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Letter from the Editor – 2018 Holiday Special

Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:34 pm

Hello everyone,

Community interaction around here is not what it was, but I still like to check in every now and then, see how people are doing and always provide a place where you can voice and concerns or opinions you have as to how things are going.

It’s been ten months now since our acquisition by Network N – there’s been a lot of changes, but I like to think our missions and our remit as more or less remained the same. The sites are all very healthy – and even PT is almost recovered to the point it was when I took over in 2016. You wouldn’t believe how well Strategy Gamer has grown since launch, and even Wargamer is grown in size as well.

Content wise, you’ll have noticed some or all of the following though in terms of new initiatives:

More ‘Search’ Content – I’ve been doing some research into this, and it’s interesting to see how the Google-focused content landscape has evolved recently. While you may still see some cheeky practices in terms of headlines or whatever, the core purpose of a Google search is to find an answer to a question, and so all of the content we do that’s about drawing in new audiences attempts to answer questions being asked.

The magic of Google is that only the articles that answer the question best actually do well, so it’s not actually worth our while to do something cynical or attention grabbing with no substance. I’d like to think we’ve been doing ok in that regard so far, but happy to take comments.

(Incidentally, there is also a school of thought about recycling and re-using content more, so as not ‘bloat’ your website with URL entries, hence you may see some more experiments around that.)

Promotional Content – Strategy Gamer and Pocket Tactics, for the first time, enjoyed a bit of ‘sponsored’ content recently, for Langrisser Mobile. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a marketing agency gave us some money to talk about their game. You’re likely to see more of this going forward as and when opportunities come up, as it helps us fund ourselves.

I think the most important thing to say about these is that you can treat them like an Ad. It’s essentially what they, and you’ll note that the content was informational, rather than promotional or opinion-led. That wouldn’t be right. We will label all promotional content as such in the body of the text, although I will try at least and keep it semi-relevant. Langrisser, despite being free-to-play (with all the trimmings), is still a turn-based strategy game, for example, which is one of our core genres.

(PT) Dabbling with Free-to-Play – I mean, this isn’t new: I’ve been dabbling in this area content wise pretty much since I got here. While we’ll always make time for premium mobile experiences, the market is changing in ways I don’t think is wise– as a mobile website – to try and resist.

Fortnite especially I think has proven decisive in the role of Free-to-Play in the app marketplace. I mean, if you like that style of game it’s not bad and actually works pretty well on mobile. It’s easy to poo-poo it, but PUBG (the genesis of this battle royale craze) started life as a mod for ArmA, one of the most serious & hardcore military shooters around.

Despite genuine concerns and misgivings about EA’s approach to freemium design, I also honestly believed C&C Rivals was worth covering in the short-term in terms of giving it an honest chance. Dave Neumann wrote some very thought-provoking points on this topic over at Stately Play, but I can’t in good consciousness ignore such a large part of the app market out of hand anymore. There will always be trash we can safely say is not for us as far as legitimate coverage goes, but these more well-meaning attempts at free-to-play also warrant some attention.

On any of the above – and more- please do let me know here or via email if you have any questions, comments or concerns. Everything I do I do for you guys, so you’re perfectly welcome to have your say.

Hopefully you all have a good holiday break, and I’ll see you all in 2019!
"Determining the appropriate level of influence in somebody else's war is never a simple matter."
- Special Circumstances



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