In which we announce some pretty big changes

The time has finally come for us to start publicly talking about the new GameSpot that we've been building, so gather 'round to hear about some of the biggest changes!

Greetings GameSpotters,

Over the last few months, our community team has been dropping hints (or, I guess, just saying outright) that we were working on a brand new GameSpot site. Well, the time has come to finally let the cat out of the box that we didn't really put him in so please don't call the SPCA on us or anything, and begin to let you know about some of the changes that we're making.


Don't look at me, he totes put himself in that box.

So close it in bro, 'cause it's about to get real.

A Whole New World

To put things delicately, GameSpot as you know it is getting up there in the years. Sure, we've thrown a fresh coat of paint on it a few times, but inside, it's very much the same it was 15 years ago. Internally, we even use the same content management system that we've had since the beginning, which means that it can often take us longer to publish a story than it takes us to write it. Think about that for a moment. Let it stew. Pretty dumb, right?

So, like Andrew Ryan, we chose to do the impossible and build a brand new GameSpot from scratch. We've spent a lot of time in the last year planning, designing, and working on this, and it's time to start talking about it.

Beta Time

To that end, we're announcing a beta testing program for the new GameSpot. Beta participants will be the first to see what we're working on and be able to provide direct feedback that we will use to help improve our work in the future. This select group will also receive early access to the new site when we launch it in the coming weeks.

The first wave of beta invitations have already been sent out, and we'll be constantly expanding the group over the coming weeks, so keep an eye on your email!


Beta invitations, man.

A select few of you have already been hand picked to participate in the first wave of a beta program for the new site. This group will get exclusive first access to see what we're working on and be able to provide direct feedback that we will use to further improve our work.

All Things Must End

Since we're starting from scratch, we have had to make some tough calls as to what features and functionality we're going to carry over, and while I'd love to tell you that ALL OF THE THINGS have made the cut, I just can't do it.

And so with that said, the following features will not be making the transition to the new site:

1) Unions and User Created Boards

This may or may not be a surprise to you, but is not without good reason. Over the years we've had many proposed fixes for Unions, including a 100+ page document that was passed around internally, and the unfortunate reality is that we don't have the time or resources to dedicate to making these sorts of changes happen.

This is especially true when you take into consideration Union usage statistics--on a website that gets well north of 100 million pageviews a month, Unions contribute just over one quarter of one percent of that.

Now, obviously mistakes were made on our part, and the current usage stats are a reflection of that, but at the end of the day we need to make sure that we can properly maintain and support all of our features so we don’t end up with things that are busted and unloved. To that end, we have decided to focus on our core features--the ones the vast majority of you guys depend on--and not to bring over Unions to the new GameSpot.

As for User Created Boards, there's a lot of crossover in terms of functionality between these and Unions, and without the one we won't have the other.

AUGUST 22 UPDATE: A lot of you have expressed disappointment that Unions will be going away (some of you have even signed a petition to keep them around!), and while we totally understand your frustration, we will not be able to keep Unions around.

That said, what we CAN do is offer Union leaders an opportunity to have their Unions converted into standard, public forums on the new site. This would, of course, mean that they lose the ability to control who can post in their forums, but it would ensure that all existing forum threads would stick around, and their communities would continue to live on, albeit in a different format. We'll be finalizing some details on this and reaching out to Union leaders soon.

We also intend to open up a set of brand-new lifestyle forums on popular topics to allow for wider diversity and to create new communities. We'll have more details on this in the future as well.

2) Downloads

Back when I first started here nearly seven years ago, downloads were a huge part of GameSpot. Over the years though, this has changed, and file downloads such as demos, patches, mods, and map pack downloads are no longer a focus of what we do, in part due to platforms such as Steam which have made the necessity for such services largely irrelevant. In the new GameSpot, we will not be offering file downloads at all.

