Foreign and domestic: similarities and differences between video game blogs across the world

While reading both American and foreign blogs about video games over the last few months, I’ve realized there are some distinct differences in how they are written, but they also have many similarities. In this blog post, I’m going to take a look at what distinguishes and connects blogs from across the world.

In order to look at these differences, one first has to look at how the blogs are published. Both blogs from the U.S. and blogs from other countries have multiple ways in which they reach audiences. The first is through the bloggers’s own website, in which they’re the only one who writes and they’re really the only reason to visit the site. This seems to be a popular way to blog in both the U.S and other countries, but the blogs I came across like this seem to get more attention in other countries compared to similar blogs in the U.S. For example, “Sun Rising Blog,” a Japanese blog dedicated to video games and anime, gets comments on many of the articles posted by the only writer, Michael Vincent. Comparable U.S. blogs receive comments sometimes, but it doesn’t appear to be as often as “Sun Rising Blog.” Perhaps this is due to the oversaturation of U.S. centric blogs, that is to say that people wanting to read about games in the U.S. have more places to look to find gaming news they care about. This spreads the consumer base out, leaving many blogs with few readers. People in other countries may have fewer options of what to read when they decide to go search for blogs about their passion, and so the blogs which do exist garner more attention and thus more comments.

When one looks further than one-person websites, however, the amount of community interaction increases drastically both in the U.S and other countries. All around the world there are larger websites which host writings by bloggers, giving the writers a larger audience and the websites which host them more pageviews. Blogs which are featured on sites like these can get hundreds of comments, as opposed to rarely ever making it into the double digits of comments on self-hosted blogs. There are, however, some differences in who hosts these blogs. In the U.S., these blogs are hosted either on sites dedicated to hosting people’s video game blogs, such as Kotaku, or in a section of a dedicated video game news website, such as IGN’s blogs section. In other countries I managed to find video game blog sections on mainstream news websites, such as The Guardians’s video game blogs section. Despite having not been posted to in about a year, The Guardian had something I couldn’t find on similar U.S. websites.

One effect these differing strategies have is the ability for blogs to make it to a mainstream audience. In both cases, they don’t seem to be able to, but in the U.S. people seem to have to go less out of their way to stumble across a blog post. For example, to see a blog about video games on The Guardian’s site, one has to specifically go to the video game blogs section, something which isn’t too easy to accidentally stumble across. Kotaku, on the other hand, is made up entirely of blogs, making it easy for people who go to the website to find them. IGN often features well written blogs on their front page, so consumers of their content also can often stumble across community blogs instead of professionally written articles. While this may make it seem like video game blogging content is easier to find for a normal person in the U.S. (that is, someone who doesn’t typically consume video game news), people in the U.S. would still have to consciously go to IGN or Kotaku to find that content, meaning it seems to be just as unlikely to pop up in everyday life in the U.S. as it is in other countries.

Other countries seem to also have “regular” blogs which feature games in some of their posts. That is to say that instead of the entire blog being about video games, just one or a few posts on the blog are about video games. For example, “Ask a Korean,” a blog about all things within Korean culture, has had a couple of posts dedicated to video games (namely, StarCraft and Homefront), and a few other posts have mentioned gaming or games within them, but the blog itself is not centered around video games. In my search of video game blogs, I did not come across any instances like this in American blogs.

It’s been an interesting few months following blogs from foreign countries I may have never even heard of if not for this class. Seeing just how similar gamers are no matter where they come from creates the feeling of a tight-knit community spanning the planet.