EGM is no more, 1up sold to UGO, lots of notable layoffs

Ugh, I feel like the last remnants of my childhood have been dragged out into the street and had a bullet put right between the eyes. With the acquisition of 1up by UGO, many notable and talented people have been layed off and EGM is no more. What is undisputably the best gaming magazine ever published in the United States is finished, as the January issue (currently on sale) will be the final issue. GAF users have managed to compile a list of the journalists and staff members that have been layed off so far. Below is the list (bolding indicates the ones that I was particularly fond of):

Adrian Frieg
Amy Mishra
Amy Moran
Andrea Garcia
Andrew Fitch
Andrew “Skip” Pfister
Anthony Gallegos
Cesar Quintero

Christina Rosa
CoyLou Steel
Derek Chinn
Doug Parsons
Eric Ellis
Giancarlo Varanini
Greg Ford
James “Milkman” Mielke
Jason Bertrand

Jason Wilson
Jervilyn Jaramillo
Justin Frechette
Leslie Gelfand
Marci Yamaguchi
Matt Chandronait
May Tong
Meredith Stowe
Michael Donahoe
Monique Convertito

Ndubuisi Madu
Nick Suttner
Norris Boothe
Philip Kollar
Rey Serrano
Robert Bowen
Rosemary Pinkham
Ryan O’Donnell
Ryan Scott
Shane Bettenhausen

Simon Cox
Tammy Ross
Tipler Ubbelohde

I’m sure as the dust settles the list of casualties will expand, but some of those names up there are really quite shocking. Game coverage isn’t going to be the same without many of these guys being a part of the EGM/1up team, that’s for sure. Also, and this is where gamers are most going to feel the gut punch, is that the 1up podcasts are going to be done away with, at least for the time being. Right now, it’s been confirmed that 1up Yours (Best. Gaming. Podcast. Ever.) and the 1up Show (Best. Gaming. Video. Podcast. Ever.) are dead for good.

If you feel like it, you can hit up GAF and Twitter and read all sorts of farewells, comments, and musings from current and ex-1up staff about the situation. I’m still a little in shock that all we have left in the print publication market here in the US is Gamepro, which is terrible, and Game Informer, which has no journalistic integrity.

Good luck to everybody who is personally affected, and good luck to gamers trying to find a publication/network to fill the void left behind in their gaming news coverage and editorial needs.

David Reeves wonders how to make it worse, does interview, succeeds

Is there anybody in the entire Sony company that is as stupid is David Reeves? I mean, I know it’s disrespectful to say that about someone, but this is the one guy that even the hardcore Sony fanboys actively work to shout down. I also hate being the near constant critic of Sony and their ways, but I think their approach to this generation of gaming warrants some backlash. In recent weeks Sony has endured some PR pain as they’ve had to announce big layoffs, bad financial losses, and terrible NPD sales performances. Now, not all of this can be attributed to their games division, but the PS3 and its money losing ways are definitely a big part of the blame. In an interview with MVC, David Reeves (president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe) had a few choice things to say that reek of excuses, deflection, envy, and desperation.

Here is the interview in its entirety, but below I have a list of notable achievements by Reeves in the piece: http://www.mcvuk.com/interviews/394/Action-Station

  • He compares Sony’s $3 billion losses in the past two years to Citibank to show why it’s not so bad. Citibank compared to Sony? Really? How is that remotely relevant?
  • He states that they’re not dropping the price, but rather focusing on a “value added” strategy. WHAT?! How is the PS3 added value at this point? You can buy both a 360 and a Wii for the price of a PS3 now. If he’s talking Blu-ray, you can get a 360 and a Blu-ray player cheaper.
  • He states that their objective is to “grow the market”. How are you going to do that with an overpriced console? DROP THE PRICE!
  • “You don’t grow the market by putting out shoddy machines.” Obviously this is a slight at the 360, but the PS2 and PS1 were terribly shoddy. Many people went through several of each. It’s a pot/kettle black deal there…
  • “…as soon as we got the manufacturing price down on PSOne we lowered the price. Same with PS2. But we’re not doing that on PS3 – that’s not the model, but people are expecting it.” Ok…so the PS1 and PS2 owned the market, so you’re just going to go with a different strategy? Makes sense.

