Is the whole site basically premium now?

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MankMachinery

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Other than Quicklooks and Bombcasts?

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Eribuster

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Soon, they will split the bombcast in two, with the short one being free and the long one being premium :p

(Actually, I guess that's what the new Hotspot sorta is.)

How I've understood it is that the UPFs, playdates, and such were always the premium offering as it was out side the current affairs of general video game-dom. Back when this site had news articles and quick-looking every other new thing.

And then video games got weird. And the news people left. And we went from 4 video producers to 3. And here we are in a historically barren part of the year.

As I look at the past videos, I understand where your criticism/observation is coming from. Hopefully, the staff will figure something out if they see that their free content is lacking in volume/variety. Personally, I didn't watch a whole bunch of the Lockdown stuff since I typically find solo videos kinda dull. But that was when there was a lot of free stuff uploaded on the site. Checking in on Giant Bomb Infinite, some of those old Quick Looks were a bit... obligatory, so to speak.

Strange times!

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Marino

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#3 Marino  Staff

Feels like a few weeks ago people were complaining about not enough premium content.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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VectortheAngel

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@marino said:

Feels like a few weeks ago people were complaining about not enough premium content.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Time is a flat circle.

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HibikiRush

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Doesn't matter to me. I imagine I'll be a subscription lifer.

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digitaldisco

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All content will soon be locked behind credit applications and targeted marketing thanks to Red Ventures bringing us the new "personalized" Giant Bomb experience. /s

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liquiddragon

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#7  Edited By liquiddragon

There isn't much free content that bridges the lawn outside to the walled-garden inside.

I think it's a legit complaint and a real issue. Most of the "premium free content" is from ages ago so Idk how many newcomers they are attracting with just their game coverage these days. Maybe that's why they do these month long premium trials nows. Those premium unlocked videos on youtube are just not enough.

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bakoomerang

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@marino said:

Feels like a few weeks ago people were complaining about not enough premium content.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I present to you... The Internet!

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CptBedlam

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#9  Edited By CptBedlam

I've been here since the beginning and I will keep subscribing no matter what because I want those guys to keep doing their thing and entertain me (and sometimes get me through rough stretches in life).

However, these days I do wish there were more QLs and sometimes I wonder how much work is required to produce those. Is it really that much so two staffers can only churn out about one QL per week on average? (that's what it feels to me). Maybe (or rather likely) I'm underestimating the production aspect. Then there was of course the owner change behind the scenes which for sure required some time investment as well. Also, Covid happened and everyone had to readjust their lifes and production pipelines had to be adapted.

Yes, this is also a quiet period for big releases but it'd be the perfect time to catch up with some smaller gems that came out last year. Especially in the early years of GB timely QLs of recent releases were never that much of a priority.

For example, I wish the criminally overlooked HUNTDOWN - one of my favorite coop-games from last year (it's simple but every aspect of it is perfectly executed) - had received at least a bit of a discussion or a QL. It was only mentioned once on a Bombcast I think and quickly brushed aside. Yeah I know, I'm usually not asking for a QL of specific games but my feeling last year was that a LOT of games worth QL'ing were kinda missed or ignored and a lot of time went into continuous Minecraft streams with the whole crew and similar stuff. I'm aware that a lot of people enjoyed those and that not all content can be for everyone but the scales tipped a bit further away from what I usually enjoy on GB.

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frytup

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No, but maybe it should be. It's certainly an easy way to get rid of forum spam.

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Humanity

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@frytup: They should just put in a probation period where you can't post for 48 hours after registering which would probably cut down on a lot of spam and reactionary posting in the heat of the moment (although the site doesn't really get that sort of traffic these days for those type of threads).

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geirr

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I can't tell since I've subbed for as long as subs have been available.

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eight_track

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@cptbedlam: Think you're underestimating how much time a small team of people have to produce video content at the appropriate level for GB under the current circumstances.

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huntad

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@cptbedlam: Yeah, it would be nice to see more quick looks, especially on more non-mainstream releases.

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berfunkle

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I look at it this way, although someone else's mileage may vary.

It's only $50 a year , and I get more enjoyment from GB than from anyone on YouTube or Twitch.

