All About jwhdavison
We're in LA, and we're nearly ready... our booth is nearly built, our gigantic "war room" (its 5000 sq ft, which is just bonkers) if filled with workstations, and we're ready to kick off our live programming tomorrow. We had our big global get-together meeting this evening, and I got to stand on a table and rally the troops before we all disperse to check out games. Justin, Giancarlo and I are still putting the finishing touches on stuff right now, while the rest of the team have headed out to the ESPN Zone restaurant for dinner. Initially I was jealous, but both Caro and Kevin have been tweeting for the past hour about how awful it is. Maybe we'll head somewhere else instead. The GameSpot UK guys went in search of charred, grilledmeat, maybe we'll track them down.
So...show kick off stuff:
We'll be bringing you live stream of all of the press conferences tomorrow and Tuesday, and then the big show itself features more live programming than we've ever done before. As with previous years we have our main stage that will be running throughout the event, which will be hosted by Chris Watters and Danny O'Dwyer. Then we also have a pro gaming stage in partnership with Major League Gaming that will be running games all day each day. Finally, we'll have our Bonus Stage which I'll be hosting, which will have more of a chat-show/podcast kinda vibe, and will feature guests from every walk of the games biz; developers, CEOs, folks from other outlets, and celebrities.
This whole thing is a huge production for us, and our approach is very different than it has been in previous years. Hopefully you enjoy what we are able to bring you from the show floor, and that you'll participate with us in the comments, and on Twitter.
We've been building towards the craziness of the past few weeks for a long time now. The Giant Bomb news last month was just the tip of the iceberg for visibile changes to our organization here, and over the next few weeks we'll have lots of great things to share with you - some of which are long overdue. Today we rolled out the first phase of our redesigned site; the top of our homepage is now quite different than it was before, and allows us to promote much more content and showcase some of the great imagery that we see accompanying games. It also lets our designers flex their creative muscles and get really imaginative with the way they illustrate our feature stories and editorials. Our engineers and producers have also completely retooled the "Most Popular" unit so that it now showcases more of the editorial and video that's associated with each game. Whenever we look at the metrics for our site, ths module has always been a really popular way for people to discover games - even when it was buried all the way at the bottom of the homepage. Remember that? A year ago we had one of our most successful navigation elements way down underneath everything else. We bumped it up to the top of the page last year, and now it's tweaked so that it's much more useful.
Something that people always ask for (and give me a really, really hard time about every time I post a link on Twitter) is a better mobile GameSpot experience; that's coming. And soon. Promise.
Our product guys and engineers are looking at every aspect of the site, and over the course of this year they'll be fixing stuff that's broken, optimizing things that need to be better, and rebuilding many tools from scratch. Very soon we'll have a completely different experience that's better for our team to serve content into, and more importantly something that's better for you all to share your views with too. Our blogs and commenting systems have been in need of work for a long time, and the comments and messages have not fallen on deaf ears.
Hopefully you may have noticed this, but we've been going through a huge period of change here at GameSpot of late. We have evolved so much over the past six months or so, but we are still on our journey to bigger, better things. Last month I was interviewed by Stever Peterson at Industry Gamers, and the resulting conversation seemed to resonate with a lot of people. You can read that chat here and part two here. Given that people seemed to like what we talked about, I thought I'd share with you what we're striving for in 2012, and what I hope you will judge us by. This is by no means a full expression of editorial policy, but more a mini-manifesto for the year ahead.
- In a modern media culture where everyone has a voice, our role has dramatically changed. GameSpot was built on many things, but a big part of it was being a source for screen shots, trailers, and basic preview content. These days though, this kind of content is more of a "commodity" than something special, and frankly it's boring. For us as well as you. At a time where we all consume content from the Internet as a whole, our job is much more than an asset delivery service.
- The landscape has shifted, and our competitive set has changed. In the past it was different media brands pitted against each other, racing for exclusives. These days we have to differentiate ourselves from the commodities that the publishers and studios themselves distribute through official channels, and from the fantastic content being produced by passionate gamers on their blogs, on YouTube, in forums, and on livestreaming services.
- We have resources, and we have access. It is our responsibility to bring these to bear for your benefit. Gaming is as much about culture as it is product, so we will endeavor to assert the personalities of that culture wherever possible. Gaming is about people, and what entertains them; not just "product." Our programming will (hopefully, or I'll be out of a job) find a balance between information and entertainment that works for you.
- Our observations, reviews, and analysis pieces are intended to start conversations. Sometimes it's about the merits of an individual title, sometimes it's simply to highlight that something is funny or entertaining. We are curators.
- We will never be afraid to adapt. If something isn't working, we'll change it. Nothing we do is so precious that it should exist purely for the sake of legacy. As gamers, you are on the cutting edge of media consumption, and your tastes lead trends in the way that media is absorbed. We'll be watching you very closely, and taking your feedback very seriously. If we think a content type, or approach isn't working - we will adapt. Just in the past few weeks we've been able to do this with our new show Screen Tear. By speaking with the audience on both GameSpot and on YouTube we have been able to change the format, the focus, and the voice of the show thanks to your input.
- We will always look at opportunities to bring you coverage in terms of the different media types we produce. Video, live video, audio, written, or social media...we'll bring you the best possible coverage through the most appropriate media. Sometimes the best way to convey something is with a live video stream, sometimes all that's needed is a tweet. As an extension of this, we're mindful of the environment for this content too. In the past, our mission was purely about bringing you to GameSpot. These days our job is to bring GameSpot to you. As such, we are creating and adapting content to push to YouTube, through Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ through live services like Twitch.TV and beyond.
You are a vocal, passionate, and articulate bunch, and we want to give you the coverage you crave. We will bring you into the creative process wherever we can, and let your input, and feedback shape our content. The bottom line? You love games, we love games - let's make some awesome stuff.