“Heaven Media is key to the growth of Crossfire” TosspoT; 19:38:07, 13/10/09

It’s almost a year to the day since the ‘Swine Flu’ crash of ’09 - welcome to Crossfire 2010. We’re one year older and what have we learned, what’s new? Hopefully Crossfire now backups daily onto a separate hard drive, there’s been one mouse giveaway to generate content, everyone’s installed adblock and then there’s…?

Rhetoric aside – and accepting a sketchy timeline, Heaven Media purchased Crossfire some time early to mid 2008, TosspoT later joined the company as Esports Director alongside a few familiar faces from QuadV. This was to be a grand marriage; it brought together the largest CS site Cadred.org, the largest CoD site Tek-9.org and a conglomerate of gaming and hardware sites. This was to be the VE day we’d all been waiting for, finally Crossfire was playing with the big boys. And big they are – though through acquisitions not organic growth Heaven Media can still boast some 1.6 million unique users, an impressive 20 million page views per month and 250,000 regular online contributors. The group also recently worked alongside Amazon.co.uk, Sennheiser, Alienware, Dell and Codemasters. My point? They’re not short on cash.

So given that; what have you done for me lately?

"In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." George Orwell

Crossfire is stagnant. It desperately requires an upgrade, if not a redesign in order to rejuvenate the site and bring it in-line with current standards. It’s been three years since the launch of Crossfire 3 and the confetti is in the gutter, the bride shacked up with Eric from number 10. The site was revolutionary at the time and taLa did everyone proud, but as a great man once said “evolve or die”.

It was not always this way, when the late great Fusen was active the site saw regular upgrades, all it’d take was an interesting suggestion and away he went – 24 hours later you had a fancy new feature to play around with. But unfortunately with the ‘Swine Flu’ crash of ’09 and Fusen’s later disillusionment there’s been little worthy modernisation.

And this in itself is the problem. Crossfire was once the great paladin of community driven content; a site created by Raza, re-invigorated by TosspoT, redesigned by taLa, nurtured by Fusen. But these days are gone – it’s become the fat Swedish kid stood in the corner wondering why nobody talks to him. Crossfire is bloated and needs to hit the gym. Whether this is a consequence of the buy-out or external factors is yet to be seen, and a question for another day.

“Happiness, he tells himself, teaches one nothing. Misery, on the other hand, steels one for the future. Misery is a school for the soul. From the waters of misery one emerges on the bank purified, strong, ready to take up again the challenges of a life of art” J. M. Coetzee

Crossfire must clamber up that bank and emerge ready to take on this challenge. The content can wait – we need first address the structural damage. And Crossfire must do this in a new and innovative way. Calls for community contributors and bedroom coders have repeatedly fallen on deaf ears. Those that have the time lack the skills and those that have the skills lack the time. This is why we must nervously edge our way to the front and ask “please sir, can I have some more?” - Heaven Media must ensure the longevity of the site by investing some real time, effort and capital in creating Crossfire 4; or at the very least finishing Crossfire 3.0.1. The userbase has begrudgingly accepted the box ads as a necessity, grown immune to the generic press releases and even acknowledged the site being used as just another statistic – but this partnership of contributors and ownership cannot continue to be so lob sided. Heaven Media must understand that the success of this site is as key to their business as it is to us.

There’s a plethora of opportunity to expand the reach of the site. The movie section was never fully completed, the tutorials are inadequate, the article and interview sections redundant and the forums pointless. Thought should also be put into the completion of the Easybash project, greater integration with Gamestv.org, the development of a tournament calendar and many other features such as increased immitation of Esreality. Good websites borrow, great websites steal and as such we should see the scrapping of the warning point system and the introduction of 'probation', there should also be consideration for a news template and image gallery. There’s no shortage of ideas and these can be discussed at length later.

“But some aspects of reality – a unified theory of physics, or of consciousness – might elude us simply because they’re beyond human brains, just as surely as Einstein’s ideas would baffle a chimpanzee.” Lord Martin Rees

The inner workings of Heaven Media and their relationship with Crossfire will always baffle us laymen and sadly the reality is that as Crossfire is now owned by a business and not a private individual there’s processes that must first take place. An email to TosspoT who grabs a coder is no longer enough. They’ll need to be a project plan put in place, a lead, an aim, a purpose – a profit. We need a set goal that’ll see the userbase increase by X and site impressions by Y. But that’s for Heaven Media to decide, we’re interested in the unquantifiable – we just want a site that works.

“Eternity is very long, especially towards the end” Woody Allen

So hear this battle cry - the Crossfire userbase need join together in creating a better Crossfire. There need be three parts to this effort; initially we must agree there’s a need for improvement, secondly we should debate and agree what these improvements must be and finally we need constructively lobby the employees of Heaven Media, of whom the Accounts Manager at least regularly browses here and convince them of both the necessity and the benefit of giving Crossfire a complete overhaul.

Let us go foward together.

At the time of posting Heaven Media were not available for comment.