Gerstmann in 2015
|Born||Jeffrey Michael Gerstmann
August 1, 1975
|Occupation||Video game journalist|
|Notable credit(s)||GameSpot editorial director (1996–2007)
Giant Bomb co-founder/editor (2008–present)
Jeffrey Michael Gerstmann is an American video game journalist. Former editorial director of the gaming website GameSpot and the co-founder/editor of the gaming website Giant Bomb, Gerstmann began working at GameSpot in the fall of 1996, around the launch of VideoGameSpot when GameSpot split PC and console games into separate areas. He shared his thoughts on a variety of other subjects every Monday on his GameSpot blog before his controversial dismissal from GameSpot in 2007 following a review of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. As a member of Spike Video Game Awards' advisory council until its cancellation, Gerstmann was 1 of 25 journalists responsible for voting the nominees and winners of the event. Complex magazine named Gerstmann in their top 25 biggest celebrities in the video game industry.
Gerstmann began work in video game journalism in the early 1990s, having been involved with the game industry since age 17 doing freelance work as well as working for a print magazine for under a year. He was hired as an intern for GameSpot in 1996, eventually becoming editorial director.
Gerstmann appeared in a segment on Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer and Sega product analyst Dennis Lee in September 1999 to talk about the release of the Sega Dreamcast, playing NFL 2K and Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, notable for the Dreamcast crashing while live on national television in one of its first TV demonstrations. Gerstmann personally notes in an episode of the Giant Bombcast that he believes his appearance on the show wearing a FUBU Jersey contributed to the clothing company's fall from popularity. The segment was also notable for the Sega product analyst's many falsehoods, stating "You can actually see the snow slowly blanketing the ground, as the game goes on, the snow will blanket the field" features which were not present in the product.
Termination from GameSpot (2007–2008)
Gerstmann was dismissed from his position at GameSpot as Editorial Director on November 28, 2007. Immediately after his termination, rumors circulated proclaiming his dismissal was a result of external pressure from Eidos Interactive, the publisher of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, which Gerstmann had previously given a Fair rating, which is relatively undesirable, along with critique. This was at a time when Eidos had been putting heavy advertising money into GameSpot, transforming the entire website to use a Kane & Lynch theme and background instead of the regular GameSpot layout. In accordance with California State Law and CNET Networks, GameSpot could not give details as to why Gerstmann was terminated. Both GameSpot and parent company CNET stated that his dismissal was unrelated to the negative review. However, a subsequent interview with Gerstmann in 2012 countered this statement, with Gerstmann claiming that management gave in to publisher pressure. Following Gerstmann's termination, editors Alex Navarro, Ryan Davis, Brad Shoemaker, and Vinny Caravella left GameSpot, feeling that they could no longer work for a publication that was perceived as having caved in to advertiser pressure.
Shortly after leaving GameSpot, Gerstmann started an online blog saying: "I'm mainly starting this site up to give people a centralized place to hear directly from me, as all these bits and pieces that have gotten out to game news sites via interviews and the blog on my MySpace account aren't really the best way to communicate. So if you're interested in what I plan to do from here, this is the place. I'll also be sharing my thoughts on games and the business that surrounds them, perhaps with an occasional video or two."
On the first episode of IGN's "GameSages" podcast, Gerstmann stated that he was talking with "old friends" (later revealed to be Shelby Bonnie, the former CEO and co-founder of CNET, along with other former CNET people who left shortly before Gerstmann and founded Whiskey Media) in regards to his future plans. On February 25, 2008, Gerstmann announced on his blog that he would be participating in an online podcast (Arrow Pointing Down) with his former co-worker Ryan Davis. Another former co-worker, Alex Navarro, also participated. On March 5, 2008, Gerstmann revealed that along with his previous co-worker Ryan Davis, he would be starting a brand new gaming site named Giant Bomb, which launched on July 21, 2008.
