"Should I start this gaming forum" - A Thread

Kyrie

Habitué
Joined
Sep 2, 2009
Messages
1,008
Hi TAZ,

I have two different ways I love to look at projects. The first is that I think it's a worthwhile endeavor akin to a "business" and the second is when I like tinkering and I like the process of building a site and promotion. I already have the second which I don't think will ever take off but I'm enjoying the niche and thought I would build a community for something I couldn't find when I was looking.

Now, onto the point of this thread. I want to make a gaming forum, but hold on wait a second.. there's literally hundreds popping up monthly so what'll make mine standout? Truthfully, I don't know... But what I do know is that I love MMO (Massively Multiplayer Games) and I can't find a community that tickles my fancy. I want older people like me who enjoy and praise the genre and is willing to try any game that fits within it because there is a serious need.

There's a few things I need to keep in mind:

"I'm not a gamer, I play World of Warcraft"
"I'm not a gamer, I play Runescape"
"I'm not a gamer, I play Elder Scrolls Online"


This sentiment is shared very heavily with the MMO community and it might make it hard to be a general forum for that genre. That being said, they are used to browsing the associated forum with that, and it might help for those who do bounce between game to game.

"MMOs are dying"
The genre of "MMO" is in-fact dying and once World of Warcraft burns out I would be surprised to see any other games truly take over. I don't think it'll happen. So there's that.

"Competition"
I know that "I WaNt To StArT a GaMiNg FoRuM" is a meme at this point but I really cannot find a community that does what I want it to. I want good reviews of MMOs, articles covering them, and a good community with niche communities talking about certain games.

But I find it just doesn't "feel right" but does that mean I can make a community that feels right to me? I don't know.

Here's some great examples of boards that are doing exactly what I want (or close to it):


Anyway, long story short I think I do want to make this site because I want to make my own reviews and such and I love celebrating the genre and this is my way of doing that, but I wanted to get some valuable community insight on what you think of this project, and if any chance of it succeeding in your eyes.
 

haqzore

Devotee
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
2,428
This discussion comes up often (as you know).

To be blunt, no, I don't think this has any chance of succeeding.
I'll quote myself from almost identical threads right here on TAZ.

To the point of the topic, I honestly think forums are old tech when it comes to meeting needs for gaming.

I see 2 primary functions. Info, and communication. Forums are behind on both, and both are better served by other solutions.

Info is much better served by platforms such as wikis, cheat databases, articles, etc. The navigation, formatting and similar content leads just cannot be achieved by forums.

Communication is absolutely dominated by Discord or in-system solutions (Playstation Network, in-game voice, etc). Both of those offer voice. Both offer additional benefits of seeing what your friends are playing. Both house stores to buy. Both are immediate. Both offer mobile apps. Both have notifications.

Forums are, flat out, so far behind in feature offerings. I love gaming forums. My first forums were all gaming (none are now). But if someone asked me what to use to set up a community? Telling them to use literally any forum script, paid or not, is purely misleading. There is just no benefit. At all. There is almost nothing in the gaming space forums can do better.

It's a generational transition I think. Bitter sweet...

answer this question, truthfully:

What experience, functionality or capability does your site offer that users don't already receive, in better & more convenient form, from Discord / Steam / Playstation Network / First-party forums?

Put simpler, what's the point? Why join your site?

You offer a forum, gallery & resources.

Every game, network or Discord has in-house forum equivalents.
Every game, network or Discord allows image sharing, and usually video.
Every game or network hosts its own files & updates.

They also let you form groups.
They let you 1-click "Join" your friends games, live & real-time.
They facilitate all-encompassing Voice chat.
They let you buy the games.
See live & real time what other people are playing.


I'm not trying to be rude, but let's be brutally honest. What the hell is the point?


It sucks, but it's the state of things.
It's very hard to offer a compelling reason to sign up to a "gaming forum" in today's market.
 

Kyrie

Habitué
Joined
Sep 2, 2009
Messages
1,008
This discussion comes up often (as you know).

