TheSixthAxis: Rebooted

It’s time for a change. It’s time to do something different.

TheSixthAxis has always strived for quality and we’ve always worked very hard and made difficult choices to maintain our integrity. We haven’t always got it right but when we have erred we hold our hands up and we resolve to do better.

Last week’s hot topic in games media gave us cause to think about how we engage in our coverage and it reaffirmed our ideas and made us even more certain of the plans we had already put in motion to change our approach to covering videogames. At some point in the last few years, we’ve started to lose our way. We engaged in trying to make TheSixthAxis work like other games websites do. That’s not how we started out and it’s not really what we enjoy. So we’re going to make a change.

We’ve decided that we’re going to stop regurgitating the same little press-release news items that pepper hundreds of games websites around the internet. We’ll only publish a news story if we think it’s going to cause some discussion among our community, if we’ve uncovered something new or if we have something we want to say about it ourselves.

new TSA homepage

We’ll stop publishing things that PR teams and other websites tell us are news and we’ll start to publish things based on how interesting we think it is and whether we think that you, our audience, will be interested by it. That’s how TheSixthAxis worked when I first arrived here and that’s how we’re going to work again.

Let’s be clear: this is not a declaration that anybody else is doing anything necessarily wrong. We’re not condemning the sites that publish every press release they get sent. There’s a seemingly insatiable appetite for that kind of coverage and several websites do it exceptionally well. They draw large audiences and they make plenty of money. TheSixthAxis might draw a respectably sized audience but we don’t make very much money at all. So why should we spend all day every day grinding out the work we don’t enjoy – work which is almost identical to a hundred other sources and mostly to the greater benefit of PR departments – when we’re not getting paid to do so?

We want TheSixthAxis to be a hub for discussion amongst people who love playing games, a place for opinions to be shared. We’re going to focus on sharing our opinions with you and we hope you’ll continue to share your opinions with us in the comments sections.

Those opinions you’ve shared have led to the second reason for this message: we’re changing our homepage design again.

“We want TheSixthAxis to be a hub for discussion amongst people who love playing games.”

Back in September, we moved from a standard blog list with sidebars to a more modern tiled layout. While the feedback we received was generally positive, we think we can do better. We’ve spent the time since the end of September redesigning how the homepage looks and works and we think the new layout, which you should all be able to see now, allows for clear promotion of our features while presenting the stream of time-sensitive stories in a way which is clear to view and clear to use.

This redesign gives more space and more significance to some of the community aspects of TheSixthAxis, too. We want to encourage you to enjoy the unmatched community of smart, funny, considerate gamers that have gathered here. We want to encourage you to join in the discussion as much as possible and we’re looking into ways, in the future, to assist you in getting your ideas out to the wider TSA community. For now, you can always use the Forums as a platform to share your ideas. If you’re interested in getting words down in a more structured way, don’t forget that we’re always keen to take your Guest Writer submissions and we’ll work with you to help them meet the high standards we want to maintain for articles published on the front page.

The new homepage design also signifies another return to earlier principles for us. TheSixthAxis began life as a PlayStation 3 blog and although we now cover every platform and medium for playing games, PlayStation has always been our strongest area of expertise. We’re going to emphasise that fact a little more.

TSA Meets

Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop covering other platforms. We’ll still discuss, preview and review the big games on Microsoft, Nintendo, PC and mobile platforms when we can. But we’ve always been strongest with PlayStation, both in terms of how much coverage we can give (most of our staff are PlayStation users) and in terms of how much feedback you give us. So we want it to be clear that, although we enjoy games of all shapes and sizes and on all platforms, we really know PlayStation.

Finally, the discussions surrounding these changes led us to the conclusion that we want to do more to help spread the word about other great videogames coverage. We want to be involved with other independently spirited outlets who share our passion for the medium and our frustrations at the stranglehold that large organisations have on the wider games media. Plans are at extremely early stages just now but we’re going to try to set up partnerships with some of the websites we trust and respect so that we can all share the unparalleled work that some of the smaller, independent sites manage to put out. It’s hard work being independent and maintaining high standards. Our reasoning is that it might be easier for us all if we help each other a little bit more.

