Tobold's Blog
Friday, January 30, 2015
Inexpensive content creation

A reader who was moved by the rumored closing of Joystiq (and by extension Massively), decided to "vote with his wallet" (his words) and send me a donation. I appreciate the sentiment, but the situation of my site and Joystiq isn't the same. Not only that, I might actually be part of the problem that sites like Joystiq have.

It used to be there was a huge barrier to entry to getting your opinion published. The internet removed that barrier to entry. While that did lead to the publishing of lots of opinions of the type "Lol, look at my funny cat photo!", it also led to some people who could actually write publishing some opinions worth reading. For free. Meanwhile gaming sites never found a good way to get a really good income, so much of the stuff they publish is basically a disguised press release. Which made some of their readers suspect that the opinions published on those sites, especially reviews, were paid for by the game companies.

Unless you *want* to read all the latest press releases that news sites offer, a well chosen collection of blogs can today offer you more honest opinions and better writing than many professional gaming sites. With less or no advertising. As a business it is hard to compete with that. As a blogger I can live perfectly well with a monthly revenue of zero (which is quite often the case). I write out of passion. Public, but principally for myself, like an online diary. That sort of content creation is very inexpensive.

While a specific sort of "gamer" is joyfully dancing on the not-quite-yet dug grave of Joystiq, one should notice that the game industry is heading towards the same sort of problem. Already mobile games are extremely cheap to produce. And some game mods surpass the quality of the original game. The more game engines become cheap and widely available, the more people will create games, and some of them will be good. When you discover that the $10 indie game from Steam is more fun than the $60 so-called triple-A game, that doesn't bode well for the financial future of the gaming industry.

As I've been pointing out in comments on a number of blogs where the Massively closure is being discussed, I very much DO want to read all the latest MMO press releases. That is exactly why I valued Massively so much.

I can get great MMO discussion and analysis form a number of blogs but I have yet to find anywhere that provides anything like the amount of straight MMO news that I get - got - from Massively. Short of subscribing to the PR feed of EVERY MMO, how am I going to replicate that?

PR aggregation is an extremely valuable service in my book.
At least in other artistic fields I'm familiar with, such as music, the net effect of the huge increase in production has been to hollow out the "middle class" of producers. A tiny handful of superstars are capturing an ever increasing share of the revenue, because that's all the mainstream can handle following through the information flood. The last number I saw was that 1% take 77% of revenue. Meanwhile more indies than ever are carving out a small niche and doing just barely well enough to earn a living, perhaps part-time. Both groups are feasting on the market share of moderately successful major label musicians. (In the US, this group is about a quarter of the size it was in 2000.)

I have to wonder if Joystiq wasn't in that kind of middle class position between your blog and the IGNs of the world. And while I don't follow gaming as closely, it does seem like it's tended to split between a mass of $10 indie Steam games supported by hardcore games and a small handful of $60 AAA annual franchises that the mainstream is aware of.
Apart from blogs like yours, YouTube game bloggers are also apparently eating the websites' lunch.

Personally, I will always read rather than watch video reviews, but frankly I am old and jaded, and for younger folks who are really interested in the game, it seems like an attractive format.

While a specific sort of "gamer" is joyfully dancing on the not-quite-yet dug grave of Joystiq,

And I'd really like to know which group you think this is - without mentioning a GG angle.

I've never read any of the sites affected by this shutdown, so no loss for me. I can, and do find what I need over at MMO Champion -without- the commentary so often put forth elsewhere as fact.
I don't think you were ever their problem (you were blogging long before they were anyway :) ).

And tbh I doubt there's anything they could have done differently, if the MMO space is diminishing and their parent company decides to get out, then it's done.

I miss the blog roundups they used to do though. They brought the community together and encouraged both bloggers and readers I think.

Vibes to the bloggers but hey, it was a good gig while it lasted.
@Chris (the type is MMO bloggers who never liked it anyway)
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool