So it's been a couple of months since we rolled out our 'entry helper', which allows users to add games from Steam, iOS/Android, PSN and Nintendo.com much easier. And here's what happened so far:
The Good: as you can see from the above graph (red bar), we're adding a LOT more important games/DLC to the site - 3x as many as before! It's also had the great side effect of allowing retail cover contributors (like Charly 2.0) to add all kinds of covers that they couldn't because there was no game entry in place. And it's allowed regular contributors like Sciere to switch to high-quality data entry like credits.
The Bad: There have been some issues too - particularly with new contributors who aren't used to checking dev/publisher data and genres so closely. But we are working through those. Also, although many ad blurbs on Steam are high quality, a few - especially on PSN - are not so good and will really need descriptions adding at some point.
As for what's next? Well, thanks again to all for their help contributing to our DB! We still need more help with our PSN game adding competition until the end of May - keep contributing! And after that we may try to concentrate on key missing iOS & Steam games.
All of this gives us a much stronger data set for our longer term goals, which are to a) display everything in a much prettier/more useful fashion via a new version of the website and b) to continue building on the key elements of the website (credits, covers, and promo art, as well as the 'relational database' element of the site) for the far future.
One of the earliest fruits of the API usage is this post about Star Wars game history by Cheeseness, which uses MobyGames data to create an interactive timeline of the myriad of Star Wars games out there. Cool, huh? We hope to see more cool uses like this over time...
(Incidentally, we now know there's a few missing Star Wars games on MobyGames, particularly mobile/browser titles, if anyone wants to have a go at adding them!)
Having originally been available purely for PSN (PlayStation Store), iOS (iTunes) & Steam (PC/Mac/Linux), we're happy to announce that you can now use Nintendo.com as a source for our 'entry helper'.
This means that if you visit our New Game Wizard, you will be able to enter the URL for any game with info on Nintendo.com - including Wii U, Wii, DS, and 3DS formats - and it'll automatically grab the 'ad blurb', digital cover, screenshots, and developer/publisher where possible. Hopefully we can fill in some gaps on Nintendo platforms with this simple method!
Along the same lines, just wanted to confirm that this we've added the Nintendo Switch as a game platform and are rapidly adding the games released for it so far, if you'd like to help out there, too.
So we're announcing a contest for adding missing PlayStation games which'll run through the end of May. The person who adds the most PlayStation games - with a bonus for adding other formats - will win a $100 Amazon gift card. (We know you don't do this for the money, but we thought it'd be fun!)
An initial list of missing U.S. PS4 games (about 250+!) is available here, so you can get to work straight away. Please fill out detailed genre info, full developer/publisher info, then mark it off in the spreadsheet - and you get 2x the credit if you add the other platforms for these games at the same time!
As we get going, we may compile similar lists for PlayStation Vita and other platforms - if you're adding games for Sony platforms beyond PS4 or non-U.S. PS4 games, feel free to add them into the Google Doc yourself. Other questions welcome. We're planning to use the missing games as a basis to expand our coverage of credits (in particular!), promo art, etc & will have some more plans in that direction soon.
While we have some amazing contributors entering game credits (one of the most important parts of MobyGames' data!), we're looking for more. We wanted to highlight this, especially now we're adding a lot of interesting PSN console and Steam PC games as part of our 'game helper' functionality.
We particularly wanted to confirm an unwritten rule - that you can link to a YouTube video for checking/proof when submitting your credits. (EDIT: you can grab screenshots easily from YouTube videos, which we would prefer.) Our standards have been amended as follows:
"Although not mandatory, EITHER screengrabbed in-game screenshots/scanned manual credits OR a link to a YouTube video with the credits captured are greatly encouraged. If you're using YouTube credits uploaded by others, please use this FAQ to grab screenshots from it and upload. This will help approvers verify and double check your credit submissions for possible human error factors (typos, missing developer names, etc.) and make the approval process much faster."
[NOTE: Though in the future, we may allow developers to enter their own credits individually, right now contributors need to enter the game's entire credits for it to be accepted.]
Some notes for those using it for the first time:
-The 'entry helper' only works for adding games from scratch. Please try to check quickly to see if the game was released for other platforms & add those too, if you can. (Reminder: please provide the proof URL in the comments on your submission!)
- If it can't find a precise match for a developer or publisher, the 'entry helper' will leave that field blank. Please type in the name again and if it's not in the DB, you can add it at that stage.
- For the Steam version, please check SteamDB.info for when the Linux and Mac versions were added, since sometimes this is unclear even on Steam itself.
- You can skip writing a description (only using the 'entry helper') if the store page had an English language description of the game.
