UGO Kills 1UP.com
Posted by Ben Zeigler on January 7, 2009
I’ve expressed my love of various 1UP podcasts previously, so I was slightly concerned when I read the news this morning about UGO buying 1UP.com. From reading various official releases, the news didn’t sound that bad. They’re killing EGM, but I haven’t read that in about 10 year so I didn’t care much. They talked about preserving the culture and feel of 1UP, so that was promising. At first glance, it looked like this was just a reorganization to seperate 1UP from Ziff-Davis’s various failing publications, which was a move that needed to happen eventually.
Then I started to read troubling details, first on QuarterToThree (where I’ve been hanging out a lot lately) and eventually confimed on joystiq. It turns out that as part of the deal, around 30 people on the (probably around 45-50 person) staff were laid off. Notably the entire staff behind the excellent video podcast The 1UP Show were let go, as were most of the people responsible for podcasts. So, in summary UGO bought 1UP from Ziff-Davis, and then promptly laid off all employees that were responsible for generating interest in 1UP in the FIRST place. As far as I (and much of internet gaming community) care, 1UP is now totally dead.
The odd part is that I feel very sad personally about this. Realistically the only thing I lose is a few hours of audio programming a week, but listening to the same people have frank conversations for several months makes you feel oddly close to them. I wonder if there is some sort of sustainable business model for podcasts? I would pay a subscription fee for some sort of premium access (forums? right to ask questions? some sort of community membership) to podcasts, but I’m not sure how scalable that business model is. I’m sure many of the people laid off will show up somewhere else, but overall this is a very sad day for the gaming community.
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