And after this, I move on…

After beating myself up over the last four days I made a promise to myself that starting Monday I would stop feeling sorry for myself and get back to working on the website. I wasn’t just feeling sorry for myself.  I felt sorry for Col. I felt sorry for the people who trusted me that I let down. I felt sorry for the people who donated money to the site wanting something different and getting more of the same – just in a different venue.

In general the response of people close to me has been positive. A few supporters of the site expressed their concerns but also believe we could learn and move past this. Friends offered similar advice. The fact that the one person who had the greatest reason to be upset with me, Col Rodgers, had forgiven me and we have since been friendly in email conversations was really important to me.  I wronged him, I apologized, he forgave me.  I hate myself for putting him through this but I can’t go back and change what happened. I can only learn and move forward, which is what I’m going to do. I’ve had people doubling down on what I said.  I don’t care. I talked to Col and I believe him. And beyond that, it’s none of our business.  We care how the game turns out, not speculation about the people involved.

The website (which may or may not get a name change – that topic has been up on the forums for 2 weeks, it’s not a reaction to this) is going forward.  We lost a few people over this.  One due to moral outrage, the other two due to fear of finding themselves in my position – receiving so much hate at once.  It made them nervous. I don’t blame them.  Any of them.  I understand completely being nervous and I understand completely not believing in my leadership after that fuck up.  I wish them all good luck in whatever they do next.  There are no hard feelings here.

The website was never going to be about hit pieces or anything like that.  The website isn’t even going to focus on leaks. The point of the website has always been about remaining independent. About looking at things from a consumer’s point of view.  We will discuss the value of things more than other sites will. We will try to bring a calm, rational approach to the explosions which happen daily instead of feeding into them.  When it comes down to individual people… that’s none of our business.  Why Amy Hennig left, why Stig left, why Col left…  unless they say something themselves, speculation on those things WILL NOT happen on this website.  It also won’t happen from me at all, be it on twitter, in conversation, or whatever.  I made that post without thinking.  I was trying to make a larger point and I glossed over people’s lives.  People’s lives!  That’s a huge fuck up.  If someone handed me my post to put on the website I would have handed it right back and said “There’s speculation there about things we don’t have any right to speculate about nor do we even need to know.”  I didn’t do that to myself in that GAF post and I’ve paid the price.

Actually, I paid more than the price.  I know I fucked up, I apologized, I’m trying to learn from it, the person I upset is ok with me….  but that didn’t stop me from going through a meat grinder for the last several days.  I was ok with it for the most part because I felt so shitty that I felt like I deserved it.  But now that some time has passed and I’ve gotten back up and dusted myself off I am ready to defend myself as well.  I won’t defend what I wrote in that post, I can’t, and nor do I want to.  But the people dancing on my grave – you were over the line. You thought that since I went over the line that it was ok for you to also. The GAF thread, cheered on by mods, celebrating my demise was disgusting. I made a mistake, I owned up to it, Col even posted in that thread that we were cool.  That didn’t stop anything.

There’s also the giant clamoring of trolls that are just disgusting in their attacks.  The thing about these guys is that most of them are Xbox fans (as stated in their twitter profiles) who hate me because they think that I create “FUD” about the Xbox.  They didn’t give a shit about Col.  All they cared was there was an opening to just pile on.  Death threats, abusive language towards me and my wife.  Just over and over and over and over and over.  I must have blocked 1000 people on twitter this weekend.  The comments in the post below this are but a mere taste of the shit I’ve dealt with all weekend.

People have asked me if anyone from GAF has reached out to me for my side of the story.  No, but nor did I expect them to.  GAF is an enormous forum that has a million fires they need to put out everyday and they don’t reach out to anyone they ban.  I wouldn’t expect it to be any different for myself.   While I do question the dancing on my grave that I feel some of the mods encouraged…  I feel no ill will towards GAF.  I made many great friends there.  I will continue to read there.  I won’t miss the leaks or stuff like that, they were fun but also made me nervous.  Honestly the thing I’m going to miss the most are the OT’s.  The Dark Souls OT was amazing, I felt like I was playing the game with 200 people.  I was hoping for the same thing with Dark Souls 2 on the PC in April.  I’m gonna miss that.  My time there is over – that’s that.  Time to move on.

