Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Little Help from My Friends...

Everyone knows. Don't you?

This afternoon, Warcraft tweeted the following:

Aaaaaand they're off!

Now looking at this, you're probably already wondering why I'm going to base an entire blog post on the fact Blizzard are simply doing what they do best. The key to my interest is the wording above: videogame press get first billing, but after that... fansites. Within 30 seconds of the tweet going live my feed was full of links, but only one came from a major name. This marks something of a sea-change for Blizzard, which we saw begin with 5.1. The net that is cast for spreading the news isn't just bigger, it has the potential to snare a far larger catch.

It occurs to me that Blizzard grasp social media far better than a lot of other developers. There's been a lot of muttering of late that the PR side of things for gaming generally could do with a bit of a kick into touch: major sites are restricted by such journalism concepts as embargoes, which is something a fan site is never likely to have to concern themselves with. There seems to be a lot of stories about bad PR choices and inappropriate behaviour by certain sectors of the industry. However, undoubtedly the most important factor in the dissemination of such information as new gaming trailers is speed: does it really matter who does the PR for you, as long as it's out there as quickly as possible and to as many fans as you can reach?

Suddenly, a lot more people have the opportunity to get the jump on the 'big boys' than was the case before, and it is encouraging to see that people are grasping these opportunities with both hands. Blizzard will know this as well, and I have no doubt that they are watching those people who are actively promoting this instant dissemination and that such sites will be rewarded for their loyalty in the future. Oscar Wilde grasped this over 100 years ago, and his comment is even more relevant in today's world than it was back then:

The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

All publicity is useful, and it might amuse some to see loads of 'small' sites linking a video which in the last expansion you'd only see appear from the larger media outlets to begin with. I think this just goes to show that Blizzard really does have it's mind on the long-term game plans, and when your community forms such an integral part of your modus operandi, it seems the most sensible move to make sure when you have something to say, that everyone is listening.

It also shows only too well that certain large media sites have a set of priorities that doesn't fit with the 'instant' culture so many gamers live their lives within. Time to sit up and pay attention, fellas ^^


Elizabeth Gossett said...

Love this post! I think you've hit the nail on the head, and it's exciting to see Blizzard taking a bit more active stance on the community. Definitely a big change from 7 years ago when I started playing!

Navimie said...

I too noted the big social network engagement - what with devs on twitter, and that week where all these devs were talking on podcasts... it is a good move, and I think the fans like it, as well as it being good for promoting stuff. Glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks its great :)