Joystiq Rumoured to be Shut Down
We’re about a month removed from the original game magazine, CVG, being shut down but that isn’t stopping the games journalism industry from downsizing some more. Re/code is reporting that Joystiq, a gaming blog that’s been around for over 10 years, is on the chopping block.
Joystiq spun off from Engadget in 2004 as its own blog on the Weblogs Network. In 2005, AOL purchased Weblogs and the brands featured on it, including Joystiq. Last week, Tech Crunch reported on AOL reportedly undergoing restructuring in their Brands division which is the home for their big web content and blogs.
While the Tech Crunch article doesn’t specifically cite which sites were on the chopping block and be hardest hit by layoffs, they did mention that Joystiq was underperforming in 2014 compared to its history. Yesterday, Re/code reported that sources were telling it that Joystiq was indeed going to be a victim of corporate restructuring. The official closure of Joystiq is expected to happen in a few weeks.
For their part, Joystiq had a seemingly tongue-in-cheek response. On their website, they addressed the rumours saying:
“Sources tell Joystiq that the staff is aware of the closure, but corporate hasn’t officially told them, so they are unable to acknowledge anything out of concern that it will cause immediate shutdown. We’ve reached out for more information. We will update, as we always have, when we know more.”
While gaming is bigger than ever in terms of game sales, popularity, mainstream acceptance and video content, the print side just isn’t doing as well. I’m not talking magazines but blogs and websites. With so many people producing such similar content (reviews, trailers, preview, press releases converted to news), it’s hard for anyone to stand out from the crowd any more. I can’t remember the last time I thought that I had to go to any specific blog for news, reviews or opinion because they all seem so interchangeable (et geekera included).
I think we might be reaching the point where a significantly differentiated product offering is necessary for a blog to survive in an oversaturated market. It’s a lot easier for YouTubers and streamers to do that because of different personalities and games being offered as content. In print, it’s clearly quite a bit harder. The first major site to really hit it out of the park will have a tremendous advantage… until everyone copies them.