The State of PlayStation Coverage at DualShockers

Where is our review of PS5, and what does it have to do with PlayStation? DualShockers discusses the oft-ignored topic of media access.

Update: Hey all — over a year later, and we are within striking distance of next gen and the future of PlayStation. As you might expect from this article, we also are not in the tranche of gaming outlets that have received a PS5. While we can’t say for sure why this continues to be an area of conflict between us and the Sony PR team, we want to acknowledge it and remind our audience exactly what the problem is.

With that said, keep your eyes on DualShockers for a full review of the consumer-builds of the launch lineup and PS5 hardware, free from any burdens of pre-release embargo rushes or unseen launch issues.

Original story follows:

Good morning all, and Happy Thursday! This is Lou Contaldi, friendly neighborhood Editor in Chief over at DualShockers. Many of you all are undoubtedly keeping your eyes peeled for Days Gone reviews that should surface within the next hour — we are too. Unfortunately, you won’t be finding pre-release review coverage for Days Gone at DualShockers, and we’d like to offer a quick explanation and glimpse into our relationship with PlayStation.

We’ve had a few discussions in the past about the transparency of DualShockers and content creation — we want to be upfront with our readers in our successes, flaws, accomplishments, and shortcomings. This includes our move to using affiliate links (and the transparency that comes with it), our stance on editorial freedom, and freely requesting help in shaping the future of website design. We are as much a part of the DualShockers community as we are content creators here (many of us starting off as readers ourselves) and think that honesty is the best policy.

Many readers and third-party partners alike have been asking about our review and preview coverage on PlayStation titles. With a name like DualShockers, we obviously attract a hefty PlayStation following — even though we definitely cater to all consoles in the market — and pride ourselves on often exhaustive coverage of upcoming PlayStation-exclusive titles like Death StrandingThe Last of Us: Part II or Persona 5 The Royal. So it’s almost natural that a lot of community members and friends have been asking where our preview coverage is. Especially when other outlets get hands-on time with Days Gone or MLB: The Show 19.

The Main Points

In full transparency, you likely won’t be seeing any pre-release preview or review coverage for Sony published games at DualShockers. (Sorry!) That is, not unless something majorly changes in our existing relationship with PlayStation, and this isn’t anything new.

“…you likely won’t be seeing any pre-release preview or review coverage for Sony published games at DualShockers.”

The good news: this isn’t going to shift our current depth and breadth of PlayStation coverage. For the better part of a decade DualShockers has maintained limited (if any) access to PlayStation events and titles.

We aren’t changing how we have been operating day-to-day and we will be reviewing both Days Gone and future PlayStation published titles as soon as they release commercially. However, we hope this will definitively answer past, present, and future questions from our community and partners on why Sony-published reviews, previews, and interviews come so far after standard press embargoes.

Why Discuss PlayStation Access Now?

This is perhaps an unusual message from DualShockers. We normally dodge industry talk that dive into the politics of games press. Also, we don’t intend to make these open-air addresses for all games that we don’t get in the future. However, given how many of our readers come to DualShockers for our PlayStation news coverage and how many questions we tend to get on this, the Editorial Board believe that quick clarification is necessary. Hopefully, it will even cut the rumors that we are on PlayStation’s payroll. [Narrator’s voice: We aren’t.]

This isn’t a column to point fingers at a publisher or their PR department. We aren’t trying to cause a backlash, nor are we under the grand belief that we could. We are first and foremost PlayStation enthusiasts and we certainly don’t know where our media blackout with PlayStation originates from. It existed far before my tenure on the DualShockers team roughly five years ago. In fact, it’s been the biggest mystery of my editorial career. We’ve speculated on a million different reasons: did we insult the PlayStation Vita? Did we cover a rumor or leak that landed us firmly outside of PlayStation’s good graces? Had an editor accidentally shoulder-checked Shuhei Yoshida on the E3 show floor?

“…we wanted to keep you in the loop on what you can expect to see (and more importantly not see) on DualShockers.”

Put plainly… we just don’t know. Despite reaching out to PlayStation for some clarification, trying to remediate our relationship, and everything short of couples counseling, we are in the dark when it comes to anything related to our relationship with PlayStation. And we’ve largely exhausted our efforts to fix this. With a new console generation slowly peeking over the horizon, we wanted to keep you in the loop on what you can expect to see (and more importantly not see) on DualShockers.

PlayStation Pros and Cons

Please note, this isn’t us griping over early access to games and events. We fully believe that every developer and publisher, including PlayStation, can pick and choose the publications they choose to work with. It is often strategically necessary and prudent to make sure sites and influencers with the largest readership or providing more favorable coverage get priority. It’s the nature of the industry. We similarly do our own share of picking-and-choosing on what games we choose to cover. Sometimes, it’s strictly business.

“…we fully believe that every developer and publisher… can pick and choose the publications they choose to work with.”

There is also often benefits to us acting as consumers, without concern about our access. Buying games out of pocket at launch often gives us the time for more comprehensive deep dives into games and the material, free from rushed embargo deadlines or strict review conditions. Additionally, we have managed to deep-dive more fully into shifting controversial policies and coverage that other press sites are more hesitant to embrace.

Even still, limiting access to review, preview, and event coverage often ends up hurting our audience. For that we apologize. Perhaps sometime soon we will be able to give pre-release analysis and coverage to help fans, consumers, and enthusiasts (much like us) make decisions on what games best serve their time and hard-earned dollar.

At the end of the day, we hope to shed a light on our coverage. Specifically, why we can’t provide our often most-anticipated PlayStation-published reviews with other Metacritic approved outlets. Or why our coverage sometimes skews to preview other publishers’ titles and interviews more prevalently. Either way, we will still be doing our same exhaustive news coverage of PlayStation exclusives that we have been doing over the past half-decade.

Looking To The Future

We hope that we can continue to build and repair our relationship with PlayStation. We are huge fans of the company, products, content creators, and everyone we’ve had the pleasure of working with across all branches of the studio, especially in PR. Until that happens we will do our best to continue navigating around a lack of access to games, events, and personnel — the same as we have over the last five years.

Finally, thank you again everyone reading this for your continued support of DualShockers. Thanks in part to our new website design, our tenth anniversary is shaping up to be our strongest year ever. We wouldn’t be here without the constant support of our community and readers. And at the end of the day, we are just happy to connect and create content gamers like us.

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Lou Contaldi

Lou Contaldi specializes in both reviews and the business behind gaming. He began writing about tech and video games while getting his Juris Doctor at Hofstra University School of Law. He is maybe the only gaming journo based in Nashville, TN.

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