Massively is shutting down — hopefully. If I just caught you off-guard then allow me to explain why I won’t be disappointed and even look forward to the day when Massively is gone.
My biggest issue with Massively, and why this is personal, started back when they were still in their infancy. Some of their writing staff (who I will not name, but they know exactly who they are) thought it would be a good idea to post columns and discussion topics taken almost 100% straight from this blog. That’s right, they cut and paste and completely ripped content from me. It took several emails to their managing editor at the time for them to respond with a simple, “I’ve spoken to the writers and they won’t do it again.” I don’t like thieves.
Syncaine, a fellow blogger, often openly criticizes massively for what I consider my second biggest issue: They have ‘mass media’ opinions. In other words, they’re often full of crap and have no idea what they are talking about. The clickbait and deleting topics when they are wrong rather than retracting is one thing. But for the most part, their writers have no experience with the subjects they are writing about, and often I wonder if they even play the games.
Massively is mass media. Game devs love the eyes it brings to their press releases. Massively loves the ad revenue the game devs bring them. It’s a relationship rarely designed to actually benefit the real gamers unless you seek nothing but ‘mostly accurate’ (and oft spun) news. What bothers me most about this is that Massively breeds ‘argumentum ad populum’ or ‘appeal to the masses’. It’s the fallacious argument that just because lots of people believe it then it must be true.
Massively gets attention because it doesn’t question (unless questioning brings more visitors and revenue). Game devs will fly massively ‘reporters’ out to their HQ or give them exclusives because they know that Massively will deliver the message on-point. Think about it: Would you rather have your game seen by 50,000-100,000 people and have the message be the one you crafted or have it seen by 5,000-10,000 people and have the article be from someone who will give an honest opinion? That’s Massively vs. K&G and other blogs or smaller outlets. I do not mean to villainize game devs or Massively for doing this — it’s business. It makes sense. However, as a result, sites like Massively grow to become the aficionados and given incredible amounts of respect for having so much developer interaction. It has always felt like a ruse to me, but that could also be because I wrote for IGN for a few years and I know exactly how that relationship works. That’s why I left and started this blog.
As always, I want to make sure something is made clear. A few of Massively’s past writers had some passion and experience actually playing the game they purported to write about. For example, Karen Bryan did a nice job writing about the family side of gaming, and I know she was always passionate about EQ2. I won’t condemn all of the writers at Massively, but most of them probably haven’t even played more than one MMORPG, if that.
So I picked on Massively a lot. That’s because they’re an easy target and topical. I can think of plenty more sites just like them. They straddle the line between news and opinion, and their opinions are forced to change to align with what will bring more eyes to their news and exclusives. It’s frustrating to see hundreds of thousands of people turn into sheeple and believe what they read because they saw it on sites like Massively. That’s why I won’t shed any tears when the big ‘gaming journalism’ sites topple.