Niche Gamer, a video game news outlet which touts itself as an alternative to the mainstream video game press, has issued an apology and admitted that the site had plagiarized Gematsu content, particularly translated Japanese press releases, for years, following initial denials and a lie attributing the plagiarism to a non-existent ghost writer.

The accusations first surfaced over the weekend when Sal Romano, the Editor-in-Chief of Gematsu, began accusing Niche Gamer of regularly publishing Gematsu content without sourcing.

He provided multiple links comparing his original work and Niche Gamer posts:

Responding to these accusations from the official Niche Gamer account in a now deleted Twitter thread, the site’s owner, founder, and Editor-in-Chief, Brandon Orselli, initially identified the perpetrator as “a ghost writer” and claimed that this anonymous contributor “has since been terminated.” (Archive link: https://archive.ph/Hyl2w)

“We’ve investigated accusations for recent content on our site to another site, Gematsu. We’ve recognized similarities with some content, which had been generated by a ghost writer that acted as a contributor for our website on some content. This writer has since been terminated.”

He continued:

“This is Brandon here, the EIC. I apologize for letting this slip by, I’ve been exhausted running everything with the site and should have double checked their source(s). I need to delegate more and with our new hires we are doing just that.”

He concluded:

We’ve investigated accusations for recent content on our site to another site, Gematsu. We’ve recognized similarities with some content, which had been generated by a ghost writer that acted as a contributor for our website on some content. This writer has since been terminated.

This claim was soon refuted by Romano, who recalled that Niche Gamer and Orselli had a history of “denials” when accused of plagiarizing, specifically towards Romano after he had “kindly” approached them about this same issue in 2015:

On December 18th, Orselli issued a lengthy apology on Niche Gamer, admitting that he “lied with that ghost writer statement” and claimed that the issue was “a complete oversight on my part, mostly due to sheer overwork and lack of delegation.”

“For those unaware, we’ve recently had accusations from another website, Gematsu, of plagiarism here on Niche Gamer. While not all of the claims are true, regardless, I take full responsibility and we have already removed any legitimately suspect content from said articles, and are looking at other articles as well. This was a complete oversight on my part, mostly due to sheer overwork and lack of delegation.

I’m not going to lie, I was really stretched thin with my time between my day job, my family, and running Niche Gamer as a second job. There have been many times I neglected my family so we could make embargo deadlines. My small team has asked me to hire more people for too long now, and by postponing that, I simply made things worse. When the accusations came out, I panicked and I lied with that ghost writer statement, and hid a few replies on Twitter. It was wrong, it was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry. This does not reflect my own moral standards, the high moral standards our staff strive for every single day, or the ethics that drive Niche Gamer forward.

I’ve been managing, editing, and publishing things on Niche Gamer mostly by myself for some time now, from all the staff reviews, the day to day content from staff, our editorials, everything. I’m exhausted. My day job takes up most of my time and then I’ve been running the site in all of my free time. This doesn’t excuse how I let this become such a problem, but I am truly sorry to Gematsu (and its owner, Sal), my staff, and most of all you – our fans and readers.”

Orselli concludes his apology by announcing that he will be “stepping away from managing the front-end content of Niche Gamer” and “will be taking more of a back-end role with the site, focusing on back-end tasks while also working on our server upgrades, new site features, and more.”

Romano responded with a lengthy Twitter thread questioning many of the statements made in the apology before ultimately stating that he considered the apology to be “hollow.”

Niche Gamer has since announced various changes to their staff, including Ryan Pearson’s new position as managing editor, despite standing accusations by Romano that Pearson had also plagiarized “full press releases [he] translated”.

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  • About The Author

    Spencer Baculi

    Spencer is a contributing reporter for Bounding Into Comics. Unabashed anime fan, life-long comic book reader, avid video game player, and in need of a separate house for all of his figures. Trying to sift through the noise to bring the readers the facts.

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