Hi Reddit! I'm Jason Schreier, a journalist covering the video game business for Bloomberg and the bestselling author of Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, a book about how video games are made. My next book, Press Reset: Ruin and Recovery in the Video Game Industry, comes out May 11.

It's a book about volatility in the video game industry and what happens to people when their game studios shut down. It's full of wild, fascinating stories about a brutal industry, covering studios such as Irrational, Visceral, and 38 Studios, the company that former baseball player Curt Schilling started in order to make a World of Warcraft killer. The book is full of colorful characters and interesting anecdotes. It ends with some calls to action and assurances that things can change. It's a bleak but hopeful book that I think will resonate with a lot of people.

You can preorder the book right here. I promise it won't be broken on launch. No day-one patches here.

Ask me anything about the book, video games, reporting, or whatever else you'd like.

Proof: https://twitter.com/jasonschreier/status/1389618449404633094

UPDATE (1pm) - There are a lot of questions here (thank you all for your interest). I'll try to get to as many as I can over the next day!

UPDATE (2:47pm) - Looks like my AMA broke Reddit!! (At least I assume that's what it was.) I'll be hanging out here answering questions for the next day or two to make up for it.

Comments: 821 • Responses: 49  • Date: 

Jaffabeast3317 karma

Why haven’t you released Elden Ring yet Jason?

jasonschreier549 karma

I've been using my powers to delay it as karma for GRRM never releasing Winds of Winter. Fun fact: when I started at Kotaku, I was very excited because I thought one day I might be able to get a review copy and cover Winds of Winter for the site. But of course, I was still waiting for Winds of Winter. When I left, eight years later, I was still waiting for Winds of Winter. Today, a year after that, I'm still waiting for Winds of Winter.

Actually I'm not sure if I even care anymore. The last season of GOT kinda ruined it all for me.

Zig_Zach180 karma

Are you afraid of burning bridges that you spent so long to build with industry folks?

jasonschreier396 karma

Yes and no. I'm never afraid to burn bridges with companies. I'd be failing at my job if I held back reporting because it'd piss off the corporations that I cover. I wrote a story a few weeks ago about PlayStation's strategy knowing full well that it'd probably lead to them cutting me off for a while. (Needless to say, I did not get a review copy of Returnal.)

Individual relationships are far more complicated, and they'll always be a factor when I'm reporting, but I'm never going to hold back on an important story because it might burn a bridge. That has led to some lost friendships over the years!

HandsomeRuss137 karma

Can you expand on how you determine if/when it is appropriate to release (leak?) information about unreleased games?

jasonschreier272 karma

It's very much a case-by-case basis and often the answer comes out of lots of conversations with my editor(s) about what the best way to handle a given story might be.

That's vague, I know, but it's impossible to follow hard rules when it comes to that. The video game industry is so opaque and so much more sensitive than other fields (everyone knows what films are coming out for the next 3 years and somehow Hollywood still does okay) that I have to be extra judicious when it comes to unannounced games.

Put frankly: I think the video game industry's veil of secrecy is incredibly harmful and silly, but I also empathize with game developers who don't want to see their game announcements leaked.

But then again... Over the past few years the thing that constantly gets brought up is how special the God of War (2018) announcement was and how great it made people feel. How happy they were that it wasn't leaked.

Yet. God of War was leaked. Images and details had hit NeoGAF months before that reveal. People still remember the reveal, of course, because a good reveal can resonate with you on a powerful emotional level. And nobody remembers the leak. What does that say about all this, I wonder?

LanternSC129 karma

One time I think I walked past you in Union Square, but I didn't recognize as "Jason Schreier," but just as "I think I recognize that guy, maybe?" We made eye contact, I probably looked confused, and then you looked confused. I later pieced together that I think it was you. I guess this isn't a question, but I apologize for being a weirdo.

jasonschreier166 karma

The Kotaku office was in Union Square from 2015-2019, so chances are very high it was me! Can't say I remember this, though. It's NYC. There's confused eye contact all the time.

geyserpj127 karma

What is one video game developer you haven’t had any access too and wonder what goes on there?

jasonschreier309 karma

In general I'd love to have more access to Japanese developers. I've always wanted to know more about the Konami vs. Kojima conflict (especially Konami's side) and figure out the real story behind Final Fantasy XV. I've heard bits and pieces from expats, but the cultural and language barriers have made it really difficult for me to get the kind of access to Japanese companies that I might have at Western ones. Hopefully one day!