To be blunt, no, I don't think this has any chance of succeeding.
I'll quote myself from almost identical threads right here on TAZ.
I completely agree with everything you said. I, personally, would join a "fan club" for MMOs if one tickled my fancy but maybe there's a reason why none do.
 

Dopply

Aspirant
Joined
Aug 28, 2011
Messages
15
Unfortunately, as much as I'd love for big gaming forums to come back, haqzore is right on the money. Forums are truly only useful if they facilitate a certain niche, and even then, Discord can outright replace them in most aspects.

Some things, though, you do want threaded conversation for, along with permanence. You just need to evaluate your needs.
 

Kyrie

Habitué
Joined
Sep 2, 2009
Messages
1,008
Unfortunately, as much as I'd love for big gaming forums to come back, haqzore is right on the money. Forums are truly only useful if they facilitate a certain niche, and even then, Discord can outright replace them in most aspects.

Some things, though, you do want threaded conversation for, along with permanence. You just need to evaluate your needs.

I just love MMOs man, and I want a fanclub for it.
 

Russ

Administrator
Joined
Oct 20, 2011
Messages
1,349
I'm in the boat of if you're in it for the love of the niche then why not start it. Who cares if it never takes off.

I've been working on a health and fitness site for quite some time just because I enjoy it. May never launch and if or when it does it may never attract the amount of attention I'd want it to but if I'm having fun doing it then why not.

That all being said, if your purpose is to make a living off a single gaming forum launching from scratch then... I suggest you listen to the posts above :D. The same goes for other things... starting a YouTube shouldn't be done because you want to live off the income from it.
 

Kyrie

Habitué
Joined
Sep 2, 2009
Messages
1,008
I'm in the boat of if you're in it for the love of the niche then why not start it. Who cares if it never takes off.

I've been working on a health and fitness site for quite some time just because I enjoy it. May never launch and if or when it does it may never attract the amount of attention I'd want it to but if I'm having fun doing it then why not.

That all being said, if your purpose is to make a living off a single gaming forum launching from scratch then... I suggest you listen to the posts above :D. The same goes for other things... starting a YouTube shouldn't be done because you want to live off the income from it.

All that is true, but if it doesn't gain any traction its pretty discouraging.
 

LeadCrow

Apocalypse Admin
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
6,587
You need to make sure the game you'll be covering has lasting power, and the safest way to ensure so is by dedicating it to a 'live service' game - one that has high retention rates for players, who will quickly find venues like reddit and discord very limiting. You can secure an early win by making your websites the main lurking round of those most passionate players. It opens many possibilities for monetization, like partnerships with devs and streamers.

And even if activity level dwindles, you'll still have the opportunity to merge forums to form a larger community and at the same time give your future niche sites a larger starting audience.
 

sbjsbj

Fan
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
675
Here's some great examples of boards that are doing exactly what I want (or close to it):
Why launch the same thing then?

Many games has their own forums these days, such as WoW (Blizzard). This is your competitor, how do you think you will do better than the official forums which has millions to spare?

Any game has a reddit these days or a discord.

There are already established forums around MMOs, which you already quoted.

So, what can you offer what the others cannot?

We are not in 2005 anymore. You cannot launch a forum on a hosting server and people will populate it.

You must treat your forum as a normal website. You must put content on and on and offer something, which nobody else offers. Like in-depth guides (which would take you years) or wikis etc. And all of this is already done, so, you already missed the ship.

Gaming lives from activity. Forums are static. I can immediately join a Discord or jump into a game rather than stare at a forum list.

Maybe if forum software companies actually cared, you'd had a chance (or we), but not right now. I suggest you to invest your time in other things.
 

TheChiro

Devotee
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Messages
2,531
As someone who's ran a gaming forum for over 15 years and have recently attempted to fill in a specific type of gaming niche, it's quite hard. My large gaming site (the 15 years one) is almost a household name for gamers. Heck, even Major Nelson has mentioned us in one of his podcasts. It's kind of hard to compete with those of us who have filled a niche and are dominant in those keywords. You would have to be REALLY unique, probably start with a very very very very very, did I say VERY? focused niche in gaming, pumping out unique content multiple times a day for 2 years to have even the slightest chance of becoming a big gaming site.

