What is Giant Bomb?

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BisonHero

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#1 BisonHero  Online

I know, it's a website about video games.

Specifically, what is the weekly video output of Giant Bomb these days? I see the videos, but what are they supposed to be? I'm a lapsed video watcher, but every time I glance at my Twitch page to see GB is live, or I load up the video page on the site, I rarely end up clicking play, and I'm trying to figure it out.

I still listen to the Bombcast, and it's a fun time. I listen to Revengeance because it's in the same feed, and boy that feels padded out most weeks, but get that ad rev to keep the lights on, I guess. I'm an occasional Voicemail Dumptruck listener. Bless Jan for sifting through all the listener emails and voicemails for the Bombcast and Dumptruck. I listened to a couple seasons (arcs?) of JeffJeff's Bizarre Adventure, but ultimately there's too much out there for me to watch these days to also fit in Jojo's, so I think I'm on permanent hiatus on that one. And there's Grubb's daily news shot, either on Bombcast or GMM, which is an occasional watch for me.

With those talky-talky, zero gameplay, effectively audio-only podcasts out of the way, why is there so little weekly video of video games on the site? If there was a Discord townhall where Bakalar really laid this out, or I missed some announcement of a big pivot, I genuinely hope someone could link me to it.

Am I missing something? Every time I look, it seems like there are a ton of weeks where the only two streams of actual games are Blight Club (an old game to clown on), and UPF (usually whatever big budget game is top of that week's news cycle, or a random pick from staff, or lacking that they probably play Fortnite). Some weeks maybe there's a third stream in there of Grubb either playing variety recent releases, or picking up some old game that strikes his fancy, but often that stream isn't a 3rd stream because instead it's replacing Blight Club if they can't do it for availability reasons. So in that respect, I'm secretly praying for Blight Club to be not happening each week because it raises the odds of a stream actually showing off some interesting games from the past few weeks.

It just seems wild to me that most of the staff are playing a variety of new releases, and 90% of those games make it to no video content and just receive a passing mention on the Bombcast. I can understand the pivot away from reviews if they really did just eat up huge staff time and generated little to no site traffic, but to also pivot away from video of any games other than the hugest release that week is surprising to me. Is it that dire out there? Did the Youtube algo finally put Quick Looks in the dirt?

There was a time that even if you didn't want to produce a full review, interesting hidden gem games at least warranted a first impression "Quick Look" video, so I guess I'm just curious what changed to make it not worth staff time to do those previews anymore. I used to value Giant Bomb as a "news, commentary, reviews, and previews" sort of site, and now since the big staff change, to me GB seems like a "news, commentary, and several aimless 2-hour streams of funning around per week" sort of site. If the funning around is for you, that's great, it's entertainment, but the utility of the site for opinions on recent releases seems to have dropped dramatically since they discontinued reviews and Quick Looks, and only very sporadically do the GB Plays streams fill that hole.

There are so many interesting games that get talked about on the Bombcast, and it's just sad that apparently it's not worth it to do video coverage for the vast majority of them. I'm curious to know if a reason has been given for that state of affairs.

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Lab392

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#2  Edited By Lab392

There are a lot of factors both internal and external to the site. For one, the site isn't staffed up to be a Quick Look machine the way that it used to be. It's probably tough to wrangle enough people together to do it.

Jan is the only full-time video editor and also doing prep work for hosting the Bombcast

Grubb is doing prep work for Game Mess mornings and also the sometimes hosting the Bombcast.

Bakalar obviously spends a lot of time behind the scenes working on the business side.

Most of Nikki's job is social media, I think.

Dan doesn't seem like he has many additional work commitments, but he pulls his weight on the video front.

Everyone else is splitting their time with another job/site/etc.

It's also true that in a world of Youtube and Twitch streaming, putting up 45 minutes of unedited gameplay isn't a unique draw anymore. We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to video coverage of new releases. If you want to find video or impressions on new games, there's a good chance someone on twitch jives with your sensibilities.