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ToughShed

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I get the complaints for sure. There are always these slow times when someone leaves the site though. Seen it a number of times.

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bigsocrates

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#17 bigsocrates  Online

@berfunkle: It's $35 a year if you plan it out a little. The sales are extremely reliable.

That's about $3 a month. It's not nothing, but it's pretty durn cheap.

I understand free members who want more content, of course, and Alex's and Ben's streams do tend to be free, but the types of material they've been making more often recently have been premium for a long time.

I do think that quick looks of some of the games they didn't get to during the year would be cool regardless, though.

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colourful_hippie

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Not enough premium unlocked videos being available just sounds like a reason to sign up lol

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BisonHero

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#19  Edited By BisonHero

2020 has been a record year for low QL turnout, which is the primary free video content, so I understand the sentiment.

A lot of games seem to get played and the sum total of their coverage on the site is “someone talks about the game on a podcast for 35 seconds.” Recent example: Star Renegades. I know there are quite a few games like that recently where an editor/producer decides to pick up the game to possibly cover on the site and all it amounts to is a 30-180 second blurb somewhere in the podcast. I know most QLs are a first impression, but some of the podcast blurbs feel like a first impression of a first impression. I assume GB staff is aware of this, and ultimately QL production is constrained by staffing levels (Dan and Abby leaving with no replacement) and constrained by all video production being a dice roll with so many editors working from home and sometimes recordings crap out in unexpected ways.

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tdous

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#20  Edited By tdous

Personally seeing a mostly old school team go from a familiar office/studio setup to entire home-based with as much success as they have has been a pleasant surprise and I think benefitting those who've stuck with them as premium through these... urgh... unprecedented times... isn't a terrible way to balance the output. That said, now processes are more established, some constructive feedback on what we'd like to see is probably a good idea at this time. Personally I've really enjoyed... I was about to start listing team-ups, either same or cross coast, and realised it was always Vinny + someone. They really should clone Vinny.

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Roadshell

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@marino said:

Feels like a few weeks ago people were complaining about not enough premium content.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

There seems to be a shortage of content in general. They basically aren't even posting anything at all on Mondays anymore for instance. It's pretty obvious that the pandemic combined with the ownership change combined with a bunch of people having left combined with the fact that a lot of the remaining staff are old people with families has really done a number on the site.

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ToughShed

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@bisonhero:Yeah that continues to be a bummer. They should do spoiler casts or one off small podcasts or something. but they just don't really talk most games in any depth on the site podcast wise. Besides Cyberpunk for a while here lol.

@roadshell: Agreed. The lack of anything on Monday and only a podcast on Tuesday makes the beginning of the week extremely barren feeling.

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devise22

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This is a really tough question honestly, as it is fair to criticize the lack of or lobby for more free content on the site. Especially since in the olden days and for much of it's existence this site has had history with covering or Quick Looking a fair amount of releases.

On the other hand; even if we ignore the uniqueness of the problems the current landscape in reality creates, before 2020 the QL stream was slowing. It has become clear for some time now that there is a "shift" in what covering video games means today versus back then. Will E3 even come back? I guess what I'm saying is for the GB crew (or anybody who covers video games) to shift to a more premium centric approach first isn't exactly something unexpected or really new. If your looking for coverage of almost any video game, it's out there. Everybody tripled down on doing what GB did in many ways, also to such a degree that GB itself kind of feels more "editorial" if you will by comparison. Most of the people vastly popular who cover games have no background in games journalism at all these days is what I mean there. So GB still being a site mostly comprised of that ilk sets it apart. The other "big" sites have a few lifers on staff but freelance so much that nobody really carves a real identity.

Ultimately I don't know, I get that for many showing up to the site to enjoy a Quick Look of a game your interested in buying has always been useful, and a staple. I just also know that if you were to ask me if QL's were to be more selective and the site were to take a more premium focused approach I'd still be okay with it, and do feel like it's pretty much a sign of the times more than anything else.

