Anyone who’s been following gaming news over the past week knows what’s up. With Hearst/UGO’s acquisition of 1UP.com, Ziff Davis has pulled the plug on Electronic Gaming Monthly and laid off a great deal of the 1UP staff.
I’ve waited this long to speak about it, because emotions are running high. It’s absurd to say or think, but EGM has been a big part of my development as a critical thinker when it comes to video games. I’m young, so I missed some of the glory days of the publication. I wasn’t old enough to read when they were reviewing Super Mario Bros. 3 and whatnot. But I’ve had my subscription since grade school, and I can honestly say that their staff of writers has greatly influenced both my love of games and my decision to write about them.
More recently, I stumbled across the 1UP podcasts. What I realized when the podcast staff was laid off was how personal the medium can be. Again, we’re getting into absurd histrionics, but I felt like I knew a great deal of the podcast crews. Especially at 1UP FM, Nick Suttner and Phil Kollar were great to listen to, and the network’s consistently high quality product made my long days at the office less soul crushing.
Moreover, it was their podcasts that caused massive overhauls in the way that my own podcast and radio show were presented. To me, it seems like they wrote the book about making games podcasting entertaining. I couldn’t hope for my show to be as good as what they did, but the fun is in the trying.
I’ll still read 1UP.com, because there are plenty of talented people there. What’s nice about the site is that it’s an Institution (capital “I”). Good people will gravitate toward it, and any void left by those who were laid off will be filled with other talented writers. They won’t be able to replace those who were lost, but they don’t need to, because those people are off pursuing their own new projects.
The 1UP FM crew are currently helming the Rebel FM podcast, and their premiere episode was amazing enough to put them at #1 on the iTunes charts. Those same folks are also writing for Eat-Sleep-Game, and the 1UP Show crew is now working on a project at TalkingOrange.com.
I don’t know what else there is to say about the “incident.” Personally, it broke my heart for the aforementioned reasons, and because I am left uncertain about my own future. It’s a sad time for someone who is looking at writing for or about games as a carreer. If EGM can fall, then who can stand?
I wish everyone who got laid off the best of luck. You’ve influenced more people than you know, and I’m certain you’ve got great things ahead of you.