Neither Nextlander nor Gerstmann are doing much new game video content either. While they still seem to be playing a lot of new games off-camera, much of their on-camera output seems to be the things they actually have fun playing on camera (old NES games, FMVs, etc). I think Giant Bomb is doing the same thing to some extent. Turning out X number of quick looks a week sounds like a recipe for burnout if there isn't genuine passion behind it. Grubb seems to genuinely enjoy talking about news in the industry. The staff (especially Dan) seems to enjoy Blight Club. Dump Truck reliably generates entertaining discussion. Whatever Giant Bomb is at any given moment is determined by the people who work for the site and the media environment the site exists within.

I'd also wager that much of Giant Bomb's audience is getting pretty old. And with age, we "consume content" differently than we did in the past. I first came to the site when I was starting college. I had a good amount of spare time to sit around and watch videos. Now that I have a full-time job/other responsibilities, the shift to audio-consumable content fits my lifestyle better. I'd imagine I'm not the only one. As a result, we get more features that Giant Bomb can put on Spotify.

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tartyron

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I watch blight club sometimes. I still look at the front page or lurk the forums a bit. I don't really tune into streams while they happen. I dropped the bombcast and my premium membership after Jeff got fired. Not out of protest or anything, I still like everyone at the site, but I had already mostly drifted over the Nextlander. I stopped watching UPF regularly shortly after Rorie left. I guess I just got to an age where I preferred the familiar, and GB wasn't as familiar anymore.

One thing I still cannot wrap my brain around is the abandonment of the quick look format, though. I'd probably still watch all of those if they came out anymore. And streams are not the same thing, never were. I dunno if the numbers just didn't make sense anymore, but daily QLs were always the best part of GB to me. They were entertaining and helped me make purchasing decisions.

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mellotronrules

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to me personally? forums and a discord.

but to actually attempt the question- i think news aggregation and personality-centered livestreams.

i love and respect the crew- but it just isn't my first stop for thoughts on games anymore. that's partially due to my genre preferences drifting from the current lineup, but also the change in content format. no hard feelings, there's just less variety to pique my interest.

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blitzfitness

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In the course of 2 years I went from daily watcher of everything to a never watcher of anything.

I visit the site for forum posts by you all as I find that much more interesting than what is going on with the main site. I thought I was the only one who missed reviews and QL's, but looks like I'm not quite on my own island on that one. I guess I wish I knew if it was the staff's choice, or owner's choice, for all of these changes, but from the above it sounds like Jeff G & the Nexers went the same way on their end.

I make my own content (don't worry, not about to shill myself) and for a couple months now I've been battling in my head about trying to do some additional content in the same vein of what's not around here anymore, but I have neither the chops nor reach to make it worthwhile beyond my own gratification. I suspect that they get more consistent views from covering a big game during UPF since they aren't going to QL it, and without tons of content in the style of QL's I don't think they would get the views for UPF the way it had been done before; but I'm just wildly guessing.

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BisonHero

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#6 BisonHero  Online

Also I want to add that the fact I’m even making a forum post about this is probably me preaching to the choir of oldheads who have been around for earlier eras of the site, and remember GB reviews and Quick Looks.

For all I know, maybe the current video output is working perfectly well, because there are legions of new Giant Bomb fans/followers all hanging out on the Discord, and they heard about the site from a funny TikTok where the staff was playing Fortnite and made a skibidi toilet joke. Just typing that sentence turned me into a skeleton, and then my bones crumbled into dust.

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blitzfitness

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@bisonhero: While funny, I do suspect there's something to that. Look at YouTube thumbnails, as an example, and you can see why Blight Club might be huge - not because of the games being played or the people playing them - but because they are wearing costumes which might be more likely to draw attention.

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bigsocrates

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@blitzfitness: Nothing on Giant Bomb is huge right now. If you look at Youtube stream replay numbers (admittedly a very limited metric considering much of the viewership is live and on Twitch, but not entirely useless) Blight Club episodes tend to top out around 15k. By comparison the Garfield with Gerstmann shows used to routinely go over 60. And I think more people used to use the site's internal video player back then too.

I think a large part of the explanation as to why there are no more Quick Looks and why they don't stream that much is right there. The numbers just aren't that high. They have one video producer and something of a skeleton crew and they have the capacity to do what they're doing right now.