This will also apply to videos as we shift to streaming-only video distribution. Again, this is both a reflection of usage stats and how the online world itself has changed as the result of the influence of YouTube, Netflix, and others. Plus, you have to admit that the proliferation of Wi-Fi and mobile web has made the need to download videos to watch them later sorta pointless.

We will still be supporting HD video downloads for our still-active Total Access members until those benefits expire in February 2014.

3) Certain advanced forum settings, such as the ability to set forum topic sort order, posts per page, and custom username colors

I don't really have anything to add here, so have a corgi puppy.


Via @EmergencyPuppy

4) Member Levels, Points, and Emblems

As with the rest of GameSpot, we're going to be starting from scratch with member levels, points, and emblems in an entirely new system that unfortunately won't be available for launch.

What this means is that when we make the transition, all of this data will be frozen in place and migrated over for existing members to show off in a "trophy room" in their profile pages. When our new system (which we'll be sharing more details on at a later date) is ready, this data will be used to grant bonuses in much the same way that porting over a save file from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2 worked.

5) Online Indicator for friends

This will be restored post-launch, but it's not something that we'll have right away.

6) Forum Signatures

These aren't being removed, but they will certainly be changing (for the better):

  • A maximum of 500 characters will be allowed
  • A maximum of one image with a height up to 125px tall will be allowed
  • Animated GIFs will no longer be allowed--if one is specified, only the first frame will be displayed

Lastly, everyone will also be able to choose whether or not they see signatures while browsing the forums.

Taking the Show on the Road

Over the coming weeks, we'll be reaching out for your feedback through a variety of channels, including our beta group, more posts like this, and a series of weekly Google Hangout sessions so we can show off bits and pieces of the new site and answer questions, Ask Me Anything-style. Plus, I can promise that they'll be goofy and fun!

The first of these hangouts will be taking place this Thursday, August 22, at 1pm PDT.

GameSpot is changing in a huge way for the better, and we're hoping that you're as excited about it as we are, so stay tuned for more, and prepare your questions for this week's Hangout, which we'll post more details about shortly.


It's baller time.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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1201 comments
200006
200006

I used to be able to keep a record of all my games easily on GameSpot. You have destroyed the list feature, which is the main reason I used your site.


'It's baller time.'

More like, balls up time!

wejj
wejj

Gamespot must by now realize that the new website is considered a disaster by its users.  Question is -- will Gamespot acknowledge the mistakes and make some obvious changes or will it stick to its guns and try to weather the storm?  I think it all depends on whether the decision makers conclude the new site generates more revenue than the old.....   

Samet_61
Samet_61

How can i sort the games according to their genres? Am i not able to see the simple option and use it or is the website totally fucked up now?

J_P-
J_P-

I do not like the changes, does everything have to be a social networking site like FB now? :P

phbz
phbz

My requests:  :)

Spot dumbing down the score system. 

Consider creating a section for GS users to share/show their own indie games. 


Carribean_Cool
Carribean_Cool

Removing Unions and Downloads? Those are what made this site so unique and special. I had a blast here during 2005-2009.  I also hated how they replaced the old game scoring system. |Remember how the game review score was based on the 5 categories of graphics, sound, gameplay, replay value and tilt. Why remove that? It was perfect. 

dragonfly110
dragonfly110

I barely post here anymore anyways(which is a shame, I was pretty addicted to this site for some odd years), but the idea of removing .gif functionality in 2013 is oddly hilarious to me.

soulless4now
soulless4now

I just wanted you guys to fix the glitches, but now you're saying silly things like no gifs? Really?! I've been here nearly 10 years and this has to be some of the worst decisions that have been made for this site.  

DeadManRollin
DeadManRollin

Why, exactly are you changing your site? To make more money? I can tell you for sure, things won't improve. Even if the traffic contribution was less than 1 percent, unions were one of the few things that differentiated gamespot from a plethora of generic gaming websites. If it's going away, I am also going away. 