StrangerInPorto90 karma

Will you ever make a story on 343's Infinite especially after last year's demo?

jasonschreier109 karma

One day!

moviebuffnerd123 karma

In your opinion, what are the biggest problems facing the game industry today?

jasonschreier446 karma

This is a good question. I report on crunch fairly often and I think a lot of people assume that overwork is the worst part of the games industry. It can be pretty bad, but I don't think it's the biggest problem.

The biggest problem in the video game industry today in my view (and I say this with the caveat that I'm just an observer and not actually part of the video game industry) is volatility.

When I was reporting for Press Reset, I found a lot of people who have burned out of the video game industry and left for more stable, lucrative fields. When I ask why, they give a number of reasons, but on the top of the list is always "sick of the layoffs."

The video game industry promises long-term careers but in practice, people have to shift jobs constantly. A 2017 IGDA survey revealed that the average game developer has had 2.2 jobs in five years, which might be fine if the entire industry was located in one place, but it's not. If you just got laid off at Irrational Games in Boston, where there aren't a lot of other game studios, you might have to move 3,000 miles for your next gig. If you're in your 20s that might be okay, but if you're in your 30s or older and you've got a family, can you really keep uprooting them every time your studio shuts down or lays people off so that Bobby Kotick can buy a new yacht?

Press Reset explores this volatility and presents some potential solutions for making the video game industry a happier, healthy place. I really hope that some industry decision-makers read it!

PriorJob83 karma

Hi Jason,

What can workers/outside observers do to fix the awful working conditions of contracted QA workers?

jasonschreier232 karma

Keep talking about it, communicating, sharing stories, boosting QA people, etc.

One thing that Redditors can definitely do is correct people when they blame QA for bugs in a game. It's almost never QA's fault. QA always finds the bugs -- they're not fixed because the rest of the dev team never has enough time to get through everything.

RushmoreAlumni75 karma

Do you think we’ll ever see mass unionization in a significant way in America? It feels like every small victory ends up seeing something else lost.

jasonschreier140 karma

In America, I don't know. Obviously unions and labor laws have been weakened significantly over the past two decades, and smarter people than I have written great stories and books about that.

In the games industry, yes. It's inevitable. A recent GDC survey showed that more than 50% of game developers want it to happen and another 25% or so are on the fence. The only question is when and how it takes shape.

luciddre4m75 karma

Why do you think the video game industry is still shrouded in secrecy? In other words, why don't studios openly talk about their products and their process?

After watching Marvel just release their hype video for the next two years worth of movies it remains odd that game publishers treat upcoming products like state secrets. Thanks Jason.

jasonschreier100 karma

Good question! I think it might be a relic from the 80s and 90s, when idea theft was a major problem and companies would do all sorts of crazy, shady stuff to sabotage their competitors and steal their talent. But I don't know why it's still a thing today to such a ridiculous extent. I think largely because that's how it's always been done, which is sadly usually the answer to a lot of questions like that.

Saucefest610269 karma

In your career so far, have you ever missed out on publishing a huge scoop because someone gets to it first? If so, what was it?

jasonschreier265 karma

Oh yeah, but usually it's because the company announced it first, not a competitor. (I can't think of any times that I've been chasing a huge scoop and gotten beaten by other reporters -- smaller stuff, definitely, but nothing really huge.)

I got a tip about Microsoft buying Zenimax about a month before it happened but couldn't confirm it. And one time I called Bungie for comment on news I was about to break about Destiny getting microtransactions. Instead of commenting on the story, they just posted the news on their blog themselves, lol.

StrangerInPorto49 karma

I got a tip about Microsoft buying Zenimax about a month before it happened but couldn't confirm it.

If you don't mind me asking, the tip you got, why couldn't you get it confirmed?

Was it a random person that dmed you, or something similar? Thanks.

jasonschreier112 karma

It was a random person who DMed me!! I tried to confirm it with another source but couldn't, and when it comes to random tips, you never know if you're just wasting your time anyway.

ziggy_the_starman68 karma

Why you block people so much?

jasonschreier327 karma

Because it's the only way to use Twitter sanely when you have more than 250,000 followers. Because nobody has the right to my time or attention. Because blocking people on Twitter is immensely satisfying. Because annoying people don't get to occupy any space in my life. Because there are plenty of people who manage to reply to my tweets and even disagree with me without being annoying gnats. That help?