I have long thought about Giant Bomb's economics these days and my guess is that legacy subscriptions and the podcast are carrying the site. So the focus is on the podcast, which was always a huge part of the business, and everything else is just less important. That may explain why they've EXPANDED the podcast content while contracting everything else.

I may be wildly off base here, but I think that Giant Bomb has become a podcast first operation more than ever, and us oldheads still think of it as a video first site with a podcast attached.

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The times, they are a' changin'. I feel it might be the metrics behind doing daily QL's don't show that they might be worth the crew's time, evidenced by the fact that Gerstmann and Nextlander have not really done that type of content either. They key thing sems to be finding a bit that makes you stand out from the zillions of other content creators who make content on the internet and work with that. In this case, the podcasts and Blight Club. The other stuff is mostly watching the crew play a multiplayer game and seeing them enjoy a time together. I'll watch UPF on occasion but I've always tuned in more to the serialized features such as Metal Gear Scanlon, Ranking of Fighters and Steal My Sunshine. I listen to a majority of their podcasts regularly and watch mostly Blight Club and the occasional UPF when it's a game I'm interested in.

I do still come to the site regularly for the forums and to download the videos when they go up. Y'all be putting up a lot of good stuff to read in the blogs.

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permanentsigh

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What is games media in general

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Ben_H

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#11  Edited By Ben_H
@bigsocrates said:

I may be wildly off base here, but I think that Giant Bomb has become a podcast first operation more than ever, and us oldheads still think of it as a video first site with a podcast attached.

It makes sense. The thing is, the Bombcast being a big draw for GB isn't new. The Bombcast (and previously the Beastcast) has always been by far the biggest thing on the site. Even back in the day they talked about how there was a huge audience of people who only listened to the podcasts and didn't otherwise interact with the site at all. It's how they ended up with people emailing them guessing what they looked like 5+ years into the Bombcast existing even though there were hundreds or thousands of hours of videos of them on the internet already. There were a bunch of people who had (and maybe still have?) premium solely for the ad-less versions of the various podcasts. Even now, the ad version of Bombcast still is in the top 50 in the leisure category "top episodes" list in Apple Podcasts, in the same area of the rankings where Gerstmann's show and most of the Kinda Funny shows are (in the past there was a dedicated ranking of games podcasts on Apple Podcasts/iTunes but they got rid of it and combined the category with other similar categories).

Given how difficult it is to make a dent in the video space right now, it makes sense for them to be focusing on podcasts. There are literally thousands and thousands of people trying to do Quick Look-style videos and playthroughs on Youtube now. With only one full-time video editor (and that video editor also hosting the Bombcast), it is not realistic to expect a huge amount of video output. They do have TurboShawn helping now a bunch for some video and podcast editing, but even so with part of the staff working as part-time contractors and part of the staff splitting their time between two separate sites, it isn't possible to keep up with the output of the site when it had two more full-time video editors. In this situation it makes perfect sense for them to focus on their strengths (the podcasts, UPF, and one or two ongoing series) instead of spreading themselves too thin trying to do too much.

There's also the Game Mess Mornings factor that I haven't seen mentioned yet. From what I can see on the outside, Game Mess Mornings does quite well given it is a niche topic show that is also daily. The live viewership of it has basically doubled in the last year or so. Most mornings it pulls in somewhere between 1000-1500 people between Twitch and Youtube, sometimes much more if something big has happened in games news. I can't look at the Apple Podcasts ranking for it since Grubb's been on vacation so there hasn't been an episode in a while but the vibe I've been getting is that it does pretty well as a podcast too.

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borgmaster

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It's a website about video games.

**Note: format and quality may vary.

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superslidetail

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#13  Edited By superslidetail

Most of these kinds of forum posts always boil down to "where are the quick looks"? I honestly don't miss the quick looks as I started to watch less and less of them as the years went as I also played less and less games as I've grown older. Getting the quick hits on podcasts and the like are fine for me. If I'm missing anything its the features like blight club, demo derby etc. More of that would be great but I know they don't have a big staff and probably won't ever be like that again.

