Our sister site Kotaku UK, which is managed by British publisher Future Publishing, is shutting down this week after a strong six-year run. Kotaku UK EiC Rich Stanton delivered the news to readers this morning.
Our regional sister sites are the result of licensing deals with outside publishers. A company such as Future pays to use the Kotaku branding and to publish Kotaku posts. They also bring on a small number of regional staff to add original stories to the mix.
The regional EiCs call the shots on their sites and create their version of Kotaku. It’s been a blast to watch Kotaku UK (and Kotaku Australia, which will continue) develop their own variation on what a Kotaku can be.
It’s not part of the deal for the regional Kotaku editors to work with each other, but, back in 2014, it would have been foolish for me to not jump at the chance to collaborate with founding Kotaku UK EiC Keza MacDonald. Keza understood what made Kotaku special and was determined to use the UK site to create her own distinct, bold, fearless take on what we do. She and I wouldn’t chat daily, but we’d connect enough that I always felt a close kinship to the UK operation. I rejoiced in its success and felt the pain of its struggles. Keza brought on a terrific but terribly small support team, and was succeeded, after several years, by outgoing UK EiC Rich Stanton. Rich fought that good fight, too, and I am very grateful for it.
Kotaku UK was always a small operation. That, too, is part of the Kotaku experience I’ve seen: scrappy crews trying to punch above their weight. Over the years I heard many a dream of what Kotaku UK could be with a bigger team, and I wish the site had gotten that opportunity. Regardless, I’m simply glad it got a chance to be — and that it was able to give a platform to more voices to cover the culture of video games.
Thank you, Keza. Thank you, Rich. Thank you, Kotaku UK.
AU Editor’s Note: As Stephen mentioned above, Kotaku Australia will continue. Still, it’s hard not to feel bitten by this loss.
I spoke regularly with Rich, especially since we were in very similar scenarios: editors running a small team, a world away from our US colleagues. We often traded stories over email, passing on emails of British or Australian features that readers across the pond might enjoy, stories that might make them smile. A particular source of joy for me was covering Gamescom a few years ago on the ground, collaborating with Rich and the then-UK news editor Laura in Cologne, juggling sessions and trading previews from things we couldn’t make. It’s a surprise what a difference it makes just seeing a friendly face, thousands of kilometres away from home, and a face that understand the effort and grind you put in.
Like our US colleagues, Rich, Alistair and everyone who came before them all shared the same thing: everyone truly, deeply loves this industry and wants nothing more than to cover it to its fullest. The good, the bad and the funny. To everyone who contributed: thank you. Not every day is amazing, and not everything was perfect. But you gave it your all, opened the doors as wide as possible, and did everything you could to tell as many stories as you could along the way.
It’s a shame that more voices, particularly younger British ones, will no longer have another space to blossom and wax lyrical about the things we all love.