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Layoffs hit GameTrailers just days after it was sold by Viacom
Layoffs hit GameTrailers just days after it was sold by Viacom
June 13, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

June 13, 2014 | By Alex Wawro
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing

Newsbrief: Multiple employees of video game broadcast outlet GameTrailers are reporting that they've been laid off today in the wake of the company's acquisition by Defy Media.

On Monday Viacom announced that it was selling GameTrailers, Addicting Games and Shockwave to Defy Media in return for a minority equity stake in the company. Defy already operates a number of online media properties, including Screen Junkies and The Escapist.

Variety reports that roughly 20 people were expected to make the transition from Viacom to Defy, and today it seems that those who weren't part of the deal have received termination notices -- often as they were preparing to decamp from a week of covering E3 in Los Angeles.

Polygon cites unnamed sources who claim over half of the full-time GameTrailers employees have lost their jobs this week. Among them was departing GameTrailers producer Jeremy Hoffmann, and we've taken the liberty of republishing his Twitter update below.

Gamasutra has reached out to Viacom and Defy Media for more information on the intent and scope of the layoffs, and we'll keep you apprised of any meaningful response.

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Kaze Kai
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That site was commercialized crap long before this happened anyway so I can't say I'm too broken up about it.

Still sucks for the everyman that worked there though. Not that giants care much about the ants they step on.

Incidentally, I didn't know the parent company of the escapist was so evil. I wonder if I can watch ZP episodes anywhere else...

George Menhal III
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I think GT started to slip when Shane Satterfield left and they killed off Invisible Walls.

Now having said that, it's still one of my favorite sites in gaming and I loved their video reviews and editorials. I am not a fan of everything they do, but I still think it sucks that people putting in nearly a decade of work get to end the week with a zero sum layoff. Most of these guys were probably just working out of passion to begin with. Terrible.

Michael DeFazio
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I'm gonna have to disagree with this sentiment... I thought for a long time satterfield railroaded people into agreeing with him and you didn't get as many diverse opinions being voiced... I almost got the sense Shane wanted everyone to reach "consensus" about what was "good" or "bad" as if everyone needed to agree with him and have a united front behind every review score at Gametrailers...

I've enjoyed that individuals of the site started to have and express their likes and dislikes more freely, (I even like the fact that Brandon Jones feels ok in saying he thinks Dark Souls is "overrated".) I thought the formatting and discussions of games was more interesting (after he left) and the new formatting and things like Pop fictions, the retrospectives (a la Diablo) were fantastic and some of the new shows and formats were a refreshing. (Some not my cup o' joe, but still I like they tried to make the conversation about games interesting)

Much as they are a commercial site, I think they did a good job of also discussing new and interesting Indie titles, so I hope they continue with their "Skeleton crew"

Dane MacMahon
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Never fun to see people lose jobs. Best wishes to those effected.

Gametrailers was unique when it launched, but once it had a million competitors their MTV tone of voice and lacking content made me completely stop going there. Maybe the new, smaller team can put something together that brings in more viewers.

Benjy Davo
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You are right Dane I think video game websites have cannibalised themselves, they're all trying to do the same thing. You get the zany offbeat one, the sensible anchor and the pretty girl line-up. We really don't need dozens of websites all processing the same timed promos from the publishers.

I also think it is somewhat cyclical I remember when Gamespy was one of the top dogs and guys like Greg Kasavin and Dave 'Fargo' Kosak were big names. Then those two guys joined the business on the development side and Gamespy slowly fell apart. It looks like Lets Play is more in vogue now than simply reviews and previews. But you can also see the cracks in that business model too.

It does make you wonder how much longer Geoff Keighley is going to carry on, with Adam Sessler retired from games media he is one of the last bastions of a bygone era alongside Jeff Gerstmann.

Dane MacMahon
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Pretty much.

Also there's a big difference between someone on youtube like Total Biscuit getting enough views to pay the bills and a massively funded corporate website needing to make enough money to please the execs. In that sense massive diversity in news/video sources favors the little guy.