Introspective: “Why Do You Write About That?”
Monday's article about a seemingly out-of-date “warning” that free-to-play games can cost money brought up comments I see a lot of – not just on this site, but on several that I read – along the lines of “Why are you writing about this?” Other forms include “pointless article” and “no one cares.” The idea of the article was to get a bit of a laugh, and while I may have leaned a little too strongly on the anti-Canadian sentiment, it's something I'll keep doing, no matter how “pointless” it is.
(Side note: I really don't have a problem with Canada. And I'm hardly the only one to evoke an anti-Canadian sentiment for the sake of humor – or is it “humour”? South Park does it all the time, as do a lot of other mainstream entertainment properties.)
I think a lot of the hostility comes from people who expect MMOBomb to be a news site, and nothing but a news site, and lash out at nearly anything not perceived as “hard” news. Again, I see this on other sites, like a baseball site I read, whenever the head writer talks about something other than stats and signings. I saw it just the other day, when a Major League umpire came out as gay. While that's obviously a heady issue, far more so than anything we talk about here, it got the usual “Why is this news?” comments with an underpinning of “This site should just stick to talking about baseball.”
The thing is... pure news is a) boring and b) not unique. We could just report blandly on the news and not inject any of our own personality into our coverage, but you can find that anywhere. A million gaming sites out there can report that a new game was announced or that there's a shiny teaser video for a new class. Why should you read MMOBomb instead of one of those sites? What reason is there to draw you to us over them?
One way to do that is to provide something unique – in this case, our perspective on things. Sometimes this can be serious, in the form of an editorial, or sometimes – especially when, to be honest, there isn't much to write about – we'll just let our imaginations go off a bit and try something funny. That doesn't always work, but the point is, if you expect nothing but SOOPER SRS BZNESS from this site all the time... well, you're going to be disappointed.
But all that aside, even if I hadn't tried to be all snarky toward Canada, there would have been people who said that the article was dull and pointless, that it didn't belong on a “news” site. So why write it in the first place? Obviously, the reason we write articles is to get people to click on them, view the ads and whatnot, and bring in money so we can keep doing what we're doing. Monday, there wasn't much to write about – you can thank the Thanksgiving news void for that – so I looked around a bit and found that. It wasn't stunning news, but I thought I could craft something out of it.
The alternative would have been that I wrote nothing, thereby providing no income to the site and, I like to think, not providing any entertainment value to the people who did like the article. Did I rub a few people the wrong way with the anti-Canadian messaging? Maybe. But if you're offended by that attempt at humor enough to quit the site, well, you'd better avoid the Internet in general.
In the end, the article was designed more as entertainment than news, just like we do with a lot of editorial pieces and even the Free-to-Play podcast, which generally covers older news – the sort of thing you've already heard about – but provides an entertaining take on it from me and Magicman. We'll cover the serious stuff, too, and treat it with the respect it deserves, but games are meant to be entertainment, and we think reading about them should be entertaining too.
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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