There's been a lot of controversy surrounding GameTrailer's comparison video of Race Driver: GRID, which pitted the PlayStation 3 version up against ... um ... the PlayStation 3 version. Is the site horrifically biased? On Microsoft's payroll? We spoke with GameTrailers Editor In Chief, Shane Satterfield, to clear up the matter.
How did this mistake happen?
It was a mistake in our post-production process. After we captured the footage from both versions, some of the footage of the PlayStation 3 version of the game was incorrectly placed in the bin for the Xbox 360 footage. Our video editor on this particular project is not a games person and completely overlooked the fact that he had the wrong footage in the wrong place. We normally have multiple checks from games editorial on every segment that is published, but there was some confusion on who did/did not look at it before it was sent out for compression. Thus, the mistake.
Was the audio narrative written before, after or during the video editing process? Was it based on the video published or an actual comparison of PS3 and Xbox 360?
There is no audio narrative in the video we produced. People went in and inserted their own audio narrative and then tried to pass those videos off as media we produced to suit their own agenda. We have never had any sort of audio or text commentary in any of our comparison videos.
What is the process by which you vet and edit these videos? How many people (and who) proof these videos before they go live?
I think I answered this one above. Obviously our procedures that are put in place did not succeed in this case, but it will never happen again.
What other videos have been pulled in the site's history?
This is the first piece of media we've had to pull down due to something like this.
Is this an endemic issue?
It is definitely an issue that's unique to our business because it's difficult to find video editors that are as embedded into video games as much as the GameTrailers editorial staff. Therefore we have to include more fail safes than the average gaming site to make sure things like this don't happen. While these fail safes are in place, this was the first case where the process was not adequate.
Why were comments disabled, forums posts deleted, etc?
"If you take a look in our forums there are plenty of examples of users giving us criticism--constructive or otherwise. Feedback is essential to improving a product."
Honestly, I don't know anything about this happening. The video was removed immediately once the mistake was noticed, so there wasn't an opportunity for us to even close the comments on it because it was no longer live on the site. If forum posts were deleted it was likely because there were so many threads about it that the moderators decided to cull them down to one thread, but I do not know this for a certainty. We do not close threads on GameTrailers because of criticism. If you take a look in our forums there are plenty of examples of users giving us criticism--constructive or otherwise. Feedback is essential to improving a product.
By merit of being the only player in the comparison, doesn't the PlayStation also win?
Haha! Well, there is footage from the 360 version in the comparison, but admittedly there's no way to make an educated decision due to our mistake. We're working on an updated version of the video that will lead with an apology for the gaffe.
How recently had the intern been hired?
What intern? I'm not sure what you're asking about here. We're not going to call out anyone publicly for a mistake that they made, though. The situation has definitely been dealt with, though.
Why do you hate the PlayStation SO MUCH? How much does Microsoft give you?
Ha! We haven't had any advertising from Microsoft on GameTrailers.com for over two years. In all honesty, we made a mistake and we're terrible sorry for it. We're also putting measures in place to ensure it never happens again. It's surprising how paranoid people are and how desperate they can be to try and manipulate the masses into believing that there's some kind of malicious activity going on that will slight their favorite console.
"It blows my mind and saddens me that people took the time to go in and doctor our original piece of media to make us look worse."
It blows my mind and saddens me that people took the time to go in and doctor our original piece of media to make us look worse. I'm also disappointed that so many publications ran their stories without contacting us for the real story and instead took the word of random Internet folks who were totally manipulating the situation.
Of course, the moral of the story is that if we had not made a mistake this wouldn't be happening, but at the same time I'm shocked that such an innocent mistake has been portrayed as intentional and malicious. We work hard to make sure there's quality content for everyone on the site, and when stuff like this happens you feel a litle betrayed by the people you're working so hard for. Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where people just enjoyed video games regardless of what platform they're released for?