Polygon’s Human Angle Series Attracted Over 200K Video Views

Vox Media show profiles stars behind video games like Red Dead Redemption

When Polygon—Vox Media's video game-focused property—was being conceived, its founders wanted the site to be more than just a destination for the latest surface-level gaming news.

One gap Polygon wanted to fill was "long form journalism more about the people behind the video games and less about the technology and the pixels," explained Russ Pitts, a co-founder of Polygon and its current features editor.

Enter Human Angle, a 12-part series on the intersection of video games and everyday life that concluded last month. Internet Explorer sponsored Human Angle, which has roots in another series called Press Reset (also sponsored by IE), which the site produced around the launch of Polygon.

Each installment of Human Angle contains a long form text feature and a video package. The last episode, which was published on June 19, profiled Rob Wiethoff, an actor who spent about a decade in Los Angeles struggling to break into show business. He eventually booked a prominent gig playing the character John Marston in the game Red Dead Redemption. And after the game was released, Wiethoff hung up his acting cap and moved with his wife back to his hometown of Seymour, Indiana.

The Wiethoff video stretches on for nine minutes, but footage of the ex-actor tearing up while discussing his love for his family makes for compelling Web video.

Watch the episode:

Overall, Human Angle videos racked up 231,877 views, and the series received 7,885 shares on social media and 1,141 comments, according to Vox internal data.

"All along it's been extremely positive," Pitts said of the reaction to the series. That kind of reception is pretty rare in video game media, Pitts added, because the audience tends to be contentious.

The response to the Wiethoff episode was especially enthusiastic, added Chad Mumm, Vox Media's creative director. "Everybody's asking, 'When is season two happening?'" They're already working on it, he said.

Vox remains committed to high-quality Web video, Mumm said. "It is as important as anything else we're doing," he said, which goes for both the editorial and sales teams. "From a pure sales perspective, it's an incredibly valuable product," he said. "It's in high demand."

The company plans to produce more TV-quality video work, Mumm added. "We always have new projects in the hopper," he said.

Watch Vox's overview of Human Angle: