Some of you may have heard that the site will be undergoing changes soon, and I thought I’d bring you all up to speed on our plans for the site, both in the short and long term.
First, some history. Long-time regulars will remember (often with quite a lot of fondness and nostalgia) the old incarnations of VGC, most notably what many refer to as VGC 1.0 (the blue site) and early 2.0 (the first black site). Those links only give you a rough snapshot, but you get the idea; everything was all in one place and you didn’t have to visit secondary websites to view a simple news post or review.
Well, I’m pleased to announce that the changes we’re going to introduce soon reflect that old ‘all in one place’ concept. Regular users will notice the following changes:
Short Term Plans
VGChartz News, Reviews, Previews and Articles Will Return
gamrReview will be no more. We’re bringing everything back under the VGChartz banner with the help of the awesome TruckOSaurus, the newest member of the site's Admin staff. Most of the staff from gamrReview will be brought over to VGChartz and we’ll be hiring new writers (more on that below).
I’ll be heading up this part of the site with Karl and VGChartz will output its own news, reviews, previews, articles, and sales analysis, so you’ll no longer end up being transferred to another site if you see a story on the front page and want to read it; you’ll get it all on VGC.
One of the other advantages this will bring is the end of duplicate news story posts on the front page. It’s been unavoidable up until now, but we’re well aware of how annoying it is.
These changes will also enable me to be on hand on VGC to thoroughly edit the content we put out, so the quality of all stories published on VGChartz will rise.
Improved Visual Appeal
We’re aware that VGChartz’s news and articles can feel a bit… bland. We’ll be adding banners to all published articles (much like those on gamrReview), and will make greater use of screenshots and artwork from relevant games in the body of the text.
Increased Front-Page Functionality
Drop downs from the 'Article' option at the top of the front page will be introduced, with options for News, Reviews, Previews, Sales, and Articles. Browsing through and finding the content produced for the site will be much easier, and we’ll introduce search filters.
Non-scoring System for Reviews
We’ve (the review team) come to the decision that we should no longer score our reviews. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that scores seems to increasingly detract from the actual written content of game reviews, and also that individual reviewers naturally have different opinions on titles; differences of opinion that we find hard to explain to our readers, especially at GotY time.
Now, we’re well aware that a lot of people either don’t have time or simply don’t want to read a huge wall of text. So we will introduce a tl;dr pros & cons section at the bottom of our reviews, so you can quickly take away the key points from the review without necessarily reading the whole thing.
In the short term we’ll be tagging our newly-written output (news, articles, sales analyses, previews, and reviews) to games in the database, so you’ll be able to access all of the content produced by the site for each given game from its page, easily and quickly. Longer term we hope to bring other improvements to the GameDB.
Medium Term Plans
Once the site is unified and the above is all finished off I’ll be looking to recruit some new writers. The Writer tag on the forums will have an actual purpose again, and taking on new Writers will provide an opportunity for regular forum goers to earn a little bit of cash by writing about things that interest them.
So if you have good English skills and want to write for VGC look out for a recruitment thread in the near future. If you have an interest in sales analysis in particular, start flexing your skills by creating interesting sales threads on the forums – it’ll prove you’re serious about writing about sales and will demonstrate your ability to deliver interesting articles.
Article Archive Transfer
We’ll be bringing across all of the content in the gamrReview archive to VGChartz. This will be quite a large, time-consuming undertaking, but it will improve the content on offer on pages in the VGChartz GameDB.
General Site Improvements & Bug Fixes
Older users will remember Talonman, who used to be a site Admin way back. A VGC regular with great web development skills, Talonman brought a huge number of improvements to the site, casually fixing bugs that popped up and adding awesome new features that users suggested (the VGChartz buddy, for example – that was Seece’s idea and Talonman quickly implemented it. The site genuinely wouldn’t be the same without it). Because he was a regular user himself he was better placed than an external hire to make changes that dramatically improved the site.
We don’t have Talonman’s expertise to draw on anymore, but we do now have Trucks to fill the void (so don’t go scaring him off, people! Be nice to Truck if you want those little annoyances you’ve come to tolerate on the forum to finally be fixed!).
So that’s about it for now. Hopefully most of you will be happy with these changes. Personally, I’m extremely excited about the future for the site. I think all of this added together will make for a massive improvement to VGChartz.
I’d also like to say a huge thanks to Truck for taking on this project and being equally excited to make some big improvements to the site.
Edit - you can follow Truck's progress here.