Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a restful break filled with fun and merriment. Did you get any games for Christmas? I ended up with Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed for the Wii U and Rocket Slime on DS, which I've wanted for ages. When Martin reviewed Sonic Racing he jokingly suggested we give it an "S" rank rather than a score, and I can see why - it's a masterful combination of great racing game design and Sega fan service. Sumo Digital forever!
Anyway, something else that happened at the end of last year is that we asked those of you with a few spare minutes to fill out our annual reader survey. Thousands of you obliged, which we really appreciate, and I wanted to take a few minutes today not just to say thank you - but seriously, thank you, because it does make a difference - but also to share some of the common themes in your feedback.
The first question on the survey asked whether there was anything you would like us to add or change about the site design or functionality. Interestingly - and gratifyingly for our tech guys and designers - by far and away the most popular response to this question was simply "no". Don't worry though, because they don't get off that easily. There were plenty of good suggestions and lots of reasonable feedback, some of which ties into things we'd already been discussing and some of which is good new info for us to consider.
One example of the former is feedback on the karma system in the site's comments. This currently allows you to 'plus' or 'neg' each comment, and a number of you felt it wasn't serving the purpose we originally intended for it, which was to highlight the best comments. We're concerned about that too, so we're looking at alternatives - perhaps removing the 'neg' option so it just shows recommendations, or maybe going for the YouTube-style model of showing the total number of positive and negative responses rather than a single score. Let us know if you have any more thoughts on that.
A few people also commented on the continued duplication of content between the Popular Now, Recently Popular and Recent Published columns on the homepage. I still like doing this, because it means that people who only visit the site once every 24 hours or maybe even less frequently can still see what's been most relevant in recent days as well as what's happening right this second. It means that reviews of big games stick around between embargo and release date, and the algorithm behind it all means that our journalists and critics can get on with producing content rather than constantly tweaking the site layout. It does mean that people who visit the site multiple times a day will see some repetition, but I think those people also know where to look for the newest stuff.
With all that said, I appreciate that people who use the mobile version of the site a lot may find it annoying having to skip past the Popular Now and Recently Popular parts to reach the Recently Published area, so at the end of last year we added an option to hide those panels. If you go to Profile then Display Settings on the mobile version of the site, you'll find that functionality.
Quite a few people asked when the podcast is going to be back (possibly its entire listenership, in fact, because the requests were easily in double figures). The answer is very soon. As I said in the Christmas special, we took a break before last year's Eurogamer Expo and when events in Q4 became very intense we missed our self-imposed deadline for bringing it back to life. We've decided to use the extra time to reconsider what we're doing with it and how to make it better, and once we're happy we'll start it up again.
Several people also asked about our video plans. As you will know if you read the Games of 2012 piece on Minecraft 360 or saw yesterday's DmC videos, we recently hired a nice young man called Ian Higton to be our new video guy. Ian's going to produce a mixture of Let's Play videos on new titles, gameplay capture for upcoming games and DLC, and various other things like digests and live streams, all of which will appear on our YouTube channel, and the best of which will be showcased on the site too. If you're big into video I would suggest subscribing on YouTube so you don't miss anything.
Elsewhere, we had a few people ask whether we have any plans to change our scoring system on reviews. We're always talking about stuff like this, but if you'll excuse the classic games industry cop-out I have nothing to announce at this time. That doesn't mean we won't do it one day though, obviously. Others asked whether we plan to do video reviews. Our concern has always been that we don't want to create any ambiguity around our written reviews, and that's still the case, but I would say it's more of a possibility than it has been in the past, although it's not something we're actively planning.
Cool story, bro
Those were the most popular themes, but there were lots of other individual suggestions and requests for certain types of coverage, all of which we have made a note of and will be actively discussing. If you're worried your specific feedback was missed, let us know in the comments or using the contact form. Thank you again to everyone who took the time to share some feedback.
Finally, I thought you might like to hear some stuff about your fellow readers! First off, the number of respondents who have a PC, PS3 or Xbox 360 was pretty much the same, which hasn't always been the case - we used to see noticeably more 360 owners, and the new balance is probably a fair reflection of market conditions in 2012. A smaller but still significant number are also in possession of a Wii (the Wii U hadn't launched at the point we posted the survey), while more of you have Android devices than iOS devices, although the numbers in both cases were very high. Interestingly, the number of people planning to buy a PS4 or Xbox 720 were about the same. Lots of you, basically.
My favourite piece of feedback, however, was that we should have "more Dark Souls screenshots in random articles", a sentiment with which I couldn't agree more, and something that will be at the heart of our plans for the next 12 months. Thanks again for your feedback if you took part, and I hope you enjoy the year ahead on Eurogamer.