“It’s hard work being independent and maintaining high standards.”

We also want to emphasise the great respect we have for independent developers. We’ll be putting a little more effort into presenting the work we do around that particular scene in a way which is more enticing for casual visitors. We understand that it’s difficult to get the word out and we think that a lot of you, our audience, are missing out on some of the great games you could be experiencing simply because it’s hard for these smaller teams to be heard amidst the cacophony of wealthy publishers’ marketing campaigns and PR teams.

Many changes are already in place but there are still more to come in the longer term. Hopefully you’re excited by the direction we’re taking and hopefully you’ll stick around and help us find a fun, engaging platform for sharing our ideas and opinions about this interactive medium that we all love so much.

Game on.

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121 Comments

  1. *claps* I shall start work on another article right away!

  2. I hope this works well for you guys. I think the majority would agree that the reason we keep coming back are the thought-provoking articles that encourage varied and relaxed discussion. It’s the excellent writing and choice of subject matter that stir up the community to create such a great atmosphere. It really is something you will never get at one of the larger sites.

    I for one am happy to see the news feed clear of the spam. I look forward to getting back to the days where I opened every link in my RSS feed for TSA. Now, if only I could work out how to get my RSS feed working again…

  3. ‘We want TheSixthAxis to be a hub for discussion amongst people who love playing games, a place for opinions to be shared. We’re going to focus on sharing our opinions with you and we hope you’ll continue to share your opinions with us in the comments sections.’

    THIS is the exact reason i’ve re-joined here (3rd time, yet another new username, think old accounts closed), joined here and another (Retro) forum tonight after prev.getting fed up of forums due to the ‘you are WRONG’ approach by same old posters.

    As (daily) reader here, find the chat very, very much a credit to the site, it comes across as well thought out and reasoned, some very good debate etc.

    A reboot i feel can only improve matters further, good on you 1 and all.

  4. This post right here, explains beautifully what it is I like about TSA.
    I certainly support this new direction, or is it more a return to it’s roots? Either way, I like where this is going.
    Keep up the good work guys!

  5. hear, hear.

  6. Sounds exciting.

    I just hope there’s still a regular stream of articles, if only so there’s always something new to read. Don’t want TSA to become too quiet.

    I’m probably going to find myself missing out on a fair bit of news now, but if it means more of the opinion articles (of which more and more seem to be finding their way into my Pocket app for when I want something to read weeks or more down the line) then I’m all for it.

    • It’s not about less news, it’s about more relevant news, and less PR fluff. And, if there’s less fluff, there’s more time to write about interesting stuff. =)

      • Great then.

        I have found myself skipping a few of the fluff articles recently due to having less time, so this can only lead to (more) good things.

  7. Good luck with everything :-)

    • I concur. This is awesome news. I’ve been an almost daily reader since near to the beginning and despite not being the most active member, I have yet to get bored of this site. It’s gonna be great going back to more old school style articles.

      Even so, this site’s still the best gaming news/community site I know and would probably stop reading gaming news if it wasn’t for TSA. Thanks for all the hard work and love that you guys have put into the site. It’s definitely been appreciated by me over the past many years!

      P.S. Wow – I just realised how long I’ve been reading; it’s been so long!

  8. Some great ideas here, I like the idea of becoming more simple and retro if you like.
    Only wish there was some way I could help.
    The new homepage is much better now as well.

  9. Sounds good. I first joined when you were ‘small’, i liked the like minded people that also had a PS3 and all the chatter when we got some new news about something big.
    Most the time i dont comment/forum comment anymore because of the lack of time, but do check the news segment at least twice a day and the forums at least once a week.
    Look forward to the change :)

  10. This makes me feel empowered and wanting to take part and help somehow… any writers places available?

    • best place to start is by submitting Guest Writer pieces and if they’re good and you can be frequent, we’ll get you set up on a more permanent basis.

      • I have submitted a few in the past, and one or two reviews of games that have came out that didnt get reviewed on here, but they werent used.

      • Hi Posem,

        Hit me up at kris[at]thesixthaxis[dot]com and I’ll try and make sure stuff goes up.

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