Saranshobe55 karma

Hey Jason, excited to read your next book!

Obsidian missed the bonus for Fallout: new vegas due to 1 point less on metacritic, do bonuses still depend on metacritic scores or things have changed? If they still depend on Metacritic score, do u think if this is a correct practice? Livelihood of people depending on a number?

jasonschreier122 karma

Yup, definitely still happens, and nope, it's all sorts of fucked up.

In theory I guess it makes sense that a game publisher would want to find some way to reward a developer based on the quality of their game, but Metacritic is such a flawed, easily manipulated barometer. I wrote this story in 2013 and it still holds up: https://kotaku.com/metacritic-matters-how-review-scores-hurt-video-games-472462218

My favorite anecdote is about the company that would hire someone known for harsh reviews to be their internal mock reviewer (basically a consultant) just so that person couldn't write a really negative review of their game later.

Michael_DeSanta54 karma

How many times have industry folk tried to come after you legally for breaking a story?

jasonschreier119 karma

Never, as far as I know. I don't think that'd be a very good look for those companies. Plus, think of all the things that would come out during discovery!

juliodzls51 karma

Hi Jason! Big fan for years and listener of Triple Click. Blood Sweat and Pixels was a great read that served to really humanize and understand the imposible task of making video games. However with all the "progress" companies are promising and changes that they are supposedly implementing, do you really think the state of the industry is primed to change its anti-worker ways or will collective action be the only way things get done?

jasonschreier92 karma

I do think there have been some widespread changes over the past few years in all sorts of ways, but I think relying on the goodwill of management is always going to get you in trouble. Even if you like your current boss or ownership, you never know what might happen in the future. (Your company might get sued by a vindictive wrestler and be sold to morons.)

The thing about collective action is that it ensures workers a seat at the table no matter what. It isn't a panacea and it won't solve all of the video game industry's problems, but it will give workers a voice that they just don't have right now.

violenceandforce47 karma

Hi Jason. Big fan. What's your take on Apple vs Epic case currently going on? It's starting to expose a lot of inner workings of the video game industry. Could consumers & game developers benefit from Epic winning this case? Thanks !

jasonschreier162 karma

I think we should all be entertained and amused by two multi-billion-dollar corporations duking it out like this. And yes, a lot of people could benefit if Apple reduced its store fees. But the PlayStation/Microsoft/Nintendo fees, which are all also 30%, are far more relevant to most video game fans, and Epic isn't fighting any of those, so hey.

therobo66544 karma

Hi Jason, big fan!! Any tips for getting into games journalism specifically, as a student journo who's already begun freelancing?

jasonschreier113 karma

Hi therobo665! This is a tough question to answer because journalism is volatile and constantly being disrupted (sort of like the video game industry). The advice that worked for me when I was coming up probably isn't all that relevant today.

That said, here are two pieces of advice that I like to give people when they ask this question:

1) Be absolutely sure you want to do this. The journalism industry and especially the video game beat has a lot of supply and not a lot of demand. People love video games and see journalism as a good way to join the industry. I don't advise that! Journalism is generally unstable, low-paying (unless you're really lucky), and full of all sorts of stresses and headaches. If you think about your potential career options and can imagine yourself being happy in a lot of them, you might want to pick one of the others. Only try to enter journalism if you really can't imagine yourself doing anything else, if you love telling non-fiction stories so much that you'd have to be physically dragged away from the screen to stop. And even then, have a good backup plan just in case things don't work out.

2) Specialize! While it's a good idea to experiment with all sorts of different formats and styles over the course of your career, the best way to make a name for yourself in reporting (both to the public and to colleagues) is to become known as the person who's really good at X thing. That can be anything: maybe you're the best esports reporter, or maybe you're the best guide video maker. Whatever it is, figure out what you're really good at, and try to spend as much time as possible doing that.

Hope this helps!

labellevache36 karma

Who comes up with the usually corny intro joke on Triple Click? Is it whoever is doing the intro that week or is it a group decision? Love the pod!

jasonschreier53 karma

Whoever's doing the intro that week!! It's so much fun. God I love Triple Click.

