I witnessed the gradual and then the total collapse of once-thriving gaming magazines like Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro. Their glossy pages and inside scoops are what got me interested in writing about video games in the first place.
Sites like IGN, GameSpot, and 1Up were the direct benefactors of the shift from print to digital consumption of video game news and reviews. This site also benefitted. Unlike the expensive production behind producing, printing, and mailing a monthly magazine, building a website is relatively cheap.
The shift didn’t end there, though. In the past several years, we’ve seen a similar shift away from established media organizations to YouTubers. Just as it was easy to build your own website, it was even easier to hook up a webcam and stream a game on YouTube and Twitch. All you need to gain an audience is a decent personality, a small amount of tech savvy, and social media skills.
All of these changes beg the question: Is there a future for gaming websites?
I think there is, although what that future looks like is yet to be seen. As far as I can tell, sites like Kotaku and Polygon seem to be doing just fine. And then there are gaming forum communities that are doing well. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that many media outlets – including several big names – have not been so lucky.
Just as magazines experienced a precipitous decline in readership over a decade ago, gaming websites are under pressure from streamers. Slowly, we’ve seen gaming websites, large and small, shut their doors as they’ve struggled to maintain profitability. Others have fallen victim to the nationwide trend toward media consolidation.
In order to avoid the fate of magazines, gaming sites are going to have to find creative ways to remain financially viable as advertising dollars shift toward video content. For us, that has meant expansion. We created Game Deals 365 and Game Trailers 365 to diversify our content.
I, for one, hope that there is a future for gaming websites – including this one – because they are more than just collections of news articles and reviews. They are communities worth preserving.