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Just echoing a lot of these sentiments. Like some other folks, I stopped following GB almost entirely after Gerstmann left, but I still check in on the forums periodically and consequently see what's been posted on the site. I tried watching Blight Club, but I didn't particularly love the combination of personalities on it, and nothing else has really grabbed me enough to try it, as it's mostly all multi-hour UPF-style streams.

I know they're down to one video editor, but quite frankly, what kind of production do Quick Looks, Demo Derbies, etc. actually require? There's no editing, and almost all of the games being played can be run natively on PC or through emulators, making AV capture very easy, and then it's just a matter of pulling in an audio call and mixing it together through OBS. I've done it before and I have no background at all in production. It's sometimes a little annoying to make the scene initially, but it rarely takes more than a couple minutes to get sorted. I don't really buy this excuse, especially when Dan has done much more complicated and ambitious production on his personal Youtube channel. The "only one video editor thing" has kind of become the new "they're settling into the new office."

If their goal is to maximize views by focusing on new games, I fail to see why they're going with long-form streams comprising multiple games rather than shorter vertical slice videos. It completely erodes the thing that separates them from every other streamer out there and probably hurts their videos' discoverability.

In any case, I don't have skin in the game; I've been checked out for a good while now, but I still enjoy reading these forums and figured I'd throw my perspective in with everybody else's.

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sombre

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It's the Grubb and Mike show, nowadays

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Retris

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@notkcots:I'd say there's the also the part about Quick Looks needing a script, plus they do have some editing if minimal. I would say the reason is that the site only has three full time employees at the moment: one of them in charge of news, one of them is the editor (who also hosts the podcast), and the third is a creative director. There's work needed to do a Quick Look and nobody to do that work.

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BisonHero

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#17 BisonHero  Online

@retris: I’m pretty sure the 4 full time GB staffers are Grubb, Jan, Dan, and Bakalar, but I assume Bakalar is just in manager meetings every waking hour of the day, and his role is nothing like editor-in-chief or managing editor? His editorial voice on the site seems minimal most weeks.

But yes, Bakalar in meetings, Grubb gathering the news all the time, and Jan doing nearly 100% of production work (with assists from Turboshawn), which only really leaves Dan as “guy who could theoretically have the bandwidth to do a review or Quick Look.” I honestly have no idea what Dan’s job is other than to think up weird UPF ideas, give ideas for E3/GotY, be on Blight Club/Dumptruck/Gametapes, and be on the Bombcast about 5 times a year. I liked when he wrote those 3 reviews when he rejoined GB, and I wish that would’ve continued.

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AV_Gamer

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#18  Edited By AV_Gamer

I come to Giant Bomb nowadays, just to engage with the forums. I hardly watch any of their content. I fell off their Bombcast over a couple of years ago after Jeff Gerstmann left, and I follow his podcast show and content instead. This isn't to diss the current staff at GB. I'm sure they are doing their best. But as an OG of the site from day one, it just doesn't hit the same. It seems they are doing enough to keep hanging in there, and that's a good thing. The Bright Club seems to get a lot of support. I know I personally liked the Superman 64 edition, but haven't watched any others since. Dump Truck also seems to be a hit for them too. So they are doing things, and they do play some games that they are interested in and post videos of it.

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Retris

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@bisonhero: Like Lucy and Tam, Bakalar splits his job between Giant Bomb and Gamespot, so he's not full time. It's just with Bakalar the splitting is not as lopsided as with them. His job description (according to twitter) is a GM on both sites.

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BisonHero

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#22 BisonHero  Online

@retris: Thanks, good to know. I thought for a long time he was just GM of Giant Bomb? Wasn’t aware that had changed.

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Symbyosys

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#23  Edited By Symbyosys

Its not surprising to see these posts from people that actually post on the forums. This summer has been really busy for the crew and light on actual game videos. Game Mess Mornings live just started (one of the best and most popular shows GB has ever done) and Grubb is literally saying its been thin and more of the staff are on vaca next week. The SGF coverage and live shows was A LOT, then the crew was either on vacation or out sick. The crew really does get into the swing of making good game-focused content and then falling off when they hit scheduling issues.

