For the last week, there’s been buzz about a new gaming site coming from Vox Media, the parent company of The Verge and SB Nation.We can confirm that Vox is about to launch a big gaming vertical later this year after talking to the main players involved.
Vox is following a similar model to the one that it pursued with The Verge: choose an editor and then help him to hire the top talent in the industry.
In this case, it poached Chris Grant from AOL’s Joystiq and told him to hire a killer staff.
He went out and hired Brian Crecente, the former editor-in-chief of Gawker Media’s Kotaku. From there, he added another half dozen gaming writers.
“In terms of hiring these editors, I thought it would be harder than it was — I thought the idea of putting a lot of chefs in the kitchen would be unpalatable to a lot of people. But I found the opposite to be true,” Grant told us. “Everyone was excited about it, and everyone had also sort of felt the same way, that there was this bigger opportunity to take advantage of [the environment] that hadn’t really happened yet.
Both Grant and Crecente said the technology Vox has built played a major role in their decision to start the site. The new site gives them more flexibility and a magazine-like control of visuals and content than they had at their old jobs, as well as more institutional support.
“The Joystiqs and Kotakus of the world will do fine, but like newspapers, they’re publications that are rooted in their birth,” Crecente said.
This model — poaching the top writers in a vertical — has worked well for Vox so far: The Verge had 4 million uniques in its first month, and Vox’s overall traffic has doubled in the last six months.
Until the site is fully up and running, they will be posting at the Verge.
Here’s the full roster and bios of the founding editors, provided by Vox:
Chris Grant – A former carpenter and columnist for The Philadelphia Weekly, Chris is perhaps most widely known as the editor-in-chief of Joystiq, a role that spanned across Weblogs, Inc., AOL, and the Huffington Post. He’s served as a judge for the VGAs, the IGF, and E3; was named one of 30 of the world’s top bloggers; and worked with Henry Lowood and Warren Spector to select a culturally significant game canon to be preserved by the Library of Congress. He lives in Philadelphia.
Justin McElroy – Justin McElroy is the former managing editor of Joystiq and current co-host of comedy advice show My Brother, My Brother and Me. A two-time Associated Press of Ohio award winner for business writing, Justin’s work has appeared in GamePro, PC Gamer, PlayStation: The Official Magazine, Official Xbox Magazine and The Escapist.
Brian Crecente – Brian Crecente, a video game journalist and syndicated columnist based in New York, helped to create Gawker Media’s popular gaming site Kotaku as its editor-in-chief for more than seven years. His work has appeared in Playboy Magazine, Paste, Variety, Stuff, Wired, NPR and MSNBC, as well as many U.S. and international newspapers. He was named one of the most influential people in the video game industry over the past 20 years in 2009 and one of gaming’s top journalists in 2006. Prior to becoming a full time game journalist, Crecente was an award-winning public safety reporter for 12 years at major newspapers around the country.
Russ Pitts – Russ Pitts is the former Editor-in-Chief and Content Director of six-time Webby Award-winning site The Escapist, one of TIME Magazine’s “50 Best Websites” of 2011. He served as Executive Producer of two dozen web TV content lines developed for The Escapist, including the two-time Streamy-nominated Zero Punctuation, and is a member of International Academy of Web Television. A 20-year veteran of the entertainment industry with experience in film, television, theatre and the internet, Russ was the former Production Manager of Norton Award-winning Publick Theatre in Boston and the former head writer and producer of TechTV’s The Screen Savers.
Chris Plante – Chris Plante is a video game and popular culture journalist based in New York City. His work has appeared on The Daily, New York Magazine’s Vulture Blog, IFC.com, AV Club, and Popular Mechanics, along with game-centric publications EDGE, The Escapist, and Joystiq. He previously served as Games Editor at UGO.com.
Russ Frushtick – Russ Frushtick comes from MTV News, where he managed the network’s video game and tech coverage, as well as its gaming blog, MTV Multiplayer. Before that he was the Games Editor at UGO.com. His writing has appeared in Game Informer, EDGE, Laptop Magazine and The Daily.
Arthur Gies – Arthur Gies is the former Previews Editor at Joystiq, and current co-host of Rebel FM, one of the most popular video game-related podcasts on iTunes with over five million downloads since its debut in 2009. He formerly served as an Editor at IGN.com, as News and Features Editor at TeamXbox, and has had work published in The Washington Post, PC World, 1UP, Gamespy and Kotaku.
Griffin McElroy – Griffin has been writing about games professionally for seven years, including stints as Joystiq’s Contributing Editor and Reviews Editor. He’s produced content for a number of West Virginia news organisations and MTV’s Choose or Lose Street Team ’08 election coverage, and is the co-host and editor of My Brother, My Brother and Me, a podcast in which he distributes exclusively terrible advice.
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