After starting at major game journalism publisher Ziff Davis in 1996, Dan “Shoe” Hsu rose through the ranks to serve for six years as editor-in-chief of Electronic Gaming Monthly before being promoted to editorial director of Ziff Davis’ Game Group in 2007. So it was a bit of a shock when, in April this year, Hsu announced that he would be ending his career at Ziff Davis, with no immediate plans other than “taking some much needed time off.”
Or maybe it wasn’t so shocking. Even as a member of the game journalism elite, “Shoe” was one of the game press’ fiercest critics, frequently using his editorial space in EGM to deride what he sees as an overly cozy relationship between game journalists and game publishers. It’s a tradition of criticism he’s continued on his Sore Thumbs blog, where he’s written a series of posts revealing insider tales of some of the more sordid wheeling and dealing that goes on behind the scenes in the game press.
Despite this openness, Hsu has been reluctant to discuss the specifics of his abrupt departure from a top position in the game journalism scene — until now. In his first in-depth interview since leaving Ziff Davis, Hsu talked with Crispy Gamer about the reasons he left, the myriad problems with the current state of game journalism and more.