When N4G ordered a ReviewMe review from John, he immediately turned to me to do it. Why? Well, I’ve always been a Nintendo fanboy, playing video games my entire life, whereas John is more interested in making money online. He may have chosen the more lucrative hobby, but one can argue that my choice is a little more fun.
What is N4G?
N4G is a website designed to provide news for gamers. They’ve got sections for just about every current console, from the motion sensitive Nintendo Wii to the hardcore Cell processor found in the PlayStation 3. They’ve also got news on mobile gaming, the gaming industry, and even tech talk on things related to gaming, like Blu-Ray Discs, Alienware desktops, and Apple TV.
What sets N4G apart from more prominent websites like Gamespot, 1Up, and IGN is that instead of having a small team of professional writers, they open up the news channels to everyone. They do have an official group of people that work for N4G, but just about anyone can contribute to the news feeds and this is what creates the site’s biggest appeal. When you start out, you can only submit news tips that have to be picked up by more senior members, but as you pass certain tests, you can ascend the ranks of N4G and unlock privileges (it’s sort of like a real-life RPG). Proving your worth, you gain the ability to post news stories yourself and even approve other people’s submissions.
There are four “member roles” in all: Gamer, Contributor, Editor, and Journalist.
A Digg Community for Gamers
You’ll notice that next to each news story, there is a “temperature rating.” Working much like Slashdot, Reddit, Digg, and other social bookmarking sites, this temperature is designed to tell you how “hot” the particular news item is. Getting a high temperature rating on a news story is akin to getting on Digg’s front page. Just don’t get yourself banned.
Unlike Digg, however, you don’t need to wait for the news story to propagate its way through the community and get a bunch of hits before it gets noticed. According to the N4G FAQ, they use some sort of special algorithm “which looks at the combined attention a story gets and the nature of this attention over different time periods.” This way, it can flag a story as important, moments after it is posted.
Information Overload, Prizes Too
I found N4G to be a bit on the cluttered side, with text and pictures everywhere. It’s a little overwhelming, but this appears to be the norm with most video game websites. After all, video games seem to be all about sensory overload. I also noticed that there’s a heavier focus on “hardcore gaming”, so to speak, with the most popular games being titles like Killzone 2, Halo 3, and Final Fantasy XIII. There’s not as much love for games like Elite Beat Agents, Rayman Raving Rabbids, or Jewel Quest.
Because N4G relies on the community to submit its news, they have a little bit of extra money kicking around that they would have otherwise spent on professional writers, reviewers, and journalists. As such, they reward the most prolific and “useful” users with prizes.
When you submit a news tip or write a N4G blog entry, you get a certain number of points. When a news story you wrote reaches a certain temperature, you get more points. Because it’s still in beta, they haven’t said how much these points are actually worth, but somewhere down the line, they will likely let you “spend” them in some sort of N4G marketplace.
Looking at some of the “top users”, they’ve got themselves some pretty dedicated members. Giving them a free game or two is considerably cheaper than what it would cost to actually pay them to do the same work.
By Gamers, For Gamers
As the community on N4G continues to grow, I think it has an excellent chance of gaining a huge readership, because they have an entire planet of video game players at their disposal, dishing out the juiciest news, rumors, and reviews 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The site could stand to clean up a little bit of the clutter, but it still loads quickly. I think I found myself a new source for video game news.