One of the things I’m not going to stand for is the complete re-writing of who I am or what I’ve done because I fucked up this one time.  I was wrong about Col, I admit that, and I take responsibility for that.  But that doesn’t change my entire past.  Nor am I the person who a lot of you think I am.   I posted 11 of the 15 Xbox One games on GAF weeks before E3.  No one at that point was accusing me of “FUD.”  I got a couple wrong – sorry about Hawken, Miles, and the jury is still out on LOL (I believe Phil Spencer recent mentioned MOBAS working on consoles).  But 11 correct, 1 wrong, 1 still up in the air.  I also posted a month before E3 that Insomniac, long time Sony loyalists, would be on stage with MS showing off an xbox one exclusive game.  Again – not “FUD.”  And again – I was correct.  I had been saying since March that the price of the PS4 was $399.  It was $399.  I posted about the Driveclub delay days before it was announced publicly.  I said that PS+ was going to be required to play online while other “insiders” (I really hate that term, I’m not inside anything) said it was not.

When CBOAT and others said the PS4 was coming out in October I said it wasn’t.  I broke the story about COD and BF4 being 720p on the Xbox One weeks before either company admitted it (I think this is when Kevin Dent started hating me as he INSISTED that BF4 was 1080p).  I also broke the story that the party system on the xbox one was in bad shape and a step backwards from the 360’s with a fairly detailed explanation why.  These events are why people who have heard of me recently, that love Microsoft, hate me.  Here’s the thing – I was right.  I can’t help it if the news about a certain company is bad.  I don’t make up the news, I deliver it.  And I wasn’t wrong.  People still come at me for the parties thing…  which is insane considering that Microsoft themselves said the whole purpose of the March patch was to fix the parties!

So this whole “He was just a lucky guesser” narrative that people who hate me want to create – it’s false.  Or, if it’s true, I’m the luckiest guesser in the history of the world.  I have been wrong about things in the past.  I thought that Mirror’s Edge was an Xbox One exclusive, I was wrong.  I’ve also been an idiot many times.  A few weeks back at 3:30 AM I drunkenly posted about Amazon buying the Xbox division.  I’m not backing off that assertion but my delivery was certainly awful.  Nintendo and now, reportedly, Facebook are also suitors.  That’s not to say MS is going to sell, but there are companies approaching them.  I’m fairly certain they are approaching Sony as well considering Sony’s overall health – but I haven’t heard that from anyone so I haven’t said anything about it.  It may end up being much ado about nothing. I was sharing what I heard.  My delivery was awful.  And, of course, the biggest mistake I made was dragging Col’s name through the mud.  I also apologize to Stig, as I did the same to him.  And even though I didn’t say anything negative, I speculated about Amy Hennig and Justin Richmond which was a mistake.  I’m learning from these mistakes and I’m owning up to these mistakes.  I fucked up and I truly am sorry.

Who I don’t apologize to is the thousands of people sending me shit like the pic below.  There are many of you that hate me and will always hate me.  That’s fine.  There are some  people I respect who lost respect for me and I hope to win it back someday.  And for those who stood with me and gave me support – I can’t thank you enough.  The picture below, though… this type of vile bullshit, I’m done with it.  I fucked up, I appologized to Col, Col and I are friendly now.  He got over it.  I learned from it.  You guys that want to just keep piling this shit on are wasting your time.  I’m learning from this and moving forward.

hate

 

It takes 2 seconds to block you and that’s all I’ll be doing.  This guy can have his hate filled limelight though.  The people who have been supportive have my undying loyalty. And I’m usually not a big quote type of guy, but a friend sent me this and this is exactly what I’m going to do.

“When you make a mistake, don’t look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.” -Hugh White

A bit of clarity.

I fucked up.  There’s no two ways around that.  I fucked up in multiple ways.  It wasn’t just one fuckup – it was a series of them, some because I’m stupid and some because I didn’t know what was going on.

When I posted yesterday at GAF about the various happenings within Sony the point of what I was trying to write is that they weren’t connected or part of a bigger conspiracy.  The mistake I made was that I was loose with gossip in trying to make my point.  I wasn’t focused on that, I was focused on my larger point and as such I failed as writer/poster.  Late last night I talked with a friend of Col Rodgers and we cleared things up.

