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on: September 07, 2006, 01:06:35 PM

AGC Rivebrog: Third Party Community Sites

AGC Rivebrog: Third Party Community Sites

We come to you rive from the "3rd Party Community Sites" panel, in which we're going to hear about how game companies should work with 3rd party sites, like F13.net and our ilk (although for some reason we're not on the panel -- not that anyone here is bitter).

Summary: Communication is key.  If you want to get information from developers, tell them what you're looking for, and let them know what's going to be done with that information.

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Samwise
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Reply #1 on: September 07, 2006, 01:09:26 PM

I would like to note that during this panel, we were given explicit permission (nay, we were COMMANDED) by SOE to rip on them.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
Righ
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Reply #2 on: September 07, 2006, 02:00:55 PM

Quote
Ryan S:
Nobody cares what I think about politics. If it doesn't include SOMETHING about the game, it's not going to be interesting.

How naive. There are more "entertainment news" programs on TV than actual news programs. The actual news programs have "entertainment news" on them. The scoop for super-serial news anchor Katie Couric's first show was some pointless celebrity baby picture. Most of the world cares passionately about what Tom Cruise thinks about stuff, what stupid shit Brittney does next. It's the topic at the water coolers. They're not chatting about the artistic merits of their movies and songs, they're gossiping about the shit that really doesn't matter. If some Sony dev or even CSR wants to shoot shit with games fans about politics, they'll have a huge audience. Do they really think that the games industry is without stars, stalkers, critics and star-fuckers?

The camera adds a thousand barrels. - Steven Colbert
Yegolev
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Reply #3 on: September 07, 2006, 02:44:40 PM

Did Bruce introduce himself as SirBruce, or did you give people their true demon names in the article?  Not that Bruce needs to introduce himself.  Just curious if Yoru stood up, tilted his fedora back and said "Yoru! F13! You, sir, have a lotta MOXIE...."

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tazelbain
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Reply #4 on: September 07, 2006, 02:46:51 PM

People's names weren't floating above their heads like normal?

"Me am play gods"
Samwise
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Reply #5 on: September 07, 2006, 02:58:11 PM

I wish.  No, the only people who introduced themselves at all were the panelists.  I just assigned names to the people I actually knew.  Like Schild, and Bruce, and Yoru, and anyone sitting close enough for me to squint at their badge while they were talking.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
Lt.Dan
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Reply #6 on: September 07, 2006, 04:02:18 PM

So let me get this straight, a panel on communication between game companies and fansites concluded that it's all about communication?  Just kidding.

To recap:
- big sites get exclusives, other sites get PR
- gaming news per se doesn't really exist, speculation on PR and other speculation is where it's at for you third party guys
- the EVE people are scared of F13 despite having one of the few games that gets a pretty good rap here - maybe they should hire a CRM who isn't scared of profanity.
- gaming sites want actual news, game companies do not since development is so fluid that features are changing all the time.  Or rather, that they are continuously dancing on the sword-edge between crap and meh, and the last thing they want is for people to realise this.
- people love analogies about the movie industry but have clearly forgotten movie marketing exists to fleece movie-goers from money with flashy unrepresentative trailers, inane star interviews, and overly clever guerilla marketing.
Samwise
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Reply #7 on: September 07, 2006, 04:38:44 PM

So let me get this straight, a panel on communication between game companies and fansites concluded that it's all about communication?

You are correct, sir.  I guess it's the journey that counts.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
WayAbvPar
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Reply #8 on: September 07, 2006, 04:58:52 PM

Quote
Joe:
Community sites aren't inherently mean-spirited. We don't WANT to hate everyone. But sometimes stuff just sucks.

Exactly!

Was that the entire discussion? Was F13 really that much of a focal, or did you just pick the bits where we were mentioned?

Quote
- the EVE people are scared of F13 despite having one of the few games that gets a pretty good rap here - maybe they should hire a CRM who isn't scared of profanity.

No kidding. I can't remember a game where such a large percentage of people here either play it or at least understand why it appeals to some people. There are a few haters, but far fewer than of any other major game, or at least it seems that way.