Now with my new site, it started off strong, but has since dwindled (though, my focus has been on my big site for the better part of the last year and now that we've updated, those features are getting migrated over to the new site and we can begin going ham with promoting it again). It's tough...Discord was gamer focused so there are tons of discord communities that you are now having to fight against. So with my new site, it's not just a forum, but will include a lot of other things that you can't quite get in Discord.
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
823
I don't think anybody in this topic has gone back to you, and asked how YOU define success? What this project means to you?

If you're looking for motivation:
1. If you think it's a personal mission to support the MMO community, then forget everything else. You have your reason. Start it, enjoy it, and do it out of love.
2. If you can provide valuable, interesting analysis that no one else can offer - and to have the commitment of several years - then why not? The beautiful part of the Internet is that there's "always room for one more." You may not be successful, but there's nothing stopping you.
3. If you want to tinker, go ahead. It's your time and energy and money to spend as you please. People work on hobbies that are a lot less useful than community building.

If you want to be successful, that's a little bit different:
1. You need to establish a core group around you before launch. You can build a core group by participating in other communities and to become a respected member over time. The biggest mistake communities make is to launch too early.
2. You need domain expertise. I'm going to define it very broadly, which is: to add value that no one else can offer. This means better information, faster information, or more comprehensive information than any other site. This is very different from community building, but it's a necessary factor for success.
3. You should really think hard about your platform of choice. People on TAZ tend to think the answer to everything is a self-hosted, traditional forum. But it's not. The world's fastest-growing communities are on platforms like Facebook Groups, Discord, Amino Apps, MeWe, and more.
 

Kyrie

Habitué
Joined
Sep 2, 2009
Messages
1,008
Joel makes good points though.

Many times "forum" is used as a generic catch-all term, when there may be better suited "community" solutions.
True but in this case, I did mean a traditional forum.
 

LeadCrow

Apocalypse Admin
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
6,587
Metrics and plans do differ depending on how high you set the threshold for success. Keep your expectations in check, forums need lasting power and an active contributor base in order to thrive, and even then success might not be guaranteed.

A forum still needs a community behind it. You dont necessarily create one, and a forum might only cater to the interest of a small portion of the large community you targetted. If it's any active, it will be scattered across websites, reddit, youtube, discord. Managing to unite some of it around a website would give you a diverse pool of experience you could leverage to expand your site's reach into other platform (a forum might eventually run its youtube channels for example, reaching folks not otherwise interested in the experience of forums).
 

Kyrie

Habitué
Joined
Sep 2, 2009
Messages
1,008
Metrics and plans do differ depending on how high you set the threshold for success. Keep your expectations in check, forums need lasting power and an active contributor base in order to thrive, and even then success might not be guaranteed.

A forum still needs a community behind it. You dont necessarily create one, and a forum might only cater to the interest of a small portion of the large community you targetted. If it's any active, it will be scattered across websites, reddit, youtube, discord. Managing to unite some of it around a website would give you a diverse pool of experience you could leverage to expand your site's reach into other platform (a forum might eventually run its youtube channels for example, reaching folks not otherwise interested in the experience of forums).

Let's put it this way. My main goal is tinkering and setting up forums with the associated plugins, themes, etc. I love that part. But I also consider it a product and I love when people look at the stuff I made.. so if no one will ever sign up organically, it won't feel good. ya know?
 

Shawn Gossman

Tazmanian Master
Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Messages
8,033
I am a big fan on the Sims 4 game and thought about making a forum for it. However, I’m unknown on the Sims community. I think if you first made yourself known in existing gaming communities, then it would be a lot easier to start a forum in a niche that is that over saturated. If there is a lot of competition, then your ROI should be you as the brand.
 
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