Friday, January 17, 2014

Keeping Your Players In The Know





Today I'd like to rant, yes rant, about- Social media- Blogs, developer blogs, twitter, Facebook, Reddit. All the like. The use of them by gaming companies. Why not? There's so much access to so many mediums, different ways to share and communicate with your player base. True, but- Today I was thinking about how much I detest developers, producers, whoever-just gaming companies in general- using these as an easy way to get information out. And I'll tell you why. Strap on your seat belts ;) I'm about to get pretty blunt. 

First off it's lazy. It looks as if the company is too lazy to update a website. This is a huge turn off.  Second, it looks cheap. Is business that bad? They can't afford to pay someone to update the website, type in a few lines at least? Maybe I shouldn't log in after all. Are they short on staff? It's free and it is cheap and it looks just as that. 

I thought this is what the whole purpose of a website for your game, your company, was for! THIS IS WHERE PEOPLE GO FOR INFORMATION. I'll tell you exactly why this gets under my skin. When your homepage has not been updated for months upon months, other than sharing about a CASH SHOP sale, the game looks as if it is on cruise control. It doesn't appear to be updated. I'm looking at you Free Realms. Today I had to find out about events going on all through last year by checking on the WIKIA. Oh, the website tells me I should help fill out the wiki...  No. I should check out your homepage which might be so inclined to point me to an events page there. 

What is the point of having a community rep if they don't alert the community what's going on? Oh, the forums. Right. Get off your ass and update the home page. Seriously. As a guide I was told we were the face of the company, we had to act accordingly. Well CM/PR must be the ass of it. 

It isn't hip, it isn't cool. I want solid information, I don't want to read a tweet about it,  If you have something to share, post a developer blog post on your website, forums even, or link to it there. Reddit blunders are not good for business. Don't make players dig all over the internet trying to Google a tweet. Not everyone bothers with social media, something to keep in mind. Dire couldn't even bother, if it were not for his blogging wife, he'd never know half of what goes on in many of the games he plays. That is true for a lot of players. 

If these companies, SOE is the poster child here, took time to update relevant information on websites, maybe they wouldn't have to chase after customers so badly. Stop scaring them off. We all know about EQN, stop posting about it on every other site. Post events, take polls, stop sharing information on Reddit. If you want to know what customers want, take a poll. It causes a lot less drama and bad publicity. Then again, any attention is attention, right? 






5 comments:

  1. I do not mind companies using social media to point at or duplicate items that are on the official site, but splitting messages is a pain. And SOE is really bad. They have always viewed the forums as their official mouthpiece, leaving their websites generally out of date. And now we have to get official information from live streams and podcasts and video segments. I just want it written down in one place.

    That said, I am going to bet there is an official Sony corporate policy on web sites that makes getting them updated a pain so that the community team just bypasses them.

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  2. In my experience from many guilds I've been in over the years, regular players don't ever visit the website of games they play. Nor, for that matter, the forums. When I was playing EQ in a guild with 50+ people back before anyone had heard of Facebook, Twitter or Reddit, there were at most three or four of us who read the forums with any kind of regularity. Most of the guild never even read the patch messages and a significant proportion didn't even read in-game messages such as MOTDs or log-in announcements.

    Every patch day I or one of a handful of others would end up explaining why this ability had changed or what new content had arrived in that zone because even though the changes might have been trailed weeks ago and have generated a 20+ page forum thread they still came as a complete surprise to almost everyone.

    I would guess that nowadays, when most people who aren't hardcore gamers (a demographic which seems to be one of the most hostile to social media for reasons I don't claim to understand) habitually and obsessively scan their Twitter feeds and get alerts from all kind of social media pinged constantly to their smartphones, using social media finally allows developers to communicate with at least some of the previously unreachable mass of their audience.

    As for the ones who used to check the website and the forums, well they know those people will find out anyway, like they always did, because they actually go looking for the information and engage in conversations about it when they find it.

    I don't use much social media myself but neither do I visit company websites very often other than to do stuff with my account details and subs. I get most of my info on almost all the MMOs I am interested in from Massively and the blogosphere.

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  3. @WILHELM You're probably right, years ago most of the websites were kept up on a weekly basis. I miss that a lot :(

    @BHAGPUSS I don't know. I guess as a blogger and avid gamer I always check websites. As a returning player it is kind of disheartening to go to the website and think the game is just dead because it isn't updated. Happened to me in a ways recently, thinking nothing was going on, nothing new. Shame on me for not checking other sites :( I don't like that. I have WAY too many games to follow through so many mediums, just give me something to go on when I check out the website. And it also has an impact on new players joining I'd think. Go to the website to see no news for months, it always scares me a bit out of playing some games.

    I do know what you mean about the forums and such back in the day in EQ. The shit list, remember that? People would be on it and never know. But I think we're past those days in many ways, maybe we just completely passed the need for websites :( Meh

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  4. I don't necessarily mind them using a variety of social media sites to relay information and create discussion but they should at least aggregate all the information in one place. Otherwise your just creating this weird treasure hunt when people want to understand more about the game and if it is hard to do or takes to much time people won't bother

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  5. I don't mind them for touching base with small things but when they become the major form of sharing information- you hit the nail on the head it becomes a hunt! People just don't bother, it's been a topic I've had discussions with recently and everyone tells me they just don't bother if it does. Granted these are gamers who are more casual than myself.

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