Kotaku Splitscreen is a video game podcast covering all things gaming in a fun format you can listen to while you play. We interviewed Splitscreen‘s host, Jason Schreir, about how the show strives to be entertaining and informative.
Kotaku, the video game “opinion and news” website, is a mainstay of internet and gaming culture. The website was founded in 2004, the same year as the term “Podcast” was coined. But unlike other game-coverage sites, Kotaku didn’t immediately jump on the whole internet-radio bandwagon. On early progenitors, like Gamespot’s the HotSpot in 2005, followed by Games for Windows Radio and 1Up Yours in 2006, listeners got to meet the fiery personalities behind the articles for the first time – ultimately changing how video games are covered in the process.
Now, personality-based journalism is everywhere. The arbiters of taste are no longer faceless publications that stand solely on their authority, like Nintendo Power in the ’90s. Today, your excitement for a game often starts with a personalized recommendation from an internet personality that you’ve gotten to know through their content over the years.
With Kotaku’s combination of critical opinions, long-form journalism, and sharing-this-cool-thing-with-your-friend style blogging, it’s clear that they understand this lineage. In 2015, they took the next step into personality-based game coverage by starting their own podcast – Kotaku Splitscreen.
When I got the chance to interview Kotaku’s News Editor and Splitscreen co-host Jason Schreier, he told me that it all started in 2012 with a recurring column called Burning Questions. For the next year, Jason and his debate partner and Kotaku Contributor, Kirk Hamilton, semi-regularly discussed gaming’s bigger questions, such as Why Do Boss Fights Even Exist? By 2015, the duo expanded their column into a video podcast, but shortly dumped the video part because it “turns out video is hard!” Last year, Kirk and Jason added a third member to round off the cast of Splitscreen – Kotaku’s managing editor Maddy Myers.
Jason says that Kotaku’s goal has always been to “strike a balance between entertaining and informative.” For him, striking a balance doesn’t mean hedging your bets and playing it down the middle. It’s about diving into both sides of the equation. “That means sometimes talking about why Sony might be skipping E3 and sometimes debating whether Sonic the Hedgehog’s redesign should include his genitals.”
With contrasting episode titles like “The Death of Telltale Games” and “Dungeons, Dragons, Diners, and Dives”, Splitscreen clearly reflects Kotaku’s larger editorial dedication to combining the silly and the serious.
Given the similarities between Kotaku’s written pieces and their podcast, I was curious to ask Jason what he sees as the benefits of the podcasting medium. He says that “podcasts are well-suited to anything. But they’re particularly fun to listen to while playing games, so why not use them to listen to people talking about games?”
Looking towards the future of the podcast, Jason and the Kotaku team are brimming with optimism. “I get to have conversations about video games every week with two incredible co-hosts, and tens of thousands of people listen – it’s hard not to be excited about that! Splitscreen is almost always the highlight of my week, and I’m excited to keep podcasting for many years to come.”
So if you’re looking for a podcast that reflects the wide world of video games, or just want a show to listen to while you play games, give Kotaku Splitscreen a try and let us know what you think by reviewing it on Podchaser!
Chasing Pods is a Podchaser blog series dedicated to letting our readers know about podcasts they may not have heard of or provide a sneak peek into the making of their favorite podcast. We talk to podcast creators about their journey into podcasting, the creation of their shows, the ups and downs of the work, and what they’re looking forward to for their podcast
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