Over at Clean Casuals today Arwyn has a post on the difference between “game bloggers” and “game journalists” that I found interesting. In the wake of Massively’s closure there’s been some discussion of whether bloggers could fill the news, interviews, and reviews gap. We can just band together and be the new Massively, right?
Arwyn thinks that isn’t such a solid idea, and I’m inclined to agree. Instead of leaving a giant comment there I thought I’d post it here.
(As a sidenote the Massively folks launched their Kickstarter today for Massively Overpowered, so go support them if you are so inclined!)
Do I think some MMO bloggers “have the same strengths and skills as the paid writers, and could produce the same quality of work”? Yes, totally! A bunch of us have in the past or currently do write for professional game sites on the side. Do I think it’s a good replacement for something like Massively? Naaah.
The vast majority of bloggers have non-freelance dayjobs, which means they can’t write up the hot news when it happens, or watch E3 presentations live, or whatever. A Massively replacement wouldn’t have the same kind of dedicated staff as a site with professional journalist types.
Also I think sometimes people assume that because writing a personal blog is fun obviously writing articles for something like Massively is also “fun”. And sure, it is sometimes, but often it isn’t. It’s a job, and you’re writing about games you don’t care about or you can’t be as silly with your language because you’re a real site with a real ads. You have word counts and mandatory screenshots and professional relationships.
On my blog I don’t care about any of that. Hell, I barely care about forming a coherent argument, because it’s my blog suckas! And that is why I enjoy it so much.
Often people see writing about games, just like developing games, as a “fun” job because we all love video games. And while sure, it’s probably more fun than writing about hammers or something, it takes a good helping of time and dedication to churn out words about stuff even when you’re not feeling the fun. It’s a job, like any other job. Implying that hobby bloggers can just step in and take over with the same level of coverage and quality is vaguely insulting to professional writer types (like me in my day job!).
I actually didn’t read Massively very often, preferring the more loosey-goosey opinions of my fellow bloggers. But that doesn’t mean that the two are interchangeable. A professional game news site would be a poor place for Eri‘s swear-filled rants, and a blog that was just a straightforward listing of patch features wouldn’t be terribly interesting. We need both for a healthy MMO ecosystem.