Opinion: Layoffs hit games writers – I don’t get it

I just don’t get it
The Sims, no work, garbage, Sims couchToday, my Twitter feed was flush with goodbyes and well-wishes for the employees of 1UP.com, Gamespy.com, UGO.com, and IGN.com.

In this economy, the game industry has seen entire development studios shut down, I expected to find depressing news about talented writers losing their jobs. But I did not, at all, expect the actual outcome: 1UP, Gamespy, and UGO had all been shut down. They didn’t face a “reduction in staff,” their employees were canned.

Sites that had given many industry veterans their initial entrances into games journalism were gone. IGN only looks relatively unharmed from this because they merely suffered significant layoffs. All of these companies operate under one banner: Ziff Davis Inc., which bought these websites on Feb. 4, 2013. Less than three weeks after the purchase, this happens.

That doesn’t make any sense to me.

I’m not a number-cruncher. I don’t know how much money these sites were leaking due to lessening ad revenue, ad-blocker, lower traffic, or whatever was the case, but Ziff Davis Inc. employs many people who do crunch those numbers all day, and they probably crunched them before the Feb. 4 purchase. If you were in a high position in a large publishing company, why would you buy a bunch of sites and shut most of them down?

They analyzed the situation and realized some of those sites weren’t going to make you the profits they wanted, but, apparently, only after the purchase. Why would they purchase these sites and then shut them down with no warning? It’s a powerful reminder of corporate callousness, which has become an increasingly major issue in the world over the last few decades.

The bottom line is all that matters, which is expected; this is a business. But even a business is held to some standards. I understand that a company exists to make money, but that doesn’t excuse the people in charge for being so cold about it.

This is not the last time we will see mass layoffs like this, especially in this industry. As corporate-driven as it is, the gaming industry executives are quick to dismiss the people who make them their money. The creative people who engage with their audiences, who work overtime to produce quality content, are the ones who will get canned. That’s how it is, unfortunately. So, we wish good fortune to all those who have now found themselves jobless.

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