The evolution of sports gaming communities

Posted December 26th, 2007 at 9:30 am


A significant shift has occurred in the way the sports community interacts over the past two plus years. It has gone from a time when fan sites were prominent. Those such as Madden Nation and Madden Mania provided opportunities for people to extend the enjoyment they got out of a particular game.

Those two sites, that really drove the community for not only Madden but other sports games, have since become part of larger media sites.

With that shift the goals have changed to providing things such as reviews, news coverage, and strategies.

Whether that is a positive or negative thing really comes down to each individual. It is what it is and some people will find that more useful while others will desire the way the sites used to be constructed and controlled.

Having been on both the community and media sides I’ve always been intrigued by the vast differences between the two. What media sites provide is not anywhere near the same as what community sites can provide. Media is a very controlled environment while community sites are more open. However media has resources that community sites simply don’t. There is that trade-off there. And maybe the bothersome thing is that so much has shifted to the media side that now there really isn’t the balance that used to be there.

At this point I can’t really blame someone for not wanting to run a community site in the traditional sense of the “fan site”. When all the supposed “community” does is moan and complain it isn’t a very rewarding experience for someone to deal with all the time. And as a community site it isn’t being done for money but to give back to the community. If it isn’t fun to do it isn’t worth it. It also seems with the current state of the community being so negative and so entrenched in the places they already reside that the opportunity to build a site from the ground up isn’t really there.

Now I think you look to places such as EA Sports World and what is being done there for the new type of community that will come to fruition. It also seems more likely that individuals will emerge rather than sites.

Things have changed drastically over the past couple years and they’ll continue to evolve. How it will be, where people will turn to, and how the communication between companies and the fans will change are all interesting things to follow. It’s something I monitor and by doing so try to provide the best mix here at PP.

So what do you think? Do you like the direction that sites are headed? Do you prefer the more traditional fan site that seems to be headed towards extinction? Or do you like the hybrid sites that combine elements of both?