@bisonhero said "I used to value Giant Bomb as a "news, commentary, reviews, and previews" sort of site, and now since the big staff change, to me GB seems like a "news, commentary, and several aimless 2-hour streams of funning around per week"

I generally agree with this, but I just don't care about reviews and previews in general anymore. I also think GB does have good commentary and insight without doing full-on reviews. Gamespot has reviews and previews anyway and fills that role for Fandom. I do wish the streams had more of an aim, but I think they go in and out of doing this well depending on coverage and what is going on per week, and there is something fun about doing multiplayer streams for games I will never play anyway. I am here for the fun...and I think the GB streams are among the most fun out there along with Remap's stuff.

When I catch quick looks on GB Infinite I do enjoy them, but I realize I don't miss them. As I get older I can almost immediately tell if I want to give a game any time or not.

Edit: I realize I only post on the forums when I'm defending the current crew and direction of the site. Take that as you will :)

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wmoyer83

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This place feels like going back to your college years after everyone graduated and left. Nostalgic but not the same.

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SpectralCat

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Man looks like today is another unannounced 3-day weekend for the site :/

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chamurai

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@spectralcat: Grubb just did a stream of the new college football game.

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To be fair too, in the old days, the west coast office (and often the east coast) usually did work from home on Mondays from like 2014 or 2015 onward, so unless there was a video scheduled for Monday, nothing would go up on the site.

For the new team, Monday is usually Game Mess Mornings and then the rest of the day is a planning/meetings day unless they do a stream like Grubb did today.

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@chamurai Yeah I saw, caught the last 30s of the stream as well. Happy to be proven wrong. Been planning to reply to my own post, ate and talked to the gf first tho. Not that it matters, but I didn't get enough sleep bc early work, and then got out at the same time anyway. I quit smoking recently & cut back on caffeine, so I'm kinda double irritable rn. Got home at like 5-5:30 & I'll admit GB is one of my favorite ways to unwind. Work was good too, so there was really no way to be that way. The last thing I want to do is make the people who create content I'm fond of feel bad. Sorry for being such a Grinch.

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chamurai

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@spectralcat: Nah, it's cool, Duder. We all got stuff to do and everyone's trying their best. Sending a fist bump your way for cutting back on smoking and caffiene. It can't be easy and I understand the irritability that can result from it.

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SpectralCat

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@ben_h:So I asked myself why I would have had any expectations. I think it comes down to precedent. I looked at recent videos to make sure I wasn't imagining things, and they almost always post on Monday (besides SGF ofc). 5-5:30p is pretty late for a stream, too. That's only 2-2:30p Pacific, yet podcasts & UPF are almost always finished by that time. GMM is usually up too. There are Mondays here and there with no content & no communication, thought this was one of those. The thing is, there isn't anything wrong with a day off either. Vacation is important (hope Jan's vacay bops). Clearly, streams and uploads simply happened later than usual, so I guess I can eat Minotti cake feet or something.

I trust you on the GB West & East stuff, not petty & not gonna go look. The two offices creating content made it so I never noticed. There was always a Thursday Night Throwdown or RoF or Mass Alex to catch up on.

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SpectralCat

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#31  Edited By SpectralCat
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mach_go_go_go

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#32  Edited By mach_go_go_go

A miserable pile of secrets.

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Casse1berry

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I just continue to watch stuff from the old days. GB not really doing fun Quick Looks anymore is a huge loss. Most of their other content doesn’t appeal to me at all. I’m not into wrestling or anime either.

It’s not just Giant Bomb. I barely watch anything Nextlander does nowadays either. More games I’m not interested in.

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InStInCt666

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i guess i'll chip in too,
like many others on this thread i :
- Do not watch anything Giant Bomb are doing today, and i used to follow everything : Quick looks, Bombcast, Blight Club, Dumptruck, you name it i was there. more of a lurker but still, i fell off sometime in 2024.
- i did make a full switch to Nextlander and Gerstmann too
- I think that Quick looks are a huge loss for the site, and streams does not replace that at all.
- The screaming nature of Giant bomb's streams isn't something i'm looking for at all, and now it's pretty much in every content.

