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EICJoe
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Letter from the Editor - 26th September 2016

Mon Sep 26, 2016 2:49 pm

From the end of the first month, to the end of the third – how time flies! It felt like the right moment for another one of these, so let's talk a little bit about what's been happening since we last spoke.

Themed Weeks

Wargamer and Pocket Tactics had their first themed weeks this month. In case you don't read both sites, here's a rundown of what we did:
  • * Wargamer had a week devoted to logistic & supply systems in wargames (very niche I know, but it's not something often talked about).
    * Pocket Tactics had a week devoted to CCGs, and we covered a range of new & upcoming titles in this genre with a final note on Hearthstone, the 'King'.
Overall you guys seemed to enjoy it, but it'd be great to have any specific feedback on the series as a whole. Was the presentation ok? How about the choice of games? Is there anything else you'd want from a themed week like this? Would you want more variation on the content? Any and all ideas and thoughts are welcome.

Not 100% on when the next one is going to be. It will either be the end of October, or the beginning of November. If you want to throw in a subject suggestion into the hat, feel free!

Old PT Forums

I'll probably be speaking more about this in the coming weeks, but as a heads up the old PT forums are going to be taken offline sometime soon. If there's anything in particular you want to try and archive please do so ASAP as I don't have a deadline for when this will happen.

What I am doing though is trying to get an SQLdump of the forum threads themselves, so the archive will survive in some form. What I don't think will be saved is anything user-related – uploads, profile info etc...

I will let you know how that goes. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me. I'd also recommend you spread the word, as I know not everyone reads these.

Behind the Scenes

We're sorting out a solution for revenue that should ease the pressure off the websites in general, allow us to properly budget and focus all our attention on content. I won't go over all the details, but this is what it'll essentially mean for you guys:
  • * More varied ads will start to appear.
    * We will be introducing background skins to Wargamer & Pocket Tactics sometime in the near future (although not to mobile browsing, as they don't work there).
    * They should mostly be game-related. If not, I'm given to understand that there will be 'lifestyle' ads that are relevant to your interests.
    * If our partner is having a slow month, the Google AdSense ads will return, so those aren't gone completely.
    * You might start seeing Slitherine/Matrix ads again. This is nothing to be alarmed about.
Please remember to white-list us on your ad blockers if you are able to, and again if an ad shows up you're not comfortable with, please let me know so I can talk to our partner about it.

Remember: another way you can support us is to buy iOS games through our iOS affiliate link. Every link we provide, whether a hyperlink or the 'Available From' section of a review that leads directly to an iTunes page is tagged. If you happen to buy something after using our link, we get some commission.

You don't have to do this, of course - we respect your right to choose.

New Faces

I've taken on board some new writers who will be starting over the next couple of weeks, so you'll see another batch of new names in article credits. Please do your best to make them feel welcome.

A few of them are also trying out specific new content ideas and directions I'm interested in pursuing, so please also give your feedback regarding that too!

Specific Feedback Wanted: News

You may or may not have noticed, but there's less news going up at the moment and I'd like your feedback on the reasons behind this:
  • * 'News' is an incredibly time-consuming task that really requires a full or part-time writer dedicated to it, which we don't (and won't) have.
    * I try and do bits and bobs, but the lack of consistency over what I cover has me concerned about how it presents to readers.
    * And in all honesty? There are other sites that have the news thing down to a T, and I suspect you all read them as well as PT so there is a question regarding whether or not we should try and specialise elsewhere.
So for the moment I've made one of those Decisions(tm) to generally avoid news right now. Interesting business related articles or news articles that have a bit more meat to them will still appear from time to time, but arguably the most important news item is covered by Tof on Fridays anyway.

I'm also commissioning a new feature series that's more 'newsy', so it's not like we're totally abandoning the idea of relaying information.

That's all of this edition – if there's anything I haven't mentioned that you'd like to talk about, please feel free to let me know below or contact me directly.
"Determining the appropriate level of influence in somebody else's war is never a simple matter."
- Special Circumstances

Editor-in-Chief
Wargamer.com
PocketTactics.com
StrategyGamer.com

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Buggy
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:16 am

Re: Letter from the Editor - 26th September 2016

Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:43 pm

I don't know why but lately (let's say this summer, or something like that) I've been experiencing issues with PT's "AppStore" hyperlinks (on iPhone): opening them would not redirect me to the App Store but would instead display blank pages covered in gibberish. This strange behavior lasted for a few months, I think, and had me stop trying (I turned to the App Store search feature instead). I didn't know you were on commission, else I would have told you earlier. Now it's back to normal, it seems. Anyone else had similar issues?