TheMexicanHalloween32 karma

Hi Jason!

You’ve spoken in the past about many senior developers choosing to leave the industry altogether. Do you get the impression that current conversations you are helping to highlight would be likely to bring some of these people back into the fold? Thanks.

jasonschreier56 karma

I don't know, but I do think some of the solutions that I explore in Press Reset would help prevent more people from burning out.

Brain drain is such a humongous problem in the video game industry and I think it's even affected the quality of games more than people realize.

frazzlet30 karma

Hey Jason,

From speaking with developers, how badly is covid affecting upcoming release schedules of games? Do you feel we're about to see a drought of games or worse, an uptick in games going out unfinished?

jasonschreier64 karma

Really badly. I think this year is going to be a good one to catch up on your backlog. Hopefully Nintendo can still deliver.

Skeletor199129 karma

Ay Jason, congrats on the new book, can't wait to read it! I'm here to ask the question we ALL wanna hear: when are we gonna get the true FF Tactics sequel we have all been waiting for?

jasonschreier49 karma

The fact that FFT isn't even on PC is such a travesty. But hey, I'm hopeful for Project Triangle Strategy or whatever it's called. The demo was really cool. Octopath Traveler was disappointing but I'm still optimistic for this one!

ima-ima29 karma

Hi Jason,

What's your stance on the supposed need for objectivity in journalism? And is it even achievable?

jasonschreier153 karma

I think most people misuse the word "objectivity." There's no such thing as objective journalism because everything a person does, from their story selection to the way they construct their sentences, is based on their own personal histories and biases.

Even the most basic fact, like "8% of people who got their first vaccine shot didn't get their second," could be reported as "Millions of people don't get their second shots" or "92% of people got their second shots." Both accurate, both drastically different, neither objective.

A reporter's job is to strive to be fair, honest, and accurate. It's to get rid of their pre-conceived notions about stories, to listen to as many perspectives as possible, and to try to find the truth. If that's what you'd consider "objective," great! If you'd consider objectivity to be something like, I dunno, printing Trump's lies about the election without pointing out that they're lies, then yeah, that's some nonsense.

Racxie28 karma

Hi Jason, what made you join Kotaku despite its less than stellar reputation at the time and what made you finally decide to leave?

jasonschreier41 karma

I joined Kotaku because I had a ton of respect and admiration for Stephen Totilo. (That has only increased after working with him for eight years.) He emailed me one day in December 2011 asking to grab drinks and saying he was taking over as EIC and wanted me to come on board. It wasn't very hard to decide that I wanted to work for him.

I left because we were bought by private equity chuds who killed Deadspin and ran the company into the ground. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2020/04/16/jason-schreier-is-leaving-kotaku-citing-go-media-reason/)

Racxie6 karma

Thanks! The name sounds familiar but I honestly couldn't say with confidence I know who that is. Either way kudos to him for giving you a chance.

Ah I wasn't aware the reasons you had left were made public, though I knew there was a lot negativity with gawker and some others leaving too.

I think that article does also highlight very well some of the great work you've done and why I have a lot of respect for you! Keep doing what you do!

jasonschreier6 karma

Thank you!

ManateeofSteel25 karma

Morning Jason. I have two questions!

  • Out of the two books and their respective stories/reportings - which has been the hardest to write? Be it because of lack of resources or just overall not comfortable writing about?

  • Another one would be, As a journalist, it's obvious that you would want to report the news. But you once mentioned on twitter how you don't always report all the tips you get from upcoming games, like For Honor... so my question is - what metric do you use to decide whether you should report something or not? I know you're more focused towards the industry and workplaces with Bloomberg but that's what I'm mostly curious about.

Keep up the great work

jasonschreier40 karma

I sorta answered the second question here: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/n4sman/im_jason_schreier_journalist_and_author_of_blood/gwxfsyz/

As for the first question, the second book was harder to write because I set out to make it one big narrative rather than a bunch of independent stories. Blood, Sweat, and Pixels was essentially 10 mega-Kotaku articles, each completely readable on its own (by design). Press Reset has a lot of different stories and anecdotes in it, but it's one big narrative rather than an anthology. Which I'm really happy with! But yeah, it was tougher.

