Do fansites reflect the games and their communities?

I’ve been working with fansites for various MMO games for the past two years and as of late I’ve had to survey the internet for fansites for various upcoming MMO games. As I searched for established and successful fansites for the newest crop of AAA titles I discovered something: Different game communities have stronger fansite communities than others. Now this may sound very obvious and nothing new, it really made me think if the quality of fansites is in direct relation to the quality and/or strength of the MMO community. I also wonder if the quality of fansites for the game reflects the amount of hype for the yet to be released MMOs.

What I thought particularly interesting is that it seemed to be all or nothing: Either a game’s fansite collection was poorly developed or the game’s fansite collection was strong. Perhaps someone comes in near the beginning and makes a strong fansite and then out of competition others crop up and set the bar higher. This cycle could continue until you get the behemoth fansites that are in the top 300k Alexa rankings and have thousands of users. Maybe the fansites for the other games have not done this yet and the talented community members have not chosen to step up and create the next big fansite? These are all questions running through my head, and perhaps you could tell me your thoughts.

I’ve noticed that the sites with lacking fansites usually have released barely any information on the game and they are still in very closed beta or haven’t began their beta at all. This makes me think that there isn’t enough information out for people to be inspired to create new fansites that will set the bar higher and create this sort of inter-fansite competition. Vanguard would be an example of a game that would go against this idea, though, as it had a very strong fansite community for years before the game released and Vanguard had a very strict NDA that lasted until 3 weeks before the game released. I would probably attribute Vanguard’s strong following and fansite presence because of the all-star development team that supported the game and Brad’s and Keith Parkinson’s icon status.

Why do you think games tend to have strong fansite communities or poor fansite communities, and nothing in the middle? Please tell me what you think in the comments as I’m still fairly new to the fansite community and I’m interested to see what others have to say about this. I’ve been thinking about this for the past couple weeks and would like other’s insight :)

Thanks,

Sam

Hello World! It’s me again!

Hello interwebs, I imagine there is no one out there reading this since I never update it but I thought I’d update just for the sake of writing down what I’ve done. It’s for the memories, right?

This past year has brought me many opportunities and changed my life in a big way. I have attended my first year of college, changed my major from Computer Science to Marketing, I gained a brother and law and I’m expecting to become an uncle any day now, I started two internet radio stations, started my employment with the Uberguilds Network and I’ve began my quest for a career in the video game industry. Those are most of the high lights, the bulk of them happening within the past 7 months. It is stunning all that has happened in a relatively small amount of time and I don’t think I would change anything.

It is funny how things seem to fall in to place when you look back at all that has happened. Since my philosophy class winter quarter I have thought a lot about free will and if everything happens for a reason. From my experiences so far, I believe that everything does happen for a reason. Well, most everything. I think it’s more about what you make of it, than anything.

Now I’m in the middle of my summer vacation and things are happening at light-speed. On June 9th I launched Uberguilds Radio, the evolution of Vanguard Radio. Uberguilds Radio is an internet radio station for the general MMO gamer community which has a focus on featuring both the player base and companies in the industry. Most of the internet radio stations in this niche market focus on the games and what the developers of these games are up to. What we do is focus on the developers and their respective companies but we also focus on the players. This means we interview and feature fansite owners, bloggers, podcasters, prominent guilds, and others. Anyone who has made a significant contribution is someone that we’re interested in.

Uberguilds Radio has given me a lot more responsibility and upped my presence quite a bit in the industry. As the director of the station I’m in charge of contacting all of the various MMO companies that make the games that we cover. I’ve been able to meet several new and exciting people through the radio station and I hope I have made some lasting contacts in the industry. I enjoy this part of the job quite a bit as it is very rewarding when your hard work pays off and you finally land that interview or get the company to commit to work with you. The bad part of the job is that you quickly realize that you have to work on their time, and if that means you have to wait 3 weeks to hear back from them, tough luck.

Through Uberguilds Radio I have been given a lot of new opportunities and been able to do some great things. On August 2nd Sony Online Entertainment is flying me out to Las Vegas for their Fan Faire, an annual player meetup where they show off all of their games and meet with the players. It should be a ton of fun and as far as I know I’ll be the only multi-game radio station to cover the event live. I’ll have a booth setup and a laptop where I can interview developers and players while providing commentary on the events all weekend. It is going to be an awesome experience and I hope to make quite the impression on the SOE staff. Hopefully this will prove to them that I’m not just some 19 year old kid from Ohio that runs a radio station :)

Since I’ve been back home for the summer I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my college choice. I have decided to transfer to Franklin University and studying marketing, while working part time and helping out my family financially. Not only would this save me a lot of money by changing schools, I’d be closer to home and be able to devote more time to Uberguilds and whatever my part time job will be. If I don’t like it, I can always change back or to a different school. I figure I should at least try it.

In other news, a friend of mine has approached me and another mutual friend about helping him start a gaming center in the city we live in. This would be sort of the arcade of the 21st century, with 25+ computers setup with some of the latest hardware and games and several Xbox360 consoles to indulge your gaming needs. All for a few bucks an hour and you can enjoy playing with your friends all day, as much as you want, in one safe place. The friend of mine, his cousin will be the financial backer and the business man, while we are the people in charge of keeping up with the game industry, getting the hardware up and running, and the general operation. To sum it up, he writes the checks and keeps us on task while we do what we do :)

Well that is about all I can think of right now, thanks for taking the time to read my blog and I’ll update soon!

-Sam