Just a week ago we were being hit with the official news that AOL was shutting down its “enthusiast sites” on the Joystiq domain, including Massively and WoW Insider.
But within hours of the farewell posts for both sites, plans were already in action by the form staff members of both sites to bring new versions of them to life.
The WoW Insider crew struck a lightning blow and had Blizzard Watch up and going almost right away, starting up the site with a subset of the original team while they firmed up recurring monthly financing via a Patreon campaign. So far that campaign has passed the $13K mark and the site is coming together, though they have more work on that front.
The Massively side of the house has been more conservative.
They had a Twitter account and a podcast feed and a Google+ page and a Facebook page and a channel on Twitch up pretty quickly, but an actual web presence took a while longer. And once they were up on the web, the presence was a placeholder for the future, not an immediate launch into coverage the way the Blizzard Watch crew went.
I am not the one doing the work or putting my neck out, but the web site and written coverage of the MMO genre is what Massively was about for me. But I gather that they know their own demographic mix better than I, so perhaps a Twitch channel and a podcast were vital first steps.
Meanwhile, on the financing front, Massively Overpowered has decided to go with a Kickstarter campaign in order to build up a war chest to get the web site going. They are going with a 28 day campaign that is looking to raise $50,000. As it is explained as part of the Kickstarter pitch, they want to do this right.
To make Massively Overpowered both profitable and sustainable and replace the corporate infrastructure we’ve left behind, we need to do it the right way, all the way. We’ll be a company with legal and bookkeeping support. We’ll have a professional web designer and tech engineer. We’ll have scalable, high-traffic hosting that can handle the hit spikes you send our way. We’ll have an ad sales person who is actually a person and not an algorithm. We’ll have a website that doesn’t burn your eyes and widgets that actually work. And we’ll have writers who are actually paid what they deserve for their considerable efforts.
And there is certainly a logic to that and more of what is up on the Kickstarter page. They want a sustainable funding plan, something that Patreaon might not deliver. More than 2,500 people appear to be happy to kick in every month for Blizzard Watch today, but will they all be as enthusiastic six months or a year down the road.
Anyway, by the usual Wilhelm Kickstarter Tracking Metric(tm), the Massively Overpowered Kickstarter campaign looks like it will meet its goal handily having already come close to the halfway mark within the first few hours. (Watch on Kicktraq as things progress.)
So I guess I will have to keep reading MMORPG.com for a month or more while Massively Overpowered gets their foundations set. And, while I am not pitting one against the other, I will be interested to see how each site moves forward as things settle down and the day to day need to make money and pay bills becomes reality.