The Only Xbox Community Site You’ll Ever Need?
I remember when I started doing community management, there was a pretty small handful of sites to work with plus a few up-and-comers on their heels. Since that time, just a few years ago, the Xbox360 web community has utterly exploded with blogs, sites, podcasts and more. Many users likely just pick a community or two to be a part of. For some, and especially for those of us that try to keep our eyes on the entire community, it can be a daunting task to keep up with all of the new sites out there. But there’s one site that has the potential to change all that.
Meet Xbox Pulse. Before I go any further, I should let you know that I know Rick Kim, one of the site’s principle figures. I’ve known him for a few years now. I should also let you know that while I’ve told him before that I admire the site, he has no clue I’m writing this, at least not until I hit publish. So with all of that said, what is Xbox Pulse and why do I love it so much? Xbox Pulse is your answer to the question “Where should I get my Xbox news?” The site posts some of it’s own news and features, but the real value in this site is in its community news aggregation. The site boasts dozens of organizable feeds from all of your favorite Xbox360 Community sites. On a single page, you can read the headlines from 40 websites, including official Microsoft sources, and even some Japanese sources! In addition to being able to read the headlines, you can quickly and easily subscribe to the RSS feeds of the sites you find yourself most drawn to. Drag boxes around the page, minimize the ones you don’t want – it’s the ultimate Xbox360 Community News dashboard.
While the site has made leaps and bounds in the battle against community news overload, there’s still plenty of exciting opportunities for Xbox Pulse. Here’s some thoughts about how Xbox Pulse can seal the deal to become the ultimate one-stop shop:
1. User Registration
By allowing users to sign up at the site, Xbox Pulse would be able to remember user’s dashboard settings. The existing dashboard customization is fantastic, but it’s all forgotten as soon as I close the page. If my settings were persistent, I’m not sure I’d ever leave! Allowing users to register a profile and customize what appears on their dashboard, and in what order, could concievably ensure that the site is everyone’s first stop in the morning.
2. Sorting by Type
On the site’s “About” their staff has this to say about the community: “A multitude of web sites, scattered across the Internet bring Xbox gamers news, opinions and entertainment in the form of text, podcasts and videocasts.” Given that the site has already identified the variety of media through which news and entertainment are delivered, it would be great to be able to separate or sort the feed boxes according to their media type. For example, I’d love a dashboard that would show me just the podcasts or just the videocasts. Sorting through the iTunes store for topical podcasts can be a frustrating endeavour, but having feeds from them all in one place would make the search infinitely easier.
3. Feed Ranking
Allowing users to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down vote to the various feed boxes would be a great way to let Xbox Pulse’s community create a natural “Reccomended Sites” list, moving the feeds they find most useful to the top of the sorted list, instead of simply sorting alphabetically.
4. You Might Also Like…
Building on the back of #3, the storage of each user’s ranking information could also allow Xbox Pulse to aid users in site discovery. For example, If 19 out of 20 people who gave Site A a thumbs-up also gave Site C a thumbs-up, Xbox Pulse could recommend Site C to others who’ve indicated that they like Site A, but maybe haven’t voted on Site C yet. The system would work virtually identically to the way that music discovery sites like Pandora and Last.fm work, but it would be focused entirely on Xbox360 community sites, podcasts, and videocasts.
5. Private Admin Dashboards
In addition to the site operating as a general news dashboard for the everyday user, there’s a huge opportunity here to offer services to administrators of Xbox community sites. With simple voting in place, admins could follow their own site’s feed on the site, gleaning valuable information about how the Xbox community views their content compared to the many other options out there. That kind of reporting could be a huge opportunity for Xbox Pulse, offering site operators VIP logins with tailored statistics for their sites, including how they compare to the other 39 sites on Xbox Pulse.
6. Trending Articles
With all of this information collected in one place, and assuming a large enough participation in the site, Xbox pulse could be pulling out the links that are clicked the most and creating the mother of all community news feeds. Similar to the way Twitter presents their “Trending Topics” on their home page, Xbox Pulse could be pulling out the five or ten most-clicked news articles from all of their feeds and displaying those on their home page.
Ultimately, this all represents a ton of work on the part of the Xbox Pulse crew, and I certainly don’t mean for this post to diminish the exceptional value the site already has. In fact, if you’re out there reading this, and you have the technical know-how and the time to contribute, why not hop over to Xbox Pulse and get in on the action?