Jeffrey Michael Gerstmann is an American video game journalist. Former editorial director of the gaming website GameSpot and the co-founder/editor of the gaming website Giant Bomb, Gerstmann began working at GameSpot in the fall of 1996, around the launch of VideoGameSpot when GameSpot split PC and console games into separate areas. He shared his thoughts on a variety of other subjects every Monday on his GameSpot blog before his controversial dismissal from GameSpot in 2007 following a review of . Complex magazine named Gerstmann in their top 25 biggest celebrities in the video game industry.
Gerstmann began work invideo game journalism in the early 1990s, having been involved with the game industry since age 17 doing freelance work as well as working for a print magazine for under a year. He was hired as an intern for GameSpot in 1996, eventually becoming editorial director. Gerstmann appeared in a segment on Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer and Sega product analyst Dennis Lee in September 1999 to talk about the release of the Sega Dreamcast, playing NFL 2K and Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, notable for the Dreamcast crashing while live on national television in one of its first TV demonstrations. Gerstmann personally notes in an episode of the Giant Bombcast that he believes his appearance on the show wearing a FUBU Jersey contributed to the clothing company's fall from popularity. The segment was also notable for the Sega product analyst's many falsehoods, stating "You can actually see the snow slowly blanketing the ground, as the game goes on, the snow will blanket the field" features which were not present in the product.
Termination from GameSpot (2007–2008)
Gerstmann was dismissed from his position at GameSpot as Editorial Director on November 28, 2007. Immediately after his termination, rumors circulated proclaiming his dismissal was a result of external pressure from Eidos Interactive, the publisher of ', which Gerstmann had previously given a Fair rating, which is relatively undesirable, along with critique. This was at a time when Eidos had been putting heavy advertising money into GameSpot, transforming the entire website to use a Kane & Lynch theme and background instead of the regular GameSpot layout. In accordance with California State Law and CNET Networks, GameSpot could not give details as to why Gerstmann was terminated. Both GameSpot and parent company CNET stated that his dismissal was unrelated to the negative review. However, a subsequent interview with Gerstmann in 2012 countered this statement, with Gerstmann claiming that management gave in to publisher pressure. Following Gerstmann's termination, editors Alex Navarro, Ryan Davis, Brad Shoemaker, and Vinny Caravella left GameSpot, feeling that they could no longer work for a publication that was perceived as having caved in to advertiser pressure. In 2012, with Gerstmann's Giant Bomb site acquired by CBS Interactive which owned CNET, part of the acquisition nullified the non-disparagement agreement between Gerstmann and CNET. During a 2012 GameSpot "On the Spot" interview with Gerstmann, Gerstmann was able to talk of the terms of his dismissal in 2008. Gerstmann revealed that his firing was in fact related to the low review score he had given to Kane & Lynch, though his explanation cited other similar events that led up to the termination, including a 7.5 rating given to ' by Aaron Thomas, then an employee under Gerstmann. Events such as these led to him being "called into a room" several times to discuss reviews posted on the site. Gerstmann went on to lay the blame on a new management team that was unable to properly handle tension between the marketing and editorial staff, laying additional blame on the marketing department, which he claimed was unprepared in how to handle publisher complaints and threats to withdraw advertising money over low review scores. Gerstmann also stated he ran into a few members of developer IO Interactive at a convention a few months after his firing. He claims one of the people he ran into said, "Yeah, Kane & Lynch wasn't a very good game." Gerstmann responded, "You should totally call up my old bosses and tell them that."
Giant Bomb (2008–present)
Shortly after leaving GameSpot, Gerstmann started an online blog saying: "I'm mainly starting this site up to give people a centralized place to hear directly from me, as all these bits and pieces that have gotten out to game news sites via interviews and the blog on my MySpace account aren't really the best way to communicate. So if you're interested in what I plan to do from here, this is the place. I'll also be sharing my thoughts on games and the business that surrounds them, perhaps with an occasional video or two." On the first episode of IGN's "GameSages" podcast, Gerstmann stated that he was talking with "old friends" - later revealed to be Shelby Bonnie, the former CEO and co-founder of CNET, along with other former GameSpot people who left shortly in the wake of Gerstmann's dismissal and founded Whiskey Media - in regards to his future plans. Gerstmann and Davis announced their new venture Giant Bomb in March 2008 under the Whiskey Media brand, with the website going live on July 21, 2008., Giant Bomb is the current home of Gerstmann and other game journalists, including his former GameSpot associates that had left alongside him: Shoemaker, Caravella, Navarro, and formerly Davis. The staff produces video game-related content with multiple video series including "Endurance Runs" playing through the entirety of long games, "Quick Looks" that spend about 20-30 minutes playing through new titles, and the "This Ain't No Game" segment. They also produce a podcast, the "BombCast". The site includes video game reviews and cover video game news. Gerstmann also personally produces and uploads a regular premium-content video segment called "Jar Time with Jeff" to the site, hour long broadcasts often themed around jar related puns, in which Gerstmann drinks from a jar while answering questions submitted via email from Giantbomb users, over time the segment has begun to include various off topic inclusions such as showing off his video game and console collection, and discussing his own opinions on various non video game related subjects. Giant Bomb was voted by Time Magazine as one of the Top 50 websites of 2011. On March 15, 2012 Giant Bomb announced that they were acquired by CBS Interactive, owners of CNET, meaning that Gerstmann will be working alongside his former employer, GameSpot.
Gerstmann was a regular guest on Bonus Round, which was a panel topic discussion show on the video game industry presented by Geoff Keighley on GameTrailers.
Gerstmann became engaged in the summer of 2015. He announced that he became married on February 16, 2016 on the Giant Bombcast. On July 22, 2019, Gerstmann announced the birth of his first child.