Two of the biggest outlets in games media are the latest to face layoffs. A number of editorial staff across both Giant Bomb and GameSpot revealed they’d been let go on Thursday, just months after the sites were purchased by the Fandom wiki network.
While it’s not clear what the extent of the cuts are at the moment, close to half a dozen editors, video producers, and on-air talent shared tweets confirming they were part of the layoffs. Previously owned by Viacom CBS, Giant Bomb and GameSpot were both sold to Red Ventures in 2020, which then turned around and sold them again to Fandom last October.
Whiskey Media (Comic Vine)->CBS Interactive (Comic Vine/GameSpot)->Red Ventures (GameSpot)->Fandom (GameSpot)->Jobless
I love you all at @GameSpot. You all made me so happy. That job was something I was so luck to have for 7 years. I cannot believe I’m gone.
— Mat Elfring (@ImMatElfring) January 19, 2023
“We’re thrilled to add these powerful, authoritative brands into the Fandom platform, which will expand our business capabilities and provide immersive content for our partners, advertisers and fans,” Fandom CEO Perkins Miller said at the time. Fandom, whose business model revolves around plastering ads over free, user-generated content, is itself owned by private equity firm TPG Capital.
Fandom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Giant Bomb in particular has faced a number of shakeups recently. Co-founder Jeff Gerstmann left last summer to start a solo Patreon-funded podcast and former co-host Dan Ryckert returned to take his spot. Since then, the show has expanded its roster and included more crossover with GameSpot talent. Jess “Voidburger” O’Brien, who became a full-time Giant Bomb member in 2021, was one of the people laid off today.
I was saving this image to QRT for when this All Hands Meeting finally happened but hey! I’ve been laid off!!! So I’m free to edit videos, host things, play games, and be a little (tall) weirdo on your content lol https://t.co/G5up8PI0EU
— VoidBurger (AKA Jess) 🍔🎮 (@VoidBurger) January 19, 2023
The latest gaming media cuts come just a month after IGN faced its own surprise layoffs as its team was preparing to cover the 2022 Game Awards. Before that, Comcast shutdown its recently revived gaming network G4, Tencent gutted the staff at Fanbyte, and other sites like Game Informer, Polygon, and TechRadar cut staff numbers, too.
While the layoffs come at a time when companies from Microsoft to Amazon are reducing staff and advertisers are slashing budgets ahead of a recession manufactured by the Federal Reserve, not everyone is feeling pain. The CEO of IGN’s parent company, Vivek Shah, made roughly $US16 million ($AU23.1 million) in 2021. TPG CEO Jon Winkelried, meanwhile, earned over $US80 million ($AU117.8 million) that same year, in addition to the hundreds of millions he raked in during his decades-long career at Goldman Sachs.
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