Impact of Blogs on the MMO Industry

Wolfshead Online asks: are blogs impacting the MMO industry?

Today, it seems that everyone has a blog. And why not? It’s a great way to revel in one’s passion for a particular subject or hobby. It’s also useful to have a permanent record of one’s writings as opposed to the black hole that is otherwise known as discussion forums. All of us who blog in some way do so because we feel that our opinions *matter*. The question is: do our opinions have any impact on the people in the MMO industry that can effect real change?

Obviously, I think there’s an impact from blogging — otherwise, I never would have been part of this blog! It may be hard to quantify the impact, though… After all, the blogosphere is a big place, and it’s changing on us every day. Do big MMO developers read blogs? Yup, there’s plenty of evidence there. Do players read blogs? Yup! So is there an impact on the overall community? There almost HAS to be. If nothing else, blogging provides a great tool for MMO participants — devs, players, artists, designers, even those business suit types — to vent, discuss, and argue.

But don’t take my word for it! We interviewed a bunch of bloggers last year, asking just this kind of question, and here’s a recap of what they had to say (as of the holiday season 2007).

Tobold: I think they could be important to the gaming business, because somebody just writing what he feels about a game on his blog can give you far more insight into what people are really doing in the game than the highly biased official game forums. On the other hand I don’t think the big developers take us bloggers all that seriously. I don’t have the impression that Blizzard is reading my blog and uses it as a source for new ideas. And EA Mythic even has a “no bloggers invited to beta” policy.

The Ancient Gaming Noob: I get on the soap box now and again to go after “big” issues. My comment was more directed towards the fact that a lone blogger making pronouncements is as likely to be met by the sound of crickets when they are done as they are to see any sort of positive reaction. And changing the world, even a virtual one? Forget about it.

That does not mean people should not go out and speak their mind. You just have to have answered the question, what will you do if you stand up, state your piece, and nobody cares?

Blogging and the industry? I think a smart company keeps an eye on the pulse of blogs, the way they would of their own forums. But I also work on software and have for 18 years, I know you cannot drive your whole company to meet the needs of the angry guy on the soap box. That person is rarely, if ever, in possession of all the facts. You listen though. Once in a while that person is right.

So when I’m the guy on the soap box telling, say, Clint Worley how he needs to improve accessibility for EverQuest, my expectations are pretty low. If I get more than crickets, I am pretty happy.

Cuppycake: I’ve actually been having difficulty finding the motivation lately because of lack of time to really put effort into writing thoughtful posts. Most of my blogs talk about current news in the industry but I don’t like to just link news – I like to add the Cuppytwist to it and give my opinion. I like to follow up on major commentary that is making its way around the ‘blogosphere’ and I enjoy doing things like contests and throwing out ideas for others to talk about. I don’t really have ‘favorite’ topics to talk about because I like to have a large amount of variety to keep people entertained. Lately, I’ve just been throwing out updates on Metaplace, talking about the various console games I’ve been playing, highlighting other interesting blogs that I’ve read, and posting funny things to entertain others. I am a huge supporter of the blogging community, as I’m sure most bloggers will attest to. I have helped numerous bloggers get theirs set up and given lots of pointers for starting out and building an audience. I’ve written a “So you want to be a blogger?” post that has recieved more hits than any other post on my blog, and do a regular “New Blogger Update” that mentions new blogs I’ve came across in my experience. I also was one of the first hosts on the first couple of episodes of the “Shut Up We’re Talking” podcast on VirginWorlds.com, which is THE podcast for MMO bloggers. I absolutely feel that blogs are a crucial voice in the MMO industry, as their subjective opinions are of value to potential future players. Blogs have the ability to state the facts without a PR twist, and are independent thoughts and reviews that often times are more accurate and detailed than press reviews.

So… what do YOU think?

About Tachevert

A cofounder of www.WorldIV.com and full-time geek, Tachevert writes about whatever strikes his fancy. Despite the inherent contradiction, he can often be found videogaming or attempting to run.
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