When speaking of the MMOG industry, the glass may be half full, but it's full of urine. HaemishM

Always wear clean underwear because you never know when a Tory Government is going to fuck you.- Ironwood

Who the hell taught you how to write? Fuck, that sentence is like internet transmitted face-attacking knives. Jesus. schild
Samwise
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Reply #9 on: September 07, 2006, 05:03:13 PM

Was that the entire discussion? Was F13 really that much of a focal, or did you just pick the bits where we were mentioned?

There were five of us sitting right up front, with three of us wearing money hats (I'll post a picture when I get back), so we had a lot of visibility and therefore got called out a couple of times when people were looking for examples.  That was all.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
Righ
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Reply #10 on: September 07, 2006, 05:59:20 PM

(I'll post a picture when I get back)

You're in a place full of nerds with cameras, and there's only a few cable types. Borrow one. Or a USB/PCMCIA card reader. Fucking half-assed F13 photographers.

The camera adds a thousand barrels. - Steven Colbert
Trippy
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Reply #11 on: September 07, 2006, 06:04:22 PM

(I'll post a picture when I get back)
You're in a place full of nerds with cameras, and there's only a few cable types. Borrow one. Or a USB/PCMCIA card reader. Fucking half-assed F13 photographers.
Why are you asking for him to speed up posting pictures of a room full of nerds? That's just wrong.
Righ
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Reply #12 on: September 07, 2006, 06:28:33 PM

Just to be bellicose and belligerent. He seems to be otherwise having too good a time.

The camera adds a thousand barrels. - Steven Colbert
hal
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Reply #13 on: September 07, 2006, 07:35:40 PM

Your overachieving...again.

I started with nothing, and I still have most of it

I'm not a complete idiot... Some parts are still on backorder.
Strazos
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Reply #14 on: September 07, 2006, 11:35:04 PM

Some interesting bits (to me at least):

Quote
(Valerie: Y'all are mean at F13. Schild: You're a wuss!)

Heh.

Quote
Ryan S:
We also have a strict policy against answering flames, no matter how relevant.

Quote
Ryan S:
It depends to some extent on the site. If we get bashed on F13, that's okay, we expect it. We'd be upset if we didn't.

Oh come on. Games and devs get some love here. Sometimes. Occasionally. But only under every other quarter moon, or something.


Sometimes I wish I had time to do these fun things. Then I remember that it sometimes requires actual....work. That shoots my idea to all kinds of shit. Oh well. Nice job guys.

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Samwise
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Reply #15 on: September 08, 2006, 12:29:47 AM

Just to be bellicose and belligerent. He seems to be otherwise having too good a time.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!  BEER!

I ruv you guys.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
tazelbain
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Reply #16 on: September 08, 2006, 06:23:37 AM


Oh come on. Games and devs get some love here. Sometimes. Occasionally. But only under every other quarter moon, or something.

But they have to earn their love.  They don't get the free sloppy blow jobs if they come here. 

But I wouldn't come here either.  We are the niche of the niche.  PR is about casting a wide net.

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Xilren's Twin
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Reply #17 on: September 08, 2006, 02:46:02 PM

But they have to earn their love.  They don't get the free sloppy blow jobs if they come here. 

But I wouldn't come here either.  We are the niche of the niche.  PR is about casting a wide net.

F13, niche? Sure. 

But consider this.  I think for any online game that doesnt swear off the internet in the first 30 days, there will be a natural progression to start on company websites for news, then move to "offical" fansites, and over time learn that if they want good info they will be lead to small and more niche oriented sites until everyone ends up here (or somewhere like here with less cursing  evil )

And having friends in the know just accelerates that curve away from "offical" sources.  Word of mouth not only gets people playing games, it also affect how people meta game.  Hello thottbot!

I think it's just part of the natural player evolution over time, and if dev houses already consider that when designing their games, why do they not seem to recognize it when it comes to communication?  Tailor your message to fit the intended audience and take adavantage of the audience diversity; don't run scared from it.

Xilren

"..but I'm by no means normal." - Schild
Cadaverine
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Reply #18 on: September 08, 2006, 06:57:03 PM

But they have to earn their love.  They don't get the free sloppy blow jobs if they come here. 

But I wouldn't come here either.  We are the niche of the niche.  PR is about casting a wide net.

F13, niche? Sure. 

