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February 19, 2019
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29 Best Feeds For Game Design, Monetization, and Free-To-Play Insights

by Derek Shanahan on 09/17/13 08:07:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Originially posted on the SuperRewards Growth Blog. 

We spend a lot of time reading about news and trends in game and app development. We seek out insights about app and game design, revenue strategies for developers, and the growing free-to-play movement. Below is a list of the best RSS feeds we watch that cover these topics. This is just our take on the stuff that lives in our RSS reader; we'd love for you to suggest any sources you think we may have missed.

What We Look For

When we're sifting through our feeds we really love high-quality insights that the developer community can take action on. We want to find emerging trends and statistics that influence design and business decisions. We especially look for first-hand accounts from developers who've done it themselves. A lot of news and writing these days is pure link bait, so finding the good stuff is hard work! Our social feeds are where we share a curated glimpse of what's happening in game and app development, platform wars, and monetization trends. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the stuff we find most interesting.

Why RSS Feeds?

It's a little unorthodox for us to be so focused on RSS feeds, instead of just listing websites or blogs directly. There are actually a few reasons we're doing it this way...

  1. RSS feeds let us sift through quite a lot of content in a short amount of time, so we use them heavily.
  2. You probably need another Top Blog/News Sites list like you need a hole in your head.
  3. RSS feeds are under-emphasized these days... it's interesting to see who's still optimizing theirs.

That last point is important. There are sites out there producing great content which make consuming it via RSS very difficult. We include some notes about the feeds themselves below in addition to insights about the quality of their content.

The 29 RSS Feeds We Follow

These feeds are in no particular order, and feature consistently strong commentary and insights on app and game development. If you have more to add, let us know in the comments!

GamesBrief (feed)

They Say: Gamesbrief is a blog about the business of games. We look behind the headlines to tell you not just what is happening to games, but why it matters to your business.

The Good: Thoughtful pieces on free-to-play, game design, ethics, and the industry. Often includes perspectives from working developers and thought leaders in game design. Founder Nicholas Lovell's done a great job of attracting thoughtful writers, guest posts, and panel-type content solicited from people on the ground.

The Bad: Frequency can be a bit intermittent but our sense is that this is changing as it seems that Nicholas' increased guest posts and brought in more regular contributors like Zoya Street.

Volume: ~10 posts/month

Games Industry International (feed)

They Say: GamesIndustry International is the market-leading website and community for news and information about the global videogames industry, covering all aspects of the interactive entertainment value chain.

The Good: Well written coverage and much better reading interface than Develop or GameSpot - all three of whom cover a lot of the same stories. They do a good job of covering international trends as well.

The Bad: The RSS feed is truncated to just the title and a byline. You must click through to the main site to read each story.

Volume: ~300 posts/month

Develop Online - News Feed (feed)

They Say: Develop delivers priceless trade information to the global games development sector.

The Good: They're slightly more developer-focused than the other high-volume publications. RSS feed includes a lead image, which can be helpful.

The Bad: The RSS feed is truncated to just a byline, and the website is a disaster of an interface. There are better options in the high volume set.

Volume: ~250 posts/month

GameSpot - News Feed (feed)

They Say: Nobody knows games and gamers like GameSpot. Our love of games combined with our experience, innovation, and commitment makes GameSpot the standard for all things gaming.

The Good: The biggest positive is their dedication to RSS; they include full story text and images in their feeds. They also do a wonderful job of offering topic-specific feeds (see all of them here).

The Bad: There is a lot of overlap with Develop and other majors. In addition, the coverage is focused pretty heavily on big-budget publishers and proprietary consoles (PS3, Xbox).

Volume: ~350 posts/month

Edge Online (feed)

They Say: Edge offers games professionals and enthusiasts unrivaled insight, analysis and opinion on game design, art and development.

The Good: The articles are usually a much deeper dive than most and typically include insightful interviews with game devs themselves. Their RSS feed is a full version of the content including lead images, and their quality of writing is very high.

The Bad: The content is a bit heavy on “game” updates, as opposed to “game industry” news. And for those of you pressed for time, Edge presents much longer reads than other sites.

Volume: ~100 posts/month

Gamasutra (feed)

They Say: The art and business of making games.

The Good: Despite the high volume, Gamasutra usually has a unique angle or perspective on top-line industry news. It's also very nice that individual blogs bubble up in their model (anyone can blog on their community site), as these pieces are often from developers themselves. Finally, they allow you to choose topic-specific feeds, which means you can choose just Indie or Social Gaming pieces as opposed to the full firehose.

