I was going to blog about this back at the end of the August, when the this first cropped up. Typically, things got in the way, time past, and it seemed less relevant to talk about – until today. We all talked about it at length when it first announced, but today is the actual day that GamesTribe is hosting their own ‘training course‘ for budding videogames journalists. For those of you who don’t know, GamesTribe is a kind of conglomerate of smaller, independent games websites. Formed by ex-Future employees (and industry veterans in their own right), GamesTribes tries to take on many of the task smaller website might have trouble with, such as contacting PR, advertising, and even lends a hand with site growth. They even partnered with Gameleon, a social network solely for videogames journalists. It seems like an interesting idea, although I wonder how useful if could be in terms of long-term growth.
Anyway, back to the training course: I have mixed feelings about this, as did a lot of the people I talked to about it at the time. The professional in me is actually very curious as to what kind of things will be talked about – you can always learn something, even if it’s just another perspective on something you already know. I’ve never met Keith Stuart before (at least, I don’t think I have… I’m better with faces than with names), but I’ve no reason to believe he doesn’t know his stuff. Whether he’s the ‘highest’ authority in these matters is another thing entirely, but again going by what I’ve just said, I wouldn’t poo-poo sitting through a talk by him. Same with the workshops – no mention of who’s actually teaching them, but I could probably pick up an idea or two – I could definitely use some pointers on interview technique, as I think that’s probably one of my weaker areas.
FYI: the only reason I’m not going is the price. £99.99 for a standard ticket, £49.99 for an early bird. I hear that corporate training always costs a bundle, but I’m sorry that’s just taking the biscuit. I’m not THAT curious.
The other side of things though of course is what will this training course achieve, ultimately? It’s being sponsored by EA, and being held at EA’s offices in Guildford, so I imagine the all of the training will revolve and EA games. I can’t help but think this is just a bit of a publicity stunt for them (and those prices… god those prices), and I’m curious as to what the ‘certificate’ will net attendees. What about people like me who won’t be attending, and so won’t get the certificate? Are we now going to lose out because we didn’t want to go? Will the people who actually attended be treated better from now on? If not, then what was ultimately the point of this? A decent Journalism/Writing course with a University or simply the NCTJ could probably teach the core technical skills just as well, and be far, far more useful. The rest – the gaming specific stuff – you just pick as you go, which you’ll probably end up doing anyway even with this training because there isn’t a hell of a lot of standardisation at the moment.
I can’t help but feel this venture is just going to turn out to be not worth the money, and ultimately pointless. Who knows though – I’m commenting from the perspective of nearly four years experience, this might suite the younger generation of writers just coming into the industry, who might get some good guidance out of this. I hope any attendees get some real value out of this, I really do. We need to do more to educate each other and share information – there’s so many unbelievably bad websites and people out there.
If you are attending and fancy sharing some thoughts, feel free to comment below.