Conflicts of interest in reviewing

There's an article on Forbes today that's about the controversial Mass Effect 3 ending and the state of videogame reviewing. It's an interesting read, even if you're not a gamer, because it raises a lot of interesting questions about the differences between reviewing a niche product and being a real journalist - in other words, you can replace "toys" every time you see the word "games" and it would be a perfectly valid article about the kind of work we do here. To wit:

[Collectors] and [toy] journalists want [toys] to be good - and I don't blame anyone for this impulse. Indeed, it's a uniquely optimistic stance.

In other forms of journalism, scandal is the prize. If you cover politics, you're always secretly hoping that a candidate or politician will do or say something stupid or scandalous. But in [toys], we all want the [toy] we're covering to be fun and exciting and groundbreaking.

Toy reviewing is a much smaller tent than game reviewing, but we're growing, and you can already see hints of the kinds of problems the article discusses. Maybe I'll do a full Point of Articulation talking about these issues in the future, but for now, go read the article, then come back here and tell us what you think. Are the problems the author mentions real ones? And if they are, do they matter to the realm of toy reviews, or is it just limited to videogames? Talk smart and I'll steal your ideas for the PoA article!

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