Let the Games Begin: Vox Media Launches a New Site Covering Videogames

Vox Media, the Washington, D.C., online media start-up that owns The Verge and SB Nation, is finally debuting its standalone videogame site called Polygon.

Back in February, Kara Swisher reported that the goal of the site “is to create the premier destination and media outlet for videogame news, reviews, video and entertainment.” Now we’re going to see firsthand what that means, especially since hardcore gamers already have so many places to get their news.

Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff says gaming was the next logical vertical to invest in since the topic fit nicely with the 18- to 49-year-old demographic that SB Nation and The Verge were already attracting with their respective sports and technology news coverage. From a business point of view, it’s also a category that’s seeing a lot of change, “which creates a lot of opportunity,” he said. It’s not just about PC or console gaming, but also mobile, social and other connected platforms. “It’s a bigger and more dynamic part of our lives,” Bankoff said.

Up until today, Polygon has been publishing its content on The Verge, where it has been growing its audience.

As with The Verge, the Polygon staff is made up of well-known editorial personalities from other prominent sites. The roughly 17-person team includes former Joystiq Editor in Chief Chris Grant and Managing Editor Justin McElroy, former Kotaku Editor in Chief Brian Crecente and The Escapist’s former Editor in Chief Russ Pitts. Other reporters are joining from UGO, IGN, MTV and Videogamer.com.

Chris Grant, Polygon editor in chief

Grant said he decided to join as editor in chief because it was an opportunity to completely redefine what a game site should be. One of the most noticeable things it has done is to create a reality TV show about the launch. In a 13-part documentary, called “Press Reset,” fans of the site can follow the creation of Polygon from conception to finished product.

Other things that might stand out, Grant said, is that the site will come with a pink color palette — not exactly the first color that comes to mind when playing first-person shooters or even arcade games, but it’s an aspect of the site that Bankoff says is “fresh and different.” In deciding how else to make the site different, Grant said they “got together a big brain trust of people, who saw all sides of the videogame industry.” One outcome is that the site will do it all — more features, more news and more reviews.

Of those areas, a big focus will be on changing the way games are reviewed and scored. Instead of reviewing a game on launch day and then walking away from it, he said game scores will be dynamic and change over time as the software is updated and the game evolves. “Reviews become outdated very quickly,” Grant said. “As a service, we can help our readers understand where they should spend their time and money. … We hope to be the only site with the most authoritative review.”

As part of the launch, Polygon is going live today with several sponsors, including Unilever’s Clear Men Scalp Therapy, Sony Entertainment Network and Geico.

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