Pockettactics.com recently named Slitherine Software as runner up to their Creator of the Year award, putting the company in a position that, in their own words, “no other publisher came close” to matching.
That makes Slitherine responsible for four games that garnered votes for GotY in our behind-the-scenes polling. No other publisher came close.
So what’s the problem? Well, as they only announced yesterday, pockettactics.com has been owned by Slitherine Software since August. Even more so, it appears that editor Owen Faraday lied about how the acquisition took place, stating back in August:
I acquired the site from Slitherine/Matrix who still retain some financial interest in the site. But every buck stops with me. I have complete and utter editorial independence and none of my writers will ever interface with a human at Slitherine. I view the current arrangement as similar to General Electric owning a stake in NBC — doesn’t mean NBC won’t do tough reporting on GE.
In the announcement, David Neumann reveals that Owen’s statement was untrue, in fact the exact opposite of what happened.
Well, Slitherine didn’t sell the Wargamer to Owen, in fact the opposite happened and the site you’re reading now, as well as the upcoming Strategy Gamer, became part of the aforementioned Wargamer Limited, a subsidiary of wargame publisher Slitherine.
So Pocket Tactics reveals months after the fact that they are now owned by the company that they are heavily favoring for Game of the Year and Creator of the Year, while claiming that the company has no editorial influence over the website. Did Slitherine have such a great year that they deserve this much recognition? That I can’t say, I don’t cover the mobile gaming scene. It is an important reminder on why game creators/publishers should not have a financial stake in the people who are supposed to be covering their titles objectively. It is for the same reason that, say, presidential candidates cannot have reality tv shows on the networks covering their campaigns.