19

One thing that I noticed is that the amount of questions we get for new AAA releases seems to be getting lower. I don't have much hard data here, comparisons to the games where competitions were run are probably not all that meaningful anyway. But my subjective impression is that the big new games don't get a lot of questions on the site when they're released compared to the time when the contests were run.

Assassin's Creed Unity got 4 questions since it was released, Civilization: Beyond Earth had 5 questions on the first day, 48 now in total. Those are simply the last big releases I could think of, I haven't played any of those though.

The main reason I'm concerned about this is that I think that the first few days are crucial to establishing our site as a place to get answers to questions for those specific games. Compared to game-specific sites we have the disadvantage that we're a general site. If we don't establish ourselves as a good source early on, people that aren't familiar with our site already are going to ignore us or never even find us in the first place when searching for their questions.

The reason I'm bringing this up here is that I think the situation can be easily changed with just a few users per game making a bit of an extra effort to ask good questions early. I was one of the users participating in the first Gaming.SE game grant, where SE bought games for a few users in exchange for those users asking and answering questions. I did ask quite a few questions about The Witcher 2 due to that grant, and just looking at the most viewed ones of my questions, they brought more than 700.000 views to the site.

I think it would be a good idea to encourage the experienced users of the site to ask more questions, especially for newly released games. Having a certain amount of questions already present is necessary so that new users can find our site when they look for their questions about the new game they're currently playing. We are at a disadvantage here compared to most SE sites, our topic essentially changes every few weeks. We can't rely on our old questions to reach people playing newer games.

I'm not talking about bringing the contests back, I suspect they were unsustainably in any case. But I think we can encourage the community here to ask more good questions. And maybe more low-key contests could still work, without the big prizes and elaborate design changes. We're gamers, we are easily tempted by meaningless internet points.

  • 4
    Rebirth? :P – badp Nov 15 '14 at 23:35
  • 1
    @badp Interesting example. My selection was rather arbitrary, I stumbled upon Unity and noticed the low number of questions, and then tried to remember recent big releases to find another one. So the issue seems to be rather dependent on the specific game, and not necessarily a general one. But your example also shows the value of early, high-traffic questions, the later half of the questions list has a bunch of new users asking that likely found the site through those earlier questions. – Mad Scientist Nov 15 '14 at 23:40
  • 7
    Relevant: this page details our level of penetration in a few major websites. The fact our users overlap with Twitch's by a mere 3.9% seems to suggest we have plenty of room for growth... – badp Nov 16 '14 at 0:51
  • Nobody thought it's "because they're busy playing them"? On a side note, I was thinking of asking about far Cry 4's general feel, but decided that I should ask much later after people have managed to finish it to provide better judgment. Maybe that's a valid reason too. – Raestloz Nov 19 '14 at 6:41
  • 2
    @Ben actually, a lot of people here are adults with their own incomes. I couldn't really afford to buy Beyond Earth when it came out, but I ate pasta for a week to balance the situation. – shanodin Nov 19 '14 at 6:49
  • Regards the original question though - every time I had something I wanted to ask about Beyond Earth, I came to ask it, and found there already was a question and answer about whatever it was I was looking for. – shanodin Nov 19 '14 at 6:50
  • Interestingly, I've seen a fair few Dragon Age Inquisition questions coming through recently. I'm trying to avoid them as DAI hasn't been released in the UK yet... – JonK Nov 19 '14 at 9:16
  • @JonK 70% of those questions are from me – Mad Scientist Nov 19 '14 at 10:11
  • Well, as I said, I've been avoiding them in case of spoilers, which is likely why I hadn't noticed that! – JonK Nov 19 '14 at 10:17
  • On GameFAQs the most downloaded FAQs were always the latest releases. I don't buy the "it's too soon" argument. I think the problem is that the community isn't especially vibrant, for whatever reason. – Django Reinhardt Nov 25 '14 at 15:38
  • 2
    It probably has to do with the fact that big AAA titles often have detailed wiki's+strategy guides making it less likely that a question concerning such a game is not easily answered by a simple google search – Thijser Nov 25 '14 at 20:43
20

From my personal perspective, I wouldn't ask a question about a brand new game here, either.