Tamsk
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri May 13, 2016 2:47 pm

Re: Letter from the Editor - 26th September 2016

Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:58 pm

I was seeing the same thing as you, Buggy; are you also using Chrome, by any chance?

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EICJoe
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Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:50 pm

Re: Letter from the Editor - 26th September 2016

Mon Sep 26, 2016 4:03 pm

I don't know why but lately (let's say this summer, or something like that) I've been experiencing issues with PT's "AppStore" hyperlinks (on iPhone): opening them would not redirect me to the App Store but would instead display blank pages covered in gibberish. This strange behavior lasted for a few months, I think, and had me stop trying (I turned to the App Store search feature instead). I didn't know you were on commission, else I would have told you earlier. Now it's back to normal, it seems. Anyone else had similar issues?
Oh I'm so sorry! I didn't realise things had broken. Was it before or after July do you remember?

And everything is ok now?
"Determining the appropriate level of influence in somebody else's war is never a simple matter."
- Special Circumstances

Editor-in-Chief
Wargamer.com
PocketTactics.com
StrategyGamer.com

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Buggy
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:16 am

Re: Letter from the Editor - 26th September 2016

Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:28 pm

I don't remember exactly when it started, sorry. Now it is back to normal. I'll also check on my iPad, to be sure.
And @Tamsk is correct: I'm using Chrome.

Edit: it also works on my iPad, so nothing to worry I guess.

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biffpow
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Re: Letter from the Editor - 26th September 2016

Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:27 pm

Thanks for the update, Joe--much appreciated.

You asked for feedback regarding the "news" decisions you've made, and I do understand your points. Any resource focused on news will essentially only be able to focus on that--it's a big area to cover and it takes a lot of time. It's also not as "fun" in certain ways as doing reviews can be. And many of the news-type articles that were posted in the last three months read a lot more like press releases than news anyway and didn't draw much in the way of comments.

So I get where you're coming from.

But telling us to go read other sites to sift through their postings in order to find news about the types of games we're interested in is a pretty poor solution. It's essentially telling us, "We know you're looking for this kind of content, but you won't find it here; go read someone else's site." That's the message.

Apart from how it feels as a PT reader, it doesn't exactly make much business sense either. I mean, the same argument could be made for almost ANY of PT's regular content--plenty of other sites do reviews (to say nothing of zillions of people on the app store itself), and plenty of other sites do summaries of recent game releases (though none as witty as Tof's, admittedly).

I think this sort of begs a larger question too about what PT's identity is at this point. The site was created and has been maintained as a focal point for news, commentary, and reviews about a very specific segment of games. The point of doing that was to draw those gamers here by filling a specific niche that no one else was filling. From both a community and economic standpoint, that's a great model that's worked for decades and decades--find an audience whose needs are not being met and fill those needs. Simple.

The site doesn't seem to be interested in doing that any longer. It will no longer make an effort to post news about mobile strategy and tactical games. And its reviews are no longer limited to those very specific types of games. So what is PT at this point? What differentiates it from all the other sites covering mobile games out there? (Other than the fact that it no longer will post news)

If not covering news is a business decision, ok--then what is PT doing instead of that to bring value to the site? And if there's some "trade-off of resources" decision-making happening, ok, then how about discontinuing reviews of FTP garbage (Oz: Broken Kingdom? Seriously? Because no other sites are covering that game at all...) and putting those resources on news instead. If they don't want to source and write news, I'm 100% sure there are plenty of writers for hire who would jump at the chance.

I'm being confrontational here (though you did invite it), and you're very welcome to call me a jerk or tell me I can't perceive the complex business considerations in play (just don't use the word "synergy" please). But more and more, this site is losing what made it unique among a crowded field. Playing "chase the money" by catering content to what you think advertisers want is an utterly losing proposition that the failures of countless other sites can be attributed to.

