Wow, what an exciting week

Like the title alludes to, this week has been exciting..but really the past two weeks have been good for me.  Since a decent amount of stuff happened I’m just going to dive in, so hold on!

First off, I’m very excited and happy to announce that I’ve been promoted to Community Manager at gamerDNA.  It was official last week but I wanted to sit on it first before I announced it on my blog.  I’m very stoked to be in this position and I’ve been told gamerDNA will be sending me to gaming events in the future to represent the company to gamers.  I’ll also be more active on forums, blogs and in game communities to help represent the company there.  In just about two weeks I’ll be at PAX giving away gamerDNA t-shirts and inviting people to our gamerDNA party so if you’re there, please let me know and you’ll get an invite and a shirt!

I’m still getting used to the job and all the new responsibilities and expectations but I’m enjoying it.  I love the challenge and it is fantastic to be able to work with two things I love to do:  working with games and working with gamers.  Over the coming months you’ll be seeing a gamerDNA podcast unveiled(finally), some more contests for the 360Voice and gamerDNA communities, as well as a TON more blog posts on the gamerDNA company blog .

This week brought the August meeting of the Boston IGDA Chapter which was sponsored by Harmonix (Guitar Hero 1&2, Rock Band, etc) and Ralph Baer, who basically created home video gaming back in the 60s, was the speaker.  Due to the awesomeness of Mr. Baer and Harmonix we had about 5 guys representing gamerDNA at the meeting.  Mr. Baer’s speech was very interesting because we gained so much insight into how little these guys had back then technologically, but all that they did with what they had.  In today’s world you could call this guy a hacker, making the craziest inventions out of what little they had, bringing the video game console to your living room.

After Mr. Baer finished his presentation Harmonix took over the stage and had the E3 preview build for Rock Band 2 for everyone to play.  Incase you don’t know…Rock Band 2 hasn’t even came out yet and it has been played by hardly anyone, so it was super awesome to be able to play the game.  Steve Sopp and I took the stage and rocked out, which

you can see here:

Steve Sopp (far left) on guitar and Sam Houston on Drums

Steve Sopp (far left) on guitar and Sam Houston on Drums

You can also watch a slighly embarrassing video (for me) of us playing Rock Band 2, shot by the Harmonix job recruiter.

Finally, I’ve decided to join the Warhammer guild "Casualties of WAR ", ran by a few bloggers/fansite people I knew from Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.  The guild is made up of a *ton* of MMO bloggers/podcasters and industry people, so it should be a pretty awesome time.  I’m really looking forward to joining these folks in ventrilo and having a good time sacking cities and taking down some keeps.

That about wraps it up, soon I’ll be getting ready for our gamerDNA trip to PAX and I’ll be sending out invites to the gamerDNA party (with free booze!).  Stay tuned 🙂

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 🙂