Gaming Fan Clubs
michemagius last edited by
Sorry but I think this post is going to take a lot of explaining so please bear with me.
I consider myself to be an avid fan of many things. Within groups of media and the like "fandoms" have arisen. I generally don't identify myself a a part of a "fandom" since within those fandoms and between multiple fandoms there's generally a lot of fighting and overall negativity. It's just easier to enjoy the source material and discussion of that source material from the outside. But there's one sort of fandom I've found myself to be deeply rooted in, and that's K-pop. I'll explain in a moment, but I was wondering, why haven't organized fan clubs formed for games, in a similar way to how they have formed for K-pop?
I'll save my full explanation under this spoiler so that people who don't want to read can skip it.
Spoiler I know that doesn't make much sense so I'll explain. K-pop and games, in the sense of fan participation, are very similar in my eyes. They both largely rely on sales, chart placement, reviews, and fan support to be successful. In light of this, many K-pop fans have organized to try and better support the groups they are a fan of. There are fan clubs for whole companies, groups, individual members of groups, and soloists, trainees, and even back up dancers. K-pop fans put in a lot of work to support idols and it's had tangible results. It makes me wonder how the landscape of games media would change if fans organized in a similar way.
I'm not the most active on line, (believe it or not based on how much I post on this forum), but I do a lot of lurking so I think I've got a pretty good idea of how gaming fans interact with games.
This is generally how I understand gaming fans interact with games that they are a fan of:
*Buying games (obviously).
*Buying collector's editions of games.
*Buying merchandise for games.
*Discussing games online.
*Making guides for games.
*Making let's plays/walkthroughs.
*Making fan art for games.
*Translating games in to different languages.
*Reacting to press conferences/events/announcements etc.
This is fine, and I'm not saying that anything should really change with how things are, I'm just sort of wondering what things would be like if fans were more organized. I see lots of specific game/series themed blogs, twitters, and websites. There are wikis for pretty much every popular game/series and most of the obscure ones. Teams of fans get together to make mods and fan translations and all that, so in that sense some fans are pretty organized. But not in the same way that K-pop fans are.
I've worked for and admined for a few fan clubs (past and present) and these have been some of the duties of the team in charge of a fan club for K-pop.
*Mass buying and distribution of albums. (When a new album for a group/artist is released it's common for fan clubs to raise funds to buy albums in bulk in order to boost chart placements. It usually works that everyone/a lot of people in a fandom donate like $1-$10 which adds up to a lot of money. Then the albums are mailed out to members of the fan club who couldn't afford to buy the album on their own.)
*Mass buying and distribution of merchandise. Similar to the situation with albums, but with merch.
*Mass streaming events. (Usually in the first few days of a music video being released, all members of a fan club are encouraged to watch the video on repeat for a few hours every day to boost the views. The same is true for digital streaming of the song through Korean music streaming sites.)
*Mass Voting (Unlike with gaming, most awards are determined by audience votes and participation. Every week on music shows a winner is determined, the winning group doesn't get any money or anything but getting a music show win is kind of a sign of success. You've made it once you've won on a music show. Additionally at the end of the year there are more traditional music awards sort of like the Grammy's. Those too are mostly determined by audience votes. It's common practice for fans to vote as many times as they can per day. It's also common practice for fan clubs to form alliances in voting. For example, my fan club for the group Pristin has allied with the fan club for the group Twice, in an agreement that we'll vote for Twice as Artist of the Year if they vote for Pristin as rookie of the year.)
*Mass Posting. It's really common for fan clubs to come up with official hashtags and encourage fans to tweet as much as they can with them to get them trending. It raises awareness for the group and counts towards music show wins.
*Translations. Lot's of fan clubs translate song lyrics, tv appearances, social media posts, schedules, press releases, and the like in to various languages. English and Spanish are common translation languages.
*Making Guides. K-pop can be confusing to people who aren't familiar with it so most fan clubs have their own guides to companies/groups/artists that give information like birthdays, personality traits, and history, while also trying to convince newcomers to become fans.
*Fan Art. Like any other fandom, K-pop fans make fan art. Whether it be drawings, covers of songs, dance covers, fan chants for live performances, etc. Often times works of fan art are organized in to small books/collections for distribution to fans and to the artists themselves.
*Lobbying. In a lot of western media and in gaming, advertisements within that media or featuring the subject matter in question is often seen as "selling out", it's generally viewed in a negative light. In K-pop however it's much more cut throat, it's difficult for groups especially new ones to stay afloat since promotion of a song costs a lot of money, and generally higher budget is equal to higher success. In knowing this K-pop fans often try to convince companies to take on their favorite idols as spokesmodels or to feature them in commercials. The number of advertisements a group/artist has been featured in within a year is a point of pride for many fans. A great example of this is a fan of Twice making fan art of their album cover as an ad for Pocari Sweat and sending it to the company, leading Pocari Sweat to accept Twice as spokesmodels for their brand.
*Fundraising for gifts. Especially on birthdays, anniversaries, and comebacks, it's common for fans to raise money to send gifts to the companies of groups/artists they're a fan of. It's really common for companies to hold streams of idols opening the gifts that fans have sent to them. Fans really worry about the morale and mental/physical health of idols so we try to lift their spirits (and encourage them to eat regularly) by sending gifts when we can.
*There's more stuff but this post is already insanely long.
I don't think fans should be sending rice wreaths to Atlus HQ, or that gamers should be writing fan chants for their favorite in game song, but I do think a lot of K-pop fan club practices could be implemented in to gaming with some success. For example, mass purchasing of games and distributing them to fans who can't afford the game otherwise. This I think could be even simpler than albums with the implementation of digital codes. And I think having a unified fan club could help concentrate resources for efforts like modding and translation.
So to reiterate my earlier question, why do you think games have a less unified fan format compared to other media like music? Do you think fans should become more unified? How do you see fan involvement in games changing in the coming years?
I'm not saying things should change, I'm just curious as to why they haven't.