So then. This is the new Eurogamer. It's quite a change, isn't it?
Those of you who have been visiting the site for a while have every right to be taken aback. We've made some dramatic changes. I mean, it's centre-aligned for a start!
But we like it, and we want you to like it too. So let's talk about what's changed and why.
But before we do that, let's clarify what isn't changing. The Eurogamer you've read for however long is not going anywhere. We're still the same guys (and girl), still have the same tastes and whimsical love of bracket comment jokes (teehee), still love all of our gaming platforms equally, still disagree with each other regularly, still believe that games journalism is about individuals rather than a collective, and still plan to tell you what we think as honestly and informatively as possible. The new Eurogamer will simply help us do that much more effectively.
The biggest and yet least obvious change is the near-complete revamp of our backend technology. Thanks to the work of our tireless tech-monkeys (in fact, let's name them: take a huge, well-deserved bow Mark, Nick and Daren), we're now able to create content with greater ease, and present it to you in a manner that allows you to, well, find it for a start!
Our game information pages (actually, let's capitalise those: our Game Information pages) aggregate all the available content related to a particular game in one place. Type a game name into the box at the top left of any page and you'll be able to find your way to a page that lists everything we have on that game - right down to whether it has a widescreen mode, or whether the US version supports progressive scan!
We've improved the screenshot viewer. Now you can skip between shots with much greater ease and without having to continuously navigate back and forth between pages.
We've also optimised and sped up the whole site. That may not be apparent immediately as we adjust to the way you tuck into our new dish, but as we get out of relaunch mode you should notice a substantial difference. Forum-goers in particular ought to be pleased.
On that note, we've also made registration a lot more central to the way the site works, and it is now mandatory to register if you want to contribute to the site in certain ways. It's still just as easy to register, however, and those of you who already have accounts can log in as if you never left.
If you do need to sign up though, all you have to do is supply a working email address - which we do not distribute to any third party without your express permission, and never will - and you'll be able to contribute to comment threads and forum discussions, and sign up to our weekly newsletter, which will itself be seeing a bit of a revamp shortly.
As we roll out more of our new features, you registered users will also be able to add your own rating to games in our database (determining once and for all whether X is better than Halo, eh?), submit reviews that will be linked individually from our front pages (complete with the facility to comment on each and every one!) and take advantage of our new FTP download service, which will soon be introduced to complement our existing BitTorrent-based Eurofiles service by archiving older files.
Most importantly, though, thanks to your use of Eurogamer, we're now in a position to relaunch the site and then keep piling resources into its continual improvement. Eurogamer is now one of the most popular gaming websites in Europe thanks to the love you've shown us, and it's with great pleasure that we're now able to start reciprocating on a comparable scale.
Those of you who have sent us an email in the past suggesting a change, asking for a feature, or telling us about a bug will probably have been told that it's something we're hoping to get round to in the future. This is the future.
As Eurogamer expands, we're going to start doing all of the things that you've wanted but we've lacked the time and resources to achieve. We're going to start writing stiffly worded declarations like this (except with less jokes) and then living up to them. And all the while we're going to keep serving you the content you tell us you enjoy, and, thanks to the extra resources that your use of Eurogamer has helped us procure, we're going to start exploring new and interesting content ideas.
The grey bar containing content links that runs along the middle of the page is a perfect example of that. It allows us to give you smaller chunks of amusing or interesting content that we'd otherwise struggle to justify within our old website framework. And we're going to use it to draw your attention to interesting items slightly off the well-beaten track of reviews, previews, interviews, news and articles, which will remain as prominent and well-serviced as before.
We're not completely done, of course. With any change on this scale there are bound to be bugs, typos and things that look awkward or bent out of shape, and we hope you'll be patient in helping us find and crush them.
Equally, we're relying on you to help us out with obscure bits of information that we're not in a position to go out and look for ourselves right now. We're still updating our database with the vast quantities of little fiddly details that lurk somewhere in the depths of our existing content repositories, but if you have a feeling we don't know whether, for example, Space Attack Cobra: The Unicorn Incident has a 60Hz mode, feel free to drop us a line. We read all the comments, suggestions and feedback submitted via our contact form, and we're always pleased to hear from you. You are the reason we're able to come to work every day and write about our favourite thing in the world, and your views really do matter to us.
If you still have any questions, why not check out our FAQ? It's not as funny as this item, but then it has to last beyond the point at which yours truly does something so indefensible that they tear up the contract.
Right. We'd best wrap this up before we start sobbing uncontrollably and hugging everyone with an emotional severity so intense that it threatens to disembowel. To sum up: the new Eurogamer will benefit all of us, and we hope that as you get used to it you'll come to love it just as much as we do. It is, as Pat so often remarks, the way forward.
(Heck, thanks to our new Game Search Which Actually Works Now and improved navigation facilities, it's also the way back.)
Thanks for reading this, and thanks for reading Eurogamer in general. It's a very exciting time to be a gamer, and we hope that as we strive to improve you'll agree that it's a particularly exciting time to be a Eurogamer.
Eurogamer Staff (Tom, Kristan, Ellie, Mark, Rob, Bertie, Pat, Daren, Rupert and Nick)