2006 was a fantastic year in all respects. The business has grown beyond all our expectations. Unique users are up 35 per cent for the year to over 1.3 million per month, and page impressions are up a further 68 per cent to 11.4 million. Other highlights were the launch of Eurogamer TV and EG Germany. We’ve also added several new staff and done a lot of work on our technology infrastructure, which will support our plans for growth over the coming years.
How has the attitude of the industry changed towards online over the past year or so?
Attitudes towards online media have changed dramatically. Even the stragglers have now woken up to the importance of the internet. Simply, everyone now realises that they need to be where the gamers are – online.
What benefits does online media offer – to both consumers and the industry – compared to traditional print media? And vice versa?
I've always felt that there is a place for both print and online, but the benefits of online are clear – speed of publishing, the ability to search for information, the instant feedback from readers, the measurability of advertising performance and so on.
You launched Eurogamer TV almost a year ago now. How has that been received, both by your readers and by the industry?
We’re very excited about the impending re-launch of the Eurogamer TV site which should set a new bar for online video sites. We’ve been experimenting with content this year and finding our voice. We’ve made huge strides forward and The Eurogamer TV Show has become required viewing for UK gamers every fortnight.
Is there still any kind of resistance to this kind of media from some sectors of the business – and what are you doing to overcome that?
There is rarely resistance to what we do, but there is still some confusion in the industry regarding the measurement of website audiences. We’re very proud to be the first site to have our traffic independently audited, publishing regular, transparent and accountable figures since 2005. We’re lobbying others to follow suit. Another challenge facing the UK industry is the over-reliance of US publishers on services such as Gamerankings. I think PR doesn’t (and shouldn’t) work in Europe as it does in the US. Unless we work together to counter this the UK will be marginalised, writers will be under even more pressure to increase review scores and marketing and PR strategies will be dictated from the US.
Similarly, you launched Eurogamer Germany six months ago. How has that site been received?
Consumer gaming tastes and media habits are different in each European territory, but there are also differences in laws and the ways of doing business. That’s why we’ve appointed experienced local partners – and it’s a model that is working well. Our aim is to be a top three site in both Germany and France – as we are in the UK.
Do you have plans to launch in any other European territories over the next year or so?
Eurogamer France is due to launch in the next few weeks, and the goal is to have EG in five languages this year.
Any other initiatives looming?
The most significant launch this year is the upcoming Eurogamers community site. We feel that the existing social networks are too broad, whereas Eurogamers, with its focus squarely on video games, will be a fantastic tool for all gamers.
We’ve seen some of the big US sites launch here over the past few months. How much of a concern are they to Eurogamer?
It would be foolish to dismiss the potential threat from our American friends, but I think that Eurogamer is very different to what they have to offer. They have always been massive entities, and their presence in the UK doesn’t change that. But EG has the best content, the best staff and a fantastic community, so we’re upbeat.