Gaming journalist. Formerly for Rock Paper Shotgun, currently working for Kotaku.
Lack of disclosure regarding Depression Quest
One of the five men implicated in Eron Gjoni’s initial deouncement of Zoe Quinn https://archive.today/36BBc. Tho it’s often said in his defense that he didn’t write a positive review for Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest, there’s still two instances undisclosed conflict interest at play.
The first instance involves Grayson’s coverage of the ill-fated GAME_JAM event https://archive.today/ykZbo posted on 31 March 2014, in which Quinn is a central figure. The article was written a few days before they started a romantic relationship, by the recognition of Stephen Totilo, Kotaku’s editor-in-chief https://archive.today/C4W4J, who dismisses this short time gap as evidence that their involvement at the time the article was written was purely professional.
The second instance was an article at Rock Paper Shotgun posted on 8 January 2014 https://archive.today/iS4Ru mentioning 50 games approved in a batch by Steam’s Greenlight initiative. Tho Depression Quest was only one title of many, it was highlit and its screenshot headlined the article.
The day after the aforementioned article, Grayson tweeted he could “burn down the game industry” in defense of Quinn https://archive.today/Ci5Y7, again showing their personal relationship extends before Totilo’s claim.
Both instances are brought into a new light by a post at blog The Ralph Report https://archive.today/p9pur. In the credits of Depression Quest, Grayson’s name is listed among several others receiving a special thanks. As The Ralph Report notes, this either means that Grayson made a financial donation to the game’s Kickstarter or that he was close to Quinn at the time the game was still being developed. Regardless of whether the nature of their relation was personal or financial, it wasn’t disclosed at all in either of the two articles.
Further, as William Usher notes https://archive.today/EiMwW#selection-653.2-661.57, Grayson and Quinn have been familiar on Twitter since at least June 2012, and on January 2014 even kidded about burning down the game indsutry if Quinn left it http://archive.is/MDt0u.
Justifying censorship of games
On 15 December 2014, following Valve’s removal from Steam Greenlight of the controversial game Hatred, Grayson penned an article on the subject for Kotaku https://archive.today/4M752. As is common in gaming journalism, especially under pretenses of being simply blogging sites as opposed to serious publications, the article makes use of heavy-handed proselytizing under the guise of reporting.
Despite pointing out the flaw in Valve’s rationale when removing Hatred from its Greenlight service since there’s several other, similarly offensive games already being sold on Steam, Grayson also engages is thinly veiled apologia for censorship. Using a variation of the canard that it’s not proper censorship since it’s being made by a private organization and the game would still be available elsewhere, he goes on to judge the game and effectively deem its removal as no great loss.
It concludes with tepid admonishings against both Greenlight’s unclear guidelines and against the Hatred’s developers themselves for stirring a controversy, regardless of being censored.
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