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Topcyclist

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@cptbedlam: I don't think they don't wanna do quick looks, i think there's no games to play that are worth their time vs views etc. For them of course. Im still under the position thats their personal take but stuff like one piece pirate warriors would have done better as a quicklook and a bunch of non-fans chiming in about how crazy it was...they did that last time and it was too funny. Overall, I see it as the site moving to subs or trying twitch completely. Happen to another site i liked. They just make more and get more stability by having a steady stream. Youtube doesn't pay enough.

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BisonHero

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@devise22 said:

This is a really tough question honestly, as it is fair to criticize the lack of or lobby for more free content on the site. Especially since in the olden days and for much of it's existence this site has had history with covering or Quick Looking a fair amount of releases.

On the other hand; even if we ignore the uniqueness of the problems the current landscape in reality creates, before 2020 the QL stream was slowing.

I don't think this is fair to say. It's really only 2020 where there was a significant drop in number of games covered by Quick Look due to the pandemic. From qlcrew.com :

  • 2020: 95 quick looks
  • 2019: 232 quick looks
  • 2018: 231 quick looks
  • 2017: 238 quick looks
  • 2016: 276 quick looks
  • 2015: 341 quick looks
  • 2014: 336 quick looks

I'd guess that behind the scenes they have some rough production targets each week or month of how many Quick Looks they'd prefer to put out, which is why the Quick Look numbers are so consistent in prior years. Somewhere around 2016 the staff (deliberately or not) became a little choosier about how many things they quick look per year (or maybe they started putting out even more premium content). But up until 2020 they were still covering quite a lot of new releases each year in Quick Looks, plus games that didn't make the cut for Quick Look but got a brief segment on UPF, plus games that really didn't make the cut but got briefly acknowledged on a podcast.

The quick look numbers for 2020 are bad, but they're fudged a little because some new releases sort of got unlabeled quick looks in the form of "Lockdown 2020" content. In early lockdown, some staff primarily did a series of old games (Eurotruck Simulator, Rock Band drums, Bloodborne, Minecraft, etc.) while others periodically kept covering new releases. For example:

  • Jeff basically did a few long-form solo Quick Looks but they'd be filed under Party of One or The Jeff Gerstmann Home Game or Lockdown 2020 or something else weird
  • Jason did a few long-form solo Quick Looks but they'd be filed under Working from Home or Lockdown 2020
  • Jan sort of solo quick looked One Step From Eden and a few other games but it's just filed somewhere under Lockdown 2020
  • Brad sort of solo quick looked Good Job and a few other games but it's just filed somewhere under Lockdown 2020

The 95 quick looks in 2020 is inaccurate, but even a generous estimate counting all the Lockdown solo content of new releases probably only brings the total up to 130 or 140. It really feels like a lot of new game releases got passed over this year, or maybe the staff played them and the only record of that is a minute or two on a podcast somewhere.

So I'm not calling the staff slackers or anything, they're posting stuff each week, but I get where OP is coming from. The 2020 video-content-during-pandemic has been a lot less balanced than a typical year. Premium video series are still ongoing, but quick looks and UPF are way down/nonexistent, and that really cuts into the number of new game releases covered by the site.

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Tunnelman

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I don’t feel like there were a lot of games in 2020 worth talking about really, a pandemic combined with a bad console launch in the Fall didn’t do anyone favors. The company was sold last year too, likely putting extra work on everyone’s plate. I know it’s frustrating to see, but the work from home situation forces a lot of folks to have to suddenly shift a work life balance much harder into the life part. It’s a very difficult time to produce content, remember things like quick looks take far more time than what you see on screen. I understand the frustration, but also remember this is the time of year where the front page would be dominated by GOTY stuff. I imagine part of the current lull is caused by them currently generating GOTY content for sometime this month. I’m not saying you can’t be unhappy for whatever reason, just be aware these folks have lives and things going on that none of us need to know about. I’m still happy listening to the Beastcast on Fridays, it’s the greatest show in the galaxy after all. In some of the video content void I’ve found some twitch streamers that I really enjoy, I’d suggest trying something like that if you’re needing more media to consume!

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jrwill23

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It kind of ebbs and flows during the busy and not so busy seasons. Stuff is weird right now.

