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OXCGN: a history

by David Hilton

OXCGN  has evolved and grown into an independent ‘multiplatform site‘, focusing on articles that offer perspective and opinion on gaming issues, as well as reviews and updates.

It is a site where budding game journalists are offered the opportunity to develop their skills and be read worldwide, increasing their profile.

What? It started as a 360 site? Gasp!

However, it was once only a list of upcoming Xbox 360 games!

Back in 2005, founder Grant Smythe began a blog called XboxOZ360Gamer.com to provide the gaming community with a place to learn about upcoming games on Microsoft’s new console.

The site grew as more writers came on board and opinion articles became the focus of XboxOZ360.  At one stage it was even the most viewed independent Australian single platform site.

In late 2008 XboxOZ360 transformed itself into OXCGN (pronounced oxygen), which stood for Oz Xbox Community Gamer Network.  Yes it was a ‘GN’ site before many!

Now that we are multiplatform we are still trying to work out what to do with the O and X!  Email ideas!

As the site grew, new gaming platforms were also being released: the PS3, the Wii, the PSP, the 3DS, the PS Vita, Apple’s iPod, and now the Wii U.

OXCGN is re-born

It wasn’t until 2009 that OXCGN slowly transformed itself into a site with a wider focus covering all platforms.

OXCGN had always commented on gaming issues in general, on any console, and even did PC, Wii, DS, and PS3 reviews (called “Steal It for 360?”).  We copped a lot of ‘fanboy’ flack for that, but our writers liked games on other platforms and wanted to express their views wider than the 360.

Because most of our writers had more than one gaming platform, (some not even owning a 360!) it was inevitable that the site went multiplatform.

This was a big decision as dedicated websites tend to attract dedicated followers and we were entering the dangerous world where there were already lots of multiplatform sites.

We also began to invite writers from further afield than Australia who enjoyed our work.

We now have writers ageing from a sprightly 17 to an ancient 40-something  (yes, sigh, that’s me) in the U.S., U.K., as well as our home base here in Australia.

Not many independent sites survive.  It can be difficult to find dedicated volunteers and the money to keep it going.

But with a great team of writers and support from publishers, OXCGN continues to thrive and build.

New Ownership: Born Again 2

Grant Smythe was the founder and heart of the site.

However, for personal reasons, he had to move on and in 2012 I formally changed from being its de facto Editor in Chief to becoming owner and actual EIC.

My first move was to share ownership with our hard-working North American Rep, Nicholas Laborde.  I knew it wasn’t something I could do on my own.

Our commitment remains the same: to provide articles that try to express an opinion on gaming issues while giving updates and interesting reviews.

We have shed all notions of Xbox exclusivity and are firmly multiplatform supporters.

2012: We form a mutually beneficial partnership with Gamer Dungeon

Nicholas Laborde, co-owner, on right.

OXCGN has proudly entered into a partnership with Gamer Dungeon to combine our compatible services to the gamer community.

While we bring you articles, reviews and information, Gamer Dungeon is focused on a free game exchange/ sale section and forums where gamers can communicate on a huge variety of topics.

Together we form one of the most comprehensive independent gamer community sites in Australia and beyond.  So go on, click here, and check out Gamer Dungeon: OXCGN Community Forums.

2013: 

During the course of 2013, we decided that the best course of action to move the site forward into the future would be to put it on a dedicated host server. Doing this prior to E3 proved disastrous as we found our site hits dwindle into nothing and when moving back to WordPress, we had lost all of our content during the period.

Only 4 of the 10+ active staff contributed, and it become difficult to continue providing content when no one else was putting in the effort.

In an attempt to revitalize the site, David Hilton had agreed to sell the site to a long time contributor Arthur Kotsopoulos in September. Taking the reigns of the site and the EIC role, Arthur enlisted some new blood whilst retaining some of the old.

It is here we see a major overhaul in the way articles are formatted and presented.

The future for OXCGN looked bright and full of life again.

2014:

Which brings us to 2014. A new year and the start of a new chapter for the site which is ever changing. We start off the year with a change in layout, a cleaner body and even cleaner side column. The biggest complaint the site has had is that is was too ugly.

Now with a fresh look and new staff, we look forward to taking OXCGN to places it has never been before.

Affiliation

We welcome other independent sites to become affiliates and support each other, and we welcome aspiring gaming journalists wanting to volunteer and see if they can get a start somewhere, build a profile, and even possibly work their way up to attending events like EB Expo in Australia or E3 in America.

From an Xbox games list, to an Oz Xbox site, to a multiplatform, multi-national focused site, we have transformed but remained true to our central goal: to provide commentary by the gaming community to the gaming community.

We hope you join our Facebook, Twitter, and news feeds and enjoy our work.  For a bit of fun have a look through our archives and you will see our history unfold on the pages there.

Thank you for visiting us.

Contact us at info@oxcgn.com

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