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EA shuts down servers including servers for games with online passes
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7 Things I Learned Running a Gaming Website in 2010
Posted on January 09, 2011 by OG

This past year, I decided to put a lot more effort into this site. It was kind of a no-brainer since I was unemployed for most of the year anyways, and I had to use my time to do more than search for a job and watch porn. It’s this year that I focused on trying to make my site a quality gaming site for gamers like myself. I’ve learned a lot this past year, and I think those looking to start up their own gaming site might want to learn from the mistakes that I’ve made and lessons I’ve learned along the way.

#1: Finding writers is hard, and avoid those that are fanboys, in high school, and fall for their own hype

When I started the site, I thought getting writers would be simple enough. Lots of people go to forums posting walls of text with their opinions about gaming, post their reviews on sites like gamefaqs with no qualms that they’ll receive almost no attention from it. You would think that an offer to write what they want about gaming, get some free games to review, and attend various events would be enough to convince them to write for a site. Well it isn’t. It makes it even tougher to find writers who are not fanboys, in high school or fall for their own hype.

Why no fanboys? There’s the obvious of how they can’t see the faults in what they love so much, but there’s also the more annoying aspect of fanboys. They don’t want to play anything but what they’re a fan of. I’m not talking about just Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo fanboys, I’m talking about RPG, retro, and other fanboys that call themselves gamers yet only play games in a few genres. It’s a pain to have one writer who is free and willing to review a game, but then make a big fuss when they find out it’s a FPS. If you have enough writers to have a �specialist� for everything then go nuts, however for me, I need someone that can try it all.

High school kids are a big no-no for me. I’m sure there are some high school kids that are God’s gift to writing, but they’re still highly emotional piles of flesh that are a hormone away from going into an emo trip. Although I love seeing dedication at such a young age, since it reminds me of myself, it’s better to wait for these kids to go to college, get a small dose of reality, and then start writing.

The category of those that �fall for their own hype� is a tricky one. When you write a piece or create a video that’s viewed thousands of times a day, it’s pretty damn awesome. Something that came from your brain is now being watched by people all over the world. For some people, this is the only time they’ve seen themselves get any sort of attention for their love of gaming, and it goes right to their head. Immediately, they think of themselves along the lines of a Jim Sterling or Angry Video Game Nerd in their newfound popularity. They’ll feel that they should be playing a big role now, and that they don’t need to follow the standards everyone else needs to. If you run a site, you need to get rid of these guys because they will be a pain. It’ll be pretty easy to figure out who these guys are. Once you tell them their article got on the front page of n4g, they immediately get an elitist attitude.

#2 Don’t report on everything

Once you get on mailing lists for press releases, your inbox will be flooded on a regular basis with news. Some items are incredibly newsworthy and need to be posted right away, and others are not. Now, if you have a site that’s all about the news from every possible source about anything that can be remotely considered a �game,� then go for it. For the love of God though, don’t just copy and paste the press release. I’m all for the whole �report the news, no opinions� ideology that is trying to make a movement in the gaming community, but let’s be real. Not only are press releases incredibly boring (if you’ve read press releases, you know they are), but they are incredibly slanted. Every press release presents its game as being the most anticipated game EVER! It’s just not the truth, and if you’re copying and pasting press releases without stripping down what the actual news is, then you’re doing your readers a big disservice.

The problem I’m seeing with those complaining on how video game news is reported is that either they’re a fan of something that gets completely blasted by the writer of the piece, or the writer of the piece goes completely off-track in their attempt to be Jon Stewart, but without the humor or an point to make.

#3 Twitter is instant news

With the incredible rise of Twitter this year, I can’t stress enough how easily a news story can be acquired from this source. Yes, I said not to report on everything on my last point, but with Twitter, some developers get really personal with what they post. Hideo Kojima wrote multiple posts about how he does not love the way the industry is going in Japan, and the frustrations he’s having. That’s news that you won’t see anytime soon in any Konami press release. Sometimes in Twitter, you can occasionally get those responses that you’d only see in an interview piece without asking a question.

Other developers tend to drop some huge bombs on Twitter that no one is prepared for. Just last week Tekken producer Haruda announced that �SC is Back!� That’s a huge piece of news that followers of his Twitter received way before news sites picked it up. Twitter’s also a great resource of rumors from sources that are in the know. I follow Arcade UFO on Twitter and that’s where I first got wind of the Street Fighter x Tekken game. I posted it as a rumor, was called crazy by people, and sure enough, it was announced a couple weeks later. Just be sure that rumors are listed as such, and to not post every damn tweet that Cliff B. or David Jaffe post.

#4 Give a little back

Even small sites can give a little something to their readers in different ways. Being based in San Antonio, I try to put on gaming events around town, and if I get a game early that people might be interested in, I try to have it available for people to play, like we did with Green Day Rock Band and Rock Band 3.

Helping out with a gaming charity is also good for the soul. The crew participated again in the Extra Life charity event this year and raised more than 3 times what we did last year, and all we really did was ask for donations and then play games for 24 hours. It’s awesome to be a part of an event that helps out those in need.

If you’re receiving review copies of games on a regular basis, you’re probably also receiving free swag from publishers. Shirts, pens, and even soap have made their way here. Since I’m a minimalist to the max (I think that’s a pun there), I would suggest giving some of those free goodies away to the fans. One of the most popular giveaways I had was for Mad Catz Arcade Stick keychains which were practically thrown at me by their PR people at E3. They made readers incredibly happy. It was better to give away a little bit of joy for free than to have another piece of swag I didn’t need. Speaking of E3�

#5 E3 is awesome, but confusing

Leading up to E3, I was incredibly excited and nervous as hell. The excited part is a given: it’s freakin’ E3. The nervousness came with the realization of actually being a part of the media in a major way. Prior to E3, I’ve done other cons and events that had some guests to talk to or a few things to write about, but never to the extent of E3. What I was worried about was being there for my first time without looking like a schmuck.

What I found out is that acting professional is not a big thing at E3. Looking around, I was kind of surprised at how everyone was acting. If there were some media people dressed up as cosplayers, and there damn well might have been, then E3 wouldn’t have been that much different than a major anime con. While I was all business, I tried my best to keep my troops in line, but sometimes they just have to fanboy-out. So next E3, I’ll be working hard to get great content, but I will not be as hard up in trying to be overly professional when clearly nobody else is.

#6 Be ready to change things up

Every medium has to go through their changes, and being on the Internet, things change at a breakneck pace so be ready for it. You will always need to think ahead in order to be on par with the other sites that have been around for much longer than you. Always be willing to try new kinds of articles and videos to see what works best.

#7 Try to have some fun with your website

Remember, we’re talking about games here, and games are supposed to be fun. It’s a great thing to run a video game website, even a small one. My crew and I have met some of the biggest names in gaming, played games way before others have, and have had amazing times at events we’ve only read and seen about. Here’s hoping that 2011 is an even bigger year for!

- O.G.

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OG - Editor-in-Chief / Original Gamer og (@) | all author's articles

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