Monday, April 08, 2013

Can Video Game Journalists Still Make Money?

Outside of Google ads, I don’t know how most gaming journalists and reviewers are able to make a weekly paycheck happen unless you’re with Kotaku or Gamasutra, but even then, it’s probably a great job at a very low wage. We have come of age with the internet that news, content, information, resources, everything is at our fingertips. A few strokes of the keyboard, a click of the mouse (or smacking the Enter key if you’re hardcore), and within seconds you have everything you could want. It’s difficult to compete in journalism where news is out there now for free.

Everyone can make a blog or a news site and anyone can review a video game. I mean, just look at my blog. I average about 15,000 hits a month on this little thing. No ads. No profit. I created this blog to share my personal opinions about games with the occasional news and reviews with my own sad little brand of humor. I’ll be going into my 4th year since I began this blog back in April of 2010, and I still love it.

At the same time, I know that I’m selling myself short. In fact, I’m not selling myself at all. I’m giving this content out for free. There are pieces that I have on this blog that I’m really proud of; those which help elevate games and gaming journalism to a new level. Unfortunately we’re at the point in media evolution that we’re expected to do some things for free in order to get our name out there, build up the street cred, and THEN we can start making money. Freelancing, having your own blog, gaming consultant, all of these help build up your image in the industry and eventually you can get a steady job paying the bills as a journalist.

And for a number of us, having a blog is there for an outlet. I don’t want to be a gaming journalist, though I feel there are a few things I could help contribute to the industry. I made this blog for me and for anyone else with alternative views about video games and geek culture that want an outlet from the norm. I’m not The Nerdest. I’m not Kotaku. And I don’t plan on being any of those online publications. I may be giving out my views for free, but I don’t think that should matter. I’m a gamer and a fan of gaming. I’m going to continue writing and speaking my thoughts. Payment isn’t necessary. I understand that it may affect those who are in journalism trying to make a living. Instead of surfing to their website or Kotaku, knowing that every click they’re getting paid, the reader comes to me. It’s the world that we all have to compete in for views. 

To answer the question, yes video game journalists can make money. How much and if they're willing to do freelance gigs will determine the answers.

The National Union of Journalists is holding a conference on April 18th in London, England, with one of the panel topics specifically about this subject about how to make money in this ever changing business of gaming journalism. If you’re in that realm of the world, go sign up. They are also offering panels about writing in video games and the history of gaming journalism. All are welcome and food. You can’t beat food!

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