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Swen Vincke on Being Selective about Games Journalists

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Swen Vincke on Being Selective about Games Journalists

Editorial - posted by Crooked Bee on Wed 8 May 2013, 12:31:01

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

In the wake of the Divinity: Original Sin campaign, Larian Studios' Swen Vincke has put up some thoughts on games journalism and being selective when promoting your game. Our very own Gragt and his preview are mentioned, too. Here's a snippet:

One of the things I started wondering about throughout the campaign was who we should show our games to. You see, I used to think that you should strive for maximum exposure, and try to show your game to anybody who can hold a pen or camera. But after having talked to I guess over 200 media over the last couple of months and seeing their output, I’ve actually come to reconsider that statement.

It may sound straightforward, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it makes no sense demonstrating your game to somebody who has no interest in your type of game. At best he’ll get the facts straight, but more than often his writing will be detrimental to your cause. And so the question comes to mind – why do something that won’t do you any good?

Perhaps you think you should put up with it because said non-interested-journalist is from popular-website-X, but really, what interest do you have in having a negative article on a popular website-X? Or an article that has its facts wrong just because you and the reporter speak a different gaming language ?

If somebody doesn’t like a certain style of gameplay, he can’t write a decent preview or review of a game that features that style of gameplay. The best you can hope for is something neutral, but if it’s surrounded by superlatives for all kinds of other games, then by definition the neutral becomes negative.

[...] Perhaps there’s another more focussed approach that might yield more benefits. I remain intrigued by the click-through numbers in our Kickstarter campaign and the link between article appearing/pledge counter increasing. It was clear who had what impact, and the results were very counter-intuitive, at least to my traditional view of games media.

To give you an example – There exists no such thing as IGN, the person. There’s only Joe, John and Daisy working at IGN reviewing and previewing games. If there’s a John who like turn-based fantasy RPG’s and played several of them, it makes sense to show him Divinity: Original Sin, if his editor will let him.

But if Joe, John and Daisy think the world ends with Assassin’s Creed and Battlefield, then perhaps we should not send a version to them, because nothing good can come from it. You wouldn’t offer mushroom-only dishes to a gourmet critique who hates mushrooms and is the editor of “fabulous cooks that don’t use mushrooms monthly” either.

Rather then than waste time on Joe, John and Daisy, we might be better off seeking out the other Gragt’s of this world, people that care about their style of game, are willing to sacrifice time to inform their audience to the best of their abilities (as in, actually finish the games they review), and ultimately feel much more genuine than most “pros”, even if they might be a bit wordy ;)

The full post also has some statistics and stuff. Read it here.

There are 75 comments on Swen Vincke on Being Selective about Games Journalists

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