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The MobyGames crisis

Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:20 pm
by MrFlibble
I'd like to draw the attention to the ongoing crisis at MobyGames, one of the largest, oldest and most popular video game databases currently in existence.

Some of you may have already noticed that since last week, the site was updated with a new design. This was a corporate decision imposed by the company that currently owns MobyGames, GameFly Media. Many users have already expressed a negative opinion about the new look of the website, which was supposedly optimized for viewing on tablet devices, saying that it now looks bland and generic. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

In reality, the redesign has resulted in broken functionality of many of the site's key features. The new interface is far from user-friendly, the layout forces the users to do a lot of unnecessary scrolling (whereas previously all crucial information and options were available on a single screen), and the overall site performance had also decreased drastically with a huge reduction in loading speed of almost all pages.

MobyGames had always been a community-driven website, with both the contributors and the approvers being volunteers, many of whom have spent years of work to expand and improve the game database. The redesign that effectively crippled MobyGames' functionality was imposed on the community without their consent or knowledge. According to the core members/staff of MobyGames, GameFly was kind enough to provide a preview of the new design some time ago, but community feedback on its state was ignored, and the new design got implemented without any significant changes.

This has put off the majority of the core members, who are now expressing their wish to leave the site for good, in spite of all the efforts they had put into its development over the years. Their pleas to fix the most glaring deficiencies have remained unattended by the people in charge, who seem to have adopted the strategy of keeping the community in an information vacuum.

The protesting members are calling to revert to the pre-redesign state, however prospects of this happening are rather dim to say the least.

Currently all work on updating the site has ceased, as the members see no reason in continuing their efforts in this time of uncertainty. Quite possibly, many are appalled with this treatment from GameFly managers to such a degree that they will leave the website for good. This, in turn, means that either MobyGames will no longer be updated at all, or the staff will be replaced with people hired by GameFly to promote the company's interests. GameFly is a game renting service, so it would make sense for them to update the database with only those games that they have on offer, thus destroying the independent research potential of the website.

While there is little indication that the situation will improve in favour of the community, drawing the attention of the general public to the issue might help a bit.

Re: The MobyGames crisis

Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:41 pm
by MrFlibble
I've just been checking the MG forums and stumbled upon a message from one of the few remaining approvers:
Truthfully, this has been always a problem here on Moby, and this was the main reason I and Fred join the approval team. And when we were close to clean up most of the queues Redesign happened and the most of (about 20) the approvers left the site. As for today there is only me and two other "casual" (one time a week or so) approvers (plus one admin dealing with corrections mostly). The three of us have only access to a few selected platforms (6 on my side + eventually 3 just requested), so there might be several (dozens?) platforms without Approver. Can't tell for sure, only admin knows that, but as the PM's are broken, we can't ask him about this. Anyway our platforms are close to be clean, but if some of the old approvers won't be back or some new faces won't join an approval team, he queues will remain untouched. [source]
This message alone gives a picture of almost total devastation that the redesign caused.

Re: The MobyGames crisis

Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:20 pm
by RegalSin
Well fook mobygames, they have become what is known as corperate and do not need thier original fanbase. Once you become corperate no good can come from it. Look at Disney World, it was once a great place but now it is a museum to reminds us what too much success can bring.

You have tons of tiny websites, like Hardcoregamer101.com or  lazerdorks.org that needs a user base.