Gaming has changed a lot over the years. From it's early beginnings when people were amazed to see two lines bounce a pixel between them and keep score to the rebirth of the industry when Nintendo announced their little grey 8-bit gaming box, to the huge team-based PvP games that seem to be cranked out by the dozen today. But while gaming itself has been evolving over the past several decades, it's only relatively rescently that gaming media has really begun to evolve in more then just it's gimmicks (like the internet destroying the use of demo-discs included with gaming magazines).
But this evolution is different. Where gaming evolved because tech allowed it, gaming media evolution is more forced as the times are replacing and making the old ways obsolete. And as such, over the past few weeks, the landscape has shifted again.
Monday night, we all (including those working there) found out the site Gametrailers has closed it's doors. And while I will agree with a lot of people that what the site offered vs what it used to to it’s members painted a fairly bleak picture, this is a site dedicated to gaming media that pre-existed Youtube by about three and a half years. Let that sink in for a second: Youtube did NOT EXIST when Gametrailers began to offer access to trailers for games. In addition, this would be the place where some first huge internet series (like for example one of my personal favorites, the Angry Videogame Nerd) would get their first real boost of exposure to the public on their way to become the juggernauts they would become. This site has permanently secured it's place in internet history as one of the most important places for gaming media to begin and start to branch out into the world wide web.
The site closing was really rather sudden and unexpected, as Defy media appearantly told no one till hours before it happened, leaving the crew one last twitch stream together with their fans Monday night to go with the announcements on twitter and FaceBook and many to wonder exactly what happened. Others, like Mundane Matt (who’s youtube video about it was how I found out) went on to try to dig up the reason for his audience. Add to this the findings on Alexa showing their rank among websites around the world plummeting and you start to see the picture.
So how did this happen? Honestly I think we can lay a lot of the blame on Gametrailers themselves. When it started, there was literally nothing to compete with allowing them to be a trailblazer who did so much to lay the groundwork for the gaming internet world. But now if you look at the offerings they had at the end, it boiled down to a lack-luster and quiet forum (seriously, the ONLY threads for the past year to have any serious action were a few made by fanbois attacking each other over Xbox One or PS4 and threads made to talk about the happenings around GamerGate) a few web series (which they shed a lot of) and trailers now available on youtube where ther video player is generally a lot better.
So in conclusion, yes, it was a shitty move for Defy Media to say nothing till literally hours before everyone was evicted from their office, the eviction itself was pretty much only a matter of time. Still, Gametrailers has earned it’s place in the media’s history, and like other sites gone before it, we salute you.