But consider this.  I think for any online game that doesnt swear off the internet in the first 30 days, there will be a natural progression to start on company websites for news, then move to "offical" fansites, and over time learn that if they want good info they will be lead to small and more niche oriented sites until everyone ends up here (or somewhere like here with less cursing  evil )

And having friends in the know just accelerates that curve away from "offical" sources.  Word of mouth not only gets people playing games, it also affect how people meta game.  Hello thottbot!

I think it's just part of the natural player evolution over time, and if dev houses already consider that when designing their games, why do they not seem to recognize it when it comes to communication?  Tailor your message to fit the intended audience and take adavantage of the audience diversity; don't run scared from it.

Xilren

Yeah, that pretty much encapsulates my experience when I started in EQ back in 2000.  I began on the official forums trying to gather the rare nugget amongst the turds.  Then I heard of EQAtlas either in game, or on the o-forums, and checked it out.  Eventually, from there I found Allakhazams, and then Lum's, and Tweety's.  From there I really had my eyes opened to things I either A) never would have heard about, or B) Never would have bothered thinking of.  Though, I think, the fact that I ever even made it to the official forums probably puts me in a different class than the vast silent majority that make up the bulk of any mmos player base.  Though, nowadays, with people being more knowledgable about the genre in general, I think this is less the case, and people bypass the usual learning curve, and just end up somewhere like F13.

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.
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Reply #19 on: September 08, 2006, 09:46:23 PM

Advertising.  I have a buddy, he is doing a CRM gig, has been for over a year.  He'd never heard of F13.  Granted, he's not on an MMO, but I'll guess somebody here will play the game, maybe do a short review, when it finally shows.

I know f13 would rather be feared and loathed than ignored, so, Advertising.  Go forth and tell people that you exist.  And you hate their shitty game.

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Lepidus
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Reply #20 on: September 09, 2006, 02:21:59 PM

An article on F13 that didn't call us any dirty names? I expect more from you guys ;)

Seriously though, the panel was a fun time and enhanced by the reactions from the crew here in the front row  =)  Good work on the money hats too.
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Reply #21 on: September 09, 2006, 03:32:20 PM

Everyone loves money hats.

Edit. I have updated my avatar to illustrate this point. This is me wearing a money hat.

Well, at least, that part of me that was necessary to picture in order to properly show the breadth of the hat, since an exhausted squinty glare is more interesting than a blurry table and chair set.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2006, 01:46:24 AM by Yoru »
Slyfeind
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Reply #22 on: September 10, 2006, 01:51:58 PM

They're not chatting about the artistic merits of their movies and songs, they're gossiping about the shit that really doesn't matter. If some Sony dev or even CSR wants to shoot shit with games fans about politics, they'll have a huge audience. Do they really think that the games industry is without stars, stalkers, critics and star-fuckers?

I was about to agree with Ryan S, but you bring up a good point. Who here knows what Raph Koster is working on next? Okay, now who here knows what musical instrument Raph Koster plays? I couldn't tell you jack-squiddly about Tabula Rasa, but I do know how "Lord British" got his name.

And if we don't at first care about dev's personal lives, we will after they blog about them for a while. Meier, Spektor, the Miller brothers...they made themselves celebrities by letting us know who they are, what they do in their spare time, and by shouting loudly when something really gets their attention.

Rand Miller and Richard Garriott were on SPACE GHOST for fuck's sake! It doesn't get more Hollywood than that!

"Role playing in an MMO is more like an open orchestra with no conductor, anyone of any skill level can walk in at any time, and everyone brings their own instrument and plays whatever song they want.  Then toss PvP into the mix and things REALLY get ugly!" -Count Nerfedalot
Yoru
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Reply #23 on: September 10, 2006, 04:52:27 PM

That was actually part of Raph's talk on Thursday... he spoke about how one of the drivers of sales for smaller, indie games (as well as AAA titles, but less important there) was going to be developer/designer celebrity. You're going to want to buy a Thomas Arundel/Introversion game. You may not know what it is until it's released, but if the designer/developer/dev house builds cred... How many people buy things because they're a Blizzard Game?

Thought so.
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Reply #24 on: September 10, 2006, 05:12:03 PM

Famous celebrity designers aren't putting out small indie games. Celebrity is the wrong word anyway. People buy Blizzard games because of a reputation for quality, not because Rob Pardo is super famous in the minds of 10 ultra-nerds.

Celebrity in Hollywood is mostly reserved for actors, the people you actually see in the films. How many celebrity writers are there in Hollywood? Zero. Literally zero.

