Updated Wed, Aug 12, 2009 by Ethec
Let's face it, rewards and voting systems have big problems. As for reviews, no matter how experienced, fair, or skilled at using clever metaphors the reviewer is, it's just one person's opinion of the game. Sites that hand out awards based on how many viewers vote for an MMORPG are vulnerable to organized efforts to "stuff the ballot box" - just look at how often a certain space MMORPG wins a certain other MMORPG network's yearly awards.
What if you were able to vote for your favorite games not by checking a checkbox and hitting a button, but simply by reading the articles, watching the videos, and checking out the news stories you're interested in? What if interest and "hype" could be gauged not by arbitrary scales that only the true lovers and haters of a game would bother to fill out, but that every gamer, casual or hardcore, could influence.
That's the vision behind The Pulse, the first truly passive rating system to hit the games space.
Reading The Pulse
Pulse assigns a rank to every game based on its traffic for the day. On our home page, we list the top few games with their ranks, previous ranks, and traffic change. (Note that it is possible for a game's rank to improve while its traffic goes down. This could happen if the traffic for other games goes down even more.) Just for fun, we also show you which of the three highly-ranked games that didn't make the top games list have moved the most in rank. Click any game to see a graph of its recent traffic. If you're a Premium Member, you can see a longer list of game rankings, and even more information about each game, including which content was driving the game's traffic for the day.
How It Works
Moment by moment, The Pulse system counts how many times our viewers access content tagged for a a particular MMORPG. Then, each night, The Pulse system performs a number of calculations on these counts. Without getting too heavy into the math, these daily calculations include:
Won't one game (/cough WoW) dominate the numbers?
Not necessarily. Remember, this is a measure of how many viewers are tuning in to see coverage on a specific game. Blizzard isn't the most prolific of developers when it comes to exclusives - interviews, dev diaries, and such - and much of our WoW content (quality though it is) is home-grown - class guides, our quest database, and such. Even though our WoW writers do an excellent job, these types of content do steady, even traffic, which wouldn't register as much as the traffic spike we'd see with, say, an exclusive class interview on a top-tier, in-development game. So even though WoW might have 10 million plus subscribers, it might not have the critical mass of excitement on a given day.
I'm a game developer / publisher / promoter and want to increase my game's Pulse, how do I do it?
Teaming up with Ten Ton Hammer for exclusives and interviews is a great way to keep our community informed about what makes your game exciting and different, and increase your game's Pulse at the same time. Please contact ethec [AT] tentonhammer.com for information on setting up some content opportunities with Ten Ton Hammer.