#1 Posted by Excast (936 posts) -

A few hours ago Russ Frushtick announced he was leaving Polygon.

Russ Frushtick is leaving Polygon

This happens in the wake of Russ Pitts and several others leaving the site rather recently. It seems a little strange that a website founded less than 2 years ago is already seeing this kind of exodus, especially with the sort of talent they brought together initially, but it sort of continues a trend we have seen over the last few years.

IGN is a big name, but they dealt with some lay offs after being sold last year.

1UP shut down last year after being a prominent name for many years.

Game Trailers was basically gutted right after E3 this year.

Most of us are very aware of the absolute bloodbath that just occurred over at Giant Bomb's sister site Gamespot with like 10 people losing their jobs.

Perhaps this sort of turn over is more normal than I realize, but it seems as if we are going through an especially rough patch for a lot of sites that comprise what is traditionally thought of as "Games Journalism". Given this, it's all the more interesting and exciting to see Giant Bomb expanding as much as it is. It's rough out there, but I can't think of a group of guys more deserving, especially after all that has happened in the last few years.

#2 Posted by conmulligan (516 posts) -

I suspect Kotaku is doing pretty well since they just launched a UK version. Editorially, they've never been better, even if they still have a lot of filler on the site.

#3 Posted by Excast (936 posts) -

I suspect Kotaku is doing pretty well since they just launched a UK version. Editorially, they've never been better, even if they still have a lot of filler on the site.

Yeah, Kotaku was one of the few bigger names I could think of without much in the way of layoffs or staff exodus lately.

#5 Posted by Jazz_Bcaz (271 posts) -

The UK Kotaku has been brilliant, and to be fair, Kotaku has never pretended to be much better than tabloid. I wonder what's going on at Polygon, though they've never amounted to being anything more than reposting Kotaku and having this horrible sense of self righteousness and lack of humour. They're far from Gamasutra.

People leaving jobs is just the nature of things though. I don't think there's too much to it, unless youtube is cutting into the industry. I wouldn't be surprised.

#6 Posted by csl316 (8707 posts) -

Oh wow, Russ.

The bigger ones seem to be doing bad because of layoffs, but it feels like their owners just realized how overstaffed they may have been. They were still operating how they did a decade ago, and the internet doesn't sit still for a decade.

A good question, though.

#7 Posted by fisk0 (4131 posts) -

Aren't Eurogamer (and their recent spin-off US Gamer) doing alright? I don't keep up with them as much as I used to, so maybe I've missed some big layoffs there. They shut down their Swedish off shoot last year, but that one never had much traffic as far as I know, since most Swedes seem perfectly fine, or even prefer going to English language sources rather than Swedish sites.

#9 Posted by hacksword (47 posts) -

I'd say Rock, Paper, Shotgun as well, but that site is slowly turning into a ticking timebomb, except without the explosions, just a bunch of SJWs beating the everliving fuck out of everyone for being Caucasian straight males and taking over the editorial staff positions under the current staff's names. And I don't think anybody would notice any difference if that happened

It all started when we gave women the vote. You'd think that having political representation would be enough, but noooooooooooooooo, now they want representation in video games too. Give them an inch and they'll take a mile.

#10 Posted by me3639 (1760 posts) -

I dont know the answer, but i am interested in Shane Satterfield, Marcus beer and other former GT staff are building a new game site.

Also on polygon, though i do not agree at all with any of their political agendas(waste of space), their writing about other parts of gaming are absolutely terrific(What happened to John marston, Polygon goes to poland, Jessica Chobot stepping into the daylight) to name just a few.

#11 Posted by Nictel (2412 posts) -

Here's a hint concerning Polygon: Arthur Gies. (Yes that is a joke article but having someone with such a record as your review editor isn't good for the credibility of your website). Also they don't seem to have a quite so big community if you watch the latest replies on the recent threads: Not a wasteland, not buzzing either.

#12 Edited by Excast (936 posts) -

@nictel said:

Here's a hint concerning Polygon: Arthur Gies. (Yes that is a joke article but having someone with such a record as your review editor isn't good for the credibility of your website). Also they don't seem to have a quite so big community if you watch the latest replies on the recent threads: Not a wasteland, not buzzing either.

