The difficulty of variety game blogging (Blaugust #1)

psycheplays_blaugust15-day1_video-game-bloggingImage source: #1 | #2 | #3*
What’s that clicking sound going off like a machine gun in the distance? Why, it’s the sound of 69 (or possibly more, at this stage!) keyboards typing away furiously, as Blaugust is upon us! I’ve decided to take part in the Blaugust daily blogging challenge this year, as I did last year — though I know that I will struggle to stick to it — because I know it’s good for my writing muscles. I also recently read that it’s good for you to write creatively about anything that is on your mind at least once a day, so I hope this will help me!

So, to the topic of this post. I have been blogging about games in one way or another since I started playing Final Fantasy XI in 2008, thanks to my friend Tilly at getting me into the habit. I’d always written a diary or journal of some form, either physical or online, so it made sense to progress naturally into sharing my gaming adventures.

Since then, I have blogged about Warhammer: Age of ReckoningAion, and briefly about RIFT. I dabbled in EVE blogging as well. However, about a year or two ago I wanted a more general nerdy blog, and the first of three blogs was born. I’ve since settled on Psyche Plays and plan to stay here, but it is not without its challenges. 

Variety blogging comes with an inherent lack of focus; you’re talking about a wide range of topics, in my case surrounding gaming and geekery. To some extent this is a focus in and of itself, but as many have said, focusing on one game in particular draws the community to you more than video game blogging in general does. Video game blogging isn’t as big as, say, lifestyle or fashion blogging. While I consider gaming a huge part of my lifestyle, I find it hard to fit my blog and myself into the lifestyle blogging community in the same way I would if the video game blogging community were flourishing in the same way.

It also means that I don’t feel write talking at length about my exploits in one game in particular (read: Final Fantasy XIV). Sometimes that can lead me headfirst into painfully deep periods of writer’s block, because I’m so enthused by one game that I want to talk about it, but I’m afraid to focus on it too heavily in case I bore those who read but don’t play.

I suppose to a lesser extent, variety streamers will also see the same problem: if they focused on one game, they’d get a more passionate and loyal viewerbase, whereas variety streaming means they might lose people when they’re playing a game those viewers are less interested in.

I haven’t found a solution, but it’s something that’s been on my mind a lot. My way to tackle it at the moment is to keep Psyche Plays firmly focused on my general gaming and geeky exploits, as well as reviews, tips for the games industry and other fun things, while I spin up a secondary blog on a much smaller scale to focus only on FFXIV when the mood strikes.

Have you ever encountered this problem yourself? How do you tackle it?

* I couldn’t find the original source for these images. If they belong to you, please let me know! I will either credit appropriately, or remove if you prefer.

  • I’d be interested in your second blog, though I don’t recommend it! Having been there myself and moved towards a more general blog. What I’ve found is I enjoy myself more on a multi-topic blog, but also, people follow. I decided to split categories into gaming, books, journal, etc. so that people can just follow the topic they want if they want. At the end of the day, people in general aren’t interested in just one thing so while some might be put off, others love to see variety. Blog as you and the people will come. 😀

    • Thanks for the advice! I’m not planning on going anywhere, I prefer keeping this blog as is, but I will probably write FFXIV specific stuff where I just go very in-depth on a separate space for a while and see how it goes.

      I guess I don’t feel like those kinds of posts would go very well with the theme I’ve set up, or even the “voice” I have I guess? I don’t know, maybe I’m being silly!

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  • I realized that people who were returning were reading for me, and not just my content. I am sure I could specialize, but I don’t feel compelled enough by any one topic to do so, thus my broader strokes.

    It has been for the best too.

    • I don’t really know why I can’t drill that one concept into my head. I’ve repeatedly asked viewers when I stream, “What games do you want to watch?” Because I know that when I play some games I get more viewers than others. The response is always, “Whatever you want to play.”

      I need to realise that true enough, the ones who are there for the “right” reasons (ie to talk to me, engage with me, hang out with people they’ve met through the channel) are the ones coming back. The people who show up for one specific game are rarely there for very long, and they don’t really make any lasting relationship with anyone, be it me or other viewers.

      I guess the same could be said for the blog, right? Sorry for the ramble, haha.

  • Pam

    This is actually a topic I noted down to write about during Blaugust. I went from having a niche (WoW, and specifically resto druids) to blogging about a variety of gaming topics. My blog traffic has plummeted, but I need to write about the things that interest me. Personally, I don’t like it when gaming blogs are too specific. I’d rather read an author’s takes on many games than just one. Especially if it’s a game I’m not interested in, because then I just won’t read at all.

  • Dario

    I actually have concerns about the opposite situation, where I feel like I’m talking far too much about one game (FFXIV) and want to talk about others. Staying on topic for FFXIV is like a security blanket in a way as I could talk about the game for hours but run into plenty of snags on creativity otherwise.

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