It’s been roughly 14 months since we launched PlayStation University back in September of 2009. In that time our website has grown from an overnight, spontaneous idea to a full-fledged blog full of opinions, a tight knit community and a great source of editorials and reviews. To be honest, I never expected us to grow at the rate in which we did and I have all of our usual readers and inconsistent visitors to thank for that growth.
When we first launched PlayStation University, we went with just a simple default design that WordPress was compatible with and it was something we always planned on changing down the road. Today, December 1st, 2010, we’ve finally taken that step in the next direction and we’re proud to unveil our new design. The Board (Alan) has been hard at work behind the scenes for the last couple of months preparing to have it finished in time for you guys and I think he’s done a fantastic job (with a little help from me!).
However, our website isn’t just receiving a new coat of paint. We’ve actually taken the initiative to make a lot of changes to the site that should make it more feature-rich and more user accessible than ever before. This is something we take pride in and we’re going to continue to make changes to further the user integration and activity as we push forward.
Anyway, here is a list of features we’ve implemented or improved upon and I’ve also included some pretty screenshots just for those of you who have lower attention spans…
Single-Login Integration: Alright, so one of the more annoying things with the site is that you would need a WordPress account and a forum account to make things happen. However, starting today, you can use your forum account to log into the front page and leave comments. Further more, not only will you receive a unified login, but whatever you set your avatar to on the forum will also act as your profile image when you leave a comment below.
Comment Plus/Minus System: Now that you have full user integration between the forums and the front page, it’s time to let your fellow comment producers know exactly what you think of their opinions and points. Beside every comment is the option to give a user either a Plus Vote or a Minus Vote. Hopefully, despite the fact this will probably be trolled to death, it will also push some individuals into making more useful comments that everyone can benefit from.
Conversational Comments!: Something I find annoying is going through the comment section and it looks like a Twitter feed. Everyone is responding to one another as “@user blah blah blah.” Thankfully, we’ve rectified this lame issue with the ability to leave direct replies to users. This means, you can now have actual conversations in the comment section below.
Game Trailers Integration: Before we had our website set up where you’d have to go to our YouTube section to check out videos and the latest gaming trailers. However, now we’ve brought this part of the site to the front page and it will be consistently updated with the latest released trailers that you can feel free to check out and enjoy as things happen.
Also — Instead of bringing you to a new page, the trailer will pop-up in your current browser tab for easy viewing and navigating. When you’re done watching, just click outside of the video window and you’ll be back at the front page.
Screenshot Integration: Not only have we created this user friendly pop-out for trailers, but the same can be done with screenshots as well. Furthermore, we’re currently working on getting the screenshots to display along the sidebar to the right so that they can be easily accessed at any time. This should help you be up to date with the latest screenshots a lot easier as well.
Weekly Video News Cast: Every Sunday, starting on December 5th, 2010 — PlayStation University will be providing its readers with a weekly video news cast from YouTube user, Goolgey. These newscasts will span roughly 7-10 minutes and include an update on that weeks news, opinions, and even a question of the way that hopefully you will take part of in the comment section below. You can expect this show to be available every Sunday around 7-8 PM CST. This is one of the biggest features we’re adding to the site and it’s also going to be home to where you can find out about our upcoming giveaways and take part in them as well. Make sure to tune in and watch!
Honorary PlayStation University Degrees: If you’ve known me long, you know that I was always an advocate for Community Member Interviews. Well, we’re taking that initiative one step further this time around. Every month, starting with December, we’ll be choosing an individual to receive an Honorary PlayStation University Degree. This user can be someone from the gaming industry that works at a publisher or developer, it could be a user that makes a lot of comments on our front page article, or it could be a strong forum contributor. Regardless, this is something I’ve wanted to start back up for some time and I think this is the best time to do so.
My PlayStation University: To be honest, this is one of the best features I think we’re implementing into the site. I know one of the things users want to be included in most is on the front page of the website regardless of which sites you visit. Perhaps you spend a good amount of time creating a specialized user review of the latest title you purchased or perhaps you’ve written up a rant on our forums that warrants a hot discussion or debate amongst our users. Regardless of what the content type is like, we’re going to give you the chance to appear on the front page on a daily basis, bi-daily basis or however often you want it to happen.
Starting today, we’ll be implementing a forum section titled “My PlayStation University.” Here, you will have the chance to submit links to great threads of discussion from the forum, user reviews, blog rants, Official Game Threads etc… Upon review, we’ll be taking those discussions, reviews and rants in order to showcase them on the front page. Hopefully this inspires you guys to take part in our forum discussion more often and will push you to create standout threads that deserve to be noticed or user reviews that you’d like more of your peers to read.