Hello, good evening and welcome to USgamer, the new, North American presence of Gamer Network, the very British company best known for the splendidly terrific Eurogamer.net.
While we will feature some select stories from our transatlantic sister site – with all the spurious u’s removed, might I add – the vast majority of what you'll see and read here will be original content produced by the rag-tag group of misfits and ne’er do wells that are the USgamer editorial team.
So what the hell are we doing? Well, something pretty insane – launching a new site in one of the most turbulent times in gaming editorial history. Magazines are dead in the water, unless funded by retailers, who are faced with a similarly uncertain future. Social media and the inexorable rise of video-driven editorial have precipitated the first major shakeout of the established online editorial landscape, with several major sites either folding or consolidating this year. And then of course, there’s all the noise and negativity surrounding the value and relevance of editorial itself, which of late has been struggling with the perception that it’ll happily sell out for a bag of Doritos.
So yeah. What the hell ARE we doing? Firstly, not thinking we’re going to change the world, that’s for sure. We’re not that good, even though we wish we were. Instead, we have a humbler, more modest goal, and that’s simply to provide something just a little different than your average, everyday gaming site. Something sort of new, but also something we hope might also feel a little familiar. And really, it boils down to two simple things.
1. We want to post interesting things.
What you’ll see on our site are very personal and opinionated stories. We’re bucking the mainstream trend, and picking and choosing what we write about. It might be a multi-million dollar AAA+++ game, it might be some strange old NES title that we just rediscovered, or an obscure indie game that we love. Either way, our choice of stories is not driven by commercial considerations, but instead by those of interest and value. It’s an old-school gaming editorial approach that we know won’t make us the biggest site on the net, but we hope will attract those who want something a little more thoughtful, and perhaps a little deeper than the usual mainstream fare.
2. We want you to post interesting things.
We believe in the value of community. As I write those words, I know they sound like the usual BS lip service you hear every site say, but we do. So to put our money where our mouth is (or, more accurately, our money where we want your mouth to be) we’ve developed a commenting system that puts your words alongside ours, rather than in the usual clusterfuq below it. It’s a comprehensive annotation system that lets you click on every paragraph or piece of media on the site, and tell us what you think, good, bad or indifferent.
Ultimately, we want USgamer to be an opinion site where it’s as much about yours as it is ours. All our editorial stories are intended to be conversation-starters, and this is where we really get to the fundamentals of what we’re doing here. We’re games journalists, but we’re also human. Our opinion is one amongst many, so to help expand USgamer's spectrum of opinion beyond our own, we’ll be highlighting the most interesting and valuable community contributions, whether we agree with them or not, and folding them into our editorial for continued discussion. We hope that this approach will create a site that’s as interesting as it is involving.
Finally, I want to quickly mention three specific aspects of our editorial, so we can be clear about our modus operandi:
Our approach to reviews is distinctly old school - rather than doing a deep analysis of the game, we instead write a fairly short and personal take on the experience of playing the game, and whether or not we think it's worth the money. As often as possible, reviews will feature a second opinion to provide contrast and additional perspective. We'll still be doing deep analysis, but that will be in the form of standalone stories where we delve into very specific aspects of game, such as design details, game mechanics or dialog. These supplementary articles are intended to drive more focused discussions, and contrast the review's much more general and personal view.
If you’ve seen our home page, then you’ve seen our main approach to news – and that’s The Feed, a column of constantly updated news from across the web. News breaks fast these days, and much of it gets reposted across the web with little or no added value. So rather become yet another part of the echo chamber, if we see something we think is worthy of attention, we’ll post it in The Feed with a brief description, and link directly to the source – whether that site is a friend or frienemy. That way you can get the news directly from whence it came.
Any news story posted in our main editorial grid will either be something we're breaking, or a major news story that has been developed by us to add additional perspective, opinion or additional information. We want our editorial to add value, and not just repeat what you might have already read.
Our previews are an experiential account of what we see. We’ll let you know what happened and how we felt when we played it. We also believe in full disclosure. Was the preview managed, and was information fed to us? Or did we get to sit down and play the game and ask questions? We’ll tell you the story of the entire event, so you can get an idea of how the whole thing went down. We feel that bullet-point lists of an upcoming game’s features belong on the manufacturer’s site. We want to go much deeper than that.
That’s it for now. Before I sign off, I just want to say a special thanks to the tech team at Eurogamer for working so incredibly hard to make this site happen, and thanks to the USG team for putting in many long hours in a very short space of time to write the stories you can read today. They’re intended to give you a good idea of what we’re all about - and we're looking forward to hearing your feedback.