Conflict of Interest: IGN and Nintendo
I don’t really believe in conflicts of interest when it comes to games journalism. I haven’t reviewed the exact Nintendo games I translated to Dutch, but if someone asked me, I probably would.
If anything, the time I spent with these games at Nintendo gave me a deeper understanding of them. Maybe the extended play time would make me more certain of my criticisms and put them in a more direct way. This might make Nintendo unhappy, but hey, they’ll have to respect my dual role. I’ll gladly explain why I can be a good translator and a good journalist at the same time.
Anyway, the point I wanted to make is: you have to be transparent. If everyone involved knows what’s going on–Nintendo, my readers, my editors–hell will never break loose. So, if I were to review ‘Big Brain Academy’ for Nintendo DS, I’d start with a brief disclaimer.
Perhaps ‘hell breaking loose’ is a bit strong. But still, when it was discovered that IGN’s Nintendo editor Matt Casamassina, probably the best-connected person in the small world of Nintendo journalism, is “married to someone working for Nintendo’s PR company”:http://gamepolitics.com/2007/12/20/conflict-of-interest-igns-nintendo-editor-is-married-to-nintendo-pr-exec/, people felt deceived.
It’s very simple: Matt should have told his readers about his ‘conflict of interest’. A short explanation would’ve been enough to convince most people that his wife wouldn’t change his reporting.