In short... we stopped trying to compete with the major games websites. Basically... we no longer run games news, which we were at one point trying - and mostly failing - to keep up with.
Given that we're essentially a 1.5 man/woman operation, there was no way to compete anyway, so it was stupid of me to even bother trying. We don't have a budget outside of our Patreon/Paypal donations, and much as I'd love to do Digi2000 full-time - and short of somebody offering me a full-time wage for it - I do like my job, and I've got a responsibility to pay the bills.
But I think Digi2000 now is more true to itself now - it was always set up to be a thing that scratched an itch for me, one that wasn't getting scratched elsewhere... get it out of my system, so my other work benefited. Digi2000 lets me write how I want to write - amuse and enlighten myself first, and hope others enjoy it too. A sharp increase in our readership over the last month suggest it's a better strategy going forward anyway.
So. Here's what I want to say: in the last week there have been several gaming news stories which have dropped my jaw with their sheer banality. Am I out of touch, or is much of what gets reported on when it comes to games just, like, really, really, really boring?
I mean absolutely no disrespect to any of the journalists writing for Eurogramer, or Videogamer, or IGN, or any of the other big sites in what I'm about to say... frankly - all of the gaming portals out there usually have something worth reading (or - increasingly - watching). You've got readers to attract, and you have a duty to report what's going to get the clicks, and I get that. But - sorry - sometimes what counts as gaming news just leaves me bewildered.
Take today's big story: Naughty Dog seemed to have sort of, maybe, ish, let slip that they're working on The Last of Us 2... WELL, DUH! Really?! The Last of Us was one of the best and biggest games of recent years. OF COURSE THEY'RE WORKING ON THE LAST OF US 2...!!! The story even briefly trended on Twitter, along with the news that the moon was planning to appear this evening, shortly after the sun set.
And then there was the stunner earlier in the week that Sony has changed the name of its PlayStation Virtual Reality headset Project Morpheus (remember, it was called PROJECT Morpheus, which always indicated it wasn't going to be the final name) to - wait for it - PlayStation VR. Yes - literally the most obvious and bland name it could come up with, but probably the most logical one.
And yet - woo-hoo! - the Twittersphere seemed to go into meltdown, and it was the top story on several websites. Is there so little else to talk about that such a nugget of utter nothing becomes a story?? Are we really that desperate to fill our quotas of clicks?!
Maybe I've been out of the loop too long. Maybe I just don't get the excitement that comes from Naughty Dog announcing something that I thought was a given, or why Sony changing the name of a thing to something more bland should get people talking. Or maybe I'm just old and cynical.
And I really do mean no disrespect to everyone reporting those stories, or those who are interested in them. I just sometimes look across the landscape of the gaming media and it frustrates me that I have to filter through the exact same stories on different sites before I find the unique content, the stuff where the writer's personality shines through. Where they've come at the story from a different angle.
It's all words - a massive wall of similar words, on similar-looking websites, that I have to hack through to get to stuff I want to read. Like picking krill out of a blue whale's teeth.
It's partly why Kotaku is top of my bookmarks - it's completely features-led. Similarly, Rock, Paper, Shotgun does it's own thing, unashamedly. Gamesradar wisely drew other Future sites - SFX, specifically - into itself, and people like Jim Sterling and other YouTubers have brilliantly manufactured themselves as their own individual brand identity. But at the risk of sounding like the crusty fart at the dinner party, it's what I miss most about the games mags of old; personality, character, a sense of individual identity.
And that personality is there, if you dig for it. There are some great writers working in games journalism these days, but it feels like many of them are hidden away behind a duty to write the same news stories that everyone else is writing, across websites that, aesthetically, look more or less the same as one another.
Because there's so much choice now - we're dealing with games media as a global platform now, not just a UK newsstand scene - I just find myself lost when I dip into it.
I dunno what I'm really trying to say. I suppose I just feel that so much of what's out there online, when it comes to games reporting, is white noise, and it gets exhausting trying to fight through it... more often than not I don't bother these days. Read one site, and you've read 'em all.
It's not a criticism as such - it's my issue after all, and none of those major gaming websites need the advice of old Banquo's Ghost here. I just find my focus narrowing down - and it's little wonder that social media is now so often where people do go to get their news: if it's trending, it means plenty of people have already done much of the filtering for you.
And that's it. That's all I have to say on the issue of important gaming news. Talking of which... have you seen our list of funny stuffed monkeys...?
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