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Press Reset - Episode 13: 'Still Alive'

A final note from Press Reset Director Stephen Greenwood: Four months ago, I thought I knew pretty much all there was to know about websites. You create some mockups, you write some code, you press publish and then make a "Hello World" joke. I admittedly knew very little about the precise coordination between all the members of a good editorial staff, the revision process of the design team, the dev team scrums, the thoughtful integration from a dedicated sales team and the digital tools used to improve workflows. I didn't appreciate the work behind creating a video game review, getting a scoop before another outlet or working with a game studio to craft a feature piece. I didn't know the elation of a site launch, the frantic bug fixes afterward, the exhaustion of covering a trade show...
87 Comments

Press Reset - Episode Twelve: 'Inquire Within'

A note from Polygon Publisher Marty Moe: If there is a single most-important lesson that I've learned in over 10 years in the digital media business running and launching journalistic websites, it is the paramount importance of the editorial leadership team. Very simply put, if you do not have a great team — strong individuals who thrive on working and collaborating with other A-players to achieve a shared vision — you cannot have a great site or build a powerful brand. So when we decided about 18 months ago that we wanted to build the next great video games site, my partners Jim Bankoff (Vox Media CEO), Josh Topolsky (The Verge's Editor-in-Chief) and I were very clear that we would only pursue the project if we could put the right editorial team together. And all three of us were...
63 Comments

Press Reset - Episode 11: 'Booth Companions'

A note from Russ Frushtick, Senior Editor and Founding Editor of Polygon:Video game trade shows are equal parts awesome and horrible. Even after ten years of covering this business, I still get excited in the weeks leading up to a big show. There's still an element of mystery. Of unknown games being revealed. Of potential stories being covered. Every big name in the games industry is in the same building for a few days and, from that, unexpected things can happen. It's tremendously exciting. The downside is that trade shows routinely make me physically ill. It's a draining week, filled with 18-hour work days. You're constantly surrounded by wet, smelly bodies and privacy is a pipe dream. The more you hammer away at stories, the more they keep coming in, a seemingly unending tide...
88 Comments

Press Reset: Episode Ten - 'Post-Launch'

A message from Pablo Mercado, Director of Technology at Vox Media: Just after we turned Polygon live I asked a developer friend of mine over IM, "So, what do you think of the site?" Her response was: "loads fast; looks great in IE." Reading those words was like hearing the best kind of dance music. Suddenly the stress and exhaustion that had been building death stars in my brain was dispelled, replaced with a big smile and desire to do things like jump up and down, drink whiskey and verbalize exclamation points. Those were great words to hear because they meant that our many, many hours of hard work had paid off, in the way that makes the most difference to our writers and readers: We launched a site that works well and is beautiful. Launching a project is a fantastic feeling. The...
133 Comments

Press Reset: Episode Nine - '#POLYSOON'

A note from Chris Grant, Editor-in-Chief of Polygon: When Justin McElroy and I first started thinking about Polygon over a year ago, we didn't have the site we launched today in mind. In fact, I think it would be fair to say that what we initially envisioned was far less ambitious. But something funny happens when you're surrounded by really talented people who see more in your idea than you see yourself. The team at Vox Media, everyone from CEO Jim Bankoff to Chief Content Officer Marty Moe to The Verge's Joshua Topolsky, all saw a huge opportunity in gaming. And as we began hiring what would become the Polygon team, our original vision was augmented with their goals and ambitions. What we were left with was a massive project. One that, thankfully, our unflappable product team never...
62 Comments

Press Reset: Episode Eight - 'TL;DR'

A note from the Features Editor of Polygon, Russ Pitts: The first time I wrote about video games for profit was pure luck. It was 2003. I was unemployed. I'd quit a job working in television and was supposedly writing a book, but really I was downloading torrents of video games off the internet and playing when I should have been writing. Eventually my conscience got the better of me and I decided to buckle down and actually do some writing. Not on the book I was working on, of course. I can't actually even remember what it was supposed to have been about. Something about highways and growing older. Boring. No, I wrote about video games. A website I followed held a story contest. I entered. The prize was a copy of Tropico 2. The assignment: Write about a good gaming memory. I...
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106 Comments

Press Reset: Episode Seven - 'FunFactor™'

A note from Arthur Gies, Reviews Editor: I'm writing this at 11:45 p.m. the night before this episode of the documentary goes live. Both Phil and I have been pulling 80-hour weeks since the beginning of September, performing the video game site equivalent of herding cats. This is the first chance I've had to write this, and there's still more left to do. We're both exhausted, and reviews season? Well, this year it goes long, thanks to a new console courtesy of Nintendo. I think it's easy to lose sight of, watching this episode of Press Reset, so I feel it bears clarification: Writing reviews is the best part of the job for many members of the video game press. I know it is for me, and I think I can speak for Phil as well. I love reviewing games, figuring out how they tick, talking...
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72 Comments

Press Reset: Episode Six - 'Hot Scoops'

