7 reasons why being an online videogame journalist is just as cool as you think

The world of the online videogames journalist isn’t as straight-forward as it may seem. To give you an insight into what my job involves on a daily basis I detailed some of the negative aspects of the role in the feature “7 reasons why being an online videogame journalist isn't as cool as you think.” But now I want to tell you about some of the perks of the job, what motivates me and why I believe it’s worth working hard if you wish to get involved in such a great career.

1. Playing games pre-release and hearing about what’s coming up…

When you join an editorial team you become privy to lots of information that most gamers won’t hear about until much further down the line. Though I’m often bound by NDAs (contracts with publishers that prevent you from revealing the information,) or publisher trust, it’s always an exciting moment when I’m given information that cannot yet be revealed, or when a courier knocks at the door to deliver a preview disc of a title that isn’t released for months.

Being able to play games way before release date is a real highlight of the role, as is being trusted with secret information that can’t yet be leaked to the masses: it feels a bit like you’re in an exclusive private club. I always find it exciting when I first boot up a new game knowing that I’ll be one of the relative few to be playing it.

2. The buzz of breaking a news story..

I mentioned in my previous article that the daily news grind can be laborious, but at times it can be really exciting. While surfing the net for news, asking questions to publishers and conducting interviews, you occasionally uncover a piece of information that hasn’t yet broken across the web and is therefore of critical importance to any gaming website.

This is where teamwork really comes into play. If we hear of a breaking story at PSU, more often than not a team of us will immediately start researching it, and work as fast as we can to get the information online, make it as accurate as possible and then promote it across various channels.

Being the source of breaking news is critical for websites like PlayStation Universe because more hits allows us to grow and bring in new members. There’s a real buzz among the team as we work together to promote the article as fast as we possibly can so that other sites use us as the source. Knowing that other websites are out there trying to break news first too makes it all the more exciting. This really is a race against the clock.

Most gaming websites will have behind-the-scenes hit counters too, so writers can see how many people read their articles. Knowing that an article has been read by thousands of people and has brought in more traffic than a whole week’s worth of news posts is something to be proud of, especially if it’s an article that you’ve worked spent many hours working on.

3. Meeting and talking with those who make the games...

As a videogames journalist you get the opportunity to interview gaming legends via email and Skype and meet with the producers and designers of some great games. It’s a real privilege to have these people dedicate a part of their day to you. 


            Don meets Hideo Kojima pre-E3 Sony press conference

Many websites send journalists to community days and major events such as E3 and GamesCom. Before I started working in the industry it was a dream of mine to travel to E3 and it was an incredible experience attending this year. Being around gamers and other journalists spending time talking about what you love is something that you don’t get to do every day, so any event I attend is something to soak up and enjoy.

If you’re trying to get into the industry this is also a great way to get connections. I used to travel to events with my own money and just speak to people. I soon bumped into website editors looking for writers. You never know who you’re going to meet.

Indeed, our East ... (continued on next page) ----

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again. Follow @steven_gamer
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