Russian bloggers are now officially mass media and have to register

Remember how ten years ago people argued about bloggers being new journalists and blogs becoming “Media 2.0″. How time goes by…

So, Russian Parliament just decided that bloggers are in fact mass media. And if you have more than 3 thousands visitors (or friends/followers) per day you have to be registered as a media. Well, not as a “real media”, you don’t need to have a company and everything. But you have to show your name and contact address, verify your sources and abide all laws written for traditional media.

Technically that makes each Russian blogger equal to a newspaper and every Russian Youtube personality to a TV station.

UPDATE: I see this post got some coverage on Interwebs, so I’ll clarify it a bit.

If you’re a blogger and you have 3K daily visitors during one month you have to add required information to your blog so you can be added by government agency to its list of bloggers. You can later opt out if your popularity drops and you’ll have less than 3K viewers per day for three months straight. But when you hit that magic number, you will be registered again.

If you fail to comply your blog will be blocked in Russia. Russia has quite an effective system for Internet filtering with deep packet inspection hardware installed at most major providers. So, when Russia blocks you, it blocks you for good majority of its population.

No word on international Russian-speaking bloggers. I’m one of those, I have around half a million visitors per month to my personal blog, so I’m kinda worried. Worst case scenario they’ll block people like me as “foreign agents”.

Russian press this week

Another lazy week here – some games got released, tournament happened, somebody probably launched a new gaming website to copy-paste news from Kotaku. So let’s talk about it in details.

Let’s start with new games, shall we?

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls got glowing 93 from Russian press. The game is unofficially called here “Reaper of Wallets” because of its unusual pricing scheme: you either buy European version at 40 euros now or wait for Russian ghettoed edition two weeks later for 899 roubles. Rouble is particularly weak these days, so Russian gamers aren’t happy with 40 euros price tag and/or two weeks delay. Despite that you can buy unofficial keys online starting at 600 roubles. One of my friends bought one and claims it works like a charm for European game. I wonder, where these keys are coming from?

Internet phenomenon Goat Simulator got 88 and deserved a dedicated article on TJournal. TJ usually writes about Internet culture and politics, so this means Goat Simulator is a big news.

To my concern nobody played wonderful Age of Wonders 3 – it got 77 with only two reviews from minor sites so far. Not enough goats, I presume.

Also expect a lot (and I mean A LOT) of coverage from recent Wargaming.net finals in Warsaw – Instagram and Twitter were heavy as hell with pictures and tweets from Warsaw last week. For now there is only one article on Kanobu, everyone else is probably still jet-lagging. All you need to know is: Na’vi won, Virtus.pro took second place and Wargaming.net isn’t afraid to spend money on e-sports. As a big fan of Na’vi I’m quite happy with it.

Kanobu writes about Russian games for various consoles and while there isn’t much to read there, it’s still an entertaining article if only for games screenshots. Unfortunately they’ve missed a lot of games there – Planets Under Attack, Armageddon Riders, Mushroom Wars and so on.

Games-TV.ru won’t review Playstation games anymore

Instead of publishing video review for inFamous: Second Son, Games-TV.ru ran this video:

In this video Ilya Gorodnoy makes reference to a missing review, claiming it was SCEE Russia (known here as Playstation Russia) fault. He says that Playstation Russia often “forgets” to provide Games-TV with review copies in advance, so they have to work with retail copies instead. Eventually that results in delayed reviews and missed deadlines.

Ilya says that Games-TV still might review Playstation games in a future, but he couldn’t promise anything unless the situation is resolved.

Russian press this week

Big games are in, so everybody is talking either about inFamous: Second Son (86% on Kritikanstvo) or Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (75%). Indie wonder Luftrausers only got two reviews so far, but it’s sitting pretty at 90%.

Vasily Sonkin writes for Kanobu about gaming industry preferences in various countries around the world. For some reason he forgets about several important ones like Canada, but praises both US and Singapore for their gaming industry support. Still, he thinks Russia is better with something like Belarus already has: government doesn’t help, but also doesn’t get in a way.

Svyatoslav Torick criticizes this article in his blog, noting that Vasily’s list is both inaccurate and incomplete. There is a reason, he writes, Wargaming.net, the most famous company from Belarus, is in fact registered on Cyprus.

And that’s basically it. Russian press isn’t writing much except for short news from GDC and some Dota 2 and Titanfall guides. Hopefully it will change next week. But it probably won’t.

Also, games in Russian rap songs. You might want to check this one out for embedded videos.

Russian traditional games media is on decline (or not)

Mikhail Kuzmin, marketing director of AIGRIND, just posted this picture. It’s an overall audience change during last three years for “Games” category in Top.mail.ru rankings. Almost every major gaming website uses top.mail.ru counter. This graph paints a grim picture for gaming websites, their total pageviews seem to be on decline.

1st

Here is a graph from Liveinternet, another popular choice for statistics. Audience of gaming websites is still declining here, but slower than on a first graph.

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Main reason for this seems to be the rise of Youtube personalities, Twitch streamers, VK.com communities and other non-traditional media that isn’t accounted for by Top.mail.ru or Liveinternet.

UPD: Gadji Makhtiev of Kanobu.ru sent me this graph from Liveinternet stats and explained, that decline in pageviews occured because of falling views per visitor, not because of shrinking audience. He actually thinks that gaming website audience is still growing. He sees it as a result of introducing wider audience to games – they don’t read that much.

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Russian press this week

Dark Souls II and Titanfall dominate this week’s Russian press coverage. Both games got raving reviews from Russian media, both are currently sitting at 92% at Kritikanstvo.

Some media outlets, late to the party, are still writing about South Park: Stick of Truth, it still has 89% at Kritikanstvo.

Russian gaming press is usually not that different from Western gaming press, so you won’t find something notably “Russian” about this week’s reviews – they’re praising Dark Souls II unforgiving difficulty, Titanfall’s accesibility and South Park’s humor.  One notable extempt is IGN Russia’s review of Stick of Truth. It is written in pseudo Imperial Russian language for some reason, probably trying to be funny.

Russian media also unleashed wave of Alien: Isolation articles after preview event in Moscow (Gmbox, Kanobu, Kitchen Riots). Again, nothing unusual here: everyone just loves new installment of classic franchise.

Press continues to discuss ArcheAge beta in Russia since Mail.ru claims it to be the biggest MMO launch on CIS territories. Kanobu writes a critical report on ArcheAge, claiming to be subscription-based game and time sink, while Games.Mail.ru unsurprisingly loves it, giving it 9.5/10.

Kritikanstvo.ru is a Russian version of Metacritic

Ever wondered what Russian press thinks about your game? Generally Russian press is underrepresented on Metacritic. Currently there is only one publication from Russia taken into account – riotpixels.ru.

Kritikanstvo.ru tries to be a Russian version of Metacritic, aggregating review scores from whole host of Russian speaking media about games and movies.

Site not only calculates meta-score for games and movies, but also collects a huge database of Russian-speaking media outlets and critics, including top lists. Check, for example, their list of most trusted  reviewers.

Kritikanstvo takes into account all reviews written in Russian language, so you’ll find Russian websites along with Ukrainian and Belorussian ones.

Site is home to a blog dedicated to Russian media and drama it creates. Check out their article about first female-only gaming website kitchenriots.com (there is something about Russians and riots, definitely).