Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Is it worth doing developer video blogs?

So first up, here is the latest exciting video of ME: I talk about stuff, including democracy 3 electioneering, and steam reviews, and modding and schools and injuries.

Maybe more bloggable, is why bother? A fellow dev with decent insight into these things asked me on twitter why I bother when I don’t enjoy it. The answers are that I do ‘kinda’ enjoy it, and also I don’t want to stick my head in the sand and be all easter island about it. I have had this blog for ten thousand years now, but times change. maybe video is the thing now. Remember when everyone used typepad (who?) or even LiveJournal (what?). yeah exactly. These days people use Medium, instead of WordPress, because… I have no idea. Soon a new blogging platform will exist every week. Is youtube even the thing now? does everyone use Vimeo, or twitch or is it all periscope these days? are some stats:

The combined views so far of the last 4 youtube developer blogs for electioneering that are on youtube only (discounting therefore any facebook views, which would be promoted) are:


Which is a) pathetic and b) more than 99% of lets plays (ahahahah…my little joke).

Compare that with for example, my last 4 blog posts (going by google analytics) which is only 1,715 views. However, that stats is total bollocks, because most people use the rss link and I have seemingly no username or password any more to find out how many. Arggghhh. The blog also occasionally explodes. For example in the last 30 days, blog hits have been 14,027, which isn’t *that* shabby. Over the last year, average blog views per day is 664, which is 15% *up* on the previous year. So thats not bad. And they have a long tail. I get currently about 300 hits a day (yup!) on a blog post from 2011 about fixing pc game crashes.

So there isn’t an overwhelming crushing argument to say its worth me investing time in youtube. A video blog takes me roughly 4x the time and effort of a normal blog. Why bother?

Firstly youtube is still growing, and doesn’t look like its going to stop. Alexa estimates its the #2 site after google. Secondly, the traditional media increasingly looks like it cannot compete. Everyone talks about how their kids spend all their time watching youtube. Watching has become the new reading. You don’t have to read an article, you watch the writer talk about it, far less hassle. The future seems to be mobile phones + video content,. and if I don’t have any strategy for mobile (and I don’t) I should at least put *some* effort into video.

Thirdly, I suspect video content is ‘worth’ more. Someone reading a review of my game will be fairly informed and aware of the game, but somebody WATCHING me or a reviewer actually playing it gets a MUCH better feel for what the game is like in actual usage. A picture paints a thousand words, and a video, with most games can paint a thousand pictures. Also, if the developer is actually *in* a video, it humanizes the developer a bit. I have no clue who designed or coded Star Wars Battlefront, but when I get used to seeing someone’s face and hearing them talk about the game, it seems a much more ‘real’ connection. I’m pretty sure thats a fairly common reaction, and is why I’ve started sticking my elderly unshaven mug in the videos :D. It also vaguely helps with public speaking confidence in some weird way, which I think might help long term when I promote some new stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not closing my blog, I love doing the blog, but I aim to produce a lot more video content than before. Now I’ve got (vaguely) into the groove of uploading stuff, its getting smoother and less hassle, and I think from a marketing POV, its sensible and worth doing. Tips on how to make better content are very welcome.




5 thoughts on Is it worth doing developer video blogs?

    1. 1k readers on Feedly, that’s a lot of views from rss.
      I may be wrong, but i do get the feeling that those who prefer text over video are readers with far more valuable time.
      A lot of the youtube crowd is made up of people with nothing better to do, like highschoolers or unemployed. Most of the professionals do prefer reading, since it’s way more information dense.

  1. If you’d provide transcripts with your videos, that’d be great for the text-based crowd who value their time and/or control their own soundscape.

  2. I am apparently in the minority of people who prefer text content for most things, if only because it’s less intrusive when commuting or at work. And it’s easier to resume if I have to stop partway through.

    Watching a bit of your video now, I think I generally prefer your blog posts. I watched the majority of the Prison Architect alpha videos, and a large part of that was I thought the interaction of Mark and Chris to be amusing. That’s hard to pull off when you’re the only one in the video. I find your blog posts to be a bit more information dense than the video, which is a plus. But on the other hand I prefer your tone in video to your tone in text (for some reason your writing style sounds like you’re in a constant state of annoyance). So that’s probably a wash overall, but I’m far more likely to read your blog than watch your videos.

  3. As for the problem with sudden shifts in poll numbers, maybe make people near the middle kinda fuzzy? Like if someone is in the range of 45-55% they have a chance of voting the other way in a poll. Not sure what the net effect would be, but it would make it a bit sudden when you’re bouncing between 51% and 49% approval.

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