The world of video game coverage is by nature a very wired environment.
The rising prominence of leaked game footage and pre-release reviews means tracking up-to-the-minute developments has never been more important, or for that matter, nerve wracking.
That’s part of why I jumped into the wide world of Twitter-based game journalism, picked 11 accounts of varying repute and spent yesterday seeing how the news shakes out.
Of the various accounts I followed, I have to say I was most impressed with Kotaku’s presentation. Although they use Twitter as a type of RSS feed and opt to post an article’s title, link and nothing more, the site’s writers often choose attention-grabbing headlines to help herd readers onto their page.
One of the best examples of this was a tweet reading “There’s no doubt anymore. Apple has spooked Nintendo,” leading to an interesting piece on how Mario’s crew is struggling to hold onto casual gamers in a post-Plants vs Zombies market.
I was also impressed with Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games’ Twitter account, which takes a more interactive approach with it’s followers, allowing gamers to at-reply the developer team and create an interesting dialogue between the two parties. In addition, Rockstar makes a habit of tracking down and posting links for Youtube videos of gamers experimenting in their sandbox style games. Case in point: GTAIV Car Sumo Wrestling, which makes me want to dust off my disk and jump back into the fray.
Meanwhile Bitmob, a hodgepodge of longtime game journalists seems to have taken Rockstar’s approach to the next level, using Twitter as a means to actually generate content for their own site by hosting Q&A sessions on Twitter, gathering questions and then dealing with them on their main site.
While user engagement seems like a nice tactic to keep readers coming back to your site, I found that G4TV and Gametrailers are much more direct in their Twitter presence, putting together either complete video segments or gameplay footage as it becomes publicly available in order to draw in viewers.
This method involves a less tact and may be too hit-or-miss (I’m not going to click on a video link for the next Transformers game if I’m a G.I. Joe type of person) to generate consistent views on their home site, but the possibility of either account dropping footage from a hotly anticipated game means both will retain spots on my followers list for the foreseeable future.
Although I could go on about each of the accounts I chose to follow during this period, I feel the key to getting the most out of Twitter coverage comes from following as many content producers and reporters as possible and organizing them through lists based on the type of links and commentary they provide, keeping review sites separate from straight news providers and game footage/trailer aggregators and so on.