The closest thing the video game world has to celebrity actors are Mario and Zerglings. That's what people identify with. When Mario was the most recognizable icon among kids how many of those kids knew who designed the Mario games?
---

Obviously a reputation for quality is a nice thing to have, but calling it celebrity is silly. And indie things very rarely have a reputation for quality as most people who produce good indie work "graduate" to non-indie work.

Name a well-known dev with a reputation for quality that has produced mostly indie games. Can't be done.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
Samwise
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Reply #25 on: September 10, 2006, 08:37:28 PM

I'm going through my AGC photos now.  Here's the one from this panel:



Awwww yeah.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
Righ
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Reply #26 on: September 10, 2006, 11:58:14 PM

Name a well-known dev with a reputation for quality that has produced mostly indie games. Can't be done.

What do you mean by indie? Microprose, Firaxis?

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Rasix
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Reply #27 on: September 11, 2006, 12:34:37 AM

Name a well-known dev with a reputation for quality that has produced mostly indie games. Can't be done.

Teppy.

-Rasix
Slyfeind
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Reply #28 on: September 11, 2006, 03:06:13 AM

It also depends on how you define "celebrity." If you mean paparazzi and red carpet, then there are few celebrities even in the rock-n-roll and movie businesses. If you mean literally "celebrated," then yeah, gaming has its celebrities. And there are celebrity writers, too. Who wouldn't pee their pants if Joss Whedon said hi to them on the street?

Of course, not everybody. But then again, I wouldn't care if the lead singer of Gorillaz said hi to me, because I don't even know who that is. I would be pretty thrilled to meet Michael Gettel though. It seems to me everybody's got their fanbase.


"Role playing in an MMO is more like an open orchestra with no conductor, anyone of any skill level can walk in at any time, and everyone brings their own instrument and plays whatever song they want.  Then toss PvP into the mix and things REALLY get ugly!" -Count Nerfedalot
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Reply #29 on: September 11, 2006, 04:23:49 AM

Name a well-known dev with a reputation for quality that has produced mostly indie games. Can't be done.

Teppy.

Not well known outside of our little corner and ATITD folks. In fact, I couldn't even name another game he's made and it's arguable that "quality" isn't one of ATiTD's strong points. Engrossing, maybe. Ridiculous, maybe. Clever, maybe. Quality, nah. It's very obviously a completely mediocre title with some super strong niche appeal.
d4rkj3di
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Reply #30 on: September 11, 2006, 12:30:47 PM

Gerald from Themis doesn't really exist. That razor guy from WarCry said so. Or is it razor from Teen Beat?
Signe
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Reply #31 on: September 11, 2006, 12:39:29 PM

I should think that Sid Meier is rather more famous than Teppy... or are we just counting MMORPGs?
« Last Edit: September 11, 2006, 12:41:52 PM by Signe »

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Rasix
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Reply #32 on: September 11, 2006, 12:43:19 PM

I should think that Sid Mier is rather more famous than Teppy... or are we just counting MMORPGs?

I think we were just going for "indie". 

I liked my answer.  undecided

-Rasix
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Reply #33 on: September 11, 2006, 12:47:34 PM

It was a wonderful answer!  Stunning! 

(Most of Sid Meier's games are from his own independant company, no?) 

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Reply #34 on: September 11, 2006, 12:54:18 PM

I don't mean "celebrity" in the sense that the National Enquirer writes about you. I meant "celebrity" in the sense that (some group of) people know who you are and follow what you do, more or less actively. Notoriety, perhaps.

What I'm getting at is that developer and dev house names become brands that people use to make purchasing decisions on new games, both pre- and post-release. I can say that, right now, there's about 5 designer-developers whose games I will buy sight unseen, although since I follow them, I tend to know what I'm getting into. (Meier, Wright, Koster, Arundel and Urquhart, fyi.) That kind of name-branding, for those five guys, is valuable - it guarantees them my market dollar and costs them very little to maintain. Cultivating this sort of branding will become more important as the variety and number of offerings increases, particularly for small-to-midsize indies.

So yes, Teppy's celebrity is important to him; gamers in the know connect him with ATITD and ATITD style games. If they enjoyed ATITD, or at least were intrigued by it, they're likely to try his next outing, and that's valuable money to him.
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