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From the Editor: What Gamasutra's growth says about our readership

From the Editor: What Gamasutra's growth says about our readership Exclusive

April 11, 2012 | By Kris Graft




[What exactly does Gamasutra's latest website traffic record say about our readership? Editor-in-Chief Kris Graft participates in a bit of healthy boastfulness as the site hits a new milestone.]

Today, UBM TechWeb, the mighty parent of Gamasutra, Game Developer magazine, Game Developers Conference and a whole lot of other business events and publications, announced that in March 2012, Gamasutra.com exceeded 4 million page views for the first time since the site launched back in 1997.

That's up a healthy 21 percent year-on-year, while unique visitors hit 1.2 million, a 35 percent increase compared to March 2011. That's pretty good for a B2B video game industry website. (Well, that's technically the best, but who's keeping track?!)

So, I'm no huge fan of arbitrary metrics goals, but I am a fan of horn-tooting, especially when it's on behalf of the editorial team at Gamasutra. What these numbers provide our team is simple validation that there is an audience within this industry that wants something more than the latest shaky rumors and speculation, more than meaningless out-of-context quotes, and more than the regurgitation of marketing materials.

Like I said in the official press release, the growth in readership is just a happy side-effect of our editors, reporters and contributors creating and curating quality journalistic content. Every day, even with the smallest news briefs, we really think about news value, and how that affects the lives of those who read Gamasutra. It's a basic concept, but it is something that takes a conscious effort to execute on. So it's nice to see that those efforts seem to equate to growth.

Looking at our top two most-viewed stories from just last week reminded me of why I love Gamasutra and its readers. While a lot of game news consumers were eating up rumors and sexified hype, our audience was reading Jason Johnson's interview with Robin Arnott, developer of Deep Sea -- an experimental game that is all sound and no graphics -- and psychologist Jamie Madigan's story about the Dunning-Kruger effect in multiplayer games.

Those were our top two stories last week. You're all such nerds, and I love it.

And in March, our record month, it's probably no surprise that the top story was the highly personal account of Shay Pierce, who made the decision to pass on a job with Zynga when it acquired his employer, OMGPOP. I was fortunate to have become acquainted with Shay over email in recent months, and was happy that he felt Gamasutra would be the most appropriate venue to tell his story, and that we would respect his story.

We did not re-angle Shay's piece as "Zynga is evil," as many websites across the internet did in obvious attempts at hit-chasing. We knew that Gamasutra's readers would realize that the story wasn't about that. Rather, it was about one person coming to a crossroads in his career in the games industry, and weighing his own values against those of a monolithic corporation. Many of you in the industry can relate to that, or will at some point in your careers.

Following Shay's piece last month was another story that defines Gamasutra and its readership. Our news director Frank Cifaldi spent a couple weeks investigating the North American release date for Super Mario Bros. What he ended up finding was just further proof that video game history preservation is in a pretty sad state. The fact that this story was so well-trafficked showed that people appreciate a well-researched, well-written, in-depth story, even if it is about a rather obscure topic. I was happy to see it do well, and also happy to not have to constantly hear about Super Mario Bros. in work chat any longer.

Those are just a couple examples of stories that our readers have hooked on to. There are also the great postmortems that come from developers, in-depth stories about game design, programming and other disciplines, and interviews with some of the most interesting minds in game development.

I joined Gamasutra three years ago, and became editor-in-chief almost exactly a year ago. I'm very fortunate that when I got here, there was already a strong foundation of quality writing. Today's lineup includes features director Christian Nutt, news director Frank Cifaldi, senior editor (and Game Developer magazine EIC) Brandon Sheffield, our prolific editors-at-large Leigh Alexander and Chris Morris, and our news editors Mike Rose, Eric Caoili and Tom Curtis. That's not to mention the many contributors we work with, and our Gamasutra bloggers who make this site unique.

We're not perfect, and there's still plenty to improve upon, and it's great to know that there are writers at other outlets doing quality journalism who keep us on our toes, and urge us to strive to be better. Thanks for letting me indulge a bit, and most of all, thanks to all of Gamasutra's readers.


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