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Ziff Davis Sells 1UP Network To UGO/Hearst, Closes EGM
Ziff Davis Sells 1UP Network To UGO/Hearst, Closes EGM
January 7, 2009 | By Staff

January 7, 2009 | By Staff
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Following repeated rumors to the effect, Gamasutra has learned that Ziff Davis has sold its 1UP division to Hearst's UGO Entertainment, and is shutting long-running print magazine EGM in the process.

According to a statement received by Gamasutra, Ziff Davis Media has now officially announced the sale of the 1UP Digital Network to Hearst's UGO Entertainment division.

The sale includes 1UP.com, Mycheats.com, Gametab.com, and GameVideos.com, and specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In association with the move, Ziff Davis Media's EGM Magazine, a consumer game print mainstay since 1989, will be discontinued. The January 2009 issue will be the final printed issue.

"We believe this is a smart transaction for Ziff Davis Media that places these market leading assets and teams in a great environment poised for further success. The transaction allows us to pay down debt and shift our full focus to our core PCMag Digital Network business. We thank our 1UP team members for their contributions and wish them the best of success into the future", said Ziff Davis Media CEO Jason Young.

"Since we started UGO 11 years ago, we have served the gamer community and built a world-class online publishing platform," said J Moses, CEO of UGO Entertainment. "The acquisition of 1UP, with its authentic voice, tenured editorial personalities and bustling user community, allows us to expand our base of quality content and represents a major step forward in UGO's mission to become the leader in the games space."

[UPDATE: According to information obtained by Gamasutra, around 30 employees of Ziff Davis' Game Group were laid off immediately following today's announcement, including the staff of EGM Magazine, but also some elements of the 1UP Network's web staff, including podcast and video producers.

In addition, Gamasutra has obtained a copy of the internal email sent to Ziff Davis employees by CEO Jason Young following the announcement, as follows:

"Team:

We are announcing today the sale of our 1UP digital business to UGO Entertainment, a dvision of Hearst Corporation.

Over the course of the last 4 years we have built the 1UP sites into a top tier gaming digital destination. While our growth has been sharp, it has become apparent that more scale is necessary to effectively compete in this market segment.

We made the decision that the best path to putting our award winning 1UP brand and content in a more competitive position was to combine it with the operations of another publisher. We received much interest from other parties.

After a comprehensive process, this morning we completed a deal with Hearst Interactive, the owner and operator of UGO Entertainment. 1UP.com, MyCheats.com, Gamevideos.com, and Gametab.com will now all be part of the UGO Entertainment business. Many of our employees will travel with this business and become part of the UGO team.

With this transaction happening, we have also made the decision to discontinue publication of EGM. The January 2009 issue will be the final issue of the publication. With demand for print continuing to decline amongst both advertisers and readers and the content being produced by 1UP no longer available for use in the publication, it simply did not make sense for us to move forward with this business any longer.

We will continue to operate the Filefront business as a part of the PCMag Digital Network. In the coming months we will determine the best ways to leverage the scale and functionality of this digital property to expand our business position.

The Ziff Davis position in the gaming market has been significant and important to our company and the market itself. While many of our assets in the PCMag Digital Network (including Filefront now) will continue to cover this market, it's important that we celebrate all that we have achieved over the last 25 years.

Our leadership in print for decades with titles like Computer Gaming World and EGM which in turn translated into the build out of one of the leading digital gaming media assets in 1UP are prime examples of the skill, passion, and expertise of our teams.and what they achieved.

It's incredible to compare the 1UP.com of today versus that of 12 months ago. I want to thank everybody in our Game Group for their important contributions over the years.

For Ziff Davis Media, our attention and focus now shifts squarely to the PC Mag Digital Network. The proceeds from this transaction will be used to pay down debt. One of the primary objectives of our business plan is ensuring that we have plenty of room to service our debt obligations into the future, and manage for growth in what will be a challenging year in the advertising market.

While the market will be tough, we are confident our position is well aligned to where the demand is most active. We move forward as a 100% digital business with tenured brand position, and powerful capabilities to drive results for our customers. I look forward to sharing more updates in the coming weeks.

JY."]


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Comments


Ian Fisch
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Wow. I'm gonna miss the days of print gaming magazines. One thing they have that online doesn't is the ability to get me interested in games that I would have never even noticed if I was just surfing websites. When I go to ign or 1up or whatever, I generally only click on links that interest me with a sentence description or a picture. When I'm reading a magazine I'm forced to turn every page and sometimes I'll encounter a full spread on a game that piques my interest in a way a hyperlink can't. Too bad.



EGM has been around forever. I remember as a kid my parents would drop me off at the news stand and I would read EGM, Gamepro, Gameplayers, GameFan, and NextGen. Now only Gamepro is left.

Carlo Delallana
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I would like to see digital/interactive magazines sold on the PSN network. I'm sure this can also work on Xbox Live or as a Nintendo Wii Channel.



You wouldn't have to turn off your system to get news and it could be a handy way to distribute walkthroughs.

brandon sheffield
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Not just Gamepro - Game Informer and all the console-specific mags remain.

kevin williams
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and so it begins - guess which magazine is next?

Joshua Sterns
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I feel old. Gaming magazines were a childhood treasure next to collecting cards and comics.



Before I know it I'll be getting laughed at by my unborn children because I still surf the web from a PC.

Ryan Dormanesh
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I will really miss the 1up Show, it was a great voice in the industry. Best of luck to all who were laid off.