Now here's what i'd like to add, and keep in mind this has nothing to do with the staff.
But i think the "Streaming everything" format killed my favorite part of giant bomb and that is Unprofessionnal fridays. UPF Used to be more relaxed and less focused streams, people would chill, crack open a beer, casual conversation about anything and simply goofing around after a long week.
Unfortunately, it now feels like every stream is attempting to replicate the UPF style, this saturation of similar content diminishes the unique ‘end of week’ feeling that UPF once gave us. The laid-back nature of UPF has morphed into another screaming session.

Nowadays UPF has lost it's distinctiveness and can be moved around, becoming "Unprofessional Wednesday" for some reason, it has now lost it's identity.
And that, is where they've lost me.

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sombre

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If you like Dan and Mike Minotti screaming like 11 year old children on their first time playing Xbox 360, you're probaly right at home

If you're a fan of the fab 4, it's just not the same website

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Lockdowns ended but they're all still working from home (in different cities no less) is the long and short of it.

No studio, no classic Giant Bomb content.

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timoneous

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Been around since almost the beginning and the short version of how I see things is that infinite-growth capitalism sucks.

Personally, I really try not to engage with this website anymore. Besides all the technical problems with the video player since Fandom took over, there just isn't anything here for me anymore. Back when I still had a premium membership, I bought a larger hard drive and downloaded a massive collection of Premium content (and regular content, too) and threw it on my Plex server. Not only was Premium not really a thing anymore, but I did not (and still don't) trust the current owners of this site to maintain the archive in perpetuity.

But even the content being put out now is not what I'm looking for. I still listen to the Bombcast every week, but the real reason I kept coming back to this site was to keep up with and *see* new games of all shapes and sizes. Not just what was popular. Not what's trending. Not what was going to get the most views for YouTube's algorithm. But games that the staff found interesting. I have bought countless games because the crew on this site featured them in a QuickLook or a UPF. Even games that I would have never tried otherwise. I bought the original Dark Souls on the mere enthusiasm of Vinny and it's now it's one of my favorite games ever. Brad gushing about Super Meat Boy is what made me buy it on Day 1 and (eventually) 100%-ing it. And of course a guy like Dan obsessing over Stardew Valley. QuickLooks are what kept me informed about my favorite hobby...and now they're just dead. It makes me so sad.

It's unfortunate that the site has basically become what it is: A place for podcast ads. I'm sure GB has such a giant install base of listeners on the Bombcast feed that they'd be stupid not to monetize the shit out of it. Unfortunately, that comes at the cost of the most important thing about a site like this: People. It's why they still only have Jan as a video producer. It's why we don't get QuickLooks anymore. It's why it seems like all they produce is the same content week in and week out. It's much harder to do with a small staff...and I get that. But it honestly seems like the people who work on the site aren't even fans of their own work anymore, much less fans of the legacy of Giant Bomb itself.

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tronrad9000

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@flstyle said:

Lockdowns ended but they're all still working from home (in different cities no less) is the long and short of it.

No studio, no classic Giant Bomb content.

This says it all really. That energy we're chasing can really only be replicated when humans share a physical space. It was a special time when venture capital would fund such a ludicrous experiment. A website? About video games? And you want physical studio space? Yeah okay here's a logitech web cam and a usb mic. Have you heard of OBS? Great! Crank those numbers kid you can keep your healthcare but the two other people in your department have been let go.

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Shindig

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The studio wouldn't bring back the classics. It would just give them a room to record podcasts in.

It's the chemistry that killed it for me. I grew up Giant Bomb knowing the guys that made it were professionals with decades of experience together. They were a window into an industry (and a couple of major outlets) I very much wanted to know about.

Giant Bomb in its current guise feels like something I could get anywhere else.

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FLStyle

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@shindig said:

The studio wouldn't bring back the classics. It would just give them a room to record podcasts in.

It's the chemistry that killed it for me. I grew up Giant Bomb knowing the guys that made it were professionals with decades of experience together. They were a window into an industry (and a couple of major outlets) I very much wanted to know about.

Giant Bomb in its current guise feels like something I could get anywhere else.

I still stand by what I said, but what you've said is also valid.

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FLStyle

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PS. Don't forget Fandom thought it was a good idea to get rid of Jason and Jess. Thanks Fandom.