There are a few more things in there that are just fine examples of crazy talk, but I think I’ve gone far beyond what I should have on this topic. To be clear, I LIKE MY PS3, but I think the industry needs a healthy Sony. With all the poor decisions Sony makes I keep expecting that they’re going to wake up and get things rolling, but these sort of interviews have me questioning whether or not they’ve actually lost touch with the reality of the situation they’re in and the industry as a whole. Sony got punched in the face big time, but rather than coming back with their own punches, they’ve just been content to take blow after blow while making excuses why this is a better strategy. Sure, it worked for Rocky, but even Adrian new that at SOME POINT the Italian Stallion had to hit back. Do it, Sony.

A strategic alliance for the future.

Greetings everyone, I bet you’re all so used to only Jeff posting to this blog. Well that has just changed. My name is Brad Mosbacher, former Features Editor for Nintendo World Report.  I have been brought aboard to provide all of you with interesting and well written updates when Jeff himself is unable to post.

I am also here to provide posts that slightly differentiate in taste compared to the standard variety of posts that Jeff makes. However, this alone is not the cause of my appearance. Jeff and I have big things planned in the future. What these plans are I cannot say just yet, but it is the culmination of his and my combined resources. Needless to say, I hope you will enjoy what we have in store for all of you.

This is why Kotaku sucks (hint: it’s Brian Crecente)

This whole issue has passed and at first I refrained from commenting on it, but I think it’s still worth commenting on. Last week, Cheap Ass Gamer ran a contest within their community to see who could make up the best and most believable rumor. A few bloggers, including Kotaku’s Brian Crecente, picked up one of the rumors and ran with it. I’m not going to name the rumor, because it doesn’t really deserve any more attention, but the fallout of these blogs running stories based on the competition merits a little discussion. Once the Internet’s finest detectives flushed out that the source for the rumor was indeed CAG’s little contest, Brian was backed into a corner and forced to admit that he posted an unconfirmed bit of (fake) news. Of course, rather than showing some good humor and admitting his mistake, Brian did what he always does; he lashed out and decided to push the blame back into CAG’s hands. Below is what Brian said when he updated his original rumor post:

UPDATE: It appears that this rumor story could be CAG throwing their credibility out the window as part of a contest. Kotaku”s decision to run rumors is always based on the credibility of the site and the information contained within it. In the past CAG has proven to be a reliable site, having broken a number of stories through apt reporting. It appears that may no longer be the case.

Well, jeez, Brian…can you really blame this on CheapyD and CAG? Is that really fair? You failed to fact check, you failed to follow up on a lead, and you made the decision to run with a rumor that had no credibility in the first place. All you had to do was a little bit of simple digging and you could have easily found out it was all part of a fun community contest put on by CAG. Don’t blame CheapyD and Wombat for trying to have some fun with their readers and podcast listeners. Your arrogance in these sort of matters is what turned me off of Kotaku years ago and is the same reason I don’t visit the site today. It’s ok to be wrong, but it’s not ok to throw a site under the bus simply because you failed to do a simple thing like fact checking before hitting the post button. And no, CAG wasn’t throwing their credibility out of the window by running the contest, you were when you ran with the rumor in a sad attempt to beat your competition to the scoop. Bravo, Brian, bravo. Here’s what your update is really saying to me:

UPDATE: It appears that this rumor story could be me throwing my credibility out the window as part of a premature reaction. Kotaku”s decision to run rumors is always based on the ridiculous need to get lots of hits to drive up our click count to appease our traffic-hungry superiors. In the past CAG has proven to be a reliable site, having broken a number of stories through apt reporting which we’ve hastily grabbed and slapped on our front page. It appears that we may either need to start fact checking like most reputable sites and blogs or risk continuing to look like total clowns and amatuers.

