Some slightly depressing news dropped yesterday. Straight from the source it looks like UGO has bought 1UP, killed 1UP’s remaining print magazine EGM, and apparently canned most of the staff including almost all of our beloved podcast personalities. They say the intend to keep the site up and there are vague whispers from some of the few people that remain there about the possible return of some of the 1UP podcasts but, even if that is true, they won’t be at all the same without the same people being involved.
I had been listening to the 1UP Yours podcast on and off for a long time and catching it every week for more than a couple of years now and it was almost certainly my favorite podcast. Sure, it had it’s ups and downs with staff coming and going but as a whole I liked it a lot. Eventually, after hearing Jeff Green on it a few times and being familiar with him from CGW I supplemented my weekly 1UP Yours digests with GFW Radio/Lan Party, and later 1UP FM and the occasional 1UP Show as well.
This may sound pretty silly to some of you but after listening to the same guys for so long discussing a topic I love and given the casual atmosphere of all of the 1UP podcasts I really felt like I knew some of them almost as well as I know some of my other online gaming friends. It is definitely a blow to suddenly lose contact with them all at once like this and I of course feel for all of them losing their jobs, especially during these economically rough times. On the bright side I’m sure many of them be hired on by competitors or even start up their own ventures much like the guys at Giant Bomb did. In fact we’re already hearing rumors of a new podcast hosted by Nick Suttner, Philip Kollar, and Anthony Gallegos (the core of 1UP FM) called Rebel FM.
It might not be surprising that EGM was laid to rest given that Ziff Davis killed off Games for Windows (AKA Computer Gaming World) last year and the general decline of print magazines (particularly tech related magazines) in the Internet age. I myself had been a CGW reader on and off for a long, long time and thought it was one of the more mature and well written gaming magazines out there. When CGW died I started getting copies of EGM in the mail as a replacement and thought it was a decent read from time to time as well though it definitely wasn’t as good as I remember it being in the past. Still, listening to the 1UP podcasts for a while and starting to associate some of the names with real people made reading the articles written by the same guys much more interesting.
Yes, I know a lot of people absolutely scoff a the idea of print magazines these days given all of the great material to be found online but personally I still enjoy flicking through a magazine from time to time particularly when my eyes have had enough of staring into a monitor all day long. I really hope they don’t all completely disappear anytime soon but at the very least I’m sure we’ll continue to see the selection slim.
I really have a hard time trying to figure out what UGO’s scheme is with this buyout. For one, I’m not a UGO fan in the slightest nor do I really use any of their sites, while 1UP’s website and again, particularly, their podcasts have gained quite a lot of recognition in recent years. I get the impression that many gamers, at least the ones in the circles I follow, feel the same way. So UGO buys 1UP and kills off their biggest attractions and then lays off all of the talent responsible for it. OK, they still have the website but who is even going to come to the site without the podcasts bringing them in now? That’d be like some other burger joint buying McDonalds and immediately getting rid of the Big Mac or something. What do they really get out of this deal? Not only will the popularity of the website seriously diminish without the podcasts and print magazine and of course particular popular staff writers bringing in visitors but this whole deal is surely going to hurt the reputations of both UGO and 1UP. Did they just plop down a huge sum of money for some seriously negative publicity or what? I’m sure there’s a lot more to it but for now it boggles the mind.