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I have a blog here on Gamasutra, which makes sense, as I'm the editor-in-chief of the website. But I haven’t really done a good job of using it to talk to the great community we have here (mainly because when I write something, it goes elsewhere on the website). The last time I updated my blog here, it was sometime last year, to let you all know that we have a new "Like" system. It was a real literary milestone.
You may see me interact in comments sometimes on Gamasutra, but blogs are a better place to hang out and chat, right? One thing I'd like to start doing on a regular basis is to be more transparent about what's happening on Gamasutra -- we've got no real dirt to tell you about (sorry, we're boring like that!) and we're not going to tell you the deep, dark secrets of our success and awesomeness. But as journalists who report on this industry, it's good to talk with our readership every now and then about what makes us tick.
One thing that has been on my mind lately are emerging trends and markets, and the way that we cover them. On Gamasutra, we know that something like "The Fundamental Pillars of a Combat System" has a built-in audience, and wide reach. A bunch of humorous game developer "flashcards" penned by Cliff Bleszinski is a no-brainer for our audience. We love those kinds of stories, and will always do them.
But there are topics that we as trade journalists need to identify for you all -- things that you might not be immediately interested in, but we must say, "Hey! Pay attention to this, you might find this valuable."
I'm talking about emerging trends, like social games, back when you could consider that trend "emerging." Back at GDC Austin 2009 (it's now called GDC Online -- hello UBM branding overlords!), I remember when I had to squeeze into a room and stand up against a back wall to watch a session about virtual items for Facebook games. I knew that social games were becoming a big deal, but seeing in person these packed sessions for social games told me that we made the right editorial decision to follow this market closely, and keep you informed about it, well before even the launch of Farmville. (I need to give kudos to Christian Nutt and Leigh Alexander, who I feel were on top of that market from the get-go.)
Anyhow, we're over here looking at all of this dynamic interactive entertainment landscape and thinking "now what?" We've got mobile, a market that was once anemic in terms of games but is now explosive. We now have different territories in the world that are presenting new market opportunities for game makers. At the same time these emerging territories are growing their own game industries. We have HTML5 continuing to develop (I personally love seeing the passionate debate over this technology). There are third-party engines that are continuing to gain prominence. There's free-to-play, connected TVs, the rise of apps and digital storefronts, rapidly-advancing mobile technology, and I could go on.
As EIC of Gamasutra, I love running interesting stories that are about established sections and people of the game industry. But it's also really satisfying when we're able to get our audience interested and excited about new developments, to help our readers look to not just past events and current practices, but also to the opportunities of the future. We'll continue to strive for that.
Since this is intended to be a discussion, I'll just ask if there are any emerging markets and trends that you'd like to see covered more on Gamasutra, that you're not seeing much of currently?
One last thing… on this blog I think this is what I'll do: I'll try to make my posts about what makes us tick at Gamasutra: Details about what motivates us to cover what we cover, some stories that didn't make the cut, maybe some more background to an interview that people seemed to like. Overall, all of Gamasutra's editors will be blogging more often. So keep an eye out!