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Author Topic: Dear Gamespot, Stop Trying to Make Me Care about Your Host Personalities  (Read 1843 times)
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EngineNo9
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« Reply #40 on: July 13, 2015, 08:31:43 PM »

I think the problem with written content is that you need to produce a lot of it for people to frequent your site.  People don't visit a lot of news sites so they go to the one that has the most, or the fastest.  It's much easier for video to be personality based, so people come back to "interact" with the people that they've gotten to know and like.  As Lee said, that's been the Giant Bomb way since they started that site 7 years ago (more than a little bit out of necessity of having few employees).

Most large gaming sites that still rely heavily on written content seem to be the blog-based ones like Kotaku, where it is just tons of news bits, superficial articles, clickbate, list articles, etc. and a few rare articles of substance a week.  And those sites have lots of editors that are doing nothing but scouring the web and posting that crap 24 hours a day from different regions.  But if you're a secondary version of that like Joystiq, and you have just a few less news bits, or everything is posted a few hours later, you're just not going to keep up.

If a smaller site wants to get visitors, like Joystiq they can't really compete head-to-head with that sort of constant content churn so the best thing they can do is low-overhead, personality-based video content that gets people invested.  And yeah, it also helps them be competitive against the YouTube and Twitch people of today, but I think those markets largely grew out of amateurs taking that "low-overhead, personality-based" mentality to the extreme.

There are a few sites, like Polygon, that try to push a few lengthier, more "quality" articles, but they still do it among lots of the same news articles as Kotaku.  And their site layout is so jacked up it hurts my brain, but that's another matter.

As for GameSpot specifically, I'd imagine that since they are now under the same umbrella as Giant Bomb, and had to lay off a bunch of people last year, they're trying to create their own set of personalities to base a lot of their content off since they can't necessarily compete head-to-head with larger staffed sites without losing money.  It's about making something successful and sustainable with as small a crew as necessary.
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TiLT
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« Reply #41 on: July 13, 2015, 08:47:34 PM »

This is a tricky subject in many ways. Maybe the reason why sites have become so personality based recently is because the games media is inherently in the pockets of publishers? You can't visit a gaming news aggregation site these days without feeling as if you're reading nothing but press releases. Publishers release at least one piece of "rumor" or a press release a week, which keeps their important games in the spotlight. Meanwhile the sites that are supposed to present balanced opinions about games are utterly reliant on ad revenue from the same publishers they're supposed to be critiquing. It's a shady business, and even if a games site tries its hardest to keep its hands clean, the suspicion will never leave them.

It's much easier to trust a human being you can look in the eyes, even if it's through a video. Some of those people we see in gaming videos are just as much, if not more, in the pockets of the publishers, but at least it's easier to relate to these people and figure them out.

I tend to watch all of TotalBiscuit's videos. I don't always agree with the guy, and on some subjects I'm not even close to agreeing with him (no TB, 30 fps does not make a game unplayable), but I know his personality. I can translate his opinions into something that matters to me, and I can compare them to other people with other mindsets to gain a better understanding of the subject myself. Not to mention that he's shown himself to be completely transparent in his business deals and willing to stand up to bullying from publishers.

This is the kind of thing I don't really get with a news site that follows the traditional media approach.
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Rumpy
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« Reply #42 on: July 14, 2015, 06:45:24 AM »

To me, I like a little of both, but in different circumstances. For instance, sometimes I'll be looking for info, and don't necessarily want to look at a video. I'll want more of a digest that can be glanced at,  that I can get the finer points from. And then, if a game does interest me, then I go out of my way looking for videos, most of the time being gameplay videos by some of Youtube's personalities. But almost never big sites like Gamespot, which seem to almost always veer too much towards being too basic. Sometimes these Youtube personalities tend to be more honest about what is and what isn't. So, I think there's a place for both, but like JayDee, I do like to have an option. Write a nice enough description that entices me to want to watch a video though, and you'll be golden. But if the video is the only thing on the page content-wise, then I'm likely to just hit the back button.
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« Reply #43 on: July 14, 2015, 02:49:29 PM »

Quote from: Rumpy on July 14, 2015, 06:45:24 AM

To me, I like a little of both, but in different circumstances. For instance, sometimes I'll be looking for info, and don't necessarily want to look at a video. I'll want more of a digest that can be glanced at,  that I can get the finer points from. And then, if a game does interest me, then I go out of my way looking for videos, most of the time being gameplay videos by some of Youtube's personalities. But almost never big sites like Gamespot, which seem to almost always veer too much towards being too basic. Sometimes these Youtube personalities tend to be more honest about what is and what isn't. So, I think there's a place for both, but like JayDee, I do like to have an option. Write a nice enough description that entices me to want to watch a video though, and you'll be golden. But if the video is the only thing on the page content-wise, then I'm likely to just hit the back button.