The Bad: They produce a lot of industry news content so  you'll see a lot of the same stuff that Develop, Gamespot, and GamesIndustry cover. Feeds are also truncated, although their lead paragraph is included so it’s easier to sense the direction of each piece.

Volume: 300+ posts/month

Hobby Game Dev (feed)

They Say: If you have never tried making videogames: you’ll find articles and links here that can help you get started.

The Good: This is a blog from Chris DeLeon, a hobbyist game designer who's (mostly video) posts share his learning and experiences with building and designing games. It's a unique look inside the process, challenges, and insights of someone who actively tries to build new games. The feed is full content with video and images.

The Bad: If you don't like videos, a lot of Chris's content may not be your preference (he does transcribe some video posts).

Volume: ~8 posts/month

Indie Games, The Weblog (feed)

They Say: None

The Good: In the Gamasutra family, this site's totally devoted to indie games. As such they produce some of the most thoughtful and nuanced coverage of indie games in the industry, including reviews of interesting new releases, pieces on design elements like artwork, and unique features like "Screenshot Daily" and "Freeware Picks". The RSS feed is full content with images, which is great.

The Bad: High volume content is heavy on game-specific reviews and breakdowns.

Volume: ~200 posts/month

Inside Social Games (feed)

They Say: Inside Social Games is a service of Inside Network, the first company dedicated to providing news and market research to the Facebook platform and social gaming ecosystem.

The Good: They have a hyper-focus on social games (especially Facebook games), with nice summaries of AppData info on trending games. They do a weekly roundup of industry job postings that might be of interest to some. The RSS feed is full content with images.

The Bad: Job roundups and social game reviews are a majority of content. Deep industry coverage is largely absent.

Volume: ~50 posts/month

The Gameological Society (feed)

They Say: The Gameological Society is an independent-minded online magazine that explores games as works of art and pop culture.

The Good: This is an unhereled gem from the AV Club family (called it The Onion's honest sister), including fresh perspectives on gaming and it’s role in pop culture. When they go deep on a subject (a la a recent piece on Austin's indie scene) or interview developers, it's almost always worth a read...unfortunately a majority of the content is reviews.

The Bad: As mentioned, quite a lot of this content is game reviews, inlcluding a daily review of free/cheap games called Sawbuck Gamer. The truncated RSS feed makes us sad because it's so sparse, making it hard to figure out what articles are about. To be fair, their game reviews are some of the most entertaining, but that's not really our thing.

Volume: ~100 posts/month

Social Games Observer (feed)

They Say: The Latest News on the Social Games Market in Europe and Emerging Markets

The Good: SGO has a strong focus on European developers and companies. They do a "Who's Who in Europe" feature to highlight firms in the region.

The Bad: The infrequency of posts makes it hard to follow their feed, and outside of their WWiE feature there's very sparse industry news beyond funding announcements.

Volume: ~15 posts/months

Rock Paper Shotgun (feed)

They Say: RPS is about PC gaming – all of PC gaming, rather than just one of the weird and wonderful niches most other PC-centric sites confine themselves to. 

The Good: RPS is a widely-known blog covering all things PC games, and their focus on indie makes their content a great fit for us. Their first-person perspective and honest take on things make the content unique and typically fun to read. The feed only includes the lead image and a summary of each post, but it's enough to get a sense for whether it's something you want to read in full.

The Bad: The volume is very high and heavy on game reviews, which means we have to sift a bit.

Volume: ~350 posts/month

Gamesauce (feed)

They Say: Gamesauce is intended to get you to stop doing for a few minutes so that you might spend a little time thinking. 

The Good: This is a perfect feed for us, highly focused on developer concerns that include game design, growing an audience, monetization, and the challenges faced by indie devs. They do great event coverage (recent Casual Connect example) as well. The feed is full, including images and videos.

The Bad: Hard to complain, although posts tend to be longer form which can slow you down when you're monitoring a lot of sources.

Volume: ~30 posts/month

Techcrunch - Gaming Tagged Feeds (feed, feed, feed)

They Say: TechCrunch is a leading technology media property, dedicated to obsessively profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products, and breaking tech news.

The Good: Kudos to TC for having functioning feeds on all their tags, or these wouldn't exist. Tadhg Kelly’s column (What Games Are) is a good move for TC's game coverage, as he’s a strong insider with deep knowledge of the industry. It's also been interesting to watch as gaming crawls into the TC content landscape.

The Bad: This is still an infrequent topic for TC and it's usually focused on a mobile game release or gamified consumer app (Kelly's column aside). There's a sense that TC is covering gaming because they should, not because it's in their DNA.