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GrayFox666

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I have been a Premium subscriber since day 1, but I am done once my newest renewal lapses (September I think). The gatekeeping and refusal to acknowledge even the most earnest and light heated criticism from the staff and the users of Giant Bomb is sad. I get it I was like that once as well (remember when rooster teeth attacked Jeff for giving Fallout 4 a *gasp* 3 on consoles?) Its just ridiculous at this point though.

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frytup

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Humanity

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@bisonhero: Seeing different versions of this thread pop up intermittently over the years has made me think that their biggest issue is consistency. When you put up those stats everything seems fine but when you actually break down the ebb and flow of content on the site it's this tug of war between feast and famine. Sometimes you have several extremely long format shows coming up back to back with the podcasts to bookend the week and sometimes you have two weeks of just the podcast and something mixed in between. This new Rogue feature whose sole gimmick I'd say are the short episodes is already taking a break because they need to take a break after the holiday break. Jeff and Vinny have come out plenty of times to say how hard they work and you always feel kind of embarrassed complaining about anything because they make it sound like they're moving mountains to keep the site going from week to week - so maybe it's not an effort problem and more of a workflow issue? I don't know what it is but the optics are sometimes just bad and ultimately perceived effort can outweigh actual effort.

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kopcik

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I hope that once they figure it out, there will be more quick looks. There is never ending supply of cool games on steam.

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BisonHero

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#32  Edited By BisonHero

@humanity: I see where you're coming from, but I can forgive inconsistency because there are things related to the staff's time they just have no reason to share to the audience because the explanation is frankly mundane and boring. Some weeks where content is a little light could be:

  1. someone took a day or week off for reasons, slightly delaying production on some feature they would otherwise be working on. It happens, this is fine.
  2. someone in a managerial role (Jeff, Vinny, Jason (I think), etc.) has to be in some meeting with other staff/managers at the company, slightly delaying production on some feature they would otherwise be working on. It happens, this is fine.
  3. some or all of the GB staff has to spend some time in a weekly/monthly/quarterly meeting with each other, scheduling things, recapping what worked/didn't work in their recent output, what features they're working towards in the future, other issues relevant to the website, etc., slightly delaying production on some feature they would otherwise be working on. It happens, this is fine.
  4. Vinny/Jason/Jan has to spend an above average amount of time resolving some technical production issue, slightly delaying production on some feature they would otherwise be working on. It happens, this is fine.
  5. like a dozen other reasons I can't think of because I've never worked their job. Also those are just the normal reasons, I didn't even get into the pandemic reasons like half the staff also having to possibly deal with child care while working from home, etc.

There's up weeks, there's down weeks, I don't really mind. The week after New Years is probably a bigger production meeting than usual, especially with GotY recording on the horizon. That's a wild guess on my part, but I'm not super surprised that maybe this week isn't wall to wall videos being posted.

Vinny is going above and beyond with his occasionally updated site-goings-on thread, sometimes pulling back the curtain on "oh yeah, we've been working on this quick look for a couple days but had to re-record it twice because the left audio channel kept getting corrupted" or whatever.

I'm not like, mad that overall Quick Look quantity is way down. Just a little bummed. GB East is spread a little thin with Dan leaving with no editor to replace him, and Abby left more recently so they're understaffed even more. They've done a good job adapting to work at home conditions, given that all of their professional quality recording/archiving gear is stuck in a useless office. It's just a shame that a lot of more niche and lesser known games from 2020 just got passed over without coverage compared to a typical year of GB coverage.

To OP's point, I already don't know how non-premium users do it; maybe I'm forgetting, but basically everything is premium except like Quick Looks, Unfinished, and Bombcast/Beastcast. But I understand that maybe the free users are acutely aware of the lower number of Quick Looks/Unfinished this year. The podcasts and premium series go up like clockwork, but I swear there have been weeks even recently where like two or even only one game is Quick Looked, which would be unheard of in 2019 or earlier.

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sombre

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#33 sombre  Online

Using Giant Bomb as a non sub is absolutely miserable

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sicamore

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I know it's not technically GB, but people saying there's no content for Monday obviously haven't been listening to Brad and Will's Techpod.

