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If a game blog fell in the forest would anyone listen?

Ben Zackheim


I hope you don't mind starting the morning with some good, old fashioned self analysis, but I just read a post that touches on something interesting. At least to me. A. Jacobson writes about game blogs in his own (great) game blog, render. Riffing from a Herald article, he asks what a lot of us around here are pondering — do bloggers have any influence on the game industry?

The short answer is, not much. The longer answer is, not as as much as they will. Soon.

Let?s start with the assumption we?re here to dish out our personal points of view on games, gaming, gamers and all things gametastic. We at Joystiq try to do that as best we can. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we suck (usually when we aggregate, instead of pontificate). We correct our mistakes, but we don?t correct our opinions ? unless you talk us into it. We?re gamers with an audience of gamers, like every other game blog out there.

I can tell you from being at E3 that people at least know Joystiq. They might not all like us, but even non-fans hit us once in awhile. Why would they read a site they don?t like? One of the guys I spoke to was kind enough to tell me, and he was even polite about it. Because of you. When we push a post live, we?re just offering a point of view. The post doesn?t end when we click ?save.? That?s just the start. You take it from there. If the opening that we provide is poignant then the post will come to life, and that?s why all game blogs (with comments) are valuable to the readers and the industry?

...which brings us to the future. Game blogs will become even more significant to gamers/developers as they offer new perspectives on game coverage ? blogged game reviews, roasting a mainstream magazine page by page, location-based gaming, there are already a lot of ideas percolating.

But blogs will also find a lot of influence with the Powers That Be. Trust me, they?re starting to pay attention. Why? Uh, money. Companies are always looking for ways to connect to the buyer (that would be you). Any tool they can find that will bring them closer to the cash is a tool they want. Since blogs, by their nature, are unpredictable the companies don?t quite know what to do with us yet. But they?ll find a way to insert themselves. My guess is that the billion dollar think-tanks will soon figure out that one or two semi-controlled bloggers in a room can get them a hell of a lot closer to the buyer/fan/sale than a banner ad. But who will read this kind of blog? Over time, if it plugs into the game blog community (and it?s good), a lot of us will.

I?ll be watching all this from the sidelines, myself. I?ve taken a job at a massive, international coporation with the reach of a god. Since my job is in games, I have to give up Joystiq on June 12th due to conflict of interest. It will be tough to leave it behind. I?ve really enjoyed helping JS grow like hell in the last year, and talking to the likes of you. Of course, if my predictions pan out I may join the massive, international coporation?s blogging team. You know, keep ?em honest.

Keep on playin?!

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