  1. There's not enough users. If I have a question on day one, it's typically the kind of question I'd like a fast answer to. Using the official forums or an established gaming forum means that I'll probably get a fast response because of the amount of people that will see it.
  2. My questions will come under scrutiny. On a forum, no one votes on whether or not your question is worth answering or edits your post because you didn't ask well enough. You just get answers (or at least responses).
  3. My questions aren't that great, anyway. Most of the questions I have early on are ones that can probably be answered with a bit more playtime. Or, maybe I'm not even quite sure what I want to ask. I'm mostly generally curious and unable to really condense my question into something less broad.
  4. I'm more interested in discussion than answers. Open-ended questions without a single answer don't really fit into SE's format. So, if I'm curious how people are handling something, a forum's a better place to ask.
  5. I don't think anyone will have the answer. Sometimes, I'm ahead of the general population of the players and my questions are too specific or littered with spoilers. Asking those questions here would result in them likely being ignored and then disappearing into the abyss. But if I wait for more activity, then it may stand a chance.
  6. I have a rep to uphold. There's rep here. Not there!
  • To be completely fair, what you said regarding how forums are different than Arqade may not be so true as you think. Arqade does have a sizable userbase and questions even on a forum may come under scrutiny (there usually isn't the editing process that SE employs, but people will still read and judge your question, good or not). – Doktoro Reichard Nov 18 '14 at 1:33
  • 6
    THIS. This is why I never ask on Arqade. – BlaXpirit Nov 19 '14 at 11:48
  • 13
    Point 2 is important for me. Too often new users find their questions closed without any guidance or advice, which makes Arqade users look like dicks, and the user will never come back. – David Yell Nov 21 '14 at 12:05
  • 1
    I'm finding a lot of point 5. I end up coming back and self-answering a lot here :( – Yamikuronue Nov 24 '14 at 1:37
  • point 4 is important for me. i mean, yeah it helps users get rep and answer more clearly but why can't you have a discussion in arqade? – ken Nov 24 '14 at 2:01
  • 1
    Number 2. Number 2. Number 2. Reaping the consequences of the SE culture. – Kik Nov 25 '14 at 19:06
  • 1
    #3 is my biggest issue. If I search around a bit, gamefaqs or someone will usually have the answer. Otherwise, it's unlikely anybody has the answer. – Troyen Nov 27 '14 at 4:33
15

Big releases don't always mean lots of questions right away. Some of our biggest tags with the most questions are ones where we didn't get a lot of questions right away. The contests really just brought a concentration of questions, not more.

AAA Releases

I've created a query to chart the number of questions we get a day for any given tag, and let's take a look at what the biggest releases for 2014 look like.

I think we're a little too close to Civ and AC to really examine those well, so I'm going to take a recent one, but not so recent as to be too close to tell: Destiny.

Destiny Chart

The ones before the release were from the beta, and can probably be safely ignore for our purposes. But it has had a fairly steady stream of questions coming in all the time. A couple a week isn't bad, and it is already doing pretty well. There was a definite spike around release, but at 13, it wasn't anything that was going to blow other tags out of the water.

Now let's take a look at some of our top tags

The most interesting one I want to focus on here is Starcraft 2. For SC2, we both did, and did not have a promotion event for it. For the initial Wings of Liberty release back in 2010, we did not do any real promotions for it. It puts it into a unique situation of being

  1. A popular AAA title
  2. A good candidate for questions (single player, multiplayer, and complex)
  3. Good for comparisons against itself

Starcraft 2 Chart

When SC2 first came out, Arqade was still growing and getting traction, but you will notice a pretty significant bump around the release date in number of questions asked. The second massive spike there is from the release of the sequel and the AnswerSwarm Event. But if you look at the scale of that chart, it still only got, at peak, around 40 questions a day for the tag. Now, that's a lot for sure, but in the grand scheme of the 1400+ questions asked on the tag, it isn't much of a dent. The bigger thing is the number of questions that keep coming in after the launch.