Regarding the amount of content, I find it hard to criticize given that so many other games media have been shut down while GB is still standing after so long. Whether or not you like their output, they've earned the right to be trusted that they at least know what it takes to survive.

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Humanity

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@bisonhero: We can go over the theory and myriad of reasons why things are what they are but like I said, the optics can sometimes be bad and this is a recurring issue for the site. It's why a lot of people roll their eyes when they see this talk of "too little of this too much of that" crop up because it does come up so often but at the end of the day who knows why things are the way they are. It's all conjecture on our part since GB has for years now had very little transparency. GOTY was moved to January for reasons - but when? What is the plan? Will it be live podcasts? Are we talking January 25th? I'm guessing as usual we will find out on the week of when someone updates the schedule. Once again this is fine but it does tend to create the illusion of nothing happening on the site for long stretches of time.

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Castiel

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Ride or die.

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Humanity

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@sicamore: You mean gaming sites? Who do you mean shut down because most of the regular sites like Gamespot, IGN, Kotaku etc are all functioning. YouTubers with their channels are certainly still going strong because for them going into lockdown had no impact on their daily output.

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#38  Edited By Lanechanger

As someone who has subbed consistently for a decade and stopped late 2020, I have also only recently realized how barren the amount of free content are. Which made me stop checking into the site regularly until it's beastcast time which I can rely on to be up at a regular schedule.

I stopped using GBI as well due to the twitch ads that show up and now just watch it on twitch directly. That way I can at least switch to something else when GBI decides to vote on boxcast as a meme. And now whenever I check in I see all these spam posts at the most recent posts and I did have a "wtf is happening with this site" moment.

Having that said, I do recognize that they are going through quite a transition at the moment and will be back on track. And I'm guessing they're recording GOTY stuff now so things may be a bit quiet at the moment but I will echo the sentiment that that stuff should be more transparent. Vinny was doing great with his post about what they've been up to for the time that he did it but that seems to have stopped.

Edit: Ok it seems like Vinny did pick it back up, he was doing it weekly then stopped for a month after the Nov post which was when I thought he stopped.

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MrGreenMan

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Have a little patience. This is a bit of a transition period. They are part of a new company, staff has changed and still dealing with working from home, the holiday break and well as GOTY shows coming up. I have no doubt they are thinking of and working on ideas for new content, both free and premium. We're just in a lull at the moment being the beginning of the year. These things happen from time to time, not sure the need to complain about this, but then again this seems to be a somewhat relative thing here to complain about this type of thing.

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cikame

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Could it just be that we've entered the slow part of the year where due to holidays, game of the year production and the usually slow January that there's just less content anyway?
I suppose those Rogue videos don't need to be premium really, was UPF always premium? They did one of those recently, i don't think that needs to be premium either.

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Camosid

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@cikame: UPF is basically the original foundational premium content. Back with Whisky Media they did a Happy Hour which was that but it was segmented from different websites.

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monkeyking1969

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No Caption Provided

Too much, too little? Whos to say.

Just my opinion, but it seems to me that not any person on the GB team I can identify is out to trick anyone or not 'put in' the work; so, exactly what are we talking about here?

If we think they are good people, and we suspect they are not likely to lay down on the job...then WHAT EXACTLY are we asking them to do?

Do more! Do more? Do more what exactly? What 'of use' to the averager Giant Bomb wacter/reader could then be producing?

I just went onto the Wayback machine for 2011. What "I SEE" that they had back then that they don't post now are 1) in-house reviews and mostly preview written stories or videos. I also see that had a few news stories that seems based on press releases not aboiut games but about some corporate governance gaming news. So what 2021 Giant Bomb doesn't have, that 2011 did have is mostly: corporates based advertising regurgitated into a news story or previews.

"Fuck me gently with a chainsaw, Heather"; is that what we really want back? What Giant Bomb seems to have trimed off the site in the past decade is news...which was mostly just regurgitated press releases. As for reviews, well like it or not, we live in a post review game culture where the effort they woudl put into making a review is not payed back by click-through by readers to consume that content. Reviews don't turn into eyeballs because the content because a review is pointless in a world where 25,000 users of Twitch can SHOW YOU IN REAL TIME the game running as they comment on how it works.

