GamesBeat

The DeanBeat: Building a better GamesBeat

For almost four years, we’ve been building out GamesBeat as VentureBeat’s game channel. We have held three annual GamesBeat conferences where the movers and shakers of the industry talk about the latest trends in games. Now we’re expanding to build an even better GamesBeat.

You’ll see a number of changes now and in the near future: New writers, new areas of coverage, more in-depth features, even deeper events coverage and a new scoring system for our reviews.

Over time, you’ll see us add more writers. We’ve already introduced more game reviews and game news stories from a number of talented writers. They include Sebastian Haley, Daniel Crawley, Stefanie Fogel, David Smith, Joe Sinicki, Nate Ahearn, Jacob Lopez, Matt Weinberger, Cassandra Khaw, Jacob Siegal, Rob Wyatt, Heath Hooker and Andrew Webster. Haley has been creating a stir with unflinching critiques of the season’s major blockbusters, but we’ve had some offbeat reviews like Weinberger’s review of the Humble Voxatron Debut indie game bundle too.

More new bylines will appear over time and we hope to expand our coverage of social and mobile games in addition to the expansion we’ve already undertaken with the console games. Our aim is to cover the spectrum of the game industry, from startups to the big companies and all manner of games and game platforms.

You can always see our game coverage at a glance by clicking on VentureBeat’s GamesBeat channel. We’ll run stories on the GamesBeat channel from time to time that won’t run in other sections, as appropriate.

We’ll expand the scope of our coverage in a variety of ways. We come at the topic from VentureBeat’s core focus on technology and business coverage, always looking for innovations in the market. But we’re also providing consumer-oriented coverage, such as our game reviews, as well. The types of stories we’ll cover include game startup fundings, corporate earnings reports, game sales reports, developer and publisher interviews, individual game reviews and previews, top ten lists, hacker attacks, new game technologies, market phenomena, new game frontiers, and industry scoops such as our story on Will Wright’s new game startup, HiveMind. Our goal remains to provide coverage you won’t see elsewhere, like our annual list of the top video game fundings of the year.

I’ve started my own DeanBeat weekly perspective column on games, which you are reading now and can subscribe to at this link. It appears on Thursdays as an email newsletter and shows up on the web site on Fridays. My aim with this column is to look back on events that have happened and add some perspective to them.

We approach the topic of games as journalists. We were proud to write a lengthy retrospective on the making of Microsoft’s Xbox game console, with a decade of perspective. The first part focused on the making of the Xbox from conception to launch. The second part focused on the creation of the Xbox 360 through the launch of Kinect. This was our most extensive story since we wrote about the Red Ring of Death problems in 2009.

Much of that story came from reporting I did for my two books, Opening the Xbox: Inside Microsoft’s Plan to Unleash an Entertainment Revolution (2002), and The Xbox 360 Uncloaked: the Real Story Behind Microsoft’s Next Generation Video Game Console (2006). We hope to turn the two-part series into an eBook that folks can download. That story was particularly satisfying for me to write because I was able to get back in touch with people who I have known and written about for a long time. Since I’ve been covering games for more than 16 years, I enjoy running into the same characters over and over again.

As we go, we’ll take your suggestions on how to improve our coverage and our focus. If you notice that we write about some subjects a lot — such as Zynga versus EA or EA versus Activision — it’s because people have responded well to that coverage in the past. But we hope to bring you plenty of stories that you won’t see anywhere else.

We’ll grow gradually over time and add new categories as we go. We hope to have coverage of topics on a global basis, and hope to add writers in other countries over time. We welcome guest editorials from experts on subjects as well.

We plan to cover the major events of the game industry, from the DICE summit in February to E3 in June. And we’ll see what else we can get to as we add more writers around the world. Our next stop is the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in the second week of January.

And we have our own event, too. We have already set our fourth annual GamesBeat 2012 conference for July 10-11 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. I’ll also be¬† a judge in an upcoming mobile games contest, Get Discovered, sponsored by Trinity Ventures, Hooked Media Group and Best Buy. (More on that later.)

Here’s some recent game reviews that we’ve already done this season. Some review scores have been adjusted to make them consistent with the universal grading scale that we are establishing at GamesBeat. We consider it very important to get the scores correct in terms of the relative comparison among the games, so we are making this one-time adjustment now.

We won’t review every game that comes out, but we’ll focus on the ones that consumers want to play, or, from our perspective, should play. We aim to create fair, thorough, and high-quality reviews that serve you, as a consumer, and help you decide what to buy and play. Please check these reviews out if you haven’t already.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 91
Uncharted 3 Drake’s Deception 91
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer 90
Batman Arkham City 89
Dark Souls 89
Forza Motorsport 4 89
Skyrim 89
Gears of War 3 88
Rage 88
Resistance 3 87
Super Mario 3D Land 87
Rayman Origins 87
Halo CE Anniversary 82
Assassin’s Creed Revelations 80
Kinect Disneyland Adventures 70
Battlefield 3 69
LOTR War in the North 60
Kinect Sports Season 2 59
The Humble Voxatron Debut Indie Bundle (not rated)

[illustration by Tom Cheredar]


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