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1up is dead

January 7th, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 4 Comments · Media

Yesterday afternoon, it was confirmed that Hearst Corporation would buy the Ziff Davis game properties, except for the magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly. EGM was then terminated. ZD’s CEO wrote in a press release that many 1up personalities would make there way to UGO, Hearst’s low rent male centered, short articled, IGN-lite media hub.

They then proceeded to lay off 30 1up personalities, many of them major figures in the site’s public profile. Ryan Scott, Shane Bettenhausen, James Mielke, Andrew Pfister, Rosemary Pinkham…there’s a full list here.

Given the bankruptcy status of Ziff Davis, its outstanding debts and the mass flight of talent over the last two years, the closure should not be a surprise. 1up’s reviews seemed to be getting shorter and its features were either reprinted stories from old CGW/EGMs or lists. They seemed to have lost their editorial mojo, and I hear that morale was low as the uncertainty over the future of the site lingered.

And it’s not like UGO had a lot of good options. They have their own in-house staff and 1up has a lot of overhead. And with ad buys down in all media, they couldn’t just merge and keep going, especially with materials that don’t have income streams (podcasts, for example).

But this is a very bad day for the games media. Good luck to everyone who lost their job at ZD and I hope the transition goes smoothly for everyone who gets to stay at the new UGO.

I was always proud to do work for 1up, though. They had good people doing good work. I always got the sense that it was an interesting place to work.


4 Comments so far ↓

  • Cautiously Pessimistic

    I don’t suppose the Tom and Bruce series will keep going, will it? That’s primarily why I checked the site occassionally.

  • Troy

    A lot, I think, depends on how the merger/acquisition is structured. Does UGO acquire all copyrights to ZD published material not currently on 1up? Do they have any interest in continuing the series updates? The podcasts are being terminated, but that is not the same as deleting. Will 1up continue in any form whatsoever after six months or will everyone be moved over to UGO? (IGN and Gamespy have stayed related but separate, for example.)

  • Jazmeister

    My first wind of this was a post on another big newsblurb that made it seem like good news. How horrible! I’ll have to restructure my feed reader! THE HUMANITY!

  • Troy

    Well, it might be good news. I mean, not everyone is fired. And 1up will probably continue along in one way or another.

    But with all the layoffs and one of the few sites that even tried real features being swallowed by a site that is, frankly, IGN lite with male lifestyle stuff and lists, I find it hard to see the silver lining here.