Plagiarism scandal taints the upcoming Australian Games Awards

Posted on December 18, 2018

In less than 24 hours the very first Australian Games Awards will take place at Sydney’s Big Top, awarding excellence across multiple fields within the video game industry. Unfortunately the event hasn’t been without controversy, tarnishing the awards before they even take place. More specifically, a nominee for journalist of the year has been found out to be a serial plagiarist. Derek ‘Dez’ Maggs was not only nominated for journalist of the year, but the publication he writes for,, was also nominated for publication of the year.

Angry gamers and members of the industry were quick to inform the organisers behind the inaugural Australian Games Awards, unfortunately their complaints and outrage fell on deaf ears. Derek has since stepped down from his position as nominee, 5 days after he was first outed, with still no official word from the Australian Games Awards themselves. The website also posted a statement about the plagiarism debacle, a statement that wasn’t denying the accusations, but was instead attempting to normalise plagiarism as a whole. You can check out the statement in full here, it honestly reads like a joke.

“Let’s be clear: the accusations of plagiarism conveniently miss making the point that this is standard practice by many journalists around the world in almost all sectors and specialisations. The practice of republishing media releases is seen to be favourable by the brands who publish them”.

The statement made by is abhorrent. The idea that plagiarism is normal within the industry is firstly misleading, but even if it were that certainly doesn’t make it ethical. The statement also accuses people of bullying and harassing Derek, victimising themselves rather than owning up to what they have done. The statement also conveniently leaves out the fact that it wasn’t simply media releases that got the copy and paste treatment, but blatant plagiarism was also found within Derek’s reviews, as multiple Twitter users have pointed out.

Australian Games Awards

Plagiarism is a huge no no in journalism for very obvious reasons. Earlier in the year an IGN writer was busted for the unethical practice and it became one of the biggest gaming stories of the year. IGN at least had the decency to act quickly and fire the perpetrator, whereas the Australian Games Awards have done nothing but sit on this information and wait. It raises questions about the credibility of the awards and shines a spotlight on why public voting is a bad system for award shows. Derek may be the most obvious example of why we need proper curation, research and vetting by a respected panel, but plenty of other examples rear their ugly heads as well. The AGAs have a whole slew of games nominated for categories they don’t belong in. For instance games released in 2017 such as Fortnite, Hollow Knight, and Hand of Fate 2 are up for nomination in a 2018 award. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was also nominated for Game of the Year before the game even got released. And don’t get me started on sponsors plaguing the nominee list.

All in all it’s a very bad look for the Australian Games Awards. Will you be tuning in to watch tomorrow?