Well some of what I'd like Giant Bomb to be are sort of happening. I'm hopeful but also skeptical.
I'd like to see this site have more diverse voices and backgrounds in its personalities and that does seem like it's happening to some degree with the latest crop of contractors. I hope to see even more hires from different genders and ethnicities to get the site more representative of society (at least American society) as a whole. Hopefully some of these contractors can be brought on fulltime as inhouse editors if they pan out (#teamVoidburger). Seems like it's a system that could be a great way to expand GB's rolodex to more diverse folks and opinions.
The things I'd like Giant Bomb to provide in terms of content really haven't been on the table since 2012 frankly haha. Oh well
I'm one of those old timers who mainly came here for the wiki, the community, achievement tracking etc. I think that stuff is too far gone now to revive. That all more less was doomed since CBSi bought them and they never got the engineering focus needed to keep it relevant.
I get it, no hard feelings. I really appreciate Jeff going to bat for all that stuff as hard as he has for so many years. I know how much he loves the wiki etc. I had a great time for a lot of years here when I badly needed an online place to go. Part of me honestly believed there was always a sliver of a chance it could come back, but given what's happened this year I think it's time for me to face the facts.
Eventually I got into the game coverage and game personality stuff that GB did and that I do think should be revived as soon as possible. Nobody does Quick looks and infotainment game coverage like GB does. It'd be a real shame if that goes away. At least for me this place won't be a daily or probably even monthly visit until that returns.
I came for the social features, stayed for the game coverage and haven't been coming around because I gotta go elsewhere to get those. Only so many hours in the day. Still love the place tho. I'll be back on a regular basis if the new game coverage comes back.
I think the current contractor content strategy for premium is really smart given their current staffing issues, tho I'm skeptical the 1st episode free strategy will work in converting a lot of new subs. Hope it does tho. The content I care about has a better chance at coming back if the premium strategy works I suspect.
- Transparency and visibility. Jeff has a ton going on and I know there is a lot of serious and tough shit he is dealing with right now. However, a lot of people's disappointment and anger could have been tempered if there was the impression of a familiar guiding hand at the helm who would be visible and talk to us about what's happening. Jeff getting on camera once a week or every second week a'la Jar Time (meaning: in a simple, casual, conversational way) just to give people a calming update would have gone such a long way. GB seemed to think only coming on screen to make announcements of shows would be enough. It wasn't, and isn't. The reactions from the community reflect that
This is a really really great post. Whole thing really. Thoughtful constructive and fair advice . I agree with almost all of it, but I especially appreciate that you never get personal or angry. Hopefully the staff listen to you and are able to act on what you suggested.
especially point #1 about communication. Giant Bomb is frankly just terrible at this and as far as I can tell the worst in game personality business. Back in 2008-12ish they more or less got away with it because they were basically the only game in town. But it's not 2012 anymore.
The patreon age has really made this crystal clear to me just how poorly this is done here as I've gotten to experience how other game outfits talk to their subscribers. And frankly every single one I've interacted with does it better (I've tried maybe half a dozen or more? MinnMax, What's Good Games, Kinda Funny, Nextlander etc etc etc) . It's not hard to fix either
it utterly baffles me, GB makes so many other decisions that frankly are really forward looking but they constantly shoot themselves in the foot by just not doing PR 101 norms in relaying basic information. A place that once was cutting edge increasingly acts like a relic, at least in this respect.
Case in point- The whole "we'll be back in a month" thing looks increasingly bad in retrospect. The unstated implication was clear that content would resume in June-ish. That clearly has not happened at all for free users and it's taken more like 2-3 months for premium users to get a roster of shows. They should have been far more explicit with what they'd actually be back with when they paused subscriptions and framed it that way to fans. And updated that framing when they figured out it'd take longer.
to fix this going forward all they got do is two things
- Be transparent like you said. They don't gotta get super specific but when you end shows or content you need to tell your audience. And if you don't know when they might come back, you need to say that. People will understand as long as you communicate regularly.
- When you have programming scheduling changes you need to share you have, especially especially on the website where you actually service your customers. Not random tweet here, tumblr post there, discord ama there, timestamp in the bombcast here, gamespot interview there. You need to hit all of them, everytime. Start with an article on your website, cross post it in your own forums, link to those with your socials, discuss and further elaborate on the bombcast,newsletter and elsewhere as needed.
- BONUS- As a best practice, especially with all these contractors and new faces, they should do what Bakalar has done with a few of these like Albummer, where they new folks are introduced to the base by a core personality. Better yet, have them guest for an epoisode on the Bombcast and promote their new premium shows. The Giant Bomb fandom is great but it can be hostile to newcomer personalities. Dating back to Patrick this has continually been a problem
Unfortunately their communication practices are really hurting them a lot now when they need the trust and understanding of their subscriber base the most. I feel terrible that the reaction to the new shows has been so divisive, but to me it's 100% understandable because unless you pay close attention to every social channel, chances are a lot of this is coming as a shock to some of you at some point.
People are pissed, feel ripped off and I totally get it. And then people who are happy with the new stuff are pissed because they are annoyed that people are complaining. I also get that. I also 100% can see GB is doing the best they can to fill the content void but they aren't doing a good job of explaining this. And because they don't explain it well, people speculate because they care and they are trying to figure out for themselves what's happening to a place they love. And since the forum doesn't allow speculations because it leads toxic behavior (which I also understand) that causes even further negative community reactions.
Then mods are left to deal with the mess over battles that never have to be fought in the first place.
It's just sad and needless, because so much of this negative reaction is 100% preventable with maybe a few hours worth of work a month.
Giant Bomb absolutely has to fix this if they want this reformat to be successful without turning over a large % of their subscriber base. It's the solution to a large amount of their current problems.