Salmakki25 karma

Hi Jason - I'm curious about your writing process. How do you decide what stories to publish or investigate versus what gets put into a folder? I know you've said on a podcast that you sadly get way more tips than you can follow up on, but how much starts with an idea or trend in gaming that you choose to deliberately look into versus a tip or DM?

Somewhat related: how have things changed for you as a journalist since the move to Bloomberg versus what you did at Kotaku?

Thanks for the AMA, looking forward to listening to your book! Glad you got Ray back again to narrate the audiobook.

jasonschreier33 karma

Good question! I do get a lot of tips, and I don't have the bandwidth to even respond to them all, let alone chase them all. I'd say maybe half my stories come from a question I'm asking or a topic I want to explore and the other half come from people reaching out to me or tidbits I hear during conversations I have with sources.

I've been chewing on this, and it's not easy to define exactly what makes me decide to go after a story, because so much of it is based on instinct (and, frankly, whatever else is on my plate in a given day/week/month). I try to focus on the most interesting stuff, the stuff that I think will resonate with people most, but stories can come in all sorts of shapes and forms. So yeah, I dunno!

Killericon24 karma

Hi Jason!

Is there an external set of guidelines you use when dealing with the question of publishing material from anonymous sources, or do you have your own, or do you go on a case-by-case basis?

jasonschreier41 karma

Well to be clear, 99% of the time when a source is anonymous in an article, I know who they are. It's very, very rare that I'll run anything based on a source that I don't know, and when that does happen, it's because the info has been corroborated by people I do know.

Killericon23 karma

Oh absolutely - I meant more about running quotes in a story without attribution. In journalism school, I learned one set of guidelines, and then there was always a specific set of guidelines at each publication I worked with in my brief journalism career afterwards, so I was just wondering if you had a set from somewhere, or if you've developed your own?

jasonschreier33 karma

Ah, got it. At Kotaku we ran blind quotes. Bloomberg doesn't, so for most of my Bloomberg pieces based on anonymous sources, I'll bring in outside voices like analysts to quote directly.

Heeble-Fleeble22 karma

Does being one of the more well known video game journalists make it harder or easier to get inside scoops and stories? For example, are game stuido employees more likely to seek you out when they feel they have been wronged or are they more hesitant to talk to you because they fear you will break a big story and it will come back to haunt them?

jasonschreier22 karma

I think the former, but it's hard to really know. If someone decides not to talk to me, then naturally I'd have no idea why! But I think because I've been lucky enough to have a track record of telling stories that I hope do justice to their subjects, people know that I can do the same for them.

TruckstopSushiChef21 karma

Hi Jason, big fan of your work! Are there other development company stories that you couldn't include in "Press Reset" that you would have liked to?

Or ones that happened post finishing the book that would have made good additions, do you think?

jasonschreier42 karma

A couple, yeah. I was thinking about doing a whole chapter on Telltale but decided not to (although there are still some Telltale anecdotes in there) and I briefly considered diving into Cliff Bleszinski's studio, Boss Key, which has some interesting history and obviously Cliff is a fascinating guy. (He's writing a memoir, too!)

I finished most of the book in January-February 2020, and I think a couple things may have happened to the world after that? I do actually explore some covid-related stuff in the book (namely, work-from-home policies) but I think a good addition would have been looking at some smaller studios that had to shut down due to covid.

The timing was pretty wild, though. Months before covid started I was proposing that remote work might help improve the video game industry in some monumental ways!

kwayne2619 karma

Hey Jason. I have less serious questions for you. Do you game a lot? What are your favorite games? Give us a few games across genres and decades. Whats your favorite indie game? Whats your favorite triple a blockbuster? Do you enjoy the souls like genre?

jasonschreier44 karma

Oh yes. I play a shitload of games and always have. I grew up playing the NES and lots of games that were in retrospect pretty terrible, plus gems like Final Fantasy and Super Mario Bros 3. My formative years were mostly spent on the SNES with RPGs like FF4, FF6, Secret of Mana, Lufia 2, etc. and then the PS1 with too many RPGs to name. I also played a ton of PC games like Civ, Heroes of Might and Magic 3, all the LucasArts point-n-click adventures, etc. The Suikoden series is probably my favorite of all time.

These days I try to play a large chunk of the games that come out every week. My favorite indies in recent memory are Outer Wilds, Baba Is You, Return of the Obra Dinn, Disco Elysium, and Hollow Knight. My favorite blockbusters in recent memory are Breath of the Wild, Divinity Original Sin 2, Red Dead Redemption 2, FFVII Remake, and Bloodborne, which should also answer your last question.

