7 July 2001
While running SimRacingWorld, I often wonder why are we shunned by developers who take little or no interest in all the hard work we put into the site. I sometimes wonder whether it is just us, or are other sites affected?
However, when I ask around, I found that nearly all web-sites that support racing-sims have little or no contact with game developers. Many of us webmasters find it immensly frustrating by how we never get any contact with developers of games, and that unknown press magazines manage to get exclusives.
When running F1-GRANDprix3.net, I found it so annoying that a magazine that only sells 70,000 copies in a month, gets its hands on exclusive screen shots & information, while our web-site which was getting 70,000 targeted visitors (people who are interested in just that particular game) in less than a week got nothing.
The problem is with game developers is that they don't realise that web-sites do sell copies of games. Many people said to me that they wouldn't have bought Grand Prix 3 if it wasn't for F1-GRANDprix3.net. It annoys me when we are aiding game developer's profits, but we get nothing in return.
Take for example Grand Prix 2. My friend Marc Aarts at GrandPrix2.com has supported Grand Prix 2 for over 4 years now, but has had little or no recognition by the developers.
This is not just a snipe at game developers for not supporting webmasters, by not supporting us, they are not supporting you. Without content to update sites with, they cannot live. People like to visit web-sites for fresh content, but without input from developers it is difficult to scrape together good, interesting content.
But, is this all changing?
In recent months game developer's have seemed to have woken up. They've finally realised that web-sites with huge fan-bases do exist, and are now taking notice of them.
Take for example the West Brothers (who are developing World Sports Cars). Chris West (one of the actual programmers himself) regulary visits and contributes to Internet fan-sites, giving out information, screenshots and more. I myself have been in contact with him regulary (and no, you can't have his e-mail address ;-) ) and he has given a lot of support to us.
This has also happened at Ubisoft. Ubi have sent out beta copies of F1 Racing Championship to fan-sites, allowing them to have a play of the game before it's released. This in turn gives more information to visitors, who get more excited, wanting even more to buy the game. So, ironically, this probably increases sales, and keeps fan-sites happy at the same time - a win-win situation.
Codemasters (developers of Colin McRae Rally 2) are going one-step further. On their web-site (codemasters.com), they are actually encouraging fans to build fan-sites to support their games. Codemasters are offering a 'kit' to people wishing to start out.
In the future, one can only hope that game developers stop seeing through the huge Internet fan-bases and start to notice that fan-sites do actually sell games, and do increase the longetivity & life span of the game.
Lets hope that game developers now continue to wake up and start supporting the dedicated induviduals who run these sites, and in turn, the masses of fans who visit them....