Yeah, I was sort of surprised to see that some of the sites that have a lot more traffic than Giant Bomb, Polygon and Gamespot, seem to lag behind in terms of community interaction. The forums over on Polygon are dead and they really aren't all that active over on Gamespot either.

#13 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4816 posts) -

Polygon poisoned its brand when they did the Microsoft sponsored* documentary that tried to paint this thing as a revolution in games journalism. Complete with uplifting, inspirational music and soundbites right out of a Tony Robbins seminar.

No really, that's where a lot of it comes from. Then they hobbled themselves by turning every possible news story, article, and editorial into a platform to publish personal political manifestos didn't help, either. Nobody reads news items to be preached at in my experience.

All of this is basically to say that there are a few specific cases of terrible websites showing signs of failure, and it is not, overall, indicative of the state of the games press. It's not failing and it's not dying. Public opinion is becoming more and more important, I find, and sites with a terrible reputation are the ones getting hit. So far it seems like capitalism as intended.

*Apparently the sum was 750,000 dollars, and was used for the documentary itself and not to help fund/pay staff. Doesn't matter what the truth is, as soon as a big publisher name is involved monetarily in your journalism business it sends all sorts of red flags. Whoever accepted that sponsorship should've been fired.

#14 Edited by Shindig (402 posts) -

I think the popularity of youtube and streaming means critique and news winds up gaining traction away from the established avenues. Access to stuff is so bloody easy now. I mean, if I want to form an opinion on something like Diablo III, I can pop up a stream on the PS4 within seconds.

I won't get the structured insight a written or video review would offer, but its instant and simple to access.

#15 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1709 posts) -
@excast said:

@nictel said:

Here's a hint concerning Polygon: Arthur Gies. (Yes that is a joke article but having someone with such a record as your review editor isn't good for the credibility of your website). Also they don't seem to have a quite so big community if you watch the latest replies on the recent threads: Not a wasteland, not buzzing either.

Yeah, I was sort of surprised to see that some of the sites that have a lot more traffic than Giant Bomb, Polygon and Gamespot, seem to lag behind in terms of community interaction. The forums over on Polygon are dead and they really aren't all that active over on Gamespot either.

System Wars is where all of Gamespot's forum activity is. Also, every time they post a news story with any sort of console war slant (be it sales numbers, resolution bullshit, or anything about an exclusive game) there's pretty much guaranteed to be a minimum of 1500 comments on the article, the majority of which is complete and utter trash. There is certainly a lot of individuals contributing on that site, it's just that most of the discourse is awful.

#16 Edited by Haz (53 posts) -

I feel like the problem is there's so many of these sites reporting on the same exact thing. They need to find some sense of individualism. The most successful sites are the ones offering content that isn't the same elsewhere. Giant Bomb is a prime example of that, where else would you see something like Quick Looks? Video content is key and honestly, you need people who are great personalities.

Each of those sites that are struggling definitely have people with great personalities, but they also have far too many people who just aren't that funny/bring in an interesting perspective. It sounds mean but it's true.

#17 Posted by Crembaw (411 posts) -

I would have said RPS, until one of their editors said that a game wherein one played as a Taliban fighter would be a totally good idea.

#18 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11759 posts) -

Rock Paper Shotgun fills my need for British people in their mid 30s talking in elitist terms about PC games of both old and new varieties (though some of their editorial opinions are baffling). They seem to be doing alright.

I remember when everyone was making fun of Polygon for being the "guys who are going to save Games Journalism". Now we make fun of them for being a Kotaku-wannabe website that seemingly deals in clickbait and incendiary editorials.

#19 Posted by Ford_Dent (183 posts) -

I think RPS has its shit together enough that they will keep on truckin' for a while--plus they've got a specialization in that they only discuss PC games. We're seeing more platform-to-PC games now than we ever did, but there's still a lot of little stuff on the PC that they cover and that, to me, makes them worth reading (Alice O'Conner also does a great job making the more mundane industry news interesting, the free games column, the bargain bin, and Cara Ellison's S.exe articles are also pretty much always worth a read). They did recently lose Nathan Grayson to Kotaku, but they've moved immediately to replace him, which is a good sign.

Giant Bomb is, obviously, doing pretty well. Best in the biz.