For the record, Joystiq, Kotaku’s biggest competitor, refrained from posting the rumor that they were very much well-aware of. Joystiq and CAG good. Kotaku bad.

The hammer (of Thor?) drops on Denis Dyack

Denis has been a very outspoken defender of Too Human on mainstream news sites, enthusiast press sites, message boards, blogs, and anywhere else anybody will offer up a soapbox for him to stand on. Well, a while back Denis made a bet with the NeoGAF community over how Too Human would be received. Earlier this week reviews started rolling in, and it quickly became obvious that Denis was on the losing side of the wager. Today, in a post started by site admin EvilLore, Denis’ plate of crow was offered up. The thread can be found here: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=331932.

Now, Denis got himself into this, but really I think we as a gaming community are being just a bit harsh on him. Yes, it’s providing some nice comedy for anybody willing to watch things unfold, but I think amid all the mudslinging that people should at least be giving Denis some props for being so candid and accessible to the general gamer. Denis, you blew it, but I really hope this doesn’t prevent you from interacting and communicating with the gaming audience. It looks like your game didn’t turn out as well as we (and you) would have liked, but I guarantee if you come back strong with a new project after Too Human that a lot of this can be swept under the rug.

CAG 2.0 hits

CAG (http://cheapassgamer.com) has launched its highly anticipated redesign and has begun to roll out the new site user features. In recent episodes of the CAGcast, CheapyD and Wombat have discussed how the new site will help the community to be more expressive, interactive, and to play a more prominent role in the day to day happenings at the site. The new look is still simple and reserved, but the functionality is quite impressive. I even started my own blog over there (first post can be found here: http://www.cheapassgamer.com/forums/blog.php?b=48).

Surely this blog will still remain my focus, but hey, how can I resist the charms of the CAG community, especially after all the great deals I’ve found there lately? Hey Cheapy and Wombat, keep up the good work with the CAGcast, and good luck with everything going forward.

Check here for a list of site changes and updates: http://www.cheapassgamer.com/?f=3

Denis Dyack is bold, maybe crazy

In a brave and crazy move, Denis Dyack started a new thread over at NeoGAF asking members of the forum to “stand and be counted” by stating whether they are for or against Too Human at this point. Denis goes on to say that if Too Human releases and it’s no good, that he’ll gladly accept the tag “Owned by the GAF”. These sort of things seem stupid for a developer to do, but I think it’s kind of cool. Yes, it can backfire in a big way, but I really like that a developer is willing to interact with the gamers in a public forum. However this turns out, you can bet it will be fun to watch.

Here is the thread over at the NeoGAF forums. You don’t need to register to view posts. http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=318653

Now, I’m hoping that the game turns out to be good, because I’ve been following this game ever since it was in development for the PlayStation, then the GameCube, and now the Xbox 360. The demo I played at E3 two yaers ago was atrocious, but it seems that a lot of progress has been made since that point in time. Here’s hoping that Silicon Knights really has turned the game around, because I still think it has a lot of potential.

Holy crap…Itagaki leaves Tecmo

1up has reported that Tomonobu Itagaki has resigned from Tecmo, effective July 1, 2008. In a statement released by Itagaki, he had some harsh words for the current president of Tecmo, Yoshimi Yasuda. It also signals the end of Itagaki’s involvement with both the Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive franchises. Itagaki’s statement reads (bolding added by me):

