence rather than a Polish one, what ever hap­pened to sim­ply let­ting cre­ators tell the sto­ries they want to tell? Why does every­thing have to be turned into a bat­tle­ground about race and gen­der?
As someone who’s been in the middle of this debate and subject to some harsh words from both ‘sides’ how can we heal the deepening rift between some sections of the development community/ press and gaming enthusiasts? Is this sense of animosity a permanent state of affairs?
I think that we have to estab­lish respect for one another as peo­ple and stop treat­ing each other like garbage. Members of the press, for exam­ple, need to stop humil­i­at­ing their audi­ence over every lit­tle thing, and out­spo­ken gamers should have some respect for review­ers who give Arkham Knight a 7 out of 10 instead of call­ing for their res­ig­na­tion, espe­cially if they prop­erly explain why they dis­liked the game.
This isn’t to say that read­ers shouldn’t hold a reviewer account­able when they fail to dis­close con­flicts of inter­est or are unable to remain objec­tive and inject too much per­sonal pol­i­tics into the review. But if a reviewer has a bad time with a game, they cer­tainly have the right to say so and they shouldn’t be spat on for shar­ing an hon­est review.
Really, it all comes down to respect and giv­ing oth­ers the ben­e­fit of the doubt. I’m cer­tainly guilty of giv­ing peo­ple shit for their opin­ions, but I’m try­ing my best not to be that way.
https://supernerdland.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Header-ian.pnghttps://supernerdland.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Header-ian-150x150.pngJohn SweeneyInterviewsGameranx,Ian Miles Cheong,InterviewsFirst of all intro­duce your­self and let us know a lit­tle bit about what you do. Hi, my name is Ian Miles Cheong and I’m the Editor-in-Chief at Gameranx.com. I han­dle var­i­ous aspects of the web­site, includ­ing man­ag­ing social media, gath­er­ing exclu­sives, direct­ing the news cov­er­age, and pen­ning op-eds.How did…
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John Sweeney
John Sweeney is a ter­ri­bly British man with a back­ground in engi­neer­ing. He writes long-form edi­to­rial con­tent with analy­sis of gam­ing, games media and inter­net cul­ture. He also does the occa­sional video game ret­ro­spec­tive with a weekly column about Magic the Gathering thrown in for good mea­sure. He also does most of our inter­views for some rea­son, we have no idea why. A staunch sup­porter of free speech and con­sumer rights; skep­ti­cal of agenda dri­ven media and sus­pi­cious of unac­cou­table author­ity but always hope­ful for change.