Information Dissemination

Kaozz brings up a great point about how studios don’t remain consistent with getting out important news to players.  About Guild Wars 2, she said:

“The fact that the forums are not up still, bothers me a bit. I’ve read that the team is using Reddit and twitter for news. My question is this- What is wrong with your own official website for news? If I wasn’t a blogger I’d have no clue to check those places. I don’t check twitter often enough to keep up with what is going on and Reddit… I really wish these companies would utilize their own forums and websites instead of doing what is ‘trendy’ at the moment.”

As they say, this, this, a thousand times this.

I’m not looking to gangpile on GW2 right now — I think the team is trying to keep its head above the water of its own success, and first weeks (and months) can be very rough indeed.  I do not think it was wise for ArenaNet to launch without forums at all, and I think it’s beyond silly that it has a main site with a blog and yet they still are relying on Reddit to disseminate information.

This highlights a problem that many studios have, which is scattering important information over a wide variety of platforms instead of being consistent and having a central dumping ground.

Because I write for Massively, I’m used to going all over the place for news tidbits from studios, kind of like a weird scavenger hunt.  Sometimes they just send out press releases.  Sometimes there’s a Twitter message.  Sometimes Facebook.  Sometimes Reddit.  Sometimes it’s a developer post buried in the forums somewhere.  Sometimes it’s on the front page.  Sometimes it’s on YouTube or Twitch or what have you.  The only consistent thing I see is how inconsistent they all are.

My opinion is simple: All important information needs — NEEDS — to be given on the front page of your website and in your game’s launcher.  Period.  If you want to do Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, etc. past that to make sure the word gets out and have a second avenue of communication, that’s just fine.  But focus on a central avenue of information.  If your main site has to lead you offsite just to get vital news for the game, you’re doing it wrong.

On a smaller note, I honestly don’t like Reddit.  I don’t know if I’m alone in this or not, but it feels sloppy and disorganized to me.

On an even smaller note, if you have people whose job it is to communicate with the fans, let them do it.  Bigwigs don’t need to be constantly hijacking Twitter to try to micromanage PR.

18 thoughts on “Information Dissemination

  1. Pai August 31, 2012 / 8:45 pm

    I 100% agree with this. It’s very frustrating to not get updates unless I’m always checking FB or Twitter (neither of which I use much if at all). And then a big update on the state of the game’s major current issues gets posted on Reddit (which I never go to).

    If it wasn’t for blogs I wouldn’t even know what was going on behind the scenes. I know things are chaotic at ANet atm, but would it be so hard to copy+paste news posts on their own blog as well as everywhere else?

  2. Kemwer August 31, 2012 / 8:48 pm

    I almost feel like copying and pasting this post to my own blog (would be great to finally have time to post something there anyway). These are exactly, word by word, my own feelings on the subject.

    Except that I don’t write for Massively.

  3. ausj3w3l August 31, 2012 / 9:11 pm

    I have felt this way for a long time, and dislike reddit with a passion.. not just because of the unorganised fashion but because it basically contains the dredge of the internet… very yucky community.

  4. Rakuno August 31, 2012 / 9:14 pm

    Agreed. I never liked this trend of “post information on everywhere else but your own official website”. It doesn’t feel very professional to me and it only makes it hard for people to find what has changed lately in the game.

  5. Tyrion August 31, 2012 / 9:18 pm

    I agree. They have done a great job with the game but I’ve had a dickens of a time researching the game without the official forums. I would like to believe that they are a huge priority for them. It’s an awesome game and I am hesitant to beat on them when I don’t know what is going on behind the scenes.

  6. Telwyn August 31, 2012 / 9:54 pm

    I’ll add my agreement here. This reminds me, as a LoTRO player, of both Codemasters and Turbine’s tendency to push out timely news via twitter, FB or what have you with the actual website update always coming last as an afterthought. Sure both companies had/have official forums for the game but it was twitter or other feeds first.

  7. Dorath August 31, 2012 / 11:53 pm

    100% agree about news and updates on the launcher. I don’t like Twitter or Facebook.

  8. kaozz September 1, 2012 / 8:48 am

    I hated to sound negative but it really sucks having to look all over for news or seeing what’s going on with this, and so many other games these days honestly. I’m not a big fan of Reddit either 😦 Glad I’m not alone on this one.

  9. Quixotic September 1, 2012 / 12:04 pm

    It’s not been my experience that official forums foster any sense of real community. So, I can’t fault a company for wanting to forego the massive infrastructure and bandwidth needs for the initial rush. The needs of running a forum with several hundred thousand readers and one for the people who stick it out past the initial crushing 2 weeks are VERY different.

    That said, keeping a status page front and center, that just works isn’t that hard. It’s not conversation, but it can at least be an aggregation of your twitter/facebook comments, right their on your own environment.

  10. Ginbuck (@Ginbuck1) September 1, 2012 / 12:05 pm

    I suspect the web team that would normally be assigned to the forums, are trying to resurrect the trading post and squish bugs with the in-game store.

  11. Feliz September 1, 2012 / 2:23 pm

    Haven’t you noticed, yet? Social media is the big buzzword. If you don’t have a strategy, senior management won’t listen. As long as you can tell them you are on Facebook and Twitter, management is happy. They don’t really care if it’s a crappy and inconsistent strategy.

    The only place where you could get something consistent is through “Enterprise Communications” channel. But those are to official and to slow, good to distribute stockholder reports and general media releases.

    Leaving the game forum to reddit is a poor strategy as well, since it will stay there, once Arenanet is able to launch their own. And a game without its own forum is just unheard of. It has to be run by the company rules, not reddit’s rules. If reddit wanted to provide a “forum service” to Arenanet, I would want to have a couple of things changed there in Arenanet’s place

  12. Aly September 1, 2012 / 3:08 pm

    Links to the updates actually are on the launcher. And it looks like they are transitioning them from the reddit to Wiki.

  13. Aly September 1, 2012 / 3:09 pm

    Their wiki I should say. The GW2 Wiki was actually having issues during head start and launch as well, so maybe that’s why the updates weren’t there to start.

  14. Aufero September 2, 2012 / 2:26 pm

    GW2 is just the latest and most egregious example of this, but it’s the one that’s irritating me most at the moment. I love the game so far, but the need to do an extensive Google search to find the most basic information about updates, downtime and game features (like whether the game would have any ability to trade with other players in the first week – mail? auction house? anything?) was extremely off-putting.

    I find it odd that a game in which so many features were so well thought out launched with communication that appears to have been cobbled together as an afterthought.

  15. Syp September 2, 2012 / 5:14 pm

    Yeah, by NO means am I only pointing fingers at GW2 for this. It’s a problem across the industry. Heck, LOTRO has one of the most obtuse websites when it comes to finding important information or even recent articles.

  16. Calreth September 3, 2012 / 8:45 am

    Relying (‘outsourcing’ if you will) on a 3rd-party forum isn’t entirely a bad thing. You have one less thing to manage. I usually prefer discussions on 3rd-party forums rather than on official ones since disagreements on official forums have a tendency to result in the company throwing the EULA at you and then suspend/ban your associated game account.

    That being said, regardless what avenue they those, information update needs to either be centralized, or synchronized across all the channels.

  17. Feliz September 3, 2012 / 8:59 am

    @Calreth but that’s exactly why it’s a good idea for Arenanet to have control over their forums: they control the message, they control who can participate in the discussion. Of course, you as a user are better off on an inofficial site, since you aren’t under Anet’s control there.

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