Another thing to look at is the drop off in the questions. We went from 40 questions to 2-3 a day in a few days, where as with the first release, we did that over a week. In those weeks, about the same number of questions ended up coming in, they were just spread out the first time, likely because there weren't prizes for the people who asked.

Another great example to look at is Pokemon X & Y. We didn't do an event for that, it was a recently released game (relatively speaking at least), and is one of our most popular tags (ranked 26 at the moment).

Pokemon X & Y Chart

Just after release, it was getting less than 10 questions per day. That's not a lot. But, it adds up, because it is currently at over 300 questions. Not too shabby. And if you compare this chart and the one for Destiny, you'll notice that that one looks a lot like the beginning of this one.

It's All Relative

I suspect you're comparing it against how it felt around the time of the big events Arqade hosted. And you're right, we have far less questions being asked here than we did when there were prizes to be won. I don't think anyone can (or would) deny that. But that doesn't mean we're in bad shape. Those events drove people to ask a lot of questions on the site, but they weren't always the best quality. And those events didn't necessarily drive traffic to the site and were expensive to do.

Now the questions come in a bit slower, instead of racing to get them in. Of the top 10 SE sites, we are second lowest for number of questions a day. But we still have a very active user base, and a fair amount of questions coming in for all types of games. And we have one of the highest answer rates of SE sites as well.

I'm always for lowering the barrier of entry in asking questions here but we want to be careful how we do it. We are not a discussion forum, and for a lot of people, that is what they are looking for. Sometimes we're not going to be the best site for a person, and that's alright. But I don't think we have a problem with users, with questions, or with big game releases. We just may have to get used to less of a rush of questions if things aren't driven by prizes.

  • Those graphs with the older questions are a little messy. Do you think it would be possible to aggregate over a slightly larger time scale? By week, for example? – murgatroid99 Nov 17 '14 at 23:45
  • @murgatroid99 Yeah, it is probably possible. Just have to tweak the query a bit. I'll see what I can do. – LoveAndCoding Nov 17 '14 at 23:49
  • 2
    One thing to note is the relative strategy that goes into a game. Destiny? Sure, run and gun, ask a question or two about the item spawning/buying/rarity, no worries. Starcraft? suddenly we're talking about actions per minute and everything from overarching/general strategies, to minute details about when to send probe 7 to build a pylon, and how far away it should be from the nexus etc. – Robotnik Nov 21 '14 at 7:30
13

No solutions from me, but some speculation about why many AAA games get so few questions asked.

  1. A lot of AAA games these days, like both of your examples, are iterative sequels. Often not much beyond the setting, story and graphics change in the sequel, and so people already know how the game plays, and new questions often focus on specific missions or lore.
  2. AAA games get a lot of coverage on other sites, so many questions already have an answer that's easy to find somewhere else.
  3. Much of the core community seems to wait before getting the highly hyped games or even skip them completely.
  • 1 is really correct. I checked my driver update history (relevant) and all the games that nvidia optimized are sequels. 2 is correct too. 3 is what happened to me, I skipped all three games mentioned (I just tried unity for 10 mins). – Ave Nov 16 '14 at 17:46
-2

It probably has to do with the fact that big AAA titles often have detailed wiki's+strategy guides making it less likely that a question concerning such a game is not easily answered by a simple google search. And because this is a more mixed site then most forums we are faster in answering questions concerning older games then the often abandoned forums of the developers.

  • 2
    Thing is, Arqade excels at getting information going faster than wikis do. We're not as comprehensive, and we don't try to be. If you have a problem with a game, we can almost always answer it before wikis even get started. – Frank Nov 25 '14 at 21:09
  • If I have a question for a new game I will first look at a wiki (the skyrim wiki was for example almost complete within a week of release), I will then ask on the forums. However if a game no longer has such an active forum then I will go and ask here. – Thijser Nov 26 '14 at 8:18
  • Not so much for AAA games but many games have an open beta period so the wiki may be mostly complete even before release day. – Daniel Nov 30 '14 at 0:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .