Look like WOTC is beating our leader to the punch...
Look like WOTC is beating our leader to the punch...
Should this come to fruition it will definitely take a bite out of Nearby Gamers, but the size of that bite might not be that large. The silver lining would be WOTC's predictable - and understandable - self interest.
Wizards claims to support 'the hobby' with Gleemax but the article makes it clear the site will promote Wizards product only. That leaves the great big wide world of 'everyone elses game' open for competition.
Clearly the loss to Nearby Gamers would primarily be the D&D ONLY crowd... oh well >;-).
Actually no. Gleemax is supposed to support all games, even competitors.
It is yet to be seen what kinds of features Gleemax will provide to their users. From what I've seen of it, it is largely a message board. I don't NBGs has anything to worry about other than maybe a buyout offer.
On Gleemax.com, Randy Buehler, Vice President of Digital Gaming at Wizards of the Coast, has announced a new project, involving personal pages, new content, advisory boards and online games:
Wizards of the Coast is building nothing less than the Home for Gamers right here on this URL. Gleemax.com will be an online strategy gaming destination built on three important pillars: Community, Content, and, of course, Games. But before I get into the "what," I want to talk a little about the "why."
Wizards has always done the majority of its business through a core network of hobby stores and the communities those stores create. When my friends and I got into gaming, we walked into a hobby store and found a world of awesome games, a guy behind the counter who knew everything about them, and a bunch of people just like us who wanted to play. I've sat at enough gamer-tables at weddings to attest to the fact that those are the friends you hold on to.
But times change. Today, that hobby store and all its wonders is still there, but we see an opportunity to engage more budding gamers and ultimately drive new traffic to those stores. The key to growing the hobby gaming industry and making sure it continues to thrive for years to come is to recruit the next generation of gamers into our culture. And what about gamers who want to play, but don't have the time, or don't know where to find other gamers anymore? How can we make it easy for all these would-be gamers to start -- or return to -- gaming?
The answer, we believe, is Gleemax. It's a massive expansion of our web presence, designed to give gamers a place online where they can hang out, play games, and most importantly, find other gamers. We see this as a natural extension of things that Wizards has stood for since the early 90's and here's how we're going to do it:
We want to give all gamers their own personal pages with tons of features that make it convenient to talk about games, find people to play games with, and get more out of the games they choose to play. We're not just talking about Wizards of the Coast games either. We see this project as an investment in growing the entire strategy gamer culture. There will be features aimed at existing Wizards customers (ways to show off your D&D character, your warband, or your deck, etc.) and there will be plenty of tools that fans of other games can use as well. We also want to give retail stores their own pages where they can promote their store, talk about store events and organized play programs -- events that will then automatically appear on the calendars of local players who care about those games. Our goals are to make sure the tabletop gamer has everything he or she could possibly need from a website and also to turn our attention to the online strategy gamers who want the same sorts of game play but prefer to play on a digital platform.
We already have lots of great content on our website, from articles about our various games to behind-the-scenes peeks. But we can do even better. With Gleemax, we'll be deploying many of those same tactics, except we'll be talking about gaming in general and digital gaming in particular. You can expect a ton of blogs from Wizards insiders and a real dialog between us and our fans (that would be you). And like I said before, this isn't just about our games. It's about all games, so you'll be able to talk about anything you want.
And, of course, we're going to have games. Lots of them. I don't want to give too much away yet, but imagine an Indie Strategy Games Portal filled with the coolest independent games, vetted by us, and given the Wizards Seal-of-Approval for fun, strategic game-play. Then think about a Board Game Portal featuring classics from our Avalon HillTM catalog, as well as new games we don't even know about yet! Plus Magic OnlineÂ® and our original computer game Uncivilized: The Goblin GameTM (take a peek: www.wizards.com/goblinz). And that's just a start.
We think Gleemax is the right thing to do for Wizards of the Coast, the right thing to do for the tabletop hobby gaming industry, and the right thing to do for a sizable group of digital gamers who are being ignored by the mainstream computer gaming industry. We want to build a home that all three groups can feel comfortable in and I think it will change the face of the hobby gaming industry forever. If we pull this off (and believe me, we intend to), then Gleemax will become the center of the online strategy and roleplaying gaming universe.
There is one other thing I want to talk to you about. Because we're interested in building something that serves the needs of the entire community and not just Wizards, we want everyone reading this to help us get it right. Gleemax has to be a collaboration between us and our community. To that end, we are developing an Advisory Board.
We will invite thought leaders from both the tabletop and digital gaming industries to serve on this board. The idea is to bring folks together several times a year to tell them about our plans for the future, and ask their advice. We want to know where they think we got it right and what they would do differently.
In addition (this is important), we will reserve multiple seats on the Advisory Board for gamers like yourselves. Because Gleemax is everyone's community, we want to make sure you have the chance to tell us in person precisely what we need to do to make it a place you will want to use. Stay tuned to this site to find out how you can become one of the chosen board members.
So there's the pitch... that's what we're up to. There's more, of course, much more. But that will all come in time. Meanwhile, I'll be posting weekly updates with more detail on each of the aspects of Gleemax.
Coming next week: Open Casting Call. Be sure to tune in to find out how you can prove yourself the most worthy to sit on our Advisory Board in our Ultimate Gamer contest. Don't miss out. I'll see you on the message boards!
I'll admit I felt a bit of dread when I saw the biggest gaming company in the world might be moving into my niche, but after poking around the site and reading an interviewI'm a not at all concerned. They're worried that gaming is aging and want to bring in more young gamers. I want to target all the adults who've fallen out of gaming -- heck, about one in five times I explain what I'm building, I hear "Oh, yeah, I used to play some game a ton, then I moved/graduated/got bored and I haven't played anything in years."
I've finally cleared out a ton of junk from my schedule that's been keeping me from working on NearbyGamers, so I'm focusing on NearbyGamers again. Sometime in the next six weeks I'm going to lose a few days to moving from Chicago to DC, but otherwise I only have NG on my plate. As they're not launching until August, there's two free months to get even further ahead.
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