Hello. From today, you will notice that videos embedded in articles on Eurogamer play automatically when you reach them as you scroll down the page, rather than when you click to play them. They will play without sound. This will happen on the desktop site first, and on mobile in the next few days.
We know people don’t love autoplay videos and have resisted making this change as long as we could. But the fact is that the advertising market has recently swung heavily in favour of so-called “pre-roll” video ads – that is, the ads that play before a video begins. Most advertisers are telling us that they have a huge demand for video ad views, and it has become apparent that relying on clicks on videos is not going to get us close to satisfying that demand. So it has become a commercial necessity for us to turn on autoplay – as it has for our competitors, the vast majority of whom have also made this move. Most of Eurogamer’s revenue comes from advertising, so we do need to keep pace with the demands of the advertising market.
Our approach to autoplay video will evolve over time. To begin with, the only change is that videos will play automatically, but in the long run we are going to have to devise a way to keep them in view for a longer period of time as you scroll down the page. We are committed to this solution being as elegant and as unobtrusive as it possibly can be.
Obviously, it’s vital that we host and create video that you actually want to watch after the ad has run. Separate from the Eurogamer and Digital Foundry YouTube channels, we are investing in creating better videos that complement the articles you’re reading – and to that end, we’re currently hiring for a video producer.
About those cookie notices…
I know what else you’re going to ask: how come you can’t view videos at all – or other embeds in our articles, such as those from Reddit or Twitter – without enabling targeting cookies?
Current internet privacy regulations, in Europe and elsewhere, are very broad in the way they define the kind of targeting cookies that users must agree to before they are served by a website. Our interpretation of the regulations is that they include cookies not only served by us, but by third parties through our website – such as YouTube, when we embed a YouTube video on a page. It is fair to say that not all websites interpret the regulations the same way we do, but the potential financial penalties for not conforming to them are enormous, and so we are taking a very cautious approach. This is why we ask you to agree to cookies before allowing you to view embeds.
I know this makes the website frustrating to use without cookies enabled, and I’m sorry. Please understand that it comes, if anything, from an abundance of caution in protecting your privacy, and not from a desire to force you into agreeing to cookies.
What about subscriptions?
Another question that often comes up when we talk about advertising on Eurogamer is: why can’t readers contribute to the site directly, rather than us having to rely so heavily on advertising revenue to make money?
This is something we’ve been thinking about a lot recently – and I can tell you that we’re now getting serious about it. We are exploring a subscription option, with a view to a possible launch next year, and we hope to be talking to as many of you as possible in the coming months to better understand what you would want from a service like that. Please look out for an opportunity to let us know what you think soon.
We are doing fine, thanks for asking! 2020 is shaping up to be the biggest year in the site’s history in terms of page views and audience size, while we recorded our biggest single day ever in March and second biggest in September (thanks, Animal Crossing and PS5). Obviously, world events have shaken the advertising industry and economy so much that this kind of success doesn’t translate into the financial returns it might have generated in a normal year, but we are in a comfortable position and fortunate to be working in an industry – video games – that seems well placed to weather the current storms reasonably well. So we’ll be fine. But thanks, as ever, for reading – it means so much to us that you do.