“It just wasn’t realistic to do a thing, like, building a site like Polygon, with the backing that we have, and making the content that we have. Everybody wants to do this, no one actually can because it’s just not possible.” – Russ Pitts, Features Editor, Polygon.
In case you weren’t familiar, new gaming web site Polygon is the product of Vox Media’s funding, who you know as parent company of SB Nation and The Verge. Last year they drafted key Engadget talent to create The Verge and this year, have recruited key players across the gaming industry to to create a brand new web site (I tried to document it in picture form here). Polygon seems to have taken it upon themselves (or at least, not objected to Vox Media) to create a six-part web series. Earlier this week, Polygon unveiled a teaser trailer for the series, which will begin airing on August 29th. It was short, but from the edited footage of people hanging out in suburbia tapping away at laptops and short audio quips, it came across as slightly pretentious. We already know what kind of super team you guys are, we get it, you don’t need to keep rubbing it in our faces. The cute video they had when unveiling the branding at PAX East was fine, but this seems a little like overkill, y’know? When Joshua Topolsky and crew were building The Verge, they had a temporary site called ‘This Is My Next’ where they continued to work while their site was being built. Polygon’s self-serious promotion just comes off as entirely weird.
So surprise became shock when yesterday they released a three minute trailer for the documentary. What? That’s right, the video they released earlier this year was merely a teaser for the trailer for the web series. And in this trailer, they mention how they have the best staff in the world at least half a dozen times, they stress the extreme sacrifices and risk in being an extremely well-funded publication with the best staff and newest technology behind them to create a product that no one else can do. Fer’real, this is a thing that exists. Now I’m all for documentaries, but regardless to the staff, tech, or pedigree, this is all still unearned. We’re no strangers to introspective documentaries, but we’re not sitting here tooting our own horns (as awesome as we are), because we’re having fun here. But as you watch this teaser, you see a bunch of editors who could not be more serious about the matter, starkly declaring that our industry probably isn’t even ready for this much awesome. (Although explaining a score does seem to be a problem.)
Compounding the issue is that anyone who draws up how obvious how ridiculous this self-treatment is is greeted by ridiculous retorts by a seemingly complicit staff. Is there no check internally to see how ridiculous this looks from the outside world? Look Polygon, I look forward to working alongside you guys, but seriously, dealers don’t get high on their own supply.