You nailed it. If you want to have a video then have it embedded within an article that summarizes what's in the video. Previewing a new game? Then how about a brief article outlining some features, initial impressions and other assorted info and have the video "personality" available on the same page. If I like what I see I'm going to click on the video to see the game in action and hear what you have to say in more detail. But if it's just a headline saying "NEW GAME PREVIEW!!!" with a video underneath and no other context, nope, no thanks I'm moving on. I'm not watching a 15-30 second ad and then sitting through a minute or two of video to determine I'm not really interested when a paragraph of text can tell me in seconds if I want more info.
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SeaMoosi
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« Reply #44 on: July 14, 2015, 03:04:43 PM »

I definitely think that video and text mixed is the best approach for most stuff.

There are some sites that have thrived on having mostly video content, like Giant Bomb, but those tend to mostly be personality-driven to begin with and most sites have been unable to replicate that.

A lot of this is just because video is more engaging than text for today's crowd. Words can do a lot, and I'll always read more reviews than I'll watch, but video content isn't just a one-off detour anymore. A lot of gamers spend tons of hours each week watching exclusively gaming content, whether on Twitch, YouTube or respective channels. I usually tend to put on GB Quick Looks, Kinda Funny Gamecasts or Gamespot's The Lobby on a second screen when I'm playing a game I'm not heavily invested in.

It's a weird jump, but video is the way forward right now. It opens up a lot of possibilities that weren't there before and creates shared experiences between the audience and the outlet, which strengthens attachment to certain outlets. I just wish distribution was a bit more mainstream; a lot of places use their own proprietary web player, and that leads to a lot of complications, although most tend to upload (after some time) to their own YouTube channels.
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TiLT
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« Reply #45 on: July 14, 2015, 04:56:00 PM »

Quote from: SeaMoosi on July 14, 2015, 03:04:43 PM

There are some sites that have thrived on having mostly video content, like Giant Bomb, but those tend to mostly be personality-driven to begin with and most sites have been unable to replicate that.

GameTrailers (the site) is an interesting case study in this kind of thing. Up until last year or so, they were anything but personality driven. They thrived on putting the content front and center, with Brandon Jones (typically unnamed and unknown in the early days) lending his iconic voice. Then they were bought up and a bunch of people were fired. Something happened then, and I don't know if it was mandated by the new leadership (with Brandon Jones counting among them. He owns part of the company as its founder). They turned the site into a personality driven site with regular "shows" with distinct people running them.

The results appear to have been extremely successful for them. People respected GameTrailers before as the site for gaming videos, but the prevalence of YouTube and Twitch was making them increasingly irrelevant in today's market. With the switch to personality-driven content, people seem to be talking about their site all over the place now. They keep trying new shows, and most of them are very successful.

The difference between their traditional approach and the new one was most apparent during the Sony press conference at E3, when Shenmue 3 was announced. The live reaction from the GameTrailers studio went viral in an instant. This would never have happened with the old site.
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Rumpy
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« Reply #46 on: July 14, 2015, 11:41:52 PM »

Quote from: JayDee on July 14, 2015, 02:49:29 PM

You nailed it. If you want to have a video then have it embedded within an article that summarizes what's in the video. Previewing a new game? Then how about a brief article outlining some features, initial impressions and other assorted info and have the video "personality" available on the same page. If I like what I see I'm going to click on the video to see the game in action and hear what you have to say in more detail. But if it's just a headline saying "NEW GAME PREVIEW!!!" with a video underneath and no other context, nope, no thanks I'm moving on. I'm not watching a 15-30 second ad and then sitting through a minute or two of video to determine I'm not really interested when a paragraph of text can tell me in seconds if I want more info.

Thanks! Yeah, if I want to watch a video, I usually end up on Youtube, or maybe while browsing something that catches my eye, usually due to some description going along with a video. I think videos being served straight-up is a symptom of mobiles, where it's often easier to view a video than to actually browse for text, becoming a distilled experience. At least that's been my experience. But on a PC, not so much, as I find the PC to be more of a complete experience in terms of getting information.

But in terms of personalities? Some do it well, some not so much.
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« Reply #47 on: July 14, 2015, 11:46:45 PM »

To be fair they were starting to make the transition when still owned by MTV/Viacom (Which they now have no qualms in stating were not competent). The catalyst to change probably happened around the time Shane Satterfield (siftd.com) left. Game scores became a flat number rather than an average between aspects and the person who had reviewed it was now displayed (Which he was against). Then as you said Defy purchased them which then cut staff twice over the period of a year I believe. It should be noted as well that they did have some personality video content before Defy. First with Invisible Walls then with Annoyed Gamer, finally culminating in The Final Bosman which was their next big success after IW. Final Bosman is probably what solidified the move to having more people in front of the camera.

Actually I should add a couple more shows that come to mind that were around before the MTV purchase Bonus Round (Geoff Keighley host) and Pach-Attack (Michael Pachter).
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