Media and the video game industry: the story of Polygon

At L.T. Sachs, we are not gamers. We don’t write code, we don’t design games. But we know a thing or two about media, pop culture and growth.

Since we became an investor and board member of Amplitude Studios — and an active member of its community, reading all the threads written on its 100,000-members forum, and pretty much everything else written about Amplitude — we grew into meta-experts of the video game industry, and daily readers of Polygon.

Polygon was founded in 2012 in partnership with Vox Media, around the same time as Amplitude Studios’ first game Endless Space was released. Polygon covers games, artists, fans, technologies and the gaming culture. It delivers fast, comprehensive news as well as in-depth feature stories. And most importantly, it has a tone, collecting some of the best writing about video games.

We were thoroughly interested by Press Reset, a beautifully made documentary series of thirteen short videos telling the story of building Polygon: the technology, the business, the website. According to Stephen Greenwood, director of Press Reset:

When the idea of making a series that would eventually become Press Reset was brought to me, I saw it as a unique opportunity to witness the birth of a new thing from the inside. Today, we have the luxury of interacting with products and services without having to consider where they come from, or be aware of the inspiration, creativity and compromises that shaped those things we enjoy. Yet now, more than ever, we see ideas springing up across the world and get to assist in the funding or providing feedback that will eventually bring those ideas to life.

Rarely do we get a chance to see the in-between: The late nights; the frustration; teams working together from remote locations; features that didn’t make the cut; last-minute changes; near-derailment; minor victories.

With Press Reset, we get that chance. The Polygon team is working to build what they hope will be a big, new thing. They’re coming from different backgrounds, with different philosophies and different areas of expertise, but they all share one thing: the desire to start with a blank page and make something. Press Reset will be the record of their experiment. (…) We want to show the iterations and decisions being made about an unfinished product in near real-time; to study where games journalism has come from and where it has the potential to go; to talk to the designers, developers, sales team, advertisers, and writers that are ultimately responsible for Polygon’s future success or failure.

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Polygon’s videos show the process of building something new, the frustrations, the exhilaration, the successes (the move into a new office building!), the organization and the chaos that come with creativity — what  Rita J. King calls “all the tedious little steps that take an idea from imagination to reality”. Amplitude Studios has lived through the same process over the last three years.

The stakes are high:

Which brings us to today, a time of shift. Fast blogs creating more original material. Gargantuan networks that are breaking news. Magazines testing their hands online and in apps. Everyone learning from each other. Game Writing is stronger than ever, and games are covered in almost every conceivable way. There’s no shortage when it comes to information about games. Major gaming sites get tens of millions of hits a month. Gaming grows every year. More gamers, more success, more influence. The stakes have never been higher…

Press Reset: Episode One – “You’ve Got To Be Certifiable”

You can should watch the Press Reset videos.

L.T. Sachs is an exhilarated member of Amplitude Studios’ Board of Directors.

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