MoodyMax18 karma

How do you feel about gaming youtubers that will basically repackage your work and research in to a dumbed down format while acting like their breaking a big story?

I saw this mostly happen with your Anthem and Mass Effect Andromeda pieces, where the day after your articles were released my Yt recommendations were filled with "breaking news" about their development.

jasonschreier34 karma

I used to get mad about it but have since grown to accept it, as long as folks are giving me proper credit and attribution. It's unfortunate that a YouTube video that took 20 minutes to make can bring in exponentially more traffic than an article that took months to report and write, but hey, that's the internet economy for you.

Holtder16 karma

Hey man, big follower of your work! Two questions, whichever you wanna answer.

  1. How was the switch from Kotaku to Bloomberg? Has it impacted your writing methods in any way?

  2. What is the weirdest place where you found information or a source on a piece you were writing?

jasonschreier15 karma

  1. It's been fascinating, and yes absolutely - it's very different and an interesting new challenge to write for a mainstream biz-focused audience every day instead of gamers.

  2. What an interesting question. I've gotten some info from actor casting call websites, that might be it. Or just weird random connections.

LushenZener16 karma

Hi Jason,

You've basically built your career around the labor abuse and exploitation problems in the games industry, but the games industry includes the press that covers it. And you have also had claims levied against you by prior coworkers.

What can you tell us about the conditions on the other side of the interview mic -- and your own role in the culture and institutional structures involved?

jasonschreier67 karma

Interesting question. I'm not sure what specifically you're talking about, but in the interest of transparency and maybe even helping people learn from my mistakes I'm happy to speak broadly about some of my experiences at Kotaku and the lessons I learned there. Hopefully this addresses whatever you're referring to.

During my time at Kotaku, I invested a lot of myself into the site and trying to make it great. I felt very attached to the brand to a level that now seems silly. I cared deeply when we were a few minutes late on breaking news or when a story's angle wasn't as good as it could be. I was rewarded both implicitly and explicitly for that care. And I could be blunt to the point of rudeness when giving feedback to people about those things in Slack. I never yelled or verbally abused people or anything like that, but I was certainly brusque to a degree that rubbed colleagues the wrong way. ("We've gotta get this up now," "That doesn't sound like a story," that sort of thing). There's a lot I wish I had done differently and a lot about Kotaku's culture that I wish had been better (some issues due to me, some due to others). And it took me way too long to recognize and try to improve how I workshopped ideas and gave feedback to people.

Let me know if there's something specific you want me to address. Some stuff I won't be able to talk about for lots of reasons (I'm certainly not going to get into personal disputes I might have had with former coworkers or that former coworkers had with one another), but that's the gist of what I should have done better at Kotaku and what I think I've improved at pretty drastically since then.

toastedchestnut15 karma

Hi Jason, how hyped are you for Zach Wilson? Thanks from Jacksonville.

jasonschreier44 karma

Here's the thing about being a Jets fan: even if we had gotten Trevor Lawrence, we would've fucked him up. We always fuck everything up. Zach Wilson is doomed.

TheDanCurrie15 karma

What would you say the biggest difference is between your normal journalism and writing a longer book like this?

Love all your work!

jasonschreier17 karma

Oh there are so many differences. The scale of writing a book is exponentially larger than writing any sort of article, even the longform stuff. When I work on a book, I have to do a lot of organizing, first for the reporting process (which always leads to more interviews than I think it will) and then for the writing process (which requires a lot of structure and outlining). Turning 90,000 words into one coherent story is a lot harder than 3,000!

elgandy14 karma

Who do ya got in the GSL finals? If Rogue didn't have some shaky games vs. Dream, I'd have him as an easy favorite. But after that series, I'd make him a slight favorite over Maru.

jasonschreier15 karma

I actually just watched a match from December this morning where Rogue swept Maru 3-0, but it also feels like Maru is blessed by something special after that last match against Trap, so I dunno. Should be a good one!

OhNoItsOnFireAgain14 karma

Hi Jason. Big fan of your reporting and I can say from the inside that I’ve been seeing some changes in the game industry over the past few years. Can’t say it’s because of your reporting, but I’d say it has at least something to do with it.

