Tuesday, August 07, 2007

More Gleemax Musings

It shouldn't surprise me by now at how D&D fans right now seem to have forgotten about the Digital Initiative and are focusing on Gleemax.

Anyway, the difficult thing about making predictions is that you're basically doing a review of a product you haven't yet seen. Everything is speculation and only time will substantiate those claims.

Still, I can't help but ponder about Gleemax. Right now I'm thinking about rule #7 of The Common Pitfalls of Building Social Web Applications, namely an over-focus on social value. To sum it up, basically an application should have personal value to the user first and foremost before concentrating on its networking capabilities. And right now, Gleemax seems to be touting about its networking features. Sounds like an application designed for failure but it got me thinking, Wizards of the Coast should be building something stable and useful and not just another social site. What's making Gleemax useful to me as an individual user?

Right now, Gleemax is just bare bones and has three features online: a message board, a blog by Randy Buehler, and a podcast. The message board right now is okay. Not spectacular or as huge but it's doing okay (there's activity!). Message boards, in the end, are social value programs whose success depends on how many people are participating (or in the case of some industries, who's contributing to the message boards). The blog is okay. It's not for everybody but it's a good vehicle for building up the website. There's not much value in itself though. The third I'm actually digging. I like the regular D&D Podcasts which pops up once a month (or sometimes, twice a month) but the Gleemax Podcasts come out once every week. The only downside however is that the Gleemax Podcasts are less focused--it's not just about D&D but gaming in general. Which is fine by me but not necessarily fine with the D&D market. But as far as I'm concerned, the podcast is a personal incentive to visit the site at least once a week, making it useful to me irregardless of whether there's ten people logged on to Gleemax or there's a million.

As for the future features, it's a wait-and-see and whether they're actually implemented or turn out to be different babies altogether. Social networking site--depends on how many people sign up really. I wouldn't mind having a gaming MySpace page but if it's just me in the local area, it won't really do me much good. The online board games looks interesting but again, you need a big user base to make it useful (i.e. somebody to play with). The blogs, well, hopefully more interesting people sign up for the blogs, whether it's game designers, people in the business (say their marketing manager), etc. so that it'll provide some interesting reading.

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