As you’re no doubt aware by now, UGO (owned by Hearst) has bought 1UP.com from Ziff Davis. EGM, the venerable gaming mag, is no more, with the upcoming February issue set to be its last. Well played, Hearst.
While TechCrunch mentioned the nuts and bolts of the deal, it doesn’t really grasp its spirit. That is to say regular readers of 1UP and EGM are completely pissed. Hearst cut 30 (or 40; the number fluctuates depending on whom you ask) jobs from the 1UP+EGM staff, while its own gaming site, the unsophisticated UGO, lists the new 1UP+UGO partnership as the “best duo since Toe Jame and Earl.” See, that’s funny because Toe Jam and Earl is an old video game duo and the new 1UP+UGO… Oh, whatever. It’s awful.
Sam Kennedy, 1UP’s editor, posted on the NeoGAF forums asking fans not to harsh too hardly on UGO. 1UP, as you knew it, was not going to continue in this economy; it was losing money and Ziff Davis needed to sell it. While UGO may come across a little too sophomric for my liking—a video game “lifestyle” site with a “hot chicks” section just strikes me as lowest common denominator silliness—Kennedy says both sites acknowledge the awfulness of the whole situation. Basically, don’t hate UGO for the sake of it; everyone’s trying hard to make this work.
That said, thirty 1UP/EGM employees are now gone, and EGM is dead. Early word is that the 1UP podcasts are done, too. (Shame, I was a big fan of Retronauts.) Sad news all around.