Blogs: A gamer’s perferred choice?
It’s a well-known fact that new video game consoles arrive frequently – usually just several years apart from each other. The Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3 dropped within a scant forty-eight hours of each other, for crying out loud.
While the general public is often left disoriented and confused by the swift, dizzying nature of a console launch, gamers have shown themselves to be astute in staying aware of the industry’s goings-on. What’s interesting is that their preferred source for news and updates seems to be shifting in format.
Since games journalism first began to take off in the 1980s, the standard for publication has shifted from newsletters and magazines to web sites, as well as one of the more irritating networks on premium TV. Yet recently, many readers have been seeking their news on – you guessed it – blogs.
Dan Dormer at Video Game Media Watch wrote a reflective piece about changing trends in the last year for games journalism. The article focuses on burst in popularity gaming blogs have experienced. Dormer hails it as something of a double-edged sword – blogs allow for specialized topics, but their validity is questionable.
Specialization is certainly appealing because it saves a reader time from sifting through the extremely dense quicksand of most mainstream games web sites (not to mention it could keep those irritating twelve-year-old Halo fanatics humbly corralled out of public view). The caveat to this is that anybody with a web connection can create what appears to be a legitimate news site.
Take a look at these charts that show the page rank changes for Kotaku and Joystiq. Both blogs, started a couple years ago, have exploded in popularity in the last year. It’s hard to argue with the facts that blogs like these are garnering mass public appeal.
Personally, I’m a fan of the intimacy a blog creates in its following, and the communication between writer and reader. But I share Dormer’s fear of many of these sites becoming misleading, disingenuous portals for readers.
Then again, most readers are smart and they care about themselves; it’s likely most sites will fail without proper attention to detail and courtesy to their readers. As Dormer says, “If you want some respect you’ve got to treat the reader with some first.”