Vox Media, home to sites like SBNation and The Verge, believes the market is underserved, and is betting big with the launch of Polygon, the company's newest property dedicated to highbrow gaming industry coverage.
Video game natives—those who've never known a world without gaming consoles—are all grown up now, and Vox's CEO, Jim Bankoff, wants to bring readers grown-up industry coverage. "The gaming business is enormous, but it is going through some big changes and there's never been a better time to chronicle it," he said.
Armed with an editorial staff of 20, including industry heavy hitters at popular gaming sites like former Joystiq editor in chief Chris Grant, Polygon will provide similar cultural, review and business coverage as The Verge, along with breaking news and long-form features. While the new site will highlight video games from the perspective of the gamer, Polygon will also examine the business side of gaming.
"Polygon is setting out to be the site of record for the industry," chief content officer Marty Moe said. "The wildly popular video game magazines of the past decade have been absolutely demolished as of late and we think the Internet can culitvate that experience and community." Sure, but gaming is already covered exhaustively on the Web, including the aforementioned blogs; Kotaku, a division of Gawker Media, and Joystiq both garner more than 2 million unique visitors per month.
Plus, there are long-standing content sites like Gamespot and Games Radar, as well as a slew of large YouTube channels like Machinima and Yomyomf. And of course, there's category giant IGN, which drew 9.1 million unique visitors in September. According to reports, News Corp. is aggressively looking to unload the site.
In Polygon's case, demographically the new site is in lockstep with Vox's other brands. Both The Verge and SBNation skew toward a male-dominated set, with the target audience between 18 and 49 years old, providing an excellent promotional platform. In fact, some Polygon content has already premiered on The Verge.
Moe and Bankoff believe that, much like readers, advertisers are hungry for a substantive approach to gaming. The site already locked up a prelaunch sponsorship with Microsoft (which is currently sponosoring a behind-the-scenes video look at the Polygon intro) and has launch partnerships with Unilever, the Sony Entertainment Network and Geico. Moe also noted that game studios will be working with the site during the launch of high-profile titles like Assassin's Creed 3 to provide a deep dive into the premiering games.