Friday, 22 February 2013

Farewell GameSpy and 1UP

So much for happy endings.

Yeah, remember when I said that the Ziff Davis acquisition of IGN and it's various subsidiaries would more than likely not result in a slew of significant changes? About that ... time makes fools of us all it would seem. A scant two weeks after the sale was announced it has now come to light that Ziff Davis is shutting down GameSpy, 1UP, and UGO.

If the gaming public was surprised, then you can only imagine what a shock it must be to all the people that just lost their jobs....

Apparently the decision to shut down these facets of the IGN acquisition came from the need to strengthen both IGN and AskMen -- wait, AskMen, seriously? What the hell -- and redefine focus on what Ziff Davis thinks of as the key parts of the network. You can read as much in the letter that Kotaku has up, but here are some choice bits:

Today, we took some difficult but important actions that will ensure the continued growth and health of IGN and AskMen. Before I go into more details about the changes, you should know that they resulted in the elimination of jobs at IGN. It's always upsetting to say goodbye to colleagues and let's do what we can to help these employees as they seek new opportunities.

...

The changes we made today are designed to allow us to Simplify and Focus. Our goal is to do fewer things and to do them exceptionally well. In that vein, we want to direct all of our energy and work behind our two flagship brands: IGN and AskMen. They are both category killers and share a vision of a multi-screen (PCs, tablets, smartphones, TV) and multi-format (text, photos and video) world.

It does make sense on some level; trimming the fat allows for more focus on what Ziff Davis thinks is important; still, the inclusion of AskMen over 1UP, and the dropping of GameSpy, come across to me as some strange choices. IGN being kept in the spotlight isn't surprising in the least, given that it was the main point of acquisition. Still, 1UP and GameSpy did have their own dedicated fanbases, I suppose they just weren't enough to keep them above water.

I can only hope that all of those employed will find jobs elsewhere that are as fulfilling that the positions they lost were.

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