- There's very little you need to add to make a valid entry. (You do not have to write a description, though we'd love you to.) But at the very least, please make sure you fill in some of the basic genre, perspective, and game style tickboxes when adding a game. Ideally, you could also add tech specs too.
That's the basic shape of it. Please feel free to ask questions in the forums, and good luck!
Amazingly, we've reached the 150,000 image milestone already. Recent contributions include GBA rally car renders, No Man's Sky special edition promo shots, and Lords Of Magic concept art, to name but three.
Why does hosting this matter at all? Well, we're putting new art online (or back online) in many cases, to be kept in safekeeping, indexed by Google Images and available on our API. And even when we're mirroring official store pages, we're ensuring that when that store goes down (and it will, eventually), the artwork is still available for posterity. Thanks again to all contributors, and roll on 200k!
Some of you eagle-eyed MobyGames users may have noticed newly added games, for example Song Of The Deep, which are using the Steam (or PSN) Store description instead of a user-created description.
This is part of a Beta feature we're currently testing, allowing all users to add a game entry by augmenting the existing entry page for a game on a digital store. It will import release/platform information, digital covers and promo screenshots, and 'Ad Blurb' (the Store description), and is an extension of our successful screenshot grabbing feature which has added over 100,000 images to the site.
Having done this, you can (optionally) skip the 'description' stage of the entry - this will be particularly helpful for those who don't have English as a first language, but want to add entries from existing stores. (We still allow people to add a user description later, and are definitely encouraging people to write them where they can add info & value, though.)
The initial stores to be supported are the U.S. Steam store (Win/Mac/Linux), U.S. PlayStation Store (PS4/PS3/Vita), and Apple Store (iOS). If you'd like to Beta test this feature before its official rollout, please PM me - and thanks to Tracy Poff and our contributors for their hard work on it already!
This means you can now easily find - in real-time - which games are missing that info. This is particularly helpful for platforms like iOS and Android, where we also have the 'scraper' tool. Enter an App Store or Google Play URL in the 'contribute... promo images' section & it'll grab the screenshots/promo art for you! Anyone want to go on an adding spree?
Once again, thanks so much for supporting us! In 2017, expect us to start getting more up to speed on new digital (mobile, PC/Mac, console) releases with a new 'entry scraper' that is in approver-only Beta right now. And we're very early on working on a complete code rewrite of MobyGames - don't expect it soon, but we're excited to eventually (hopefully!) get off of this 1999-era codebase and onto something that looks better and is more flexible for all of us. Happy 2017!
January 2016 - January 2015 - January 2014 - January 2013 - January 2012 - January 2011 - January 2010 - January 2009
(Click to enlarge)
An explanation: each coloured shape in the graph represents a platform. The horizontal axis is time. The vertical axis represents the number of games released. So the height of a shape on a given point in time indicates the number of games released for that platform that year. The total height of the graph on a given point in time shows the total releases that year.
[All data taken from MobyGames. Of course, the graph is only as complete as our database is - meaning we currently undercount some new digital game platforms like PC/Mac, digital console, and iOS/Android since we don't 'scrape' those databases automatically - and the dropoff in 2015 and 2016 is because we're still entering newer games into the database. Come help us if you can!]
Just wanted to update on some of the large strides we've made with 'promo images' (in this case, official screenshots) in recent weeks, thanks to FireFang9212 (on PlayStation platforms) and Maner76 (for Nintendo platforms!)
Recently, FireFang9212 has been going backwards through the PS3 releases we have adding promotional images from PlayStation.com. This is easier now that we support 'vanilla' PlayStation.com game page URLs in addition to PlayStation Store pages. He's doing a great job, having added almost 7500 images in the past few weeks, yay. In many cases these database entries had no screenshots at all, so it's a major win.
Additionally, Maner76 has been doing similarly for Nintendo DS games, and has got over 2500 images added, which is an amazing total - again including many games that were completely lacking in-game visuals in our system until now.
If anyone would like to help them out, we're looking for people to tackle PSP, PS Vita or PS4 entries systematically by going alphabetically through and putting PlayStation.com URLs in to our easy 'scraping' system for each game. If anyone wants to add Wii/Wii U & 3DS promo images, we could also do with some help there - although some scraping has occurred for some of the above platforms.
Just mention it in the thread attached to this news, and work methodically, so we don't step on each other! And for games we don't have in our database at all, look for a scraping-related announcement/advancement on this soon. (Also, we just added the ability to scrape JP.PlayStation.com URLs, if anyone would like to help on Japanese-only titles or if screenshots differ on the Japanese version of PlayStation.com.)