This is coming from a daily active user who joined your site in Nov 23, 2003. Apart from vacations and extreme busy times, I have visited my union every day since it was founded, and I hate you for taking this place away from me. You are almost acting like EA. 

linkdarkside
linkdarkside

so from a unique gaming website, gamespot want to become  just another gaming website?


also the sig part doesn't make sense people that have slow internet now are the minority and gif in sigs been part of internet pop culture for a big wile now.

Zetsuie
Zetsuie

No more downloads? okay the ONLY thing making me mad is that..

iowastate
iowastate

I missed the invitation due to an illness in the family - just now went back to clean up all the emails I haven't bothered to check for the past couple weeks and there it was.       I would have like to be in the beta but it is too late now so I am just supporting Gamespot from out here and telling people to be patient, wait and see and quit jumping to conclusions based on rumor.

acd2
acd2

Please don't take away video downloads! I often like to stream videos, but I love being able to download them when I want to be able to watch with better audio/video quality and without network issues that can impact a live stream. The video downloads is one of the key reasons why I come to GameSpot.

-Fromage-
-Fromage-

I dont know how big 125px tall is..

Nightmare-_-
Nightmare-_-

the day that everyone fear finally came.

Slashless
Slashless

Well that all sounds awful. Good job Gamespot. lol. Glad I won't be visiting that site.

SaintJimmmy
SaintJimmmy

I'm really unhappy about this.

I'm used to the site the way it is that's why I've stayed for the past 6 years fairly actively I check up on this site.

I really do like things the way they are.

If you do implement these changes I will be making serious consideration to finally jump ship over to the giant bomb.


On a side note: don't even think about taking away my meaningless level 36 radicial ninja rank for your trophies

The meaningless level system on this site is wonderful and does not need to be changed it grows on you.

Tidal_Abyss
Tidal_Abyss

I'd like to add if something needed changing it's this commenting system- (I could be here all night saying why but we all know anyway). See the twt/fb- on this site- it's a deal, which is why it won't go away.

Tidal_Abyss
Tidal_Abyss

lol, well, no point in complaining -other than for those that need to vent. I've already been coming here less and had friends leave completely- I've been less active because the site keeps changing -for the worse, & that's why some of my friends have moved onto greener pastures. I wouldn't be quick as some are to jump on the staff members, since it was probably the suits that looked at numbers and made the call and sent them here like a scapegoat into this den of disapproval, and there's no way they can agree with you, which some very well might, or it's their job. So try to be sensitive- do you actually think every gs employee likes this? Besides, it's a done deal, yeah of course it should've been handled well, which it wasn't, but it's not going to change now- doesn't matter how much we dislike it. (Just really feels like to me that some out of touch suit(s) is at the root of it all- it's like ea in game journalism lol- and provokes same reaction). I'm level30, I don't see me getting back to that in a site like this and I have too many games to relist if that gets wiped. I wish they didn't ditch uploading pictures as well, as I used them for screenshots to support my reviews/game wallpapers. Not much left.

RicanV
RicanV moderator

Please remove Facebook comments. They are not just annoying anymore. They are a hinderance, slowing down comment posts and nor can an active conversation be had with them.

Devvy01
Devvy01

another nail in the coffin... anyone really bothered?

Ardain
Ardain

NNNNOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Daavpuke
Daavpuke

Unions were the one reason why I started using Gamespot, started connecting with people on Gamespot and found a home to stay on Gamespot. Us using it less had nothing to do with the unions themselves, but the gross mismanagement Gamespot performed over the years, in favor of other, more prioritized updates. The end of unions is just about the end of an era for me then. Sad. It was the one thing that made this website excel above any other. I suppose a homogenized industry isn't only tangible in games, but the ones supporting them as well.

