This is not an exit

Polygon is here, but why am I so excited?

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2012 at 9:28 am

Well, that escalated quickly.

Less than one year after reports of big names in the video game news industry leaving their respective companies surfaced, Polygon has arrived. I remember the day I learned Brian Crecente of Kotaku was stepping away from the site entirely after handing the reins to Stephen Totilo, founder of MTV’s Multiplayer games blog.

Knowing the man had been in the journalism game for awhile — I’ve followed his career since the days he wrote for the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News while managing Kotaku at the same time — it was evident something was afoot. That something was a news site that sought to remedy most everything I bemoaned about journalism in general and games journalism specifically.

During my time writing for DualShockers I was increasingly disenchanted by the daily routine of hunting for news that simultaneously appeared on dozens, if not hundreds, of similarly themed sites and blogs. The sheer breadth of content with which you’re bombarded every day is exhausting. And that’s just on the reader side. I can’t tell you what it feels like to be faced with an overabundance of project updates yet a dearth of meaningful news. Everyone’s getting the same press release about the next Madden developer diary, but is it really worth posting something that’s already been published by 12 other sites?

It was that overcrowded feeling, more than anything, that pushed me to focus on my studies at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication. The opportunity to work on projects with defined goals and a narrow focus was intensely attractive, especially when compounded with the fact that I’d be working with the teams I had appreciated from afar at Flux and OR Magazine.

The J-School’s resources and its emphasis on quality storytelling are what drew me to it in the first place, the latter being one thing I wanted to focus on during my time there. It was an escape from the get-it-first realm of online news. What bothered me most about reporting general video game news was the lack of one-on-one interaction with people. That’s what regional news allowed me to do. I sat down with people who had stories to tell. And that, to me, is what journalism is all about. It’s also what Polygon stands for: people.

Take a look at edit0r-in-chief Chris Grant’s welcome letter and the site’s mission, to those of you who are not yet familiar with it, is to bring people into the gaming news spotlight. The features archive is already rife with interesting stories that would disappear on other sites within hours of being posted (my personal favorite is the story behind the creation of Double Dragon). Because it’s not enough to update the community on what’s in development and which features it’ll incorporate — I love that there’s a site that gives equal weight to the industry’s daily happenings, the people behind those experiences and those on the receiving end.

It doesn’t hurt that it’s got a storied staff I have the utmost respect for. But I guess that’s just the icing on the cake.

It’s also interesting that the two industries I’m most invested in face similar obstacles: the adoption and evolution of digital platforms, declining revenues and reinvention of archaic business models are just a few of the issues where gaming and journalism overlap. But that’s a post in and of itself. Maybe next week?

For now, I’m content to finally see Polygon get its own digs, which offer a truly remarkable experience. I’ve already tried it out on my laptop, iPad and iPhone. Again, that’s also deserving of its own post.

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