I have to admit, this feels like an insane article to be typing out, but here I am. In May of last year, I received my Steam Deck and a month after that, on June 18th 2022, SteamDeckHQ went live. The outlet was originally designed to be a game reviewing site that recommends settings tested by us rigorously, but it expanded to cover news and create guides shortly after. When I began writing, I never expected to reach what we have so far and meet so many amazing people along the way and, with one year officially here, there's still so much to show and tell.
So How Far Have We Grown?
Before we grew into what the site is now, let me say a little about where we began. I don't have a ton of website development experience, so I started with creating SteamDeckHQ on Squarespace. It took me around 20 or so days of learning and testing, but I finally got the site up exactly 1 year ago.
After this, I posted on the Steam Deck subreddit announcing what I am doing and the project itself. Thankfully, this caught the eye of an actual web developer Shelby (BitterJay) and he helped me create the site that we have now.
When this started, we had around 30,000 to 50,000 views a month which, honestly, is not bad for 2 months as a new outlet. But by November/December, we had skyrocketed to over 1 million views monthly. This blew us away and made me realize this could be something that becomes a career. Now, we sit over 1.6 million views a month with over 320,000 active users, which is no small number considering how new we are. On top of that, our main social media, Twitter, has organically grown to almost 17K followers with millions of interactions.
Being a part of the video game industry has been a dream of mine since I can remember, so this prospect energized me and pushed what we do further. Today, that is something I am continuing in full force.
1st Announcement - Time to Go Full Time
With all of this growth, it has become so much busier. With SteamDeckHQ, I personally handle game reviews, news coverage (which we are getting more help with now), guide writing, social media, and talking directly with PR in regards to games. This is a lot of work and, with the growth, all of this has grown substantially.
Since I started the site, I have been working full-time managing a store while working on the website. It has been a lot of work, but I love the outlet and had no qualms doing it. Recently though, work at my full-time job has picked up and I have been asked to do much more. I was left with a decision, either pull back a little on SteamDeckHQ to not overwhelm myself or quit my job and go full-time with the website. If I keep my management job, I would have a steady income and a safety net, but I would be giving up what has become a passion of mine. After a lot of thinking and discussions with my business partners, I chose the latter.
Starting July 4th, I will officially be working on SteamDeckHQ full-time! Honestly, the idea of this still feels like a mix between scary and exciting, but we are making enough to give me what I need for the bare essentials. It will require some sacrifices, but this is a risk I want to take to follow my passion and keep this dream alive.
With this, there is going to be a temporary change that, personally, I am not as happy with. To make sure we are making enough to sustain me going full-time, we will be increasing the ads on the website. This will be a TEMPORARY change, but doing so will give me a safety net to allow me to set up our other endeavors including our podcast and starting to stream. Once these are up, we will be removing the extra ads. I can't give an estimate on how long this will last as we don't know yet how much more we would make from these ads, but I will update ASAP.
I am not a fan of more ads, so I am also working with our ad supplier to create a way to remove the ads through our Patreon. When the ads go live, we plan to add a $1 tier to Patreon that, if you pay monthly, will remove the ads entirely. All of our Patreon tiers will include this, but I was very adamant on creating an option as cheap as possible for people to remove the temporary ads that, if I was a reader, I would be comfortable paying.
Still, this is a really exciting, yet somewhat nerve-wracking, decision and I can't wait to push myself into podcasting and streaming. We have already been talking to awesome creators to work with on the podcast, while we have ideas to get into streaming and showcase upcoming games on the Steam Deck, do live product-reviews where people can ask questions and we answer LIVE, and so much more. It is ambitious, but we aren't done.
2nd Announcement - Other Handhelds
As some may have noticed lately, we have our hands on the ASUS ROG Ally and have been playing around with it, integrating it into the site to a smaller degree than the Deck. It has been a blast being able to test and compare the device, getting to the point that we want more. So, I took a chance and reached out to AYANEO, AOKZOE, and other mobile PC manufacturers to see about checking out their handhelds. The responses we got back were very positive.
We are going to be expanding into more of the mobile PC market, reviewing and testing games on handhelds outside of the Steam Deck and ROG Ally. We want to give more perspective on all these devices and find the best ones for certain people so everyone can get the experience they want to have. But how we expand is where the question comes in.
We could expand SteamDeckHQ to cover other handhelds or we can create a sister website that will house our content regarding our other handhelds. While we have thought about it internally, I want to hear what you think too! So, we are hosting a poll on what you would like to see: A more dedicated website for other handhelds or expanding this website to cover it all.
Where to Now?
With those two big announcements, SteamDeckHQ will be able to expand even further past what it is currently. Working full-time on the site will allow me the time to stream and start podcasting, while expanding to other handhelds will give us the chance to show everything this market has to offer. Of course, our focus will still be on the games, but we will now be able to test and showcase which device can do it best.
More details will be given for these next month, once I am able to decompress and start working on the outlet without any interference. This might seem like a lot, or maybe not since it is condensed into two announcements, but we have MANY future plans. I am an ambitious guy, always have been, so there is so much more that I want to do.
While I can't go too much into detail just yet, I can talk loosely about one of my future endeavors: Project HG. I love the video game industry and the people in it, but I have seen a lot of dissatisfaction with news reporting in general. There are some great reporters that do amazing work, like Jason Schreier and Gene Park, and awesome outlets, like GamingOnLinux and Retro Resolve, that stand above this, but trust in general is down.
Project HG will be our foray into general video game news reporting and game reviewing, covering all consoles with an emphasis on transparency, positivity, and community interaction. This is a project that won't see fruition for a year or two at least, but with me going full-time on the site, Project HG will be a reality.
Want to Support Us?
First off, if you do want to directly support us, thank you. It means so much to myself and the team. We would not be anywhere without the amazing community, you guys are the best. Every day I smile to myself feeling so lucky and humbled that we have achieved these insane feats.
If you want to support us directly, Patreon will be the best way to do it. The $1 tier isn't up yet, so if you want to wait, we will announce when it is! Once I am full time, I will be overhauling Patreon a bit to include early podcast access and more. You can also check out our merch store if you want to support and get a sweet new shirt as well!
Outside of that, following us on Twitter will be the best way to keep up-to-date on our articles and such. Talking about us to others, retweeting, and interacting all helps our visibility too! Every little bit helps and means so much to us.
Thank you all so much for your support and being here. I can't say this enough, but I am so honored to be a part of the community in a larger way where I can interact and bring awesome news, games, and more to everyone. With these new developments, I will not only be able to do even more, but push out more content.
Thank you all for reading and that Deck handy, we got an exciting journey to continue!
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