Issue 1: Welcome to The Industry
By: Sean O’Neill
21 February 2013:
My Twitter stream explodes with a flurry of panicked updates.
“Did you hear the news?”
Trending topics rise: first UGO, then IGN and soon after, 1UP.
Major publishers, developers and even gaming media outlets are shutting their doors at an alarming pace. Quickly, those reporting on the closures of numerous game developers found themselves writing about their fellow colleagues losing their jobs. As we head into a new generation of game consoles, it’s becoming crystal clear that the technology we use to play games won’t be the only aspect of our industry to see a dramatic change.
I started covering the game industry in an unlikely way. I learned that I have dyslexia when I was very young. For years I had trouble in school, my writing skills were horrible and I grew frustrated with trying to pen my thoughts. It wasn’t until high school where an incredible teacher named Mrs. Farver pushed me to find something I was passionate about, and write about it every day, helping me improve my writing skills through something I love. I took her up on her challenge and started a website that night. Each day I would find something fun to write about and soon I found my writing skills went from horrible to… well, not great, but better.
I knew that I wanted to grow my website and felt it was time to start working with others to do so. I was exploring other websites when I came upon an ambitious gamer named Ken Cauley. Over a ten year period, Ken and I grew our business from one small Gamecube-focused fan site into a network of several sites covering every game console, handheld and even movies and tech. Our largest site, Kombo.com, gathered an incredible staff that delivered some of the finest content on the web. We found ourselves covered in major newspapers like USA Today and The Washington Post and increasingly recognized in the industry we loved.
Yet things were far from perfect. We made a number of mistakes along the way, and my desire to keep up with the likes of veritable empires like IGN or highly trafficked blogs like Kotaku left us gasping for air. I departed from our partnership and soon after Kombo was sold. Many of the staff left to join other major gaming publications. I had failed. My vision for what our site could have been was now lost and I was done with covering the industry I fell in love with since the first time I picked up a NES controller. But every failure leads to a new opportunity.
I received a phone call from one of Kombo’s former staffers, Casey Ayers, about starting a new company. The App Store, and with it official third party development, had just been announced by Apple for iPhone and Casey felt it would be the next big thing. Taking a cue from our gaming roots, we named the company MegatonApps. We soon found ourselves talking app design with Disney Parks, major Vegas hotel chains and pro sports teams, all the while talking hour after hour online about the latest games. We were having fun working on various lifestyle and utility apps, but it was clear our passion for gaming was still there. We knew we wanted to find a way to combine our love of covering games with our new focus on mobile platforms.
At the start of 2013, we began planning a digital magazine that spoke to a gaming audience composed of long-time enthusiasts and industry professionals. Our tastes had changed over the years, and we wanted to put together a publication we would ultimately want to read.
When Casey and I first spoke about the basic concept of The Industry, we knew we didn’t want to make the same mistakes we and others have in the past. We looked at the digital magazine space and were left amazed that many publishers have failed to evolve what a magazine can be. The iPad and Kindle have changed the way we consume information. Yet, over and over, we saw magazines that follow the same formula as their printed companions.
We knew we wanted to develop a magazine that fit the devices we published on. Our first issue is the foundation we hope to build on, evolving how we present each article and finding new ways for you to interact with our content. We also looked at what was being presented. Many publishers operate as if the internet doesn’t exist, let alone on the devices you are reading this on.
We knew it was important that we cut the fat and focus on what we can do well with this format. You won’t be seeing traditional news, reviews or previews in our magazine. There are plenty of great resources for those all over the net that can provide you that information a lot faster then a biweekly magazine.
I know as a gamer I hate when developers pad a game with useless content and we don’t intend to do that to our readers. Each issue will include four to five extended features or editorials that dive deep into the business and culture of gaming. Our goal is to feature many of gaming’s best writers delivering fresh content every two weeks that just wouldn’t fit anywhere else.
We want to create a place where gaming’s best writers and reporters could write that article they have been long dreaming of writing but never could find the time or the correct publication. Too many important and entertaining subjects are skipped over in the race to break news or meet deadlines.
We want to be as transparent as possible with our readership and be a source they can trust. I often hear gamers worry that the content they read is influenced by the ads the sites and magazines they read are covered with.
We set out to build a platform independent of outside advertisements. We wanted our writers to feel like they would be able to write whatever they have to say without feeling like their jobs may be in jeopardy due if they say something a sponsor doesn’t like.
We want to make sure that we reward our contributors, so we’ve set up a pay system that reflects the hard work and effort they put in. This is, more than anything else, why we’ve opted to offer subscriptions: paying for things sometimes feels like an old-fashioned business model, but there’s no more sure-fire and effective way to provide a great reading experience and pay authors what they deserve. Our goal is to offer rates higher than print magazines, and when we get there, it will be a direct result of your support.
We hope to give gamers the kind of coverage they want and deserve: well thought-out articles that explore the culture and business of gaming. We hope to do all of this and a lot more in the coming months and I want to thank you for taking the time to check out our first step toward that goal.
Welcome to The Industry.
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