It's no secret: We don't get out much. Even if we did, Monte Carlo isn't exactly your ordinary trip down the (Jersey) shore. "I'm not going to lie to you: this hotel is quite posh, prolly the poshest place I've ever stayed in my life," Capcom community director Chris Kramer wrote of the CAPTIVATE09 destination. "It's also murderously expensive here; every drink at the hotel bar runs 18 euros, which is roughly $30 per beer."
This dreamlike getaway seems particularly out of touch with today's reality -- really, it is out of touch for most of us -- but when the video game publishers are paying, how can one resist? From conception, Joystiq's policy has been to decline press junkets (all-expense paid trips). Unfortunately, this also means that we sometimes sacrifice opportunities to bring you firsthand coverage of relevant video game news and analysis. Like today. When CAPTIVATE kicks off this evening and continues through Thursday, we won't be there.
Joystiq has decided not to budget a trip to Monte Carlo for CAPTIVATE, and we wouldn't feel comfortable reporting from an event in which our expenses were paid (in full or in part) by the same companies previewing content for our critical consideration. (Sending one, New York-based contributor would have cost roughly $1,500 in basic travel and hotel fees -- not including the bar tab.) We took into account that several of the high profile games at CAPTIVATE won't be playable and that the event is just six weeks from E3, which we will assuredly attend en masse. That said, we are committed to bringing you timely coverage of CAPTIVATE, albeit by relying on third-party outlets at the event (the embargo is up at 11am Joystiq Time, Tuesday the 28th).
We hope that you continue to depend on Joystiq as a valued source of video game reporting and commentary and respect the practices we uphold.
[Ed – To be clear, we're not intimating that every outlet attending CAPTIVATE is doing so on Capcom's dime. Some are surely paying their own way, as we almost did (and as we often have in the past). And we're not intimating that outlets that have accepted travel accommodations are suddenly unable to convey an untainted opinion. What we are saying is that, as an outlet, we're following our long-standing policy of declining press junkets and, in this case, that means we're unable to bring you direct coverage of CAPTIVATE. Do we think our coverage would be significantly tainted? Honestly, it doesn't matter what we think. It matters what you think. And, as they say, the appearance of impropriety can be as bad as impropriety itself.]