VG247 is three today. We're celebrating with a complete relaunch, adding a new design and features you've been requesting for months. Happy birthday to us.
Welcome to your new site. It’s three years to the day that VG247 launched, and we wanted to mark the occasion with a long-promised overhaul of both our tech and design, and a move in a direction towards what we hope will be a new dawn for videogames news online.
I want to explain what we’ve added in terms of tech and features, and the thinking behind the new design.
Homepage and navigation
We now have a large main image at the top of the homepage with three smaller supporting featured stories. Hopefully the reasoning behind this is obvious; we can now focus attention on the day’s main agenda in a way that we only did previously during key events such as GDC and E3. Your eye is now immediately drawn to the top story when you visit the site. That’s right where we want it.
Also, you’ll see that the site’s navigation has changed completely. You can now find all of our news on any category at the top of the site in a few clicks. We publish a lot of content - on an average day we post more than 60 headlines - and the “blog”-style category system inherent with sites of VG247’s nature is basically obsolete in terms of us achieving our goals. So it’s gone.
If you want to find all of our Ubisoft news, you click “publishers” and “Ubisoft”. Et voila. We believe that this style of sorting interface removes a major block between you and the information you’re looking for on VG247, and is adopted by mainstream news sites like the BBC and CNN for good reason.
The rest of the home-page is still in a blog format. We know you crazy kids love to f5.
There are a few new bits in the category navigation that need noting. The biggest is “My News”. This is a system - or the start of one, at least - that allows you to bookmark VG247 articles within your account. Again, we’re aware that we publish a huge amount of information, and we want to make it easier for everyone - including us - to gain instant access to specific stories and features they personally need to reference.
My News works very simply. You have to be logged in to use it. Just click on “Add to My News” at the top of any story. Now click on “My News” in the “Home” section of the top navigation. Hopefully it’s self-explanatory from there.
Other features of the navigation’s Home section include a contact form and an updated staff page. These give you easy ways of getting in touch with VG247’s staff, including email addresses and Twitter information for both editorial and sales people. If you have news, you can now get it to us directly as well as posting it in the forum’s “News?” thread.
You’ll also see an “Audio” section there. We’ve had a great response to our daily audio news bulletins and they’re going to be a permanent feature from here on out. You can also expect more of a focus on audio reporting in general from VG247, so watch out for that. If you’re waiting to hear some people sitting around having a chat, though, we’re going to disappoint. We’re committed to constructing useful audio reporting you actually listen to. Go elsewhere for “podcasts”.
We’ve broken the main platform navigation out by company. Based on our audience data, if you don’t know that PlayStation 3’s made by Sony we’ve got something seriously wrong. We’ve also provided easy links to Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo financial reporting. Knowing where all the beans are is always a good thing.
As well as the major hardware platforms, we’ve added “Indie” and “Mobile” as main categories. Developments in both these spaces, as you’re well aware, have accelerated to lightspeed in recent years, and we believe any site claiming to be covering videogames from a news perspective and not pushing these sectors to the highest level of importance is either mad or blind. Hopefully we’re neither, and so there they are.
We’ve also radically changed our article pages, a move we believe will fundamentally alter our top-line reporting.
The main content column is now much wider than in the previous design, and we now have the capacity to embed and caption audio, video, images and information box-outs into body text. This means that we should now be able to provide richer general news reporting than any of our competitors.
At the base of every article you’ll now find a “related posts” box. This is simply to give you quick access to material on the same subject within VG247. Also, if suitable, you’ll find a box in the same space with links to similar stories being reported on competing sites. VG247 is a service: we want to make sure you’re getting the full story, no matter where the information is.
We can now pull quotes from articles as we see fit. This breaks “walls” of text and makes consuming the pages far easier. It also allows us to highlight news elements in longer articles, such as interviews, and helps us avoid the story-spamming style of games news updating we helped to invent.
The new VG247 takes its cues from the mainstream news sector, not from competition in the games space.
Combined, all of these additions give us access to a mix of fully-featured news reporting and easier-to-use pieces, with large images and the ability to pull in information from anywhere in a way that makes sense for the user.
The new VG247 takes its cues from the mainstream news sector, not from competition in the games space. We believe that the current crop of games publications are, simply, self-serving, certainly in terms of news reporting. The only party we want to serve is you.
To protect and serve
Since we launched VG247 in early 2008, the games news landscape has changed beyond all recognition. We exploited the need for timely news and I’ve been publicly open about our method of delivery when I worked alone on the site in the early days, but now we have a global team, a group of journalists with the bandwidth and vision to provide you with a service, not exploitation.
You’re not an idiot, and you’re not a child. We don’t want you to hate the fact you hit a headline. We don’t want you to feel cheated. We will try our level best to bring you news all day, every day in a useful, appropriate, professional manner. We respect you because we are you. We will build VG247 into the site we want to read.
Our goal is excruciatingly simple: to be synonymous with the concept of games news online. We’ll get there or die trying. We can think of nothing better than to have you along for the ride.
February 1, 2011