A note from Brian Crecente, News Editor: There was a time so very long ago, but somehow still less than a year ago, that I wondered what I'd do with all of those months facing me before the launch of Polygon. I drew up elaborate plans for elaborate stories and plotted out research projects to fill what I assumed would be magnificent gulfs of, perhaps not leisure, but certainly journalism at a relaxed pace. That illusion lasted maybe a week. Before I knew it Griffin McElroy and I were hammering out responsibilities, researching news-gathering methodology and newsroom management technology. We were discussing style and ethics. There were hundreds of applications to sort through, journalists to interview. We were hiring. We were training. We were writing. In months, we went from a...
88 Comments

Press Reset: Episode Five - "#firstworldproblems"

A note from Justin McElroy, Managing Editor: Oh no, here comes Vicky from accounting. You don't know why she keeps coming to your desk to have you ogle her Hunky Firemen with Adorable Cats calendar. You don't even know why they make the thing. She flips it to October, eager to show off the HSD with the DSH (hot, studly dish with the domestic short hair). You tense, preparing whatever gland that secretes your ability to feign interest for the challenge of its life. Now, imagine a world … without Vickys. Hello, I'm Justin McElroy, and I'm the managing editor of Polygon and I've been managing teams remotely for nearly five years. As you'll see in today's entry of Press Reset, it presents a unique set of challenges, most noticeably to communication. It's a daily struggle to avoid...
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87 Comments

Press Reset: Episode Four - 'But wait, there's more'

A note from Jane Levin, Senior Director - Sales Operations: In Media, us Ad Sales folks are used to being behind the scenes — and usually that's fine by us. Our jobs, when done correctly, are supposed to be a part of the whole operation without appearing to be a part of the whole operation. But the truth is you can't do what we do every day and not care deeply about the brands, about the editors, and about the content. We have to believe in it because we preach it, every day, to anyone and everyone who will listen. As a sales group we're not just responsible for our own goals, but for making it possible to keep delivering the highest quality content and technology to our loyal and passionate readership. It is a responsibility we take seriously. Being a part of the Polygon launch has...
72 Comments

Press Reset: Episode Three - 'Tighten Up the Graphics'

A note from Brenton Laverty, lead designer for Polygon: In the days leading up to my transition to Vox Media from life at a digital agency, I hadn't a clue what I'd be working on. I assumed I'd be helping out with visual odds-and-ends on SB Nation or The Verge, and that Polygon's design and development was already in full-swing production with Vox once again collaborating with a famous NYC agency. That wasn't the case. Vox would be creating Polygon completely in-house, leveraging the incredible progress on the upcoming SB Nation relaunch as a guide to designing a fully-responsive, device-agnostic news outlet at massive scale. Finding out that I'd be working on Polygon filled me with excitement and a little bit of terror: these are gamers we're going to be creating a home for after...
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116 Comments

Press Reset: Episode Two - 'But can it run Crysis?'

A note from Justin Glow, product manager for Polygon: When Chris Grant and the Grantettes joined Vox Media to create a website about video games, I was excited. Not only to work with Chris again (we both saluted the Running Man every morning at AOL together), but also to dive deep into a project at Vox with the hindsight of having built The Verge. We’ve learned a lot since then, and I was excited to jump in and start working on Polygon. We started with a project kick-off in May, where the high-level idea of Polygon was pitched to everyone on the Vox product team, and we worked as a group to put together a minimum viable product for launch. (Fixed timeline means fixed scope.) We then transitioned to the solution design phase, where broad ideas are turned into realistic plans,...
185 Comments

Press Reset Episode One: 'You've got to be certifiable'

A brief history of video game publications, and why there's never a good time to launch a new one.A note from 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...
175 Comments

Press Reset: The story of Polygon - Official trailer

Press Reset tells the story of building Polygon: the technology, the business, the website. Vox Media believes the time is right to start something new. Audiences have fragmented. Advertising has changed. Technology has evolved. Polygon is a collection of some of the best writers writing about video games. It is a website being built using the newest technology on the web. It is an idea that there is room for something different, something its creators can believe in. Something they have gathered together to try and build. Something they really hope works. Press Reset: The story of Polygon premieres with weekly episodes Wednesday, August 29th, concluding with the launch of the Polygon website later in 2012. The website hasn't been built. The story hasn't been written. You will...
192 Comments

Announcing 'Press Reset: The story of Polygon'

In April of 2012, a group of writers sat together for the first time, on a stage in a convention center in Boston. They were nervous. Excited. Maybe a little scared. They had come together, bringing with them a combined half century of experience in video games media, to do one thing: start something new. On that stage, on that day in Boston, they announced the formation of a new website; the culmination of months of research, debate, and hard work. There they introduced Polygon to the world. Polygon is a new kind of website, built on new technology, backed by a new kind of media company. Its designers hope that the new technology driving it will turn web publishing on its ear. Its backers, Vox Media, hope their business model will wake up the web to the possibilities of...
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