Elon Musk’s latest widespread change to Twitter builds upon the confusing saga surrounding account verification and Twitter Blue. As of today, all Tweets from Verified accounts, whether a blue tick has been purchased or mysteriously reassigned, are prioritized in all user feeds above those from unverified users, those that aren’t paying $8 for a blue tick.
Today, Twitter’s CEO stated, “Verified accounts are now prioritized.” This means that when you scroll through your feed, you’ll see posts from verified users above all others. It’s a move that effectively gives those with the money to spend on Twitter Blue the power to advertise their content ahead of your interests and those you follow, including game developers and their games. We’ve also noticed that only verified users are shown when you try to mention an account in a post, though this could be a very convenient bug.
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Elon Musk is Forcing Game Developers to Pay to Show You Their Games on Twitter
Twitter’s verification process previously allowed professionals, celebrities, and companies to apply for a blue tick alongside their account’s name to show all users the account was real. It’s so easy to create Twitter accounts that someone could make their own and start posting negative things that would reflect poorly on others. Until April, this verification process protected users from scams from fake accounts and helped direct them to the accounts they care about.
Now, Twitter verification is something you can pay for. While there are many inherent dangers this new form of verification brings with it, today’s shift in how Twitter prioritizes posts is the most impactful of all in some regards. For an indie developer trying to make ends meet with a day job while working on their game in their spare time, it might just be the one hurdle that causes them to give up on their project.
This change affects everyone in video games, not just indie developers. While some accounts have had their verification returned to them out of nowhere, a lot of game developers are being left in the dark. Forced to pay for Twitter Blue or have their Tweets fall to the bottom of the pile where you’ll never see them. This could mean you miss a new video or post for triple-A games like Redfall, and Final Fantasy XVI, or indie titles like OTXO.
Thinking bigger still, and we could even start to see content creators like YouTubers and streamers drop off the map. Making a name for yourself as a streamer may be one of the most challenging things to do in the games entertainment industry, and now it’s going to be practically impossible unless you’re paying Elon Musk $8 per month.
This algorithm change obviously wasn’t a direct attack on the gaming community. So many people use Twitter to keep up with various interests, but that just became ten times harder for everyone. Unless you’re a legitimate celebrity or business now, there’s no way to get yourself heard above the noise on the paid level of Twitter. There’s also no way to dodge those paid accounts to find the ones you really care about.
Tomas Sala, the developer behind The Falconeer, paid for verification as soon as he was forced to. He has a sequel coming out soon and wants to continue to capture new fans by posting about it on Twitter. He posted his thoughts on the matter afterward, and the sentiment rings true throughout the game developer community, if your livelihood depends on being seen on Twitter, then pay for Twitter Blue. No one is judging game developers for paying to advertise their games, but it’s understandable to see so many struggling with the concept. A number of indie developers have followed suit, and we expect this trend to continue until the policy is reverted. If it ever is.
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The social media site is filled with memes ridiculing those that pay for Twitter Blue. But the resounding reaction from everyone, regardless of whether they play games, is that there’s no shame in paying for it to protect your income. Elon Musk knows exactly what he’s doing, utilizing the popularity of this platform and the creators that rely on it to recoup a small fraction of the enormous personal and professional losses he caused for himself and others when he made an offer to buy it. Unfortunately, everyone else has to pay for what was ultimately his mistake. There’s no telling how many games won’t come to fruition as a result of today’s change, but at least Twitter’s CEO can stop flogging office equipment for a week or so.