Anyway, my question is if you’ve interacted much with people who do QA on games and what your thoughts are on how they are treated within the industry?


jasonschreier27 karma

Thanks - I'm glad to hear that. And yes, I've talked to a lot of QA folks, and am regularly appalled by how they're treated. They're lucky to get more than minimum wage, usually on contract, and often don't even get the same health benefits as the rest of their colleagues. They're seen as expendable and low-skilled and it's gross.

commanderbreakfast13 karma

Hi Jason,

Really excited for the new book! Big fan of Triple Click as well.

How do you work on maintaining a healthy work/life balance? As someone who reports a lot on crunch culture and ethical working environments in gaming, do you find it difficult to balance that for yourself? Is it easier or harder to maintain a healthy schedule when working freelance as opposed to larger publications like Bloomberg and Kotaku?

jasonschreier18 karma

I've been fortunate enough that my jobs at Kotaku and Bloomberg have never really asked me to crunch. Of course I'll occasionally work nights and weekends to break some news or finish an important story, but that's not crunch. (Crunch is weeks or months of overtime.)

Even for my books I've been able to take time off work to do the bulk of writing, and while there have been some long hours toward the end, it's never for more than a week or two. (Plus, putting in extra hours is a very different feeling when you're doing it for your own project rather than someone else's.) So yeah, in general I haven't really had a problem with work-life balance.

ownage51613 karma

Hey Jason, huge fan and I love listening to you, Maddy, and Kirk on triple click. What made you get into covering video games of all things?

Follow up question, when are you going to release FF16? 😉

jasonschreier30 karma

Hey ownage516! I've always known I wanted to be a writer, and since high school I've loved journalism. (I was editor-in-chief of my high school paper until I got kicked off because my principal found my livejournal where I talked about smoking pot... long story... that guy was such a dick.)

After college I spent a bunch of time freelancing and doing local journalism and such, which was extremely boring. One day I decided I wanted to do something more interesting, and I'd reviewed some video games during college for volunteer websites, so I figured why not try writing about games? Somehow I just never stopped.

1000-712 karma

You said Persona 3 is coming to PC at some point on Twitter months ago. Is it still on the way?

jasonschreier23 karma

I haven't heard anything about it since last year, but the same person who told me P4 Golden was coming to PC months before it did told me P3 was as well.


Jason, appreciate all you do for the industry. Your work is invaluable to the preservation of people in games.

I've been around the industry in dev and ops for a long time, and in all those years I've found that there is a very real "blacklist" within some circles.

My question is: have you found yourself on one of these lists, especially with industry executives? If so, what have been the ramifications for your career?

I can't imagine many subjects of your pieces, especially in leadership positions, are happy about your reporting given how damaging it can be to public perception.

jasonschreier14 karma

I've been officially blacklisted by one company (Bethesda) and have had hot-and-cold relationships with many others. It happens! Not something that keeps me up at night or anything.

TakeMeToFatmandu4 karma

Is there any chance that that blacklisting gets lifted now they are under someone you have a better relationship with?

jasonschreier10 karma

Seems unlikely — they’re keeping their same PR department (and operating as an autonomous publisher despite being part of Xbox). That’s where the blacklist came from.

-Wonder-Bread-4 karma

You are still blacklisted by Bethesda? Is this still for reporting the existence of Fallout 4 before it was officially announced all the way back in 2014???

jasonschreier7 karma

2013, yep

Coopsage4 karma

Hey Jason been a fan since you're early Kotaku days. Your book comes out a day after my 30th birthday. Any way I can pay for a signed copy of your new book? 👀

jasonschreier5 karma

We have the same birthday! And yeah, I'll be doing an event at The Strand with signed copies (via bookplate) on May 12!

Kingbarbarossa2 karma

Most of your articles highlighting employee abuse in the game industry focus on individuals at different companies who have enacted and supported these policies, but never on the economic pressures which cause these practices to be so widespread they're essentially universal. Doesn't focusing the blame on the individuals leave the core issue unaddressed? Do you think you can ever out enough single offenders to actually make a noticable impact on the industry?

jasonschreier4 karma

I'm not sure where you're getting that from! Press Reset is entirely about systemic problems. Of course you can't talk about systemic problems without bringing up individual examples, but this book (just like my collective work, I'd say) explores systems, not individual bad actors.