Happy Birthday to us! We look at the last year for us and the Vita.
The first post on The Vita Lounge was on July 4th, a little welcome message for everyone but I actually had written and posted the FIFA Football review on July 1st. This was where the journey began for The Vita Lounge.
It’s not where my Vita journey started though. I didn’t get a Vita at launch, I bought mine at the start of June in 2012 when Amazon’s 4GB FIFA Football bundle proved too much for me to resist at £219. As a previous PSP owner I had been researching it ever since it was called the “Next Generation Portable”, although researching is a very strong term as it was immediately evident to me that there was a massive lack of Vita coverage in the gaming media. From looking at some of the Vita fansites that were about I knew straight away that there was space for a Vita site that would cover news and write reviews, and if I could learn from my mistakes with a previous gaming website then I would be able to do a decent job with it. Thus after purchasing my Vita, Dan and I created The Vita Lounge. This is the story of the twelve months that followed.
So, July 2012. We had no theme design other than a generic WordPress one – Twenty11 – and we had no logo to speak of. A few news posts followed through the first month along with more reviews. August was Gamescom, and Gamescom brought a fair bit of news to cover. We were treated to our first news on Tearaway, shown our first footage for Killzone Mercenary and we were filled in with Black Ops Declassified. We had arrived at the Arras theme though, so it wasn’t all bad.
With a reasonably quiet September out of the way October was where the site took off. I had managed to find myself two talented volunteers in the shape of Jasper and Matt to start writing for the site, and the holiday games started to ship. This is also the point at which the press support started taking off and we were able to obtain review copies of titles. Without a shadow of a doubt this was the most crucial month in our history and remained the busiest month in 2012 for news articles. It’s easier when you have more people.
We saw out 2012 with many more news posts, reviews and the addition of Jon to the team, as well as a nice banner by Ivan. We had started to grow a following on Twitter but I knew there was so much room to improve on. We were all based in the UK/Europe and the site had a very obvious European focus, but the vast majority of our audience was – and still is – primarily from North America, and so we aimed to make our coverage reflect that. I managed to gain a few North American writers in the form of Mike and then Kyle, started getting a few NA review copies and we continued to grow.
Kyle subsequently agreed to become the Deputy Editor for the site, and our news coverage has continued to grow throughout the year. We have continued to add quality individuals to this project in the form of the enthusiastic Yuuki, Rhys (who interestingly found me through Near!) and most recently Tyler, and I will continually be on the lookout for talented volunteers for The Vita Lounge. Because the reality is however hard I tried, the site wouldn’t be where it is without these guys and the other contributors for the site. They are all far better writers than me, all I have done is give them a platform. Together we have written more than 80 Vita reviews and covered nearly 500 news pieces. And there is still room to grow on that.
The site also wouldn’t have been anywhere near as popular without the support and understanding of the games industry itself. Sony in particular have been amazing, but every single publisher that has sent us news and review codes has made this journey worth it for everyone. I hope that the coverage has helped you, and we can continue to help you throughout the life of the Vita.
But the site also wouldn’t be where it is today without you, the readers. Whether you have stumbled across the site through some lucky Google placement or by word of mouth, from a tweet or another site, we put the effort in for you, the Vita gamer. Because there are Vita games. There is Vita news. And the Vita is still a young platform. Of course, only a deluded fool would deny that the platform has struggled somewhat. But the journey is still young. As is ours.
As we move into our second year, we want more. Better quality news coverage, more efficiency with reviews, A fresh new look and renewed confidence. We have plans for new projects, such as a Podcast, a Vita Wiki (more on that later this week) and possibly an e-Magazine. We want to set up and run community nights, getting Vita gamers playing games together regularly. We are also discussing a dedicated PS Vita forum in-keeping with the site. Ideas and suggestions are also welcomed, please let me know in the comments if these projects will be what you are interested in.
I also need to figure out if and how the PlayStation 4 will fit into the site at all and where we go with that, as I don’t want to detract from the Vita aspect of the site. It’s why it runs. I also need feedback – constructive and positive – as that is crucial for us to improve.
But for now that was our first year, I hope that the journey – for us and for the Vita – continues to be exciting!