Dan Amrich
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Don't forget us out in Futureland. OXM, PTOM, Nintendo Power, PC Gamer -- alive and well.



http://www.mcvuk.com/interviews/401/Spring-in-her-step



It's a shame and a shock, and I liked EGM a lot, but it's one magazine; it does not instantly mean GI, GP, or any of my company's acronyms are in similar trouble.

brandon sheffield
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Dan - that's what I was talking about with the console-specific mags :)

Dan Amrich
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Oh, I know -- sorry, I forgot my "@Ian Fisch" prefix. :) I really meant it as a reply to his note.

brandon sheffield
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word. now let's go halvesies and buy hardcore gamer magazine!

Isaac Alshihabi
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Wow how could Hearst lay off so many genuinely talented individuals; people that personify the 1up brand and serve as the faces behind the name? It is almost like the person who performed due diligence on the acquisition knows nothing about gaming at all. They cut the fat, they cut the meat, they cut the bone, and they are left with only the marrow to wither.



I am sad for 1up and have serious reservations about what kind of content will be on the site moving forward since SO MANY of the people I regarded highly and had the most integrity were unceremoniously guillotined today. I will also miss the 1up yours podcast and the 1up show, as many others have stated. Those were shows that were incredibly entertaining and educational for me, and I anxiously awaited them every week. It is INCREDIBLE that anyone with business acumen would shut down a media program that has so many captive listeners/viewers for 2-3 hours per week - ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! That was an incredibly valuable asset that Heast FUBAR'd. Aren't they in the media business that relies on audience captivity and retention? Or maybe they're in the other media business that doesn't care about quality. You, Hearst, win the FAIL trophy for 2009.



Personally, I will discontinue my subscription to Hearst magazine Esquire since it's obviously for toolbags now anyway. I'll boycott everything Hearst that I can. wtf is UGO anyway.

Tony Huynh
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I am very saddened by this. 1Up Yours and Legendary Thread were mainstays on my ipod. I will miss both those podcasts. Hopefully the people affected by this will be able to find new work quickly.

Kole Ross
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I have to echo the sentiments regarding how ill-conceived some of the cuts Hearst/UGO are, especially in regards to the podcasts and 1up Show. They were consistently the most well done productions on the internet, and the content they produced dominated my listening throughout the week.



I'm very distraught over this turn of events, partly because the people who were axed today were extremely talented and deserved better, and partly because it doesn't bode well for anyone seeking to enter the journalism side of the industry. EGM and 1up, and especially their staff, have been bastions of the gaming press, and to see them fall shakes my faith in the rest of the industry, to a certain degree. Even if things aren't as bad as they are looking now, and the business contraction is only temporary, this is a dire price to pay.



My heart goes out to everyone at 1up and EGM. The work you've done has been amazing, and my attention/money, though both are meager, will follow you wherever you go to say what you have to say.

Patrick Merritt
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It looks like the video game industry just lost its biggest advertising tool. I know the net has taken over, but not entirely(well i guess now entirely)



EGM could have made them lots of money if their issues weren't so damn small, my old issues are way bigger than the thin latest issues. I still subscribe to Nintendo Power and i think its ridiculous that egm was a smaller magazine, but covered all the competition while Nintendo only covered one company but had bigger mags. If they had been a better magazine I bet they wouldn't have had such a downfall. We still all need to go to the super market to get food. the only reason why we don't grab an EGM while were there is one..they're in those stupid plastic covers..which is bad because i like to read them just a tad before i buy them(someone usually opens them before i get to the store..its like the advertising version)..and two..like i said they're small!

Taure Anthony
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Definitely a sad day for the industry 1 up was premier it's like how EA is buying up all the small game developers and turning things corporate I stand by Steve Jobs when he says "WE NEED ARTIST" talented individuals like the garage band that makes great music on the indie scene.......but get a major deal and the songs are now lackluster I've been an advocate of 1 up and the people who made it what it is......without those individuals for me its time to pack it in

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutras Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Jonathan Balser
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I am a lifetime gamer, 1up member, and I'm about to launch a peer-to-peer video game trading site. EGM has always been a part of my monthly reading and was part of my launch marketing plan. I will miss it. A sincere "Thank You" to all those who contributed to the magazine over the years. I hope you all move on to bigger and better things.

I am a big fan of the printed word and hope this is not a trend that continues. (I still have the first issue of Next Generation, another great magazine that is now a memory.)

Tawna Evans
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This is such sad news. *sob*

Tom Kim
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My condolences to all of the affected 1UP staff. My feeling is, many media and communications companies will be laying off staff early in the new year.



The good news is, there will always be a need for experienced and proactive writers and content producers despite the difficult economic times. With any luck, all of those affected will find better opportunities within the next year.

john bonachon
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I don't want to be harsh but magazine (all of them) are so damn condemned, why i will pay for a subscription where i can obtain the same information for free, in fact i obtain thousand times the same information on the net.

While the futile attempt to create a paperless office was a failure but we are too close to a paperless magazine and news.



And even worst, no matter if you was a star on this magazine, the net is overflowed with the same information. I don't want to kiss a*ses but Gamasutra in this aspect is giving some new information, in opposite to hear the same "this game rocks, this game su*ck, this game is awful but i will give 10/10 point".



I think, part of the fired staff have some university degreed so they sooner or later will find some place to work on, but (because the oversaturate market) for the rest of the staff without any studies but the high school (or even worst)... then they currently are hitting bottom, a really sad situation, sad and fair.

Tawna Evans
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Bonachon: A major reason for buying magazines is that printed news is portable. Subscribing to a magazine also saves the time used to search for interesting stories: the magazine provides them directly to the reader. Finally, magazines come with the pages already printed, whereas getting the same benefit from stories found online would cost paper, ink, and time.


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