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deadrody

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@marino said:

Feels like a few weeks ago people were complaining about not enough premium content.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

BOTH could be true

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deadrody

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No Caption Provided

Too much, too little? Whos to say.

Just my opinion, but it seems to me that not any person on the GB team I can identify is out to trick anyone or not 'put in' the work; so, exactly what are we talking about here?

If we think they are good people, and we suspect they are not likely to lay down on the job...then WHAT EXACTLY are we asking them to do?

Do more! Do more? Do more what exactly? What 'of use' to the averager Giant Bomb wacter/reader could then be producing?

I just went onto the Wayback machine for 2011. What "I SEE" that they had back then that they don't post now are 1) in-house reviews and mostly preview written stories or videos. I also see that had a few news stories that seems based on press releases not aboiut games but about some corporate governance gaming news. So what 2021 Giant Bomb doesn't have, that 2011 did have is mostly: corporates based advertising regurgitated into a news story or previews.

"Fuck me gently with a chainsaw, Heather"; is that what we really want back? What Giant Bomb seems to have trimed off the site in the past decade is news...which was mostly just regurgitated press releases. As for reviews, well like it or not, we live in a post review game culture where the effort they woudl put into making a review is not payed back by click-through by readers to consume that content. Reviews don't turn into eyeballs because the content because a review is pointless in a world where 25,000 users of Twitch can SHOW YOU IN REAL TIME the game running as they comment on how it works.

I'm going to go with "Game of the Year". Literally the only thing that really draws me to this site. An entire year to get ready, without the long videos they used to do, and yet... nothing. Last year there were dozens of solicited top 10 lists that actually required almost zero effort from the staff to put up on the site. That, alone, could have bridged the gap between the end of 2020 when GOTY typically starts showing up, and when they get around to staff top 10 lists, etc. I don't know WTF is going on, but I sure as hell wish I could have this "job"...

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swthompson

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Given how my productivity has been impacted from my job while working at home (a total nightmare I can't even properly communicate), I can't imagine how much effort it would have been (and still is) to move Giant Bomb to a at-home streaming content house. They only just managed to get a low-latency recording setup with several people going. Messing around with this tech is itself a full time job! R&D on streaming tech and making sure every team member can handle their video streams and home internet, this all takes so much time.

I think the gradual improvements in GB content in 2020 was pretty admirable and I'm optimistic for next year.

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FinalDasa

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#48 FinalDasa  Moderator

Given how my productivity has been impacted from my job while working at home (a total nightmare I can't even properly communicate), I can't imagine how much effort it would have been (and still is) to move Giant Bomb to a at-home streaming content house. They only just managed to get a low-latency recording setup with several people going. Messing around with this tech is itself a full time job! R&D on streaming tech and making sure every team member can handle their video streams and home internet, this all takes so much time.

I think the gradual improvements in GB content in 2020 was pretty admirable and I'm optimistic for next year.

This is where I'm at as well.

At-home video production with several members spread across the country with different hardware and software configurations is HARD. Twitch streaming, OBS, and Discord seem like an easy 1-2-3 way to produce video but if you've ever actually sat down and attempting to record a gameplay video with several people you'd understand how difficult it really can be (the audio, dear god the audio).

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49th

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#49  Edited By 49th

Yeah, there's not much to watch as a free user. It feels like if it's not a Quick Look it will automatically be a premium thing, and they barely do Quick Looks anymore. They don't really have any other free shows like VR Rodeo or Ranking of Fighters. Like, did the majong streams really need to be premium? I can't imagine there were many people who cared about paying for that but it's something I would have checked out if it was free.

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whitegreyblack

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#50  Edited By whitegreyblack

Um... are you kidding me? Are you seriously implying the crew had nothing else, nothing out of the ordinary, going on in the year 2020 that might affect them having the ability to put out a GOTY series in December?

And your comment in the second snippet below? Holy shit.

@deadrody said:

[...] "Game of the Year". [...] An entire year to get ready

[...]

I don't know WTF is going on, but I sure as hell wish I could have this "job"...