Volume: ~10 posts/month

Venturebeat's Gamesbeat (feed)

They Say: As a big part of VentureBeat, GamesBeat covers many different aspects of the gaming world — but not all aspects.

The Good: The full content feed does a good job of cross-cutting industry news, game reviews (with attention to design decisions), infographics, and developer trends. Leaning on the weight of Venturebeat's decent reputation in tech news, Gamesbeat gets first-hand interviews and access to industry sources, adding flavor to their coverage.

The Bad: Very high volume and tough to keep up with. There's also a heavy focus on big budget games and bigger publishers.

Volume: ~350 posts/month

Eric Seufert (feed)

He Says: Freemium Economics, Mobile User Acquisition, and Analytics

The Good: Eric provides an important perspective on game developement, monetization, and design - espeicially for the free-to-play industry. His posts are all high-quality and deeply thoughtful. His RSS feed is full content including images (although it's not linked on his homepage!).

The Bad: The content can be very meaty and usually includes a strong focus on analytics and design theory. As a single author blog the posts are understandably infrequent.

Volume: ~5 posts/month

Deconstructor of Fun (feed)

He Says: Breaking down the mechanics behind the best mobile games in the world.

The Good: This is the personal blog from Michail Katkoff, a former F2P dev turned partnerships guy at Supercell. He'll usually deconstruct a game or trend with data and design insights - each of his posts is worth reading. This feed is almost like crawling inside of the head of a talented mobile game developer. Full content feed with images.

The Bad: He posts very infrequently, about once a month.

Volume: ~3 posts/month

What Games Are (feed)

He Says: What Games Are is about game design, game development, games as art, craft, culture and industry and how you can make better games.

The Good: Tadhg Kelly (also mentioned in our TechCrunch feed review) is very insightful about game design and trends. This, his personal site, provides a forum to go deep on subjects or industry conversations that don't have a place on Gamasutra or Techcrunch. His feed includes full content and images.

The Bad: Likely due to other outlets and commitments, Tadhg's personal posting is very infrequent these days.

Volume: ~5 posts/month

The Design and Business of Freemium Gaming (feed)

He Says: My thoughts and experiences from working with games using the Freemium or Free-to-Play (F2P) business model. Check back for tips, information and reviews on freemium games.

The Good: Ben Sipe's just set out blogging last April, it appears, and has a strong focus on freemium design and tips for developers looking to leverage free-to-play mechanics. His is a welcome perspective on these subjects, as he uses specific examples to outline his opinions on design and monetization. His feed is full content with images, thankfully.

The Bad: As a somewhat new blogger, there's always a chance the habit won't last.

Volume: ~3 posts/month

Polygon (feed)

They Say: Polygon's mission is to cover not only games but the artists who make them and the fans that love them.

The Good: This is an incredibly unique publication in the games industry, willing to go deeper into industry issues than most (consider this piece on developer harassment). They don't miss much mainstream gaming news with shorter posts that deliver all the available facts, but the real value is in the topics their authors decide to give more attention to.

The Bad: A lot of the pieces Polygon is producing are insanely long. The depth is admirable, but reading everything in this crazy-high volume feed would be a full time job.

Volume: ~500 posts/month

GamesRadar - News & Features Feed (feed, feed)

They Say: GamesRadar is the premiere source for everything that matters in the world of video games.

The Good: GR acts as a decent newswire of games and gaming industry news. In one high volume feed you have game releases/trailers, developer rumors, conference coverage and more, which is a good high-level survey of industry news. Next to that we follow the Features feed, which goes deep on indie development and developers frequently.

The Bad: The RSS feed is truncated to a lead image and lead sentence (sometimes cut off). It's pretty useless beyond the title. The coverage is mostly game releases, rumors, and industry news like dev shops shutting down or being acquired. It's a bit of an AP-style take on the industry: not much depth or analysis of the industry or its trends.

Volume: ~275 posts/month

God is a Geek - News Feed  (feed)

They Say: We at GodisaGeek have one mission: To bring you the best news, reviews, previews, videos and podcasts that we can, whilst keeping all our content to a high standard of quality.

The Good: This is another higher volume option if you want a firehose, although this one tends to focus on more hard-core gaming than other feeds. They also tend to highlight videos and release podcasts more than other sites. The feed is delivered in full, with images.

The Bad: The focus is really on game trailers, releases and rumors in the big budget harder core space, not free-to-play. This really just makes it a miss for us specifically, not their audience at large.