Kotaku's the only other site I can think of that hasn't had a significant amount of layoffs--even Gamasutra has lost some people recently if I'm remembering correctly.

#20 Edited by Abendlaender (2808 posts) -

Polygon suffers from a bunch of problems. The paid documentary by MS, their pretty arrogant behavior, the Sim City thing were the gave the game a 9/10 and only after the shitstorm reduced it to a 4 or so, Arthur Gies being generally unliked, their really aweful design etc. You can't survive without a community but you can't build a community without engagine with them, something Polygon's staff always felt like it was beneath them. Or at least it seemed that way. Obviously their "feminist agenda hurrdurr" as idiots might call it didn't help either, sadly enough.

All that just in a couple of years, they never really could establish themselves to have people on their community backing them up when things got hairy.

#21 Posted by TheSquarePear (175 posts) -

bluesnews ?

I miss Dave Snider's opinions on games.

Honestly though, twitch and twitter are doing well I guess.

#22 Edited by conmulligan (516 posts) -

(Alice O'Conner also does a great job making the more mundane industry news interesting, the free games column, the bargain bin, and Cara Ellison's S.exe articles are also pretty much always worth a read).

I'll second that shout out to Alice O'Connor. She kind of came out of nowhere — the only time I'd seen her mentioned before was in Cara's first embedded piece — but she's probably my favourite RPS staffer now.

#23 Posted by connerthekewlkid (1836 posts) -

Gameinformer seems to be doing pretty well

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

#24 Posted by boatorious (63 posts) -

RPS just seems like a politics-first-games-second kind of place. When you decide to boycott PAX because someone said something offensive (and then apologized) you are putting your politics before your coverage. It makes you wonder if they are basing other coverage (what games they do and do not cover) on weird political calculations too.

I have no respect for that sort of thing. If you're going to cover games, cover games. You're not selling AK-47's to Andre Baptiste, for crying out loud.

#25 Posted by Marokai (2984 posts) -

In many ways, Giant Bomb is doing so well because it is kind of the least like any sort of "gaming news" site of all of the prominent ones.

Online
#26 Posted by kylenalepa (124 posts) -

Joystiq seems like it's doing OK. I like them well enough, but they sometimes seem to take their time posting a story about something that was announced days ago.

#27 Edited by GorillaMoPena (2151 posts) -

nothing can stop gamebomb

#28 Edited by Brodehouse (9953 posts) -

I don't know the standards for what game enthusiasts consider 'doing well' as a business and none of us have the financial documents of any of these companies.

Maybe I'm wrong on this one, but I feel like the Polygon example is not really appealing to the next generation of gamers. Polygon appeals to and/or pushes the buttons of today's young adults, specifically an urban, college-educated, liberal crowd who are beginning to put childish things away, as the saying goes... but I don't see a lot of teenage enthusiasm for that. From my perspective, today's teenagers prefer Youtube and Let's Players and prefer to rally around 'regular' kids with loud, outgoing personalities.

Which makes me wonder if the generation older than me was flummoxed by the whole Gamespot/IGN/Giant Bomb internet example that replaced the established print sources? Were they going to stores looking for copies of GamePro or EGM to get their video game culture fix? "WHAT HAPPENED TO SUSHI-X?!" they cried, piteously.

I was playing a game of Velvet Sundown when an apparently popular twitch user named sodapoppin crashed the game. I was playing as Linda, so he came over as Malik and hit on me and I friendzoned him. After the game, I took a look at his channel, and I can't help but think that dude has got his business shit better figured out than ... and this is weird to say, 'traditional' internet media. He earns money for every subscriber to his channel, he earns money from people sending in live questions or comments on his channel. This sodapoppin kid has 51k followers on Twitter and has tweeted 1400 times. Patrick Klepek has 64k followers on Twitter and has tweeted 39,000 times.

#29 Posted by CornBREDX (5323 posts) -

Giantbomb is doing fine.

I don't care anymore what happens to Polygon. They have very community opposed moderation that ruins the website. If the site fails it's because of their moderating constructive criticism. The site can burn and I'm fine with that. The talented people working there will be able to get better jobs (some of which already have better other jobs).

It'll be ok, and Polygon can burn and I can feel ok about that.

#30 Posted by Marduke1913 (30 posts) -

Roblox