Axass
Axass

Farewell Gamespot, once the change takes place we won't see each other ever again. It's been fun.

chaoscougar1
chaoscougar1

What I find ironic
And somewhat amusing
Is that from what I can see, most people are displeased by the changes (Both on this topic and in OT)
Seems to me like the intelligent thing to do would have been to run some of these ideas past the forums most dedicated fanbase (Majority in OT, System Wars and select Unions)
Instead it appears you got a room full of staff members and brainstormed ideas on how to "improve" the site, all the while forgetting that most of you peasants don't actually use the forums
And all you got left with is a big "fvck you" to the veterans of GS
Nicely done

ClaudeLv250
ClaudeLv250

Unions have been neglected for so long that I never actually expected GS to revive them.

angelbless
angelbless

Im glad we have been heard about the unions thing.. really.. but the level issues still bother me.
I was wondering, have you played an RPG for .. lets say 400hrs, make it to the last level, killed all the mini bosses,got all the items/summons/accesories/weapons, got all the trophies and then... suddenly get your save file corrupted and lost everything? This feels something like this... what would you prefer? to start over? and what about all your effort?

mccoyca112
mccoyca112

Not sure if disappointed, or cautiously optimistic...

Vkain
Vkain

If I have to put up my game lists all over again and if user reviews get wiped out also then I too am not bothering signing on again.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

ok so the unions have been updated....why do i have to start over from scratch with levels?

robotopbuddy
robotopbuddy moderator moderator

A shame to see unions/UCBs go, but admittedly they've reached a state of decay that it's not really worth trying to bring them back any more - they've simply been left to rot for too long now. I hope posts per page will be a significant number, that or page load times will be extremely low, I use 50 per page and have regularly considered manually upping it further because aside from image heavy threads it's more convenient for me to have them all load on one page. That may not be the case for others mind you.

About time the level system was done away with, especially with the about of weird bugs it's had in this past year making it utterly meaningless even to those that did care about levels beforehand...points were obviously always hidden and just determined levelling and how moderation affected your levels., and emblems have been hidden away ever since they were moved to fuse really, only the 1st few are shown and a lot of the time they're random ones that disappear and reappear constantly or a few preset ones that aren't of any significant importance beyond singularly position ones like the staff emblem, the moderator emblems, and the TA/standard user/etc emblems - with TA effectively being on it's deathbed with a timer set in place for the removal of remaining benefits.

Did anyone actually use those online indicators? I don't think I've ever paid attention to them after the initial release..and on release they appeared to be buggy at times as well.

As for forum sigs, that sounds rather restrictive compared to the current sigs...that may be for the better though, especially when it comes to reducing page load times without removing sigs altogether - will avatars still allow gifs? I don't really feel like changing mine but it's not nearly as neat without the walking animation. Mine in particular is pretty well optimised for the site, but that's obviously not the case for everyone with an animated avatar.

At the very least the remade site should have a lot less bugs that the current one, which has accrued quite a lot of them that don't seem to want to go away over the years. It'll be interesting to see what new features are added as well..I assume the backend is being updated and just various information ported over this time rather than it being yet another layer of paint judging by this article.

Ehggsz
Ehggsz

Get rid of "Trophy Room".  I can already tell you it's only going to be used by "just over one quarter of one percent".

You should probably do away with levels.  We don't need them.  Emblems are pretty dumb, too.  And I don't even know what "points" are.

Implement a better way of tracking user participation.  Black and white, by-the-books.  Most people do not care about profile progress.

Sorry for the double post, but my time for editing ran out as I was typing.

Ehggsz
Ehggsz

Get rid of "Trophy Room".  I can already tell you it's only going to used by "just over one quarter of one percent".

iowastate
iowastate

most of the people here don't have any patience. 

Tech Support has a large enough work load without catering to extra load for special requests and doing things out of order.      is it that big a deal to wait just a little?

I know  I'm not the only one who can remember the days before we  had any unions or blogs and Gamespot was my favourite site then.

unions are an add-on like levels and UCBs.  they are just for fun but not necessary in the least.    I am quite frankly, and not for the first time, a bit disappointed in a large segment of the community here.

nate1222
nate1222

In all honesty, I don't blame GS for the changes.

