It's interesting that in today's fast-paced, too-busy-to-stop-for-anything lifestyle many of us maintain, we're always looking for an easy way to get what we want. In regards to gaming news, most gamers would prefer RSS feeds or gathering news from aggregators to cut down on filtering through crap. The only problem is -- with the two biggest aggregators providing the most gaming news available for gamers -- does either one really provide good gaming news for gamers?
If you're into keeping up with the latest headlines in the gaming industry, you definitely have a few subscriptions to a couple of print publications, or you're a user of a news aggregator. There's just too much news flowing out of the industry to maintain an informed position on gaming without an aggregator. Sadly, even here at Blend Games we can't keep up with everything happening within the industry.
Many large sites like IGN and Gamespot continue to report all kinds of news for many different games, but they give sparse attention to lesser known games or many independent titles. Smaller blog sites may have information found on no other website, but finding such sites are sometimes difficult or out of the way. The best of both worlds is just to employ aggregators based on user-submitted content. They have become more popular over the past couple of years, spawning the likes of Gamegrep, Technorati and ManifestoGames, to name a few. However, there are two very popular ways for getting gaming news that theoretically spans the entire industry: N4G and Digg.
N4G is part of the GamesRadar network, offers user-submitted content for gaming industry news and information. The site had approximately 17 million page views during January of last year, according to GamaSutra. Digg, on the other hand, is a news aggregator for all kinds of news, with gaming being an ancillary category within the user-submitted network. The site receives millions of page views a day and allows users to "digg up" or "bury" content based on user interest.
Of course, there are huge downsides to both services. For one, if you're a hardcore gamer looking for something different you'll have a hard time finding new news about new kinds of games from either service. Both services promote news based on user interest. However, user interest is always based on what users are most informed about. Hence, if a game isn't being heavily promoted by a publishing studio and doesn't receive any special promotion from a print magazine or a leading online gaming publication, chances are the game will be just as obscure on both news aggregators.
N4G offers an edge for smaller but important news items, insofar that the more users click on the news story or comment on it the more it gets promoted. Digg, however, requires users to actually digg up the story into the realm of popularity or requires a power-user to promote it from out of the realm of the unknown.
Digg's advantage for gaming news comes in the form of friends and shouts. News stories (in any category) are more likely to receive more promotion the more exposure the story has amongst socialites. Again, unless some bigger gaming site reports on the news first, chances are most people will completely forego it on Digg.
Take for instance the editorial on Slaptic about hardcore gamers needing to abandon the Wii. It's a story that made front page news on N4G, but may never see the light of day on Digg. Interested in a Gears of War or Devil May Cry MMO clone that's currently in the works? How about homebrew PSP news or fan-service based zombie games for the DS? Well, it's news you probably won't be seeing on Digg unless a friend sends a shout-out to you about it.
Alternatively, Digg offers gamers news that sometimes are far less tainted with flamebait. Unlike N4G, the industry news for Digg isn't always bustling with "PlayStation 3 is at the end of its road" articles. Some of their recent noteworthy highlights included industry news regarding a game for the blind, gaming addiction, and a DIY from Kotaku for wireless Xbox 360 gaming. You could almost say Digg caters toward mature gaming news without the noise.
In a way, I guess it depends a lot on the kind of gamer that you happen to be and the kind of news you're looking for out of your aggregator. If you use N4G, prepare to siphon out a lot of flamebait to actually find informative news about games you know about and games you don't. If you use Digg, there's a lot of "Top 10" lists you'll probably have to overlook just to get to some decent gaming coverage. Ultimately, both services take world gaming news to the next level of convenience, yet still offer some obvious drawbacks. But like anything in its infancy, gaming news aggregation will only mature as time goes on, hopefully.
For more insight, news and information on all things gaming be sure to stay tuned in with Blend Games.
N4G Vs Digg