Giant Bomb (2008–present)
Giant Bomb, launched in July 2008, is a video gaming website which is the current home of Gerstmann and other game journalists, including Brad Shoemaker, Vinny Caravella, and formerly Ryan Davis (all former GameSpot staff). The staff produces multiple video series including the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 and Deadly Premonition Endurance Runs, and the "This Ain't No Game" segment, along with a podcast, the "BombCast" and "Quick Looks" for the website. They also write video game reviews and cover video game news for the website.
Gerstmann also personally produces and uploads a regular premium-content video segment called "Jar Time with Jeff" to the site, hour long broadcasts often themed around jar related puns, in which Gerstmann drinks from a jar while answering questions submitted via email from Giantbomb users, over time the segment has begun to include various off topic inclusions such as showing off his video game and console collection, and discussing his own opinions on various non video-game related subjects.
Reason for GameSpot termination revealed
On March 15, 2012, it was announced that CBS Interactive, the parent company of GameSpot operator CNET, had acquired the Giant Bomb and Comic Vine websites from Whiskey Media. As part of the deal, the non-disparagement agreement between Gerstmann and CNET was nullified, allowing him to finally speak publicly about his termination over four years prior. Later that evening on GameSpot's On the Spot web show, GameSpot VP John Davison appeared on camera with Gerstmann, marking Gerstmann's first appearance on the GameSpot web site since November 2007. In the segment, Gerstmann revealed that his firing was in fact related to the low review score he had given to Kane & Lynch, though his explanation cited other similar events that led up to the termination, including a 7.5 (good) rating given to Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction by Aaron Thomas, then an employee under Gerstmann. Events such as these led to him being "called into a room" several times to discuss reviews posted on the site. Gerstmann went on to lay the blame on a new management team that was unable to properly handle tension between the marketing and editorial staff, laying additional blame on the marketing department, which he claimed was unprepared in how to handle publisher complaints and threats to withdraw advertising money over low review scores.
During the show, Gerstmann claimed he ran into a few members of [Kane & Lynch] developer IO Interactive at a convention a few months after his firing. He claims one of the people he ran into said, "Yeah, Kane & Lynch wasn't a very good game." Gerstmann responded, "You should totally call up my old bosses and tell them that."
- "Meet the VGA 2011 Advisory Council". Spike TV. November 3, 2011. Archived from the original on November 5, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
- "Power Players: The 25 Biggest Celebrities in the Video Game Industry". Complex magazine. January 5, 2012. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
- Gerstmann, Jeff (September 9, 2009). "GiantBombcast – Dreamcasts 20th anniversary" (Podcast). Giant Bomb.
- "Jeff Gerstmann, Dreamcast on Good Morning America". Gloop. February 14, 2009. Retrieved March 6, 2012.[dead link]
- "Spot On: GameSpot on Gerstmann". GameSpot. December 5, 2007. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
- Kennedy, Sam (January 21, 2008). "GameSpot's Sad State of Affairs". 1UP. Archived from the original on January 5, 2010. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
- "Spot On: GameSpot on Gerstmann". GameSpot. Archived from the original on July 25, 2008. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
- "CNET Denies 'External Pressure' Caused Gerstmann Termination". Shacknews. November 30, 2007. Retrieved December 24, 2007.
- Phil Hornshaw (March 15, 2012). "Jeff Gerstmann (Finally) Talks About GameSpot Firing". GameFront. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- "Proof of Life (or "I want my shirt, I want my spoon.")". Jeff Gerstmann. January 2, 2008. Archived from the original on December 19, 2007. Retrieved January 2, 2008.
- Sessler, Adam (March 6, 2008). X-Play Gaming Update 03.06.08. G4TV. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
- Gerstmann, Jeff (July 20, 2008). "Giant Bomb – Welcome Back!". Giant Bomb. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
- Gerstmann, Jeff (July 20, 2008). "Welcome Back!". Giant Bomb. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
- "Giant Bomb – The Top 50 Websites of 2011 – TIME". Time. August 16, 2011. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
- "Exciting News From Your Friends at Giant Bomb". Giant Bomb. March 15, 2012. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
- Giant Bomb and Comic Vine are joining the CBSi Team!. March 15, 2012. Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
- 505: E3 2011 Review – Episode 505. June 10, 2011. Retrieved March 19, 2012.