When i woke up this morning I didn’t go to gaf.  I had no idea the post was still going.  I had no idea that Col had posted there.  I had no idea about anything, really.  I did some stuff on the site.  I was feeling awful about how big that post had blown up (mostly from the conversation with col’s friend which made it far more personal and gave me a much better understanding of how my irresponsibility could hurt someone).   I made a tweet, that was intentionally cheeky, about resigning as a “GAF Insider.”  The reason it was cheeky was because I’ve always thought of the entire notion of being a “GAF Insider” was silly and to make some sort of official announcement that was very serious would just make me look like a stuck up fuck.  So that’s fuck up number 2.  Or 3.  I don’t know how many I was at this point.  What I had no clue is that Col Rodgers had posted on GAF.  That people were waiting for a response from me.  So my cheeky tweet became the response….  and I had no idea.

At this point, still completely oblivious, I’m going through my email and I see an email from Col Rodgers.  He explained why he left.  He explained his situation with his son (something that was never even mentioned to me by anyone I talked to).  He gave me what I now believe to be the facts of the situation.  I wrote him back and apologized to him.  I told him I didn’t mean to smear him, I wish him and his son well.  He wrote back explaining how what I wrote could potentially hurt him so I responded (paraphrased, i don’t have the email in front of me) “Well I was planning on apologizing on my podcast since that would be video, voice, body language, etc and would hopefully express that it was sincere. ”  But decided to also appologize on twitter now since I’m not sure if Rich and I are doing a show tonight, tomorrow, sunday… or possibly later.  So I tweeted the apology and someone responded “Too late, Evilore already danced on your grave.”

Curious to what he meant I went to GAF.  I got a message saying I had a lifetime ban for being a “faux insider” who handled himself poorly when proven wrong.  I can’t argue with that.  I totally handled myself poorly after being proven wrong on GAF.  What I can say, in my defense, is I had *ZERO* idea that I had been proven wrong on GAF so my actions afterwards like my cheeky tweet was not in any way a response to GAF.  I had no idea of anything that was happening at GAF.

This isn’t a plea to get my GAF account back – my cheeky tweet was me making the decision that I need to stop making posts like I did.  I enjoy talking about videogames – a lot, and sometimes have info to offer that is pertinent to the topic at hand.  That info by and large has been correct – hence my not getting banned once before now.  This time it was not.  I feel awful.  I’ve felt awful since yesterday.  It was that awful feeling that made me decide that I need to stop posting shit like that on GAF.  It isn’t helpful.  People will bend truth, rumors, things that are completely false, and whatever else to fit their narrative.  And when I’m not careful I can seriously fuck with people’s lives and I don’t like that.  So the GAF ban is fine.  I’m better off as a lurker.  I did want to clarify the order in which things happened though.  Because I can be an asshole, but I wouldn’t make that cheeky post as a response to someone like Col on GAF.  Col seems like a great guy and I really feel for him and his son.  I apologize again for any harm I caused.

 

-Pete Dodd

 

Update:

I’m seeing this asked a lot in the GAF thread and on twitter.  I can’t answer in one place for obvious reasons and it’s a bit long winded for twitter.  The question is “You talked to Col’s friend last night and then this morning you decided to make a cheeky tweet?”

Yes.  And I can understand why this doesn’t make sense to people but there’s more to it.  What I got out of the conversation the night before with Col’s friend was that I was off the mark.  He was very nice, he said my contacts were wrong, he’s known Col for years, he definitely left for “personal reasons.”  Col’s friend *DID NOT* tell me last night that the reason he left was to take care of his sick child.

I also, as of this morning, felt like shit, but assumed that the rest of the world had moved on.  That’s typically how these things going in the gaming world.  Something is a burning issue for a day or so and it falls off the map.  So I was just feeling like crap because I honestly felt bad.  It was then I made the plan in my head to apologize to Col on the podcast this weekend with the whole video/voice/etc.  I already mentioned up above that I didn’t know that Col had posted on GAF.  What I didn’t mention is that I had no idea that Col had even heard about the post.  I didn’t know that it was creating problems for him.  I didn’t know any of that.  What I knew is I thought one thing and was corrected by Col’s friend and I was going to apologize, visually, and give the link to Col’s friend and ask him to pass it along.  I had no idea the reach that all of this had gotten at that point.

