What Is Video Game Journalism?
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated March 9, 2021 | Published February 4, 2020
Updated March 9, 2021
Published February 4, 2020
There are many fields of journalism, including the niche discipline of video game journalism. This type of journalism connects audiences to the companies that create and develop video games by providing up-to-date news coverage on development and trusted opinions on upcoming or just released games and systems. You can use your writing skills and interest in the gaming community to pursue this field of journalism. In this article, we discuss what video game journalism is, what video game journalists do and how to become one.
What is video game journalism?
Video game journalism is a type of journalism where writers cover news about video games. This niche type of journalism typically focuses on the life cycle of a game or a company's products and other events happening in the industry, including these topics:
Some video game journalism focuses primarily on discussing the initial announcement of a game or gaming system, such as title, plot or story, concept art, the company creatives and developers involved, prospective release data and system specs. This form of article is news-based to provide readers with the basic details about an in-development game.
This element of video game journalism provides more details about a game's plot, art, characters and gameplay mechanics as well as a system's specs. This information typically comes from seeing or playing a demo version of a game. Game developers and companies often pitch development articles to writers and publications to garner media coverage and audience excitement about a release.
Right before or soon after a video game or system is released, gaming publications provide reviews of a full-release game to assess story and characters, gameplay difficulty and price-to-gameplay value. These articles often influence readers' decisions on whether they are going to buy various products.
This element of video game journalism covers the ongoing development of already-released games and systems. Some games operate on systems that can be updated or fixed — also known as patched. Gaming publications communicate with companies and developers to provide news about updates to come as well as those already implemented. These articles help keep gamers informed of how the games they play will continue to improve.
There are a variety of industry events, including gaming tournaments, conventions as well as company launch and media events. This element of video game journalism covers the initial announcement and general details of an event and day-of coverage of events, speakers and announcements.
In addition to game and event announcements, there are many other industry news items covered in this type of journalism, including important company changes and community discourse.
Types of video game journalism
There are a few types of video game journalism that involve different publishing methods. Many writers pursue opportunities in the following:
Many video game journalism pieces are published independently by freelance writers, either on a blog, community site or in a professional publication. This type of professional video game journalism allows writers to diversify their publishing opportunities.
Blogs and websites
There are many video game blogs and websites that specialize in news updates and/or video game reviews. Some blogs are hosted by a single industry writer while others may be a community blog open to submissions. Various sites provide articles on the full scope of the industry, including those that also have print publications.
This industry also has many magazine publications dedicated to video game coverage while other digital media publications publish articles on these topics. Also, some general news publications may have a media and arts section in which pieces about video game releases, reviews and other industry news are published.
What do video game journalists do?
A video game journalist is a writer who focuses on all elements of the video game industry. Though some responsibilities may vary depending on whether they are freelance or write for a specific publication, many video game journalists often have the following duties:
Communicate with game developers and creatives to gain information about in-production games
Research a game's, company's or developer's background to add vital context to a piece
Conduct research on the gaming industry and its history to add context to pieces
Play game demos and early releases to provide a first-hand gamer review
Attend conventions and company launches to provide press for events
Write blogs, reviews and articles on continuing updates or other news on games and gaming companies
Pitch article and blog ideas to editors
Collaborate with editors to revise pieces before publishing
How to become a video game journalist
If you are interested in becoming a video game journalist, here are some common steps to take in pursuing this career path:
1. Consider earning a degree
Though a degree is not often required for video game journalist roles, having a strong background in writing, research and interviewing can provide you with the necessary skills. Consider pursuing a degree or coursework in journalism, communication or a related discipline. You can also take courses in video game development and design to refine your knowledge of the creative and development process. This background can help you add depth and expertise to your writing, which may increase your trust among readers and publications.
2. Start a blog
Even if you do not have a degree, you can start a blog and begin publishing articles on game reviews, industry updates and gaming history among many other topics. This step can enable you in building an audience, refining your writing style and discovering the industry topics you prefer to and excel in writing about. Having a blog can also serve as a starting point in creating a strong portfolio of work, which can be used to help you secure other professional writing opportunities in the field.
3. Build a portfolio
Collect pieces of your best work and consider creating a physical or digital portfolio of your writing. This can be part of your blog, or you can have a portfolio website where you post links to your published work. You can also print some of your best pieces to have in a physical portfolio that you bring to in-person meetings or interviews if you apply for a position at a publication.
Read more: How To Build Your Work Portfolio
4. Pitch to editors and publications
If you want to grow your publishing opportunities and your audience, you can contact industry publications or community blogs seeking writers and pitch article ideas to them. Try to find topics that are not typically covered in the industry or those that the publication has not covered extensively to provide unique value to their audience. Be sure to provide your portfolio and/or a link to your own blog to demonstrate your writing proficiency and industry knowledge.
5. Network in the community
Networking can provide you valuable connections to professional opportunities, contact with industry leaders and influencers as well as access to important gaming events and other information you can use in your writing. Consider joining and becoming active on community blogs and forums to create connections. You can also attend gaming conventions and apply for media coverage access to industry events to meet fellow writers, players and game developers.
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