Product Hunt, the platform for upvoting the top tech products, is making its first expansion outside of tech into gaming and has pulled in game publication Polygon co-founder Russ Frushtick to head up the new category.
The Product Hunt Games section will look similar to the main list of the top tech products of the day on Product Hunt, but filled with new gaming products instead.
The addition is a long-time coming for Product Hunt and an important next step as it continues to grow beyond the tech industry without losing its core audience of tech product enthusiasts.
But this isn’t the first we’ve heard of this idea. Product Hunt has been teasing out the gaming category the past few months, adding a Games Digest newsletter and hinting for a while now that it would be adding categories beyond tech.
It already made that leap in a way with music. We wrote about the launch of Snoop Dogg’s latest album on Product Hunt – a noticeable split from its regular tech product vertical. The rap superstar even did a Reddit-style AMA with fans on the site.
But while music, fashion, movies and other categories had been tossed about as possible additions to Product Hunt in the future, games were a more natural next step for the platform to break into, according to founder Ryan Hoover. He believes there’s a lot of cross-over in tech and gaming demographics, and the two are an obvious fit.
“We’ve already been seeing games posted on Product Hunt for several months now,” Hoover told TechCrunch.
Although there’s a lot of support for music on the platform with 45 different user-generated music collections and about 279 music-related products on Product Hunt, Hoover pointed out that music discovery is already a very crowded space.
“The music scene I don’t think it’s the easiest one for us to explore right now because it’s already dominated by Spotify, Apple just launched its streaming service. There’s certainly a big opportunity but music as the next category I don’t think is the right category for us,” Hoover said.
He said gaming was a category that more closely aligned with the Product Hunt community and tech in general. He has a point. There are 31 gaming collections on Product Hunt, but a whopping 758 gaming products on the platform and 4601 people listed under games vs. 493 people listed under music.
The category is also a comfortable one for Hoover. He worked at PlayHaven and InstantAction before setting off on his own to build Product Hunt, so he’s been involved in the gaming world for a while.
“There’s this explosion in creation of gaming, especially in different categories within gaming. Mobile is helping with that. But everyone is publishing from one seventeen-year-old kid to big companies. As there’s more being created I think we have an obligation to curate that and find the best stuff” Hoover said.
This idea of independent game creation is what fascinates him the most about this new category on the platform.
The gaming addition has been slowly rolled out to individual gaming enthusiasts in the Product Hunt community over the last couple of months, but is now available for anyone who wants to use it to discover new games using the URL producthunt.com/games.
“As you know, since the beginning, we’ve involved the PH community, sharing early mockups and asking for feedback,” Hoover said. His team used mockups created through web and mobile prototyping platform InVision, to get a sense of what sort of design would work for this community.
Product Hunt has so far been pretty good about testing ideas out with small numbers of its core community to see what works. But it still faces the same challenge that other curation sites have before. Digg lost its core audience by trying to venture out into other areas. Pinterest didn’t hit its stride until it started marketing to a more select category of mom bloggers interested in fashion and DIY.
Hoover knows there’s a challenge ahead and said he’s relying particularly on design inspiration from other sites that have made that cross-category bridge. But he’s also experimenting with how Product Hunt will evolve as he adds new categories to the site.
“Where Product Hunt starts to look different is and frankly it’s the unknown for is what ProductHunt.com will look like. What is the single feed that you view and how do you experience Product Hunt when you have potentially movies, music, books, gaming, tech altogether in one experience. That’s new,” Hoover said.
There are very few sites that have successfully created something across various categories and not lost the core audience in the process. Although Reddit and Tumblr have both been able to do this to varying degrees. It will be interesting to see how Product Hunt continues to evolve as a platform while venturing out into new categories and curating a more distinct list of categories in the future.