How The Washington Post’s Launcher covers gaming and esports inside a mainstream publication – Digiday

For years, gaming has been categorized as a niche form of entertainment. But that’s been changing over the better part of the past decade, including within the realm of gaming journalism.

In addition to longstanding gaming publications like Kotaku and IGN, mainstream outlets have invested in covering gaming and esports, as The Washington Post did in debuting Launcher in October 2019. And their coverage extends beyond console reviews and game play tips.

As Launcher editor Mike Hume explained in the latest episode of the Digiday Podcast, Launcher covers the business and culture surrounding and inside video games, from esports competitions that have formed around games to people holding their weddings within games to the legal standoff between Apple and Fortnite maker Epic Games. Rather than focus on legitimizing gaming to The Washington Post’s broader audience, Launcher has had to take care to legitimize itself to the core gaming audience. 

“We’re not going to be the Kool-Aid guy breaking down the wall and being like, ‘The Washington Post has come. Gamers rejoice. Now you have a mainstream outlet.’ No, you’ve got to earn that. That’s what a lot of our focus was in year one,” Hume said.

Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.

The gaming audience is a mainstream audience

A lot of the mainstream stuff we would see, even from ourselves at The Washington Post, would look at gaming like they were a foreign correspondent reporting on a tribe in the Amazon they had
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