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I've been part of this site for almost a decade, and I'm getting a bit worried about the state of the site. When I stumbled across Gaming.SE from SO, it was quite impressive compared to most gaming sites or forums I'd had seen before. For many types of questions, you could get very good and concise answers here.

A while after I started to participate, the site really took off with the Skyrim event. The amount of content and the amount of views increased enormously, and for the most part we actually managed to keep a reasonably high level of quality. There were a few events after that, and the amount of content created did exceed my expectations by far. But while the real prizes certainly helped to attract content, it certainly didn't feel like the activity before all those events was too low. The prizes certainly had an effect, but we also had a pretty healthy level of activity before them.

I'm a bit worried about the site now. The activity seems very low in many areas, and especially in the kind of games I've been playing recently. For the most part my taste in games is very mainstream, and I've been mostly playing the typical AAA single-player releases. So pretty much the kind of games that by definition have a very large audience. The part that surprised me was just how low the activity for these kind of games has been on the site recently. I admit that some of these games just don't invite many questions, not every game can be Skyrim. But even for games that should have plenty of questions the activity on the site remained very, very low.

The most recent game I've played is Ghost of Tsushima, and on the site there are only two questions about it, both of them asked by me. This is the biggest game released in the last week, and it's also an open world game of the kind that does tend to trigger good questions on our site. But there has been essentially no activity on it at all apart from me.

If I wasn't invested in this site already, I probably wouldn't ask anything here at all at this point. The quality of the answers recently hasn't been impressive in the areas where I've been active. It simply doesn't feel like there is a big enough audience to answer questions for many popular games.

A long time ago I argued that this site is different than every other SE site. We essentially change our topic entirely every few weeks, there are always new games coming out and we can't rely on any established set of Q&A and SEO for these. My impression is that this problem has caught up to us, and the site is simply not working all that well for new games.

I don't have any good ideas on how to solve this issue, which is why I waited a long time before posting it. But the way I perceive the site right now, it is mostly useful for specific gaming niches, but I would not expect to get good answers for major new games here. And I find that quite sad, as there was a time where posted questions here and received absolutely excellent answers for games that were just released days ago.

Is there anything we can do to handle the constantly changing scope of our site better?

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    How do you define AAA in this context? – Ave Jul 23 at 23:36
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    @Ave pretty much all the games from big publishers with a real marketing push. The most recent games I'd say are AAA that I played are Ghost of Sushima, The Last of Us II and Red Dead Redemption 2. My point probably applies to smaller, more niche games as well to some extent, but there I think it's to be expected that the results will be more random depending on whether you have people that play it on the site or not. For bigger games this averages out more. – Mad Scientist Jul 24 at 6:30
  • It's all about how many users we've got vs steam forums, reddit, etc. Don't compare Arqade to StackOverflow success. How many new questions are asked everyday? 20 + minecraft questions? That's sad.. – Sinatr Jul 29 at 14:38
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I suspect a lot of the problem is that there are lots of ways now for people to get answers to their gaming questions and they often find these places before they find us. For example, I'm playing the new Paper Mario game, and I have asked a few questions about it here, but to be honest, for most of it, it's easier to just Google for a walkthrough and use that for help for the general "I'm stuck and don't know where to go" questions - I've mostly only asked questions that don't keep me from continuing play.

Add in things like dedicated Discord servers for various indie publishers, more and more sites publishing walkthroughs than ever before, etc - it's often easier to just...do what we're asked to do before posting here and search the internet for an answer rather than posting here and waiting.

Plus you get a lot of people posting YouTube tutorials pretty much at launch, and for people who prefer that over text, they're going to look there rather than us.

Plus, as a few people have pointed out elsewhere - even if we do ask questions, we don't always have the people here answering them. So even if we come up with good questions for AAA titles, if they're asked by, say, our "core" cadre of people who play the AAA titles and usually are good at answering things...then they're not getting answers from outside.

I suspect a lot of this is just that we're not as big and immediate of a resource as we used to be.

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    Not to mention there are loads of sites for walkthroughs that get early access to the games and have reviews/walkthroughs up before most people get a chance to even play the game – Dragonrage Jul 24 at 19:24
  • So... get into contacts with developers and ask for early access if we can provide exposition? – Joachim Jul 25 at 14:23
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    ... except questions about unreleased content are off-topic. – pppery Jul 25 at 14:51
  • @Dragonrage exactly. And a lot of the "big" game sites are doing more of that now than they used to, like some of my best info for Paper Mario is coming from a walkthrough done by IGN. – Ash Jul 25 at 16:47
  • It's hard to compete with sites that have advance access. That certainly happened even in the old days, but you're right that it seems much more common now, and there's more information on release than it used to be. That information is also often kinda crap in my experience, but it's still there at a point where we're starting from nothing – Mad Scientist Jul 25 at 22:36
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    Something else to keep in mind is that when a game explains all of its mechanics properly, doesn't crash, doesn't leave the player stranded with nowhere to go, then players simply won't have much to ask about. I played and loved Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun but I had almost nothing to ask because the game presented everything in such a clear way. – Wrigglenite Jul 26 at 10:11
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    We've basically got the opposite problem that StackOverflow has - everyone googles their question first before posting here, and the answers are easy to find due to the huge amount of walkthrough/guide websites. – Mage Xy Jul 28 at 17:25

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