As most of you would expect, a lot of reviews for UFC Undisputed 3 will start to trickle out over the next few days. Instead of releasing a traditional review of UFC Undisputed 3 (the game is great btw), I want to take some time to review something that is often overlooked: The community atmosphere that goes along with every game.
THQ seems to be the only gaming company that understands which people are most important to their success. Other video game companies seem to cater only to the major video game media outlets like IGN and Gamespot. Then they rely on those companies to get the news out to passionate fans and hope that the news eventually spreads to smaller websites. But that ostracizes the true fans that play these games for multiple hours a day. For example, where would the Madden NFL series be without the community websites like TheGamersLab.com, Madden-School.com, GGmadden.com, MaddenTips.com, and countless others? Yet none of those websites get the courtesy of being informed about upcoming news directly from EA Sports. Furthermore, those websites have never been recognized by Electronic Arts as a part of their community. Yet each of those websites have thousands of active users even now that football season is over. It is only a matter of time before the people that dedicate their free time to those websites become fed up.
Now let me talk about my experience with THQ … If you head on over to the official UFC Undisputed community website, you will see prominent links to various fan websites within the community. Last year they gave away free prizes like TapOut gear and a Brock Lesnar signed copy of the game to users on the relatively new website UFCgaming.com (which didn’t have a big fan base but it did have lots of loyal and hardcore fans). They invited representatives from the website UndisputedOnline.net to their headquarters to give them a behind the scenes look. They have consistently sent out emails informing even the small websites about trailers, screenshots, and news about UFC Undisputed 3. They didn’t take the easy way out and send a press release to a huge media outlet and then call it a day. They reached out to those of us that have always been true fans. Free review copies of UFC Undisputed 3 were sent out to not just administrators of fan websites but also dedicated members of those websites. The community managers made real connections with their community and that should be commended. THQ has made a lifelong fan out of me and countless others based purely on their interaction with the community. Other gaming companies would be wise to follow their lead.