Simply put: Advertisers want to appear on sites with high page views. As a result, site revenue is about page views. Page views happen as a result of strong, unique content. Posting articles about titles like Oz and Hearthstone in an effort to draw new readers is short-sighted as a business strategy. Those kinds of readers do not come back, and they do not contribute to the core community of specific game-appreciators who are the back bone of this site. If that type of gamer doesn't exist in high enough numbers to make the site profitable, then you might as will change the name of the site and get some writers working on articles about Candy Crush and Mobile Strike right now.

Again, biffpow being a jerk, welcomes being called out as such. Joe is being admirably transparent and open without needing to do so and this is the thanks he gets.

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Blackfyre
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Location: Germany

Re: Letter from the Editor - 26th September 2016

Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:37 pm

I'm an old PT forum reader and I loved it there.

There are so many (mostly useful) informations gathered there over the years by enthusiastic followers: debates, reading tips, hints, cooking advices, how to mix a cocktail and how to quit drinking (the last one is not true). Something that PT could be really proud of. A part of history for this site.

Destroying them is like burning down a library.. You don't want that ElCJoe, do you... :o

What is there might belong to you or someone above you.. Officially, but morally this is standing on unsteady ground.

I appreciate the effort to try to preserve it though! Really I do, because there might be nothing more one could do about it

May we at least be involved on why they be needed to take down?

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EICJoe
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Re: Letter from the Editor - 26th September 2016

Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:00 pm

May we at least be involved on why they be needed to take down?
All I can really say is that it's not something I had much control over. I made sure to keep it up and running for as long as it took to get that SQLdump though, and I'm happy to report we have that. We can talk about next steps another time.

Given that, I now imagine the old PT forums will disappear by the end of the week. Essentially the subscription to the service that's hosting the old forums is being cancelled, so it depends how instantaneous that is.
I'm being confrontational here (though you did invite it), and you're very welcome to call me a jerk or tell me I can't perceive the complex business considerations in play (just don't use the word "synergy" please)
That wouldn't be synergeous of me - I know you're a concerned reader, and not just out to be harsh so it's fine :)

You raise some perfectly valid points though - for clarification I'm not really suggesting that you guys go else where for your news. I'm assuming you do already. Browsers have had multiple-tab functionality for years, and what I've experienced suggests that people can and will visit multiple sites. PT's news output dropped before I got here as well, so I'm again making an assumption that many reader habits have already changed.

I would disagree about reviews though - people come here, or go elsewhere, precisely because they value the specific opinion of the writer/group of writers which is not as applicable to news writing. That's something I'm trying to maintain through regular (and more timely) reviews, and letting people keep their own voice/style.

I'm basically trying to pick my battles though - I completely appreciate and understand your own POV biff, and I thank you for your understanding of mine. It's something I need to work out sooner rather than later.
So what is PT at this point?
That is an excellent question and it's also something I'm trying to figure out. I appreciate you guys being patient with me, and please know I do take all your opinions seriously.
"Determining the appropriate level of influence in somebody else's war is never a simple matter."
- Special Circumstances

Editor-in-Chief
Wargamer.com
PocketTactics.com
StrategyGamer.com

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Blanchot
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Re: Letter from the Editor - 26th September 2016

Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:02 pm

Given that, I now imagine the old PT forums will disappear by the end of the week. Essentially the subscription to the service that's hosting the old forums is being cancelled, so it depends how instantaneous that is.
(...)
I would disagree about reviews though - people come here, or go elsewhere, precisely because they value the specific opinion of the writer/group of writers which is not as applicable to news writing. That's something I'm trying to maintain through regular (and more timely) reviews, and letting people keep their own voice/style.
FWIW: For years I thought I was visiting PT daily for the smart articles but, in retrospect, I believe the REAL ATTRACTION was the lively discussion—the depth and breadth of the community is what kept my interest. Things started to go downhill when the sudden change of management brought a change of forum software and the community began to disperse. Why? I think it is because the new software didn't support a critically simple function: the ability to respond to other user posts, to provide feedback with a simple click of a button. That's my opinion anyway. YMMV.

It is sad that years of user posts are about to 'disappear'. One can't help but think of that old adage about babies and bathwater.

:-(

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Buggy
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Re: Letter from the Editor - 26th September 2016

Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:04 pm

<insightful>

    

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