The internet in general has been getting more restrictive lately. Users using Copyrighted stuff for their sigs and such would put GS in the middle of current legal woes among online services. Copyrights exist to protect the profits of the owners (even if the owners are big businesses who didn't actually create the material). So we're eventually going to see a SOPA-ish act passed. It's only a matter of time. GS is wise to cover their ass in advance.

As far as unions? I haven't bothered with them in months, despite being an officer in two. When I was still visiting unions, only a handful of the SAME PEOPLE were even posting. It's become a waste of data flow and server traffic.

I don't bother with the internet near as much as I once did. Between big brother using it for another spy tool, trolls, ad banners, bought-out journalism...it's become a lot of what I don't like about TV anymore. I've been back into lifting weights and writing lyrics over the past few months.

michaelP4
michaelP4 moderator

I'm very pleased GameSpot has listened to its users regarding unions. This is an excellent result. Thanks Lark! Lead the way to a new GS! :D 

Bzilla56
Bzilla56

Kinda off topic, but just wondering:

When is Gamespot gonna do another "All-Time Greatest ___ ____"?

angelbless
angelbless

No unions? after more than 7  years invested in the Final Fantasy Fans Union and its roots?... Starting from scratch in my level and emblems? OMG!!! you cant be serious guys.

Ive been around here as member for 10 years (and as a lurker for some years added to that) and I seriously thing you are getting it wrong with these two points. 

Yeah they dont contribute to the total views as much as other activities, but thats not a reason to throw and important part of the GS universe, specially if your reason is "we dont have the time nor the resources".. Im sorry but that sounds a bit lazy to me.

I dont care the changes on the Online friends thing indicator or signature.....do as you wish..

@DigitalDame  what happened :_(??

ScreamDream
ScreamDream

This site has been buggy for years and with it lately working better except for it being slower, it might be a good thing for a change. Good luck to Gamespot on these changes. I must admit, if you change our levels to 0, you are taking away what many of us have worked for over the years.

vahythelord1
vahythelord1

most of the changes i dont use at all.. but anti downloading thing is not good at all..anyway i will grab it by download manager either way but..some of the ppl used to ur download button ..and about downgrading the community stuff like account levels wont be embraced bu the members

eiji1
eiji1

Well, I had a long comment about why precisely foregoing downloads for videos doesn't make sense, but since your comment interface doesn't cache drafts, I lost it.

In essence, I resent ads being shoved in my face whenever I'll come to this site. I resent it as a long time Total Access member, who, up to now, didn't have to have ugly-ass frames surrounding articles, etc. and could just focus on the content you made.

I also resent the choice being taken away from me for a reason that seems to be not technologically or resource-relevant.

Also, consider people with metered connections who might want to watch your more interesting videos more than once.

Last, don't try to become youtube. Youtube sucks. It's a crappily designed website with a decent search engine and a high content proliferation that results in having a bevvy of good stuff by consequence of having three copies of everything on it. It's a hassle to use, and the mobile app is an atrocious way to consume content.

And as a person who'd rather wait 5 hours to see a high quality video rather than have a crappy stream for half the time, and the rest of the time buffering, I'd just like to, again, say that this is a bad, bad idea.

iomor27
iomor27

I'm anxious to see it. 

robotopbuddy
robotopbuddy moderator moderator

@Ehggsz Points are basically the hidden form of xp for levels - each level requires a certain amount of points and moderations with point loss of course remove them, while activity on the site gains them, higher levels typically required more points than previous ones.

As for double posts, remember that you can delete your own posts in comments much like you can on the forums - and this is highly recommended in the case of double posts. Some tablets/phones may not show the options - typically hidden to the left of the like/reply buttons until you hover over them (or while hovering over the reply message box for that comment) but any laptop/PC should at least.