An innovative new online platform combining games, news forums and long-form journalism launched on Wednesday in an industry comparable to Hollywood in terms of its social and economic impact. Vox Media’s long awaited new website, Polygon, finally went live this week, representing a significant advance in what is still an embryonic synthesis between video games and traditional journalistic methods. ‘Video games have always been defined by change,’ says editor in chief Christopher Grant, ‘and right now we’re living in the middle of the most rapid change in video game history with mobile gaming, social gaming and web gaming’.
The site is primarily a source for video game news and reviews, but will contain more unorthodox features focusing on the developers and players hitherto unaccustomed to the limelight. ‘A lot of what we have is brands,’ Managing Director Justin McElroy said. ‘What we’re hoping to do is by turning the camera a little more on the people, people can realize who is making these things and follow them.'
The site’s new stand-alone incarnation follows eight months’ temporary accommodation on the URL of corporate sibling The Verge. Grant, the former editor of popular blog Joystiq, cites his motivation in launching the site as being a conspicuous lack of mature or thoughtful journalism delineating this burgeoning, endlessly creative industry. As McElroy points out: ‘so many reviews to this point have been reviews of products indistinguishable from a review of a vacuum you’d read on Amazon’. The creation of a centralized platform, therefore, is an important addition to serious online journalism concerning commercial products in which large sums of money have been invested. Considering, too, that the audience for video games news is growing more and more diverse – as Jeff John Roberts notes, ‘a Polygon reader is more likely to be a young woman or a 39 year old lawyer than a couch-ridden burnout’ – such a development can only add to what is already an ever expanding plurality in the online press.