Two huge items in gaming news this week. The first is that Massively is gone. This is surprising at first look but now that I’ve had time to think about it there really isn’t much to be surprised about. Basically there’s a lot of problems with Massively
- Groupon School of Journalism: Look I have a lot of respect for anyone who makes a living doing something creative. I consider writing my biggest strength on the creativity side and let’s face it, I’m ok. I can capture a phrase, I can communicate but I’m not the next Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain or even Doctrine Man!. All that being said… the writing quality at Massively was all over the place. Even article to article by the same writer you never knew if you were getting a carefully crafted piece or a hack job taken straight from the game in questions website.
- Poor Editorial Direction: Not covering news on events in game, especially when you are writing about… say… EvE Online, is like writing about fashion in the halls of Congress but not about ANYTHING else. You are missing the point even if the suits are nice. Neutering your coverage or having other writers step in who don’t know the game/community/meta to cover breaking events means you look awful, especially when the community itself can provide capable coverage (as EvE bloggers do)
- Formatting: Look at the website. It’s functional. It works. There’s a lot of whitespace. It’s painfully white, and just… dull.
- The Media Itself: For all the success Massively had, it was a written word format site in a media meta dominated by podcasts, streams, vlogs, tweets, and with more formats all the time… written articles just don’t grab the key demographics. AOL may have killed something that was successful while it was still successful but the writing for this format (including blogs like this) is on the wall.
Now I feel awful for the people that worked there. From what they’ve been posting the experience has been awful with uncertainty, rumors, and apathy rampant from their corporate masters. Now these people have to scrabble for work and I hope they find it. I’ve enjoyed the page for all the criticism I’ve leveled at it and I wish them all a swift, safe landing with bosses who understand things better and who give them the creative direction, freedom, and inspiration they will need to succeed.
Then there’s the SOE fiasco. WOW. This is… I can’t… I don’t… Ok I wouldn’t trade places with John Smedley for anything right now. I follow him on Twitter, along with about 73 thousand other people. He’s a brilliant social media, guy, but man there’s no way to spin this. I don’t think the investors will be doing much with any of the IPs outside of Planetside 2, Everquest, and… well… let’s count ourselves lucky if those come out. The company will be sold for parts and soon, and I suspect that Smed himself is actively looking for a “new challenge” to take on that doesn’t involve shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.