Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Mittens and the Echo Chamber of Goon

In my last Guild Launch Exploring EVE Online column, The Metagame Rabbit Hole, I discussed the complex communications and entertainment infrastructure that supports CCP Pokethulhu's "Nation of EVE". As with any society, EVE Online's intertwined communities are linked together by a broad spectrum of interaction, most notably the player-driven news media. Beyond official CCP sources, this domain has been largely dominated by EVE News 24.

Until now.

TheMittani.com was launched on 14th August 2012 and looks to be a potentially great news resource for EVE players. The site has a clean, stylish look and there are already a healthy number of articles from a variety of contributors, with coverage of a wide range of subjects from null-sec activity to discussion on upcoming game mechanic changes. Clearly TheMittani.com is pitching itself directly as an alternative to the resource which EVE News 24 provides and if the opening salvo is anything to go by, it is doing it with aplomb.

This can only be a healthy thing for the neutral reader. EVE News 24 has long been mired in accusations of bias and is renowned for content which, putting it kindly, could have done with a bit more proofing. The emergence of a direct rival gives EVE News 24 the opportunity to openly polarise its position - just as national newspapers tend to have a leaning toward a particular political stance, now the pod-pilot on the street can take his choice of EVE-centric news content. Themittani.com Editor-in-Chief Endie doesn't shy away from this fact in his introductory article, stating that whilst they aim for broad, balanced coverage, "every news source has an agenda and is shaded by the biases of its owners and staff".

So the way is clear for Riverini and co. at EVE News 24 to do some much-needed housekeeping and come out swinging. It should be a joy to witness. This of course is based on the assumption that EVE News 24 steps up to compete, which I sincerely hope they do.

Brand Mittens!

An event sponsored by The Mittani
The branding choice to use "The Mittani" is an interesting one. In the introductory editorial, Endie explains that the decision was in fact his and not The Mittani's, citing The Mittani brand as "one of the most recognisable and googled phrases or labels in Eve." This is indeed true, however the nature of that recognition could be a double-edged sword.

A major figure even amongst the pantheon of EVE Online celebrity players, The Mittani is not known for his kind words. As the figurehead for Goonswarm - one of the most influential and divisive player organisations in EVE Online and presumably the core driving force behind this venture - The Mittani's viperous charm was likely a necessity of that position. The way he has conducted himself has certainly contributed to his vaunted status, but his relationship with the limelight has been a volatile one.

The road to employment?
His Ten Ton Hammer column Sins of a Solar Spymaster has long been The Mittani's platform for providing an insight into his view of EVE Online but he has in the past been disparaging of others who voice their opinions. His dismissive view of the EVE Online blogging community as nothing more than an "echo chamber" shifted as he started to see some value in the contributions of bloggers during the 2011 Monoclegate crisis and again following his public scapegoating by the mainstream gaming press in March 2012.

Indeed, despite the effective use of gaming media to underline player concern during his tenure as CSM6 chairman, he learned that when he is the news, the rules change. So it makes absolute sense that he launch a media empire over which he has direct control. It is the logical evolution of a journey that has seen The Mittani as a shadowy spymaster, an alliance figurehead, an internet politician and a disgraced gamer for him to seize a stake in the arena which has treated him with such fickle favour in a bid to become a media tycoon.

Will this re-imagining of "The Mittani" see the news site overshadow the sins of the Solar Spymaster to become a trusted source of information, or are we just looking at the new plaything of an artful metagamer?

Frankly, I don't mind either way, as long as it's a good read. They had me at "Our goal at TheMittani.com is to set a high standard for the quality of writing on this site."

Let the media meta-war commence.

Seconds out, round two (hundred).


3 comments:

  1. I don't think I like this new “news”source. For start it requires E-mail or link to some social media to post any comment, and I for one don want to give my e-mail to Goons. This is very bad start, it has chilling effect on debate.

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  2. So make a Eve/forum only gmail account and forward it to your main email account. Internets is hard.

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  3. Beat me too it. If your "debate" was getting snagged at needing an email account, I can't imagine it was very insightful. Just sayin'...

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Lay it on me.