So not knowing any of that I made a cheeky post about not being a “GAF insider” anymore because of my own internal guilt, and it was cheeky because I didn’t realize there was anything happening that needed to be taken seriously.  Because, honestly, if it was any other day of the year and and I made some proclamation that was dead serious that I wasn’t going to be a “GAF Insider” anymore would I not look like a stuck up cock?  I tried to add a bit of levity to it.  But I had no clue what was actually happening.

Col and I have talked.  I have apologized publicly many times.  He and I actually seem to be cool with each other now.  I hate that this happened to him and I’m at fault.  I feel like i’m going to vomit.  It sucks.  And, again, I’m sorry that I gave info that wasn’t true (not purposefully, but that’s not the point) and that it has caused you this commotion, Col.  You are good guy and did not deserve this.

Why gaming journalism needs a kick in the ass

Up front I will admit that a good part of the reason I am writing this is because the indiegogo campaign for my site is in the final few days (it ends Thursday evening) and the more money we get the more we can accomplish right off the bat (and work has begun, which is why this blog is .wordpress again).  Even if the indiegogo campaign wasn’t happening this week or if I wasn’t trying to create a website I would still be writing about this.  The level of transparency in this industry is pretty much non-existent except in cases where the people involved aren’t smart enough to even try to cover their tracks.

Exhibit A: Andrea Rene works at The Escapist.   John Drake works at Harmonix.  They seem to be in a relationship if this tweet is taken literally.

johndraketweet.

Now they could just be friends.  I don’t know.  But they have a “relationship” which Towerfall evidently stresses.

Harmonix is working on a game called Fantasia: Music Evolved.  It was previewed at The Escapist today.  Take a look at who did the preview.

 

andreafantasia

How is this OK? On what planet is this OK? The thing about this that bums me out the most is that Jim Sterling has becomes one of the strongest independent voices in gaming and works at a site where things like this are permitted.  It’s insane.  It’s not unprecedented, however.

 

Albert Penello “leads planning for the Xbox One” according to his twitter bio.  Arthur Gies is the reviews editor at Polygon (who got $750,000 from MS to make a documentary, though this does not prove collusion at all, business and editorial tend to stay separate).  Last fall this twitter exchange happened.

Gies

So this is a high level employee asking two media figures about “what’s going on today” because Gies and Sessler had been vague-tweeting all night about being pissed off about something. What we found out later, through Sessler’s videos, was that they were mad about having to go to a Sony event, on the other side of the country, to review certain games.  Arthur didn’t seem to think that asking Albert for his email or a DM to talk about Playstation business was any sort of conflict of interest.  Or did he?  The tweet was deleted shortly afterwards.  “GAF being GAF” though.  The drama is somehow your fault, of course.

And that leads us to Ryan McCaffrey, the “Xbox guru-in chief at IGN” according to his twitter, openly soliciting for the job of E3 host this year to Phil Spencer (@xboxP3) of Microsoft. 

 

ryan

Doug Bradley here seems to understand that this is… weird.  The slight amount of credit I can give to this is that Ryan works in the Xbox department at IGN which doesn’t try to present itself as objective.  But, seriously?

The latter two happened a few months ago or more.  The Andrea Rene thing *just* happened.  This problem isn’t going away.  Spread the news of this stuff.  I don’t care if you mention me or my site or whatever.  We deserve better than this.

If you do happen to want to donate to a site that is going to do things differently, take a look here.

As far as we’ve ever heard none of these people were even told that this behavior wasn’t OK. Maybe it happened behind the scenes, maybe not.

Transparency – we want it.

 

 

Doddcast 232 – It didn’t stay in Vegas

infamous

 

After a quick recap of their meeting in Vegas, Rich and Pete jump into some gaming chat including inFamous Second Son, Runner 2, Titanfall, and tons of listener tweets (VR being the most prevalent topic).

Music: Ticket to Ride by The Beatles, Lenders in the Temple by Conor Oberst

Have you considered contributing to the Dodd Scientifics Indiegogo?

Here is where you can stream it.

You can also grab it off of iTunes.

Reach me at:  petedodd@gmail.com

Double K.O.

