Looking for source of an explanation why Second Life gets a lot of press
July 10, 2007 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Second Life attractive to media people, hence the preponderance of media coverage compared to World of Warcraft

I now cannot find a personal blog post (possibly by a female writer). It made the point that Second Life gets a lot of media attention because, inside that domain, one may set up static and definable objects that are the result of creativity, sort of like a newspaper article or a segment on a nightly newscast. By contrast, World of Warcraft is an amorphous, open-ended game (another important distinction) that can’t be nailed down easily and does not relate directly to the work product of journalists.

I thought I read this via a link at Valleywag, but a really extensive search there, including trying out many links and asking Denton if he remembered it, has resulted in nothing. So has very well targeted Googling. I can more or less restate the theme of the original post, but I would like to be able to cite it properly.

Does this ring a bell with anybody?
posted by joeclark to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are you sure the premise of your question is accurate? When I search newspapers for "Second Life" in Lexis Nexis, I get 366 hits. When I search them for "World of Warcraft," I get 449 hits. That suggests that Warcraft is getting more media coverage, not less, than Second Life.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 1:42 PM on July 10, 2007


My question is “Does anybody know where I read this?” The premise of what I read is that journos find it easier to relate to Second Life.

Although you have rather interesting counter-evidence there.
posted by joeclark at 2:37 PM on July 10, 2007


Crouton, remember that Second Life has (in this generous estimate) a ballpark of 320,000 users. World of Warcraft has 8.5 million. With 2600% of the users, you'd expect World of Warcraft to substantially more than 33% more of the media coverage (all other things being equal, of course, which I realize they're not).

This is comparable to New York City only getting 33% more media coverage than Tampa, FL.
posted by rafter at 2:39 PM on July 10, 2007


Second Life: A story too good to check? I found the page really hard to read, so I only skimmed it. If that's not it, have you tried:

"second life" "world of warcraft" media attention ?
posted by hobbes at 2:48 PM on July 10, 2007


A Virtual World but Real Money (NYT)?
posted by tastybrains at 2:54 PM on July 10, 2007


I found a great match, but with one big caveat: the author thinks that Second Life appeals to educators and academics for the reasons you mention, not to journalists. Could you be misremembering?
What I find interesting is the difference in seriousness SL is given in the press and in academics compared to WoW. [...] I’m sure most of this has to do with the inherent customizability of SL. [...] Thus, social environments such as SL will continue to be more popular with educators than rigid gaming environments like WoW.
posted by rafter at 3:09 PM on July 10, 2007


Crouton, remember that Second Life has (in this generous estimate) a ballpark of 320,000 users. World of Warcraft has 8.5 million. With 2600% of the users, you'd expect World of Warcraft to substantially more than 33% more of the media coverage (all other things being equal, of course, which I realize they're not).

Of course, almost nothing in tech journalism works that way. Microsoft doesn't get 10-20 times more coverage than, say, Apple. I know what you're trying to say, but I think "expect" is the wrong word.. I expect whoever has the best PR to get the most coverage, not who has the most users. Second Life just does PR a lot better.
posted by wackybrit at 3:31 PM on July 10, 2007


TerraNova is pretty much *the* go-to for academic discussions of virtual worlds ... the closest I got to the article you think you've read was this: Second Life, but maybe you'll have more luck with a focused google search over there?
posted by fishfucker at 3:36 PM on July 10, 2007


Second Life gets a lot of press because they have great publicity people.

See this ask Metafilter question for more information.

Have a look at the Register articles suggested in the question.

For a chat room with bad late 90's graphics Second Life has done very, very well. Their publicists should receive an award.
posted by sien at 3:39 PM on July 10, 2007


Second Life has been getting a lot of positive attention lately. World of Warcraft may have more hits but it also has way more subscribers. Mostly, though, it's harder to make WoW relate to the "real world" in a way that's interesting to non-players unless you're gonna do a scare story.

I mean, it's possible, I attended a presentation by a guy who does nothing but talk about the "gamer generation" and relate video game stuff to any work environment that employs young people, but Second Life appeals to lazy journalists because there are sooo many angles.

So it's more than just publicists, it's also the appeal to laziness that seems to work so well with journalists.
posted by dagnyscott at 3:55 PM on July 10, 2007


I think it has more to do with the fact that WoW, online or not, massive social phenomenon or not, is still "just a game". Second Life may or may not be very succesful at what it does, but it at least tries to be something more/different, which makes it more interesting to people outside the slay-dragons-to-get-fancy-hats crowd.
posted by squidlarkin at 5:51 PM on July 10, 2007


(Response to derail.) Famous people don't give speeches in WoW, so you don't have the spectacle of a federal judge being confronted by a giant squirrel, and the press just eats that up.
posted by commander_cool at 8:10 PM on July 10, 2007


Was it "Second Life and Media Coverage"?
posted by healthytext at 4:18 AM on July 16, 2007


By Jove, Healthytext, I think you’ve got it!
posted by joeclark at 1:53 PM on July 17, 2007


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