Volume: ~50 posts/month

PCGamesN - IndieN (feed)

They Say: We want to show you the best, new stuff, about the things you love.

The Good: These writers have a strong indie focus, giving special attention to emerging trends like Kickstarter funding events and news about platforms like Steam, etc. There's a uniquely personal writing style throughout and an emphasis on analysis as opposed to newswire-style pieces. The focus on PC gaming is a nice differentiator (true of the wider PCGamesN network).

The Bad: The feeds truncate errantly and with no indication that they're doing so - it's not obvious there's more content on the site for each piece when you're reading it in your RSS reader. We've also noticed the feeds intermittently down at times (not lately).

Volume: ~40 posts/month

Giant Bomb - News Feed (feed)

They Say: Giant Bomb is a website about video games for people who love that sort of thing. People like you, you know what I mean?

The Good: This is a unique news feed with very talented writers who tend to go deep on the subject they pick to feature. Sometimes that's commentary on industry trends, sometimes it's well-researched stories about indie devs. They add a very useful perspective to the conversational current in the industry. The "news only" feed fits our needs well - they give you lots of options. This feed is full content with images.

The Bad: A lot of the main site's content is reviews and recommendations, so their news feed is pretty sparse.

Volume: ~25 posts/month

Computer and Video Games (CVG) (feed)

They Say: The world’s longest-established games media brand.

The Good: This is a high-level newswire feed full of breaking updates on big budget games, platforms, and significant industry hires or publisher news. If that's your thing, they don't miss much high-level stuff.

The Bad: The RSS feed is unfortunately truncated to just a short sentence and lead image, problematically compounded by the fact that the site is pretty noisy and visually distracting. The content is very newswire (they often repost press release details) and nothing terribly different than other sources like it.

Volume: ~900 posts/month (!)

PC Gamer - News Feed (feed)

They Say: The global authority on PC games.

The Good: This is a full feed with images devoted entirely to PC Games. Their video embeds (of gameplay) and game analysis make its style stand out against others under the same ownership (CVG, GamesRadar). News is presented in a short digestible format with personal anecdotes and helpful insights. This is definitely our pick of the litter from parent company Future.

The Bad: Most pieces are about a specific game release or update, as opposed to the industry analysis we prefer. That said, their analysis of games is very design-focused and insightful.

Volume: ~125 posts/month

Kotaku (feed)

They Say: A news and opinion site about games and things serious gamers care about. We're here to inform you and, sometimes, entertain you.

The Good: This site comes from the Gawker family as their only gaming site, and it features very strong writing and entertaining authors that make for good reads and edgy content. Everything is highly sharable and engaging. They cover buzzworthy industry stories, review games, and break rumors. They even feature coverage specific to the Eastern half of of the planet.

The Bad: As with most Gawker-family members, the style tends to focus on hype, speculation, and fiery headlines. The RSS feed appears to have been recently truncated (boo) and to say this is high-volume is an understatement.

Volume: ~500 posts/month

PocketGamer.Biz (feed)

They Say: PocketGamer.biz is all about the mobile game industry, processes, technology and deals that drive the business which makes these games happen.

The Good: This is a mobile-focused source heavily emphasizing industry players, trends, and news. Analytis and game design gets nice attention (recent example). Good comprehensive coverage of industry for developers, and they offer more than one feed if you want a specific filter.

The Bad: The RSS feed is unfortunately truncated to just a lead paragraph, but it's enough to pick and choose which articles to you want to go deeper on. Their headlines are noticeably weak, oddly.

Volume: ~125 posts/month

Eurogamer - News Feed (feed)

They Say:  Video game reviews, news, previews, forums, and videos.

The Good: It's hard to say Eurogamer isn't the authority on that particular part of the game industry world. They avoid the newswire feel with personal writing, despite the high volume. The feed is truncated but usually includes about half of the main article, which is nice. You can grab specific section feeds, filtering out dedicated reviews and whatnot.

The Bad: It's high volume and can be a little light on analysis. Usually you just get the facts, and usually the coverage is of games themselves, as opposed to industry or trend stuff.

Volume: ~200 posts/month

What'd We Miss?

Finding great sources for the industry's news and trends is an evolving endeavor, as publications will change over time and new authors will appear periodically who've got a unique and valuable perspective on things. The work never ends, really. It definitely helps if we all work together, so as we share this lengthy list, we're hoping that you'll share your best sources with us in return.

 

Special thanks to Samuel Clay for building NewsBlur, which aside from being a great feed reader also made it very easy for us to give you volume data on these feeds.


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