In this week’s gaming news, popular entertainment news outlets Deadspin and Kotaku are in the middle of an organizational shake-up, Electronic Arts reignites its partnership with Valve, and Sony cuts costs by eliminating its PlayStation Vue TV service.
Disagreement between management and staff leaves the future of Deadspin, Kotaku in question
Earlier this year, Great Hill Partners (G/O Media) acquired Gizmodo Media Group, the parent company of popular outlets such as Deadspin, Kotaku, Gizmodo, The Onion, and more. As part of the acquisition, G/O Media sought to improve revenue by expanding programmatic advertising and implementing a subscriber-exclusive content strategy. Not long after the acquisition, G/O Media began to clash with editorial staff over disagreements in content production and advertising, resulting in a slew of employee resignations and wide public distaste.
On Monday, The Daily Beast reported on a leaked interoffice memo from G/O Media that stated Deadspin staff are to exclusively cover sports. The following day, The New York Times reported that Deadspin’s interim editor in chief, Barry Petchesky, was fired after he refused to abide by that order. After Petchesky’s firing, eight employees took to Twitter to announce their resignation, citing that they could not get behind G/O Media’s order, either, and would rather walk.
Around the same time that the memo leaked, G/O Media implemented a new seven-figure advertising deal that placed intrusive, auto-playing video ads on its websites. Readers and staff alike were quickly turned off by the adverts and took action. In order to do away with the ads, editorial staff listed the emails of G/O Media’s top brass in a public blog post and called for frustrated readers to express their thoughts directly to management. DualShockers and Game Revolution speculated that Kotaku may be the next site to experience staff cuts – either voluntarily or not – after the outlet’s involvement in the blog post.
Electronic Arts to offer games on Steam after making amends with Valve
After splitting from Steam eight years ago in favor of its own PC games launcher, Origin, Electronic Arts (EA) announced that it will be offering its games once more on Steam, starting with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order this November. In a statement to The Verge, EA senior vice president Mike Blank explained that EA “wants to be where the players are,” and partnering again with Valve is the best way to reach a wide variety of PC gamers. Engadget warned that there are some cautionary steps to be cognizant of with the merge, though: because Origin and Steam operate as separate game launchers, players who purchased an EA game on Origin within the past eight years will not be able to launch them on Steam, and Steam users will also have to create an EA account to buy or access EA games. Polygon and Ars Technica noted that EA will be introducing its subscription service, EA Access, as well, and its wider game library will be introduced on a rolling basis.
Sony to cancel PlayStation Vue live TV streaming service
As of January 30, 2020, Sony’s live streaming TV service, PlayStation Vue, will no longer be accessible. In an official statement, Sony noted that the pay-TV industry is “highly competitive and expensive,” and in order to better focus on its core gaming business – and save a lump sum of money – Sony will be shutting down the service. CNN, Vox, and Deadline noted that the pay-TV service is an industry that companies must tread lightly in, as many consumers are ditching traditional television packages in favor of video streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu.