Diction Choices when Discussing Interactive Media

Here’s a headline from GameSpot yesterday: Beatles rocking original IP in Q4 2009. It’s a story about a game from Harmonix (who make Rock Band) that will feature Beatles music. So why does the headline read like a stock ticker? Games “journalism” has a lot of these bad habits. I guess the writers use “IP in Q4” instead of “new game late next year” because they want to make their writing sound smarter? Instead, it reads like they’re eating out of the patent lawyers’ hands. Game companies don’t make “games”, they make “intellectual property”, a term designed to keep focus on the author of the work and not on the owner. I can own a book, and when I’m done reading it I can sell it to a friend. But if a book is “content” that’s the “intellectual property” of its author, it creates an impression that I’m not its owner. Ironically, the gaming community is railing against copy protection like that used in Spore, which prevents people from being able to run a game they’ve bought on too many of their own computers.

See also David Pogue’s Tech Terms to Avoid and Kotaku’s Note to Internet: Stop Using the Term “SKU”.