It’s not unusual to see companies disappearing in this current financial climate and my thoughts are with anyone whose Christmas bonus included a P45, so it’s quite strange that the casualty that has disappointed me the most is actually one that may now be more financially secure. The 1UP Network will continue after its purchase from the ailing Ziff-Davis, but Hearst hasn’t bought its soul.
Cheesy as that may sound, the closure of EGM is the end of an era. While it may not resonate quite as much outside the US, I used to import it back in the day and would always look forward to the latest issue, late and with an inflated price – just like UK games at the time, then. I remember features like a guide to imports that became my bible in the late 90s, and EGM’s cover feature was the first thing I ever read about the original Xbox, which blew me away with its tales of custom soundtracks and built-in hard drives. I remember the short-format reviews, which I still infinitely prefer to some bloated four-pager from any of the big websites at the moment. It was unfailingly exciting to get the Christmas issues, which were a good centimetre thick.
Of course, it was equally mind-blowing just how many ads were in it relative to the content, but we mustn’t speak ill of the dead.
What I’ll miss more than anything, though, is the podcasts and video shows. 1UP Yours has been a permanent fixture on my iPod since the epic of E3 2006, seeing me through countless walks home from work, and The 1UP Show and Retronauts have been there for almost as long. 1UP Yours may have passed its peak when Luke left, but it’s given me many hours of pleasure over the years and a whole list of memorable moments – mainly involving Shane’s bizarre pronouncements and interests that seem to shift depending on whether or not a game is on a certain console.
I know I’m not the only one who pretty much visited 1UP simply for the podcasts, so to completely can them just strikes me as a baffling decision. I know that they rarely had advertising and so probably didn’t make money, but when a random fan podcast can get long-term sponsorship from a multinational corporation, surely the new owners, with a portfolio of titles like this, can pull some strings for the purpose of getting itself a foot inside the new media door?
Even if 1UP podcasts continue, a significant chunk of the editorial staff, which was admittedly bloated but didn’t need a fucking cull, will now no longer be on it, and only one of the regular 1UP Yours team, Garnett Lee, is still with the company. With so few jobs around anyway and something like another 40 experienced people now in the market, the job prospects in the gaming media just went through the floor, and unless they do it for fun I doubt somewhere like Giant Bomb, founded by GameSpot exiles, could afford to pick up some of the best of them. It’s a cut-throat business…
All the best to those who lost their jobs, and I hope you can all land on your feet and get back to confirming our weekends before too long.