This ethics guide is written as if other writers are on board the website as one day Gamerccino intends to have staff, but really, at current it is run by one person. However, the below still applies.
At Gamerccino we take our writing seriously, while also allowing for a fun experience for the reader, giving them the best content we have to offer, and with accurate information. Gamerccino is created from a deep passion for video games both big and small, and at current acts as a blog. There is a future aim to be able to produce content on a frequent basis that is usual for bigger outlets out there.
Gamerccino holds itself to set content standards and ethical guidelines with the SPJ Code of Ethics being consulted and adapted to fit the website and is applied to all writers.
Gamerccino has been built with the idea of allowing civilised discussions, and opinions. As such we do not tolerate any hateful language, or discrimination towards anyone, or any thing. We also understand that opinions matter, and as such we hope that both readers, and team members alike can discuss topics while respecting the opinion of the other. It is, after all, what makes a great conversation.
Reviews are created with a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) system in mind. This is because, at Gamerccino, we appreciate the fact that developers, big or small work hard on their titles. Hours of work have gone into the product, and as such, we aim to provide not only our experiences with the game so that players get an idea what the product could be like, but also constructive feedback. As a result, if a writer finds themselves unable to find any interest in a product, then they will not cover it.
Writers are expected to complete the game they are reviewing, however collecting and unlocking all additional elements to a game and their achievements is not compulsory. When games have no main campaign, or have no finish mark, then the writer will be expected to play enough of the game to have gained enough knowledge to provide coverage.
Reviews will be approved by an editor prior to being published.
An important note: At Gamerccino we will only provide coverage on legally obtained games. Any game that has been obtained illegally will not hold a place anywhere on the website. We will accept review copies of games, but companies of any size cannot, and will not be required to pay for review coverage. Additional paraphernalia related to the game will be accepted as gifts. Please always assume that keys are provided to us from the Developers, Publishers, or PR, or purchased by our own funds. The former shall be disclosed.
In light of 2016’s horrible, Brash Games situation, it’s also important to note that writers bylines will remain intact. The posts will have their accounts assigned to them in the byline, but we will also ask that they provide their names at the end of a piece should the issue arise where an account, for some reason, ends up deleted, or technical issues arise that removes the bylines..
Funnily enough, we don’t run scores at Gamerccino! The reasoning behind this is because a writer will have put effort into taking the time to play a game, and write about it. Similarly, game companies will have spent time on their products, and as such it seems only fair that a reader will take the time to read a review.
Scores feel like a shortcut through an opinion. Imagine, you skip through a review of a game everyone is talking about, and jump to the score and feel like buying the game based on the score alone. Then you find yourself with a game you don’t actually enjoy, only to realise that the review mentioned points that would have alerted you that it’s not for you.
With this in mind, we will still provide a review that looks at the usual elements you would expect to see in a review. We will also ensure that a writer covers a game from a genre that they are comfortable with.
We do accept codes for games in order to complete relevant coverage, and there are two ways in which we can accept these.
- Should a writer request a copy of a game, then the person responsible for requesting copies will reach out to the Developer, Publisher, or PR firm. The code will then be passed onto the writer for their coverage.
- Developers can get in touch with us to send us a game by emailing Ben@gamerccino.co.uk – We will ask the team of writers if anyone wishes to cover the game and then the game shall be given to them. Should no writer wish to cover the title at that moment in time, the code will not be redeemed and will instead be placed in a list of codes available should anyone wish to cover it at a later date, should it still be available.
If a writer takes a game and fails to write a review, or leaves the website without notice after accepting the game, then we will first attempt to assign another writer the game. Being unable to do that, then we will get in touch with the Developer, Publisher, or PR firm to explain the situation and potentially request another copy that will be assigned to the owner of the site or another writer that has proved themselves. This may sound a bit harsh, but this is so that it is guaranteed to be covered.
In the event that we receive several review codes for a game then they may be handed to another writer or partner to use for additional coverage, such as video streaming, or editorials. They may also be used for a giveaway should permission be granted for such.
Previews will go through the steps as the above, “Reviews” section states, however these are pre-release builds and are in fact still in-development, and incomplete. What we mean here is, if a title is not yet launched into V.1.0, for example, we’re playing an early access title, or an early press build, then we will label this as a Preview rather than a Review.
