What is Gamezebo?
Those three little words, that one simple question – it was enough to rock our world when we asked it earlier this year.
Back in 2006 when Gamezebo first launched, this was a very easy question to answer. “Gamezebo is casual games,” we would have said. And back then, we would have been right.
As time marched on, “casual games” began to change. What had started as an editorial site covering puzzle and hidden object games on PC had to grow and adapt with the times. In 2009 we added iPhone games into the mix. In 2010, we added Facebook.
For all intents and purposes, this made sense. What people were playing on these platforms were casual games. But that changed pretty quickly.
Mobile gaming blew up in a way that no one could have predicted. We were one of the first sites to write about it, and we didn’t want to let up. So we pushed hard into mobile — just as hard as we were pushing into PC.
And as mobile games grew, PC casual games stagnated.
Over the years we’ve tried a lot of things to keep our original PC/casual audience engaged. We expanded into PC games beyond what you might find on Big Fish. We tried to capture every notable hidden object release on mobile.
In the end, though, the vast majority of readers were coming to Gamezebo to learn about iPhone, iPad, and Android games.
Add to the mix the other avenues we were exploring – content aimed at developers, culture stories, upcoming tech – and we were finding ourselves in a really confusing predicament:
What is Gamezebo?
The answer to that question by early 2014 had become muddled. The majority of our focus was on mobile games, but there was enough of everything else mixed in that it was bound to confuse new readers. Our direction just wasn’t clear.
Today, it is again.
Gamezebo is a mobile games site focused on the games YOU want to play.
We’ll sometimes talk about the big games that everyone is talking about, sure. But we’ll also talk about the games that nobody is. The hidden gems that should be on your radar. The quirky, fun, games that you know you’ll love, even if only for 30 seconds at a time.
We still have a little casual in our soul, after all.
If you’re wondering how this will all shake out, you just have to look at our recent content. We’ve spent the entire month of August with a mobile-only focus, writing about exactly the sort of content you want to read. How do we know? We’ve seen the numbers. It’s working.
But What About the New Site?
A few months back, we launched a brand new Gamezebo. It’s sleek, it’s hip, it looks great on mobile phones (where a shockingly large portion of our readers are reading) — and most importantly, it’s different.
We stripped away a lot of the features of the old site, and it’s left a small but vocal portion of our regular readers more than a tad perturbed. We’ve read your emails, we’ve seen your comments, we get it – some of you are angry.
And while we won’t bring back what’s gone, maybe if I can offer an explanation it would help soften the blow.
The former site used to have user reviews, personal accounts, private messaging, kudos, forums – the whole nine yards. Here’s the catch, though – this stuff isn’t free. And whether you realize it or not, only a really small percentage of our users were using it.
I’m even hesitant to call it a percentage. We’re talking a fraction of a percent.
Couple the added costs of these things (as well as other costs on the backend that we could mitigate with a redesign), and it became clear: we needed to redesign the site to run leaner, cheaper, and more efficiently.
Please don’t think these choices were made on a whim. Months upon months of discussions took place even before we started drafting up a plan. We did surveys with readers and game developers alike to help us come up with the new design, and their feedback helped immensely.
Still, we knew the changes would be upsetting to some of you. And we’re sorry. But ultimately, we had two options:
- Rebuild a leaner site and live well into the future
- Maintain the current site and shut down in 12-16 months
Harsh, right? But also very true. You may not realize this as a GZ reader, but we’re weathering a very harsh storm right now in the world of games journalism. Advertising is dead (largely because of ad-blockers, so if you’re running one, just know you’re killing every site you love), and sites are suffering layoffs and closures at a staggering rate.
Gamezebo, however, is not. We’re still here, and we plan to be here for as long as you’ll have us in your browsers. But that can only happen if we’re permitted to make tough decisions when we need to, and only if you’re willing to stay along for the ride when we do.
Thank you for reading Gamezebo. Thank you for sticking with Gamezebo. We enjoy writing it as much as you enjoy reading it. We’re fully committed to our mobile-focused future, and we hope you’ll continue to treat us as you’re #1 destination for iPhone, iPad and Android news and reviews in the years to come.
In the immortal words of The Who, we’re goin’ mobile. Now quit reading and get playing.
– Jim Squires, Editor-in-Chief