“I, Tomonobu Itagaki, hereby announce that on the 14th of May 2008 I filed a complaint in the Tokyo District Court against Tecmo Co., Ltd. for unpaid completion bonuses, and against the President of Tecmo, Yoshimi Yasuda, for such unlawful acts as unreasonable and disingenuous statements made towards me, claiming damages in total of 148 million yen. I also announce that this complaint was delivered to the defendants on May 22nd of the same year. In addition, I hereby announce that I have today submitted a letter of resignation to Tecmo Co., Ltd. stating that I will resign as of the 1st of July, 2008.
“Before the start of development on Dead or Alive 4, Tecmo Co., Ltd. had agreed to pay a completion bonus to me for this Xbox 360 title, which I produced. However, when the time came for the actual payment, Tecmo Co., Ltd. went against its previous agreement and refused payment. President Yoshimi Yasuda chose not only to violate this agreement, but also turned defiant, telling me ‘if you are dissatisfied with the decision not to pay the bonuses, either quit the company or sue it.’ In addition, he made demeaning remarks about me to my subordinates and colleagues, causing me significant emotional distress and worsening my personal relationships and work environment. Thus, I have no choice but to resign from Tecmo Co., Ltd.
“The conduct of Tecmo Co., Ltd. and its president Yoshimi Yasuda towards me has been unbefitting of a publicly-listed company. I have filed this lawsuit with a strong intent to question the social responsibility of Tecmo Co., Ltd. and its President Yoshimi Yasuda, as well as condemning them for their unjust acts. Today, in addition to announcing the reasons for this lawsuit, I make clear my reasons for resigning.

“To All Game Fans

“I truly feel sorry to all the fans of the games I have made. Ninja Gaiden 2, which will launch on the 3rd of June will be the last Ninja Gaiden I will create. I will also never be able to make Dead or Alive 5. I regret the circumstances that have forced me to leave Tecmo, where I had worked for so many years, and I regret the disappointment this will cause my fans. However, I can no longer continue to work with President Yoshimi Yasuda, a man who chooses not to honor promises even when he is able to do so. I truly hope that nothing like this happens again in the future.”

For fans of Team Ninja, this is truly a day of ups and downs. Ninja Gaiden 2 ships today, pretty crazy timing for an announcement like this. It’s sad to think that after his resignation that Itagaki will no longer have a hand in the Ninja Gaiden or Dead or Alive games. To say that this came as a shock is a severe understatement. It will be interesting to see where Itagaki goes from here, and how many of his fellow staffers will join him wherever that might be.

R.I.P. GFW Magazine (1981-2008)

In an emotional post over at 1up, Jeff Green, the EIC of the now dead Games For Windows Magazine announced that the publication is finished. The magazine, which was originally called Computer Gaming World, was started 27 years ago and was always a trusted and well-respected source for news, info, previews, and reviews. The magazine editors will stay on as full-time employees of the 1up Network, but nothing was said regarding the fate of the rest of the staff. Here’s hoping that everybody involved has a successful future.

For the original blog post, visit the link: Jeff Green’s 1up Blog

Phil Harrison to Atari…why?

Phil Harrison, after spending 15 years with Sony, is leaving the company to accept a position as President at Infogrames/Atari. With Atari’s recent troubles, it seems weird that Phil would be joining up with them, especially since the PSP and PS3 are really picking up momentum right now. Of the move, Phil said, “This is the perfect time to join Infogrames and help shape the future of Atari – one of the industry’s legendary brands. As the game business moves rapidly online I believe we have an outstanding opportunity to create amazing network game and community experiences for players the world over. I am especially excited to be working on this challenge together with David, one of the most respected leaders and successful executives in our industry.”

phil.JPG

Just a year ago Phil Harrison was showing us “Gaming 2.0” with Home, LittleBigPlanet, and the future of the PS3 and PSP at GDC 2007. While I’m sure that Home and LBP are in good hands, it’s strange seeing the guy that championed the projects more than anybody else walk away before their official release.

atari.gif

Good luck, Phil. I’d love nothing more than to see you revitalize the Atari name. I just don’t fully understand the jump from a highly stable job environment to such a shaky one. Maybe the guy likes a challenge, huh?