This will be stated in the post with the writer providing the version number they’re playing so that should a later version of the game be played for coverage, it’s clear to the reader.
It’s also worth noting that games still in development are subject to change, as such the usual review elements may change in respect of the writer being more speculative in what the game could be, or include to improve the current build.
First Impressions/Hands On
These are often when a writer has only had a limited amount of time with a game. This could be with a demo, a game pre-release, or a fully launched game. These pieces will still follow the same procedures as a Review, or a Preview, but will focus more on the games overall potential from what the writer experienced.
NDA’s & Embargoes
Sometimes games require trust being placed in the website/writer by having them agree to an NDA, or an Embargo. Gamerccino will respect these requests laid out by Developers, Publishers, or PR Firms.
Events & Association
Events are always bursting with excitement, however we will ensure that when covering a game that we played at an event, or were invited to attend the event, we will state any travel costs or other expenses covered by any PR, Publishers, or Developers. Should the upsetting chance arise that we are told we are not allowed to disclose the expenses covered, then to avoid conflict of interest, we will simply not publish any content from the event.
To explain association here, what we mean is that, should we accept a small expense, for example, a beer, coffee, or perhaps a chocolate bar, then we will not need to disclose this.
And also please keep in mind that we here at Gamerccino are friendly people, and as such we want to treat Developers, Publishers, and PR Firms with friendly attitudes and build relationships. Having said that, is is incredibly important to state that no matter what the relationship with Developers, Publishers, and PR Firms, we will provide coverage fairly, and strive to ensure our coverage reflects these ethics with honesty, and by creating unbiased content.
We also request the same attitude from Developers, Publishers, and PR Firms, and will cease coverage of the game should we be instructed to alter our ethics, and editorial process to please them. After all, we want to provide our readers with honest pieces that they can trust.
When it comes to crowdfunding, it’s a fine line to ensure conflict of interest doesn’t take hold. If a Writer backs a project on Kickstarter, or IndieGoGo, then the writer must disclose this to the Editorial staff. From there, the Editorial staff will determine whether or not the Writer will be allowed to cover the game. This will usually be the case should a Writer have backed a large sum, but these choices are case-by-case. While it will be fine to cover a title if a Writer backs a project with a low end backing, and they are greenlit to provide coverage of sorts, then the Writer is to disclose within the piece that they have backed the project.
Regarding Patreon, while Writers might be backing games, game developers, technology developers, and more, we require the Writer to state this to the Editorial staff, and as such they will be unable to provide any coverage on Gamerccino. Editorials however will be welcomed, however disclosure is required at the start of the piece.
Should the Writer have previously backed successful/unsuccessful Patreon projects before joining the site and decide to cover them, then they will be required to disclose this information detailing when they began donating to the Patreon.
Early Access titles will be treated as a normal game. While purchasing a Early Access game can count towards helping game development, the situation is that, unlike Kickstarter/IndieGoGo, there is a product available. As such this will be treated in the same way as a Preview/First Impressions piece, detailing possible improvements and will provide opinions on whether or not it is advised purchasing Early Access in the current state.
Affiliations & Advertisements
The website will not be running advertisements or affiliation links. However when the time comes and advertisements are implemented, these will not affect coverage. More details will be provided when this time comes.
Here at Gamerccino, we like to help other outlets in ways that we can. As such, we work closely with very trusted partners to help share their content. This could be through cross promotion, or mentioning them on social media, or within a piece should it be beneficial to the piece. These partners are running their own websites, and as such adhere to their own ethics and guidelines. As such, their views do not reflect ours.
Additionally, the Founder, Ben Bayliss will provide content to Thumb Culture, and Quillstreak when and where he can. This does not affect anything, it’s just helping out a friend! He may also take part in streams, or video content with other creators.
Gamerccino Staff’s External Content
Writers are allowed to contribute to other websites during their time at Gamerccino. They also have a life Online, with various social media accounts and other ways of basically, doing their own things. Their views and opinions do not represent Gamerccino.
As already stated in the, “Being Civil” section, should it come to light that a Writer is using their social media, or private life to perform bad practices, then action will be taken accordingly and disclosed.
This ethics policy has been created from an older policy from Big Boss Battle, a gaming website that was co-founded by Ben Bayliss in 2016, and has consulted the TechRaptor Ethics Policy. As such it is under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.