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Crispy Gamer Lay Offs

January 22nd, 2010 by Troy Goodfellow · 12 Comments · Crispy Gamer

I’m still processing the news that the board of Crispy Gamer laid off the entire editorial staff – the two editors and the staff writers/video people. I have no real idea what this means for the future of Crispy Gamer enterprises, but I do know that this is a very sad day for me.

It’s not just because CG represented quite a bit of income for me – not as much as it used to, but still some work – though this is certainly a concern.

The big thing is that some very talented people lost their jobs. I have no real worries about the staff writers, to be honest. Most of them have voices too unique to be silent for long.

But I do want to single out managing editor Elise Vogel and editor Ryan Kuo for special mention. Both stand easily with the best editors I’ve ever worked with.

Though Elise and I would occasionally bicker over content on the site and some editorial decisions, she was a warm and welcoming presence who would always listen to a good pitch. She came to Crispy Gamer with little gaming experience and she was even a little uneasy with the position she was in, I think. Watching her grow in confidence as she took control of the site’s direction was inspiring. Elise has great people skills, marshaled her forces at E3 like a veteran and was the brain and brawn behind whatever success CG has enjoyed over the last couple of years.

I also can’t say enough good things about Ryan Kuo. As a copy editor, he was almost perfect. He would ask for clarifications, he would suggest rewrites, and would admit to when he was simply confused about certain genre conventions. His good humor was always a pleasure as well. He played the ideal straight man for John Teti’s Joystick Master videos. Ryan was also developing his own voice as a writer and I do hope that he keeps writing somewhere.

Thanks for everything, Elise and Ryan. I do hope we can get together next time I am in NY, but, more importantly, I hope we can work together again in the near future.


12 Comments so far ↓

  • Bobby

    This is sad for me to. I’ve enjoyed the content of Crispy Gamer, especially by the GameTrust. I have to admit I haven’t frequented CG since they changed the layout of the website. To me it made it more difficult to navigate the site. I hope this didn’t contribute to traffic falling off for them.

    Good luck to you Troy. I’ll miss your voice on CG. I remember fondly the series you did for them on the closing of Ensemble.

  • Thomas Kiley

    This massively sucks. Not only does it suck because a lot of my favourite writers (some of whom are only on my list of favourites because of CG) have been laid off, but because that was my favourite gaming site. It provided intellectual discussions that seems so lacking on all the other big gaming news sites.

    I just hope this isn’t an indication that there isn’t enough money in digital journalism, games journalism or even in journalism in general to pay talented writers.

    My condolences to you and all of your fellow writers and staff.

  • Alan Au

    This is sad news, and I wish the best of luck to all of those affected by the cuts.

  • Lewis

    Still genuinely sad about this. Crispy was easily the best emerging games site on the web. A shame that so many talented writers are out of work. Best of luck hunting for future freelance spots – I’m sure, with your excellent rep, you’ll have no problem.

  • Gus

    Well said. Ryan and Elise will be missed. Hopefully not for long.

  • Jared

    I was walking around E3 and bumped into Elise and Tom Chick, as they were handing out Crispy Gamer T-shirts and stickers. Elise gave me a hug because I knew and loved the site. I’m bummed for her, you and everyone else who worked with Crispy Gamer.

    I’m also saddened that smart game criticism, simply presented, has proven unsustainable compared to game journalism’s big eyeball drivers, or in this case, a metrics and ad network with no editorial content. This is an issue with journalism as a whole, where an eloquent essay, work of investigative reporting and picture of a boob all count as one hit.

    I’m hoping that eventually there will be a business model for sites that value smaller, smarter readerships instead of big hit counts and intrusive ads. If only someone could figure that out, perhaps a site like Crispy Gamer can rise again.

  • Alexander Bevier

    When I first discovered Crispy Gamer, it quickly became one of my favorite gaming sites. Each writer wrote with a strong, opinionated voice that kept me wanting to read the following article. I’m very sorry to hear that it ended so soon.

    If I could, I would wear my C G t-shirt half mast.

  • skshrews

    Hopefully, all affected will realize that one benefits of the Internet is that it is relatively easy to start your own website.

    Leo Laporte got booted from “Tech TV”, and started his own podcast network, which appartently is doing quite well.

    Get a better name, a domain, and get up and running by Monday!

  • MalcolmM

    I’m very sorry to hear the Crispy Gamer isn’t doing well. However, it doesn’t surprise me.

    I liked the idea of Crispy Gamer better than I liked the actual site.

    The original site design of fine, not great but functional. The redesign was a huge step backwards. I would check it out once in a while, but I was always so put off by the clumsy design of the site that I quickly lost interest.

  • Troy

    It’s hard to tell what the motivation for the layoffs is. The complete annihilation of the editorial content means that the corporation has decided to go in a direction that has no need of editors or writers. Though I agree about the layout (which I thought had improved in the latest reboot) being suboptimal, Gamespot’s is also an abomination. It has the advantage of longevity and deep pockets.

    The original decision to not take game company ads, while admirable ethically speaking, was probably a misstep since no gaming media outlet really does well selling non-endemic ads.

    But this decision has all the hallmarks of investors deciding that they want to take the property in a more immediately profitable direction. At two years old, CG was young and maybe bleeding more money than it should have been. Rates were cut some, John Keefer was let go and a couple of columns were killed, but there may have been bigger cost issues.

    Thing is, the mission statement was all about paying for good writers and good content. Though the site moved away from the Game Trust Chorus of Voices a little in recent months (another cost decision, since the staff writers could produce more at a lower cost per piece), Keefer’s vision was sold to investors as the idea that good writing would find an audience.

    Was that not the case? Maybe. I’ve read a distressing number of comments online from people who said they had never even heard of Crispy Gamer.

  • Bobby

    I have to respectfully disagree with you Troy on the latest CG reboot being better, for me it made it worse. I do agree with you about Gamespot and even though you didn’t mention it, IGN has a horrible layout to me also.

    For layouts I think GameInformer has a great website and 1Up to a lesser extent.

    I loved the idea of the GameTrust. I still think good writing can bring an audience. For me the execution was just off for Crispy Gamer as a website and not the idea. Hopefully the idea can find a place again on the web.

    I hope you find a replacement for the income you’ve lost Troy.

  • JonathanStrange

    I rarely visited Crispy Gamer. Maybe once every other month. There’s just too much content out there for me to seek out a particular general gaming website. I’ll visit Flash Of Steel because it appears focused more strategy and historical gaming, and discussing gaming-related themes.

    I’ll go to certain forums to add my two cents to a discussion of a game, or to the official websites for certain technical details but I hardly ever bother with all those gaming sites with names that-may-have-seemed-clever-at-first-but-become-less-so-over-time.

    I sympathize; but I’ve seen dozens of videogame websites disappear over the years. Crispy Gamer won’tbe the last.