Player One Podcast

Check Platform Nation

Pete’s Twitter

Rich’s Twitter

Doddcast 231 – Say it ain’t so

brothers 1

 

Rich succombs to peer pressure.  Titanfall is a game that isn’t the second coming or the apocalypse. Brothers moved Rich.  Tweets are answered.  

Music:  Say It Ain’t So by Weezer, Falling Man by Blonde Redhead

Have you considered contributing to the Dodd Scientifics Indiegogo?

Here is where you can stream it.

You can also grab it off of iTunes.

Reach me at:  petedodd@gmail.com

Double K.O.

Player One Podcast

Check Platform Nation

Pete’s Twitter

Rich’s Twitter

Why crowdfunding? Why now?

As I hope all of you know by now, I am running an Indiegogo campaign to fund a fully functioning videogame website.  There seems to be a fair amount of interest in it and the funding got off to a wonderful start but has since flatlined.  That was expected as this is how things like this tend to go.  My job is to figure out ways to get more boosts along the way. This isn’t something I’m particularly strong at but my skill is irrelevant.  It’s what must be done since I chose to go the route of crowd funding.

So, why did I decide to go the route of crowd funding? I’ve been outspoken on the Doddcast about how crowd funding is an unsustainable model because there is basically no guarantees that your money will be used as the creators say it will be.  Things change…. not to mention the entire thing is breeding grounds for scam artists.  There’s also the matter of the people who have their heart in the right place but just do not have the talent to pull off what they hoped to accomplish.

I decided to go the route of crowdfunding because I had two choices to make near the end of 2013.  My wife and I just had an absolutely terrible year.  Her wedding makeup business had failed, costing us thousands (and drying up credit).  I reached a breaking point at my job where it was clearly time to leave (though I was hamstrung by needing the health insurance it provided).  My wife’s sister was murdered in a murder/suicide by her husband.  My wife also had to get carpal tunnel surgery, stopping her from working for weeks (as a makeup artist).  I felt a great need to get my wife away from Connecticut, where we lived, because of a lot of this strife.  She also has a very contentious relationship with certain family members which culminated with her getting roughed up by one a few weeks before we were to leave.  That court case is still outstanding so I’m not sure how much I should say.  Let’s just leave it at “I need to get my wife out of here” was a thought that I never strayed from.

I also wanted to start a gaming website.  This is something that I’ve talked about doing seriously for the last couple years with my wife.  The hope was that at some point she would make more money (we both made equally shitty amounts of money every year) which would allow me to take a chance on it.  I’ve made other sites over the years, while also working a fulltime job, and it just isn’t sustainable.  Videogame news is extremely timely.  If tomorrow at 10am it breaks that GTA V is coming to next-gen systems and is 1080p on one console and 720p on another and I write about it at 6pm after I get home from work I might as well not write about it at all.  News has to be timely.  I’ve outlined on the site that I’m not going to play the normal rules of a videogame website, and that includes not forcing reviews at embargos (if we can make it comfortably, awesome, if not… the review goes up when it’s done, it’s not rushed to get more hits).  But if I took that same philosophy with news the site would be completely irrelevant.  I want the website to be a place where you can trust the reporting on news, where there are editorials that make you think, and the reviews are well thought out and not rushed to meet a deadline (which ends up in 10/10s for games that are totally broken).

Since my wife and I took our entire savings to move across the country (and live off of while looking for more income) the only way that I was going to be able to start a website was with outside money.  I wouldn’t even know how to broker a deal for $750,000 from Microsoft even if I wanted to (I don’t).  The only thing that made sense was crowdfunding.  The very crowdfunding I’ve never been a fan of.  After several more weeks of prep I swallowed my pride and posted the Indiegogo.  It also puts me in the position of needing to self promote which I’m terrible at.

What I’m not terrible at, however, is writing.  Well, my Grammar needs work, and hopefully a team of other writers will fix my mistakes, but I feel like I can convey my thoughts on subjects through the written word pretty well.  I am also a strong leader.  It can be debated what effect #PS4NoDRM had but the biggest thing I took away from it personally is that I know how to lead people.  I honestly did not know that before then.  I had help, of course.  BallerPhD, especially, was with me every step of the way.  As was gofreak.  As were 100s of people volunteering their time.  The size of that operation and amount of work that went into it would probably be surprising to most people.  I know I didn’t expect it.  I went from making a post to leading a few dozen people in the matter of hours, while thousands of others helped get the message out.  I did interviews all day and night.  I was even in the Wall Street Journal (it’s a newspaper, ask your dad).

