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  • A Shift in Focus for TGN News and Features

    Hey everyone! Wow, it's been a while since we last had an announcement here, so I thought it was high time I change that.

    As I mentioned in a brief blog post the other day, I will be phasing out the amount of daily news posted at Total Gaming Network. I will not be phasing it out completely. However, I would rather my time be spent more on the creation of original content such as reviews, previews of upcoming games, and perhaps more long-form content.

    I've been thinking about this for a while. As it stands, the only real time I've had to work on reviews has been on the weekend when there isn't really much in the way of any other gaming news coming out. Meaning that when I have reviews to work on, there are weeks where I'm working every day doing "something" for the site. This also means that the number of reviews, and original content in general, is far less than I would like to create.


    Edit to clarify: This simply means I will put my main focus on original content with news as a secondary focus. Before this it was the other way around. This means that news posts will continue but if I have a review that I'm working on, that will receive my immediate attention.

    Why make this change now?

    Well, it's not a decision I'm making as a spur of the moment thing. The sad news is, forums and general gaming news sites have been dying off for quite some time now. With social media being the easy "go to" for developers and publishers to get news out directly to fans, there are fewer and fewer reasons to go to gaming news sites to get that same news. That is why original content is a huge draw for many of the sites that are still around.

    The decline in sites that focused solely on relaying general news has been happening for quite some time now. Gaming news sites used to be absolutely massive. CS-Nation, when it was just a fan site for Counter-Strike news, pulled in a metric ton of daily and monthly visitors. Then came a period when Valve really didn't do much with the franchise and the site started to die. We had to make a change, so we started doing news about all Valve games. Then even that wasn't enough so we started to just do general gaming news. And then social media happened.

    When Facebook decided to start rolling out to the public and then allowing companies to create pages, that was the real beginning of the end. Reddit and Twitter really pushed this new era of game news consumption away from those old-fashioned sites. Many games don't even make use of news sections on their own games' websites anymore, instead opting to post news directly to sites like Reddit.

    Why then should general gaming news sites get visits when consumers can customize their news habits with ease? Consumers can now see the specific news that they want to see immediately from the source. All I do half the time here is get press releases sent to my email or found elsewhere, find a selection of the press release to copy, then I paste it into a news post.

    The only thing that differs one news post here from the post of the same subject on another site is the little piece of original content I often add before and sometimes after the bit that I have copy and pasted. That is the only difference. Then it really just becomes a matter of who manages to post it first and, by proxy, who gets that news feed sent from their site to social media the fastest. Really, it's often a race to get the word out there as fast as possible on these cookie cutter news posts. And let's face it, I'm not really the most punctual one around most of the time. My sleep schedule ensures that I miss out on the morning and sometimes early afternoon news that goes out. I would apologize for this but it's from years of having a totally broken sleep schedule that originally had its roots in anxiety and depression.

    Hell, sometimes you can still be first and lose out to another, larger site, just because one of their viewers decided to post a link to their site on Reddit or retweet to their tens of thousands of followers instead of retweeting your post.

    Another reason, albeit a much smaller reason than the above, is that I have been doing the same thing for 14 years now. I have 333 pages of front page news here. I have over 23,600 posts made here. Keep in mind that I don't know what the real count is given how many database issues we've had over the years (resets, merges, restoring from backups, etc etc.). That is ancient as far as the Internet goes. I just kind of need to cut back. I started with CS-Nation in 2003 as a news poster. Despite all of the changes over these past 14 years, I am still essentially 'just' a news poster. The titles may have changed, though I can essentially call myself whatever I want since I don't really report to anyone else anymore, but the core job hasn't changed much at all. I suppose now I have more direct contact with the people sending me the press releases but that's about it.

    Do I feel confident this change will most definitely help the site? If I'm telling you the truth, then no, I don't. However, given the views I've seen content get here, I don't feel like it's a huge risk at the moment. I will still do "big" news announcements as they come across. I will still post "less" important news on days where I have time. I will still prioritize new information on Battlefield, Call of Duty, and Valve focused titles. If this shift means that individual posts are removed in favor of more frequent "newsbits" or "quickhits" style postings, then so be it. If nothing else, the shift will at least mean I get to do more original content for the site that I hope people enjoy reading.

    I'd also like to invite members here to share their own opinion pieces via our Blog system. All new entries go to the main page via the existing sidebar. It's a great way to share your thoughts on the gaming industry.

    Feel free to post if you have any questions about this or about anything else concerning the site. I'm going to assume that most regulars here probably won't notice too much of a difference in the short term. In the months ahead more changes may be seen once I see how this idea goes, including but not limited to some site and forum changes to better facilitate views on the original content.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: A Shift in Focus for TGN News and Features started by Shawn Zipay View original post
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. K-16's Avatar
      K-16 -
      Oh-kee. I can live with Newsbits/Quickhits.

      Looking forward to your future articles on anything. I enjoyed The Penny-Arcade Report for this exact reason.
    1. Shawn Zipay's Avatar
      Shawn Zipay -
      Edit to clarify: This simply means I will put my main focus on original content with news as a secondary focus. Before this it was the other way around. This means that news posts will continue but if I have a review that I'm working on, that will receive my immediate attention.
    1. cikame's Avatar
      cikame -
      My two main gaming sites are Giant Bomb, which doesn't really deal in news except in their podcasts, and CS-Na... i mean, TGN.
      While the prospect of not receiving some news from here in the future is a little sad, i'm sure any important or just interesting stuff will still be posted :P.

      I should note as an old man (27) i don't use twitter/facebook or browse forums all that often.
    1. dvereb's Avatar
      dvereb -
      I found myself skipping past all the obvious copy/paste anyway, after a while, aside from when it was related to a few specific games I'm interested in. I'm happy to hear you're doing something more exciting and thought-provoking with your time, though. Enjoying your work leads to more enjoyable content! This is one of those sites I don't think I'll ever quit browsing to, even if I had to adjust my habits to type "tot[ENTER]" instead of "csn[ENTER]". I look forward to whatever it is you decide to do, and, please, don't stop doing it!
    1. AzaleaBC's Avatar
      AzaleaBC -
      I hate console-centric sites but like to keep up with PS4 releases via TGN as well as general PC gaming as usual. Like to see what spin you put on stuff, whether it be that dev getting booted from Steam, or whatever
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