Welcome To The New Kotaku: Better Graphics, More Interactive, Same Low Price.S

In less time than it takes to make a new BioShock, but in more time than it takes to crank out a new PlayStation firmware update—most people can actually hold their breath long enough for that—we’ve got a new Kotaku layout for you. Welcome to our first big makeover since 2011.

We call it Kinja.

We think it’s a vast improvement.

The new version of Kotaku that you now see is cleaner and does a better job of showcasing the marvelous images and video that make video games and gaming culture so vibrant. The new Kotaku is also more empowering to you. Please allow me to explain:

A More Customizable Reading Experience

Want to see the latest Kotaku stories in one infinite scroll? Just check in on the site regularly and that’s what you’ll get. This might remind some of you of “blog view.” And, yes, I figured you’d like that change.

Miss a day or two? You’ll automatically see our top stories. Want to see the latest? Click for the “latest posts” view.

Have favorite Kotaku authors? Or favorite Kotaku commenters? If you're logged in on the site, click the plus-sign next to their username and follow them.

You’ll be able to click on your own username (at the top right of the screen), select your "private" view and skim through the posts and comments of just the authors and readers you follow.I’m not just talking about Kotaku writers and readers. If for some strange reason you actually like the scribblings of Deadspin editor-in-chief Tommy Craggs or the fine postings of the folks at io9, you can follow them, too.

Everyone Gets a Blog

Want to get more involved and run your own site here? If you a registered Kotaku reader—that is, if you log in to read or comment—you now have your own blog in our Kinja network. I have one, too. Mine’s at stephentotilo.kinja.com. Yours is at yourusername.kinja.com.

You’ve got the same tools on your personal blog that I and the rest of the Kotaku team have for writing posts. You can make headlines, embed images and video, GIFs, the works.

Readers of your blog can follow you, comment and so on.

See some other great posts out there that you want on your site? Just click the arrow icon on that post and pull the post over to your own blog. Similarly, if anyone else sees your posts and likes them, they can pull them into their blog. You just might see Kotaku feature some of the best posts of our readers (shades of Speak Up past! In fact, if you publish something on your blog that you’d like to see featured on Kotaku, e-mail us a link to tips@kotaku.com, subject line: Speak Up).

Annotate!

If you go to a post on Kotaku and see a giant image up top (that’s 970x546, if you’re measuring) click on it. See what happens? You can comment on that part of the image. Try it. Here's an example using a Battlefield 4 image.

I think this is going to change the way we look at and talk about new screenshots. I look forward to you folks calling out the fakery in bullshots and highlighting the cool parts of the better images.

A Return to Comment Civility

Here at Kotaku—and at our parent company Gawker Media—we go through commenting systems like Spinal Tap goes through drummers. This new system, we hope, brings us ever closer to the commenting ideal.

Our goal is to have a commenting community that responds to posts with wit and intelligence, that is joyful or argumentative without being vitriolic and vile. Our standard is the same I’d have for a dinner party. I’d like you to quip, to agree or to passionately argue. But if you insult the other guests or just waste commenting space (no one cares if you were served soup first) then I’d rather you not comment at all.

To that end, we’re allowing everyone to comment, but only displaying, by default, comments from readers “followed” by Kotaku.

Please understand that we are erring on the side of following too few readers, with the intent to welcome more and more commenters in every day. I request your patience as we bring readers in, bit by bit, to join the discussions on this site.

You know who we’ll never let in? Those spammers. They can take their hot deals elsewhere. They’ve wasted enough of our time.

The majority of Kotaku’s five million monthly readers never comment. Some of you, I’m sure, would like to and haven’t felt comfortable about joining the discussion. I hope you’ll find this change as an opportunity to engage. We’d love to hear from you.

And There’s More

The Kinja platform went live about a month ago. Our sister site Jalopnik went first. Since then, our tech and design teams have iterated the platform several times and will continue to do so. They have some cool plans for further iterations and they've already spotted some of the areas that still need improvement—and are improving the platform all the time.

There are a lot of things we'll all be exploring together to make the most of them. Try starring articles, for example, recommending the best work and helping it to “go big” on the site.

Mess around in your notifications box and check on the activity of the people who respond to what you write.

There’s more to come.

Oh, and there’s the new Talk Amongst Yourselves. How could I forget? For the four years I’ve been at Kotaku, we’ve invited readers into a daily free-for-all discussion about anything related to video games. We’re hopefully improving that by turning TAY into its own blog. Go to TAY.kotaku.com to see how that’s going. We’ve already given several Kotaku readers the ability to write posts on that group blog. We’ll be welcoming more readers to write posts there in the days and weeks to come. I'm currently an author on TAY, but that blog will eventually be run entirely by readers. Our gift to you! We'll publish some of the best content there on the Kotaku main page, to boot!

If this isn’t enough info about the new Kotaku, read a FAQ about the Kinja platform here. Run into bugs? E-mail help@gawker.com or submit a bug report. If you have questions for me, chime in below or e-mail me at stephentotilo@kotaku.com. I’ll do my best to answer them.

While layouts change, the intent of the team at Kotaku does not. We’re dedicated to providing you the best news and opinion site about games and the culture around games. If you’re a serious, dedicated gamer, rest assured that we continue to work for you. We continue to try to write what you’ll care most about, to cater to your gaming and non-gaming passions—to break news, to present smart criticism, to show you the coolest and most beautiful stuff, to challenge you, to entertain you and to inform you.

We all thank you for continuing to join us on this ride.

Top image by Dan Dussault. It's from one of two official Kotaku t-shirts that you can buy from our friends at Meatbun.