I don’t have any doubts about my ability to pull this website off.  What I do have doubts about are what kind of money I will have to start and how long I can stretch it.  Many people have come forward over the last couple weeks to help with the website for free, which is absolutely amazing.  We are going to launch in a much stronger position than I ever imagined.  The biggest question is how long will the money last and is it sustainable?  The more money the longer we have to figure that out and make sure it is.

Many of you may be wondering what I get out of this.  The answer is, honestly, not much – monetarily – but I do get to follow a dream.  The site isn’t going to make me money.  I hope it can generate enough to pay its own bills (hosting, etc) and pay my bills (half of rent, utilities) but I don’t plan on taking a “salary.”  If we have extra money I will use it to pay the people helping me.  I will also use it to get more top-tier help.  People like Greg Sewart, who not only has a storied past as a great gaming journalist but has family history in the racing world.  I would love to pay him a small amount to be “the racing game guy.”  He would be the best in the business.  I have a lot of ideas like this.  They cost money, however.

As for my personal life, my wife has about 40 hours left in a real estate course and then she needs to pass a test.  We moved to southern Utah because she has a cousin out here in real estate making amazing amounts of money because this part of the country is expanding while the northeast is contracting.  The cost of living in southern Utah is also absurdly cheaper than the east coast.  We went from $1100 for a one bedroom to $750 for a two bedroom (the second being the Dodd Scientifics office).  Gas is almost a dollar cheaper a gallon out here!  Food is much less expensive (except for turkey, for some reason, and I love me some turkey).  The idea was to move out here so she could get into real estate, we are close enough to Las Vegas (1.5 hours) for her to still work for makeup brands, and things were cheap enough that I could give making this website a go.  Everything I make with the website will go back into making the website better.  At some point, if it takes off, sure – I will take a salary.  And hopefully everyone on the staff will be paid as well.  But that’s the endgame, not the short game.  The short game is I am not making money.  To be honest… this feels completely uncomfortable.  I’ve been working since I was 15.  Now, at 36, I am bringing in no income.  I’m working hard, of course, but no income.  I hope you can handle that, dangerwife.  

I have pretty much given up on the idea of making the goal. Maybe that is pessimistic, maybe it’s realistic – I don’t really know.  I should be doing a google hangout with Boogie (aka Francis) the youtuber-extraordinaire sometime soon that should get about 50k views.  Hopefully I can be persuasive.  I know that, by nature, I’m not.  Not when it comes to me.  I can convince friends to buy any videogame on the planet to the point that people say “____ should just pay you” because of how persuasive I can be.  The problem is that I feel absolutely disgusting being that way about myself.

I do know I have 300 followers on the @doddsci twitter and about 50 contributors… so there are a bunch of you that are watching but haven’t yet leaped.  Go cheap.  $5.  A buck.  Anything helps move the bar.  Get drunk and pull a credit card out and spend way more than you should.  Basically, pretend I’m a Ubisoft game.  Oh, burn.  AC4 was dope though.  Getting back to my point, I’m about halfway through this and I am making headway.  I’m looking into creating the private forums for funders shortly so I can bounce ideas off of them.  Most things are up for debate, including the name of the site.  I also hope that the hangout with Boogie is successful and that I can convince some of you guys that while I’m not a sure bet, I’m a safe bet.  Even if I fail spectacularly and Kevin Dent dances on my grave, I’m not going anywhere.  I will never stop writing about games, whether it’s a crappy blog, a forum, or a well run website.  And my god does this industry need a well run website.

Hey man, ya got some change?  

Doddcast 230 – Smooth

1378500-commandervideo

 

Pete and Rich have a chat about Bit Trip Saga, Thief, Brothers, Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, the KZ 1080p debacle and other videogame-like topics.

Music: Green to Me by Hum, Make Believe by Jeremy Enigk

Have you considered contributing to the Dodd Scientifics Indiegogo?

Here is where you can stream it.

You can also grab it off of iTunes.

Reach me at:  petedodd@gmail.com

Double K.O.

Player One Podcast

Check Platform Nation

Pete’s Twitter

Rich’s Twitter