Why Joystiq Matters: The Unfortunate End of a Blogging Pioneer

Today marks an end of an era in gaming journalism as blogging pioneer Joystiq shuts down after a decade of writing news, reviews and opinion pieces about video games. Launched as part of the Weblogs network and eventually acquired by AOL, the site has gradually trimmed down in recent years as the console specific segments were absorbed and many members of the editorial team moved on to other ventures such as Vox Media’s Polygon. This closure is especially sad as we have lost other significant voices in gaming journalism such as the Penny Arcade Report barely a year ago.

The Internet evolves quickly and business models can change dramatically, but Joystiq deserved a lot better than hearing about its likely demise through anonymous media leaks. This is a hell of a way to find out you may be out of a job:

 

Joystiq was a brand that generated tremendous respect as the outpouring of support from Game InformerArs Technica and a scathing comic by Penny Arcade has demonstrated after the news leaked out in a really distasteful manner. They were an early pioneer in establishing a market for the fast take, constant update format that has become the primary publishing schedule for major online content sites across all genres. Joystiq stood toe to toe with rival site Kotaku at the forefront of gaming journalism past print magazines and older sites such as GameSpot and still remained relevant but less prominent as gaming personalities (rather than journalists) have exploded in popularity on YouTube and social media.

The site and brand holds a special place in my heart as their gaming coverage reinvigorated my interest in gaming; Xbox 360 Fanboy was the reason I bought an Xbox 360 in 2006 and returned to console gaming after an extended absence, which eventually inspired me to start Play With Pixels back in 2009. The worst part of their closure for me is the conclusion of longstanding Xbox 360 Fanboy alums and eventually senior Joystiq writers Xav de Matos and Richard Mitchell’s time with the site, but I’m confident that the plethora of talented alumni from the site who will land on their feet; change can often jump start careers and attract new readers in unexpected ways. There are compelling voices in gaming editorial such as Ryan McCaffrey and Cara Ellison that I only started following after they started at IGN and Patreon respectively.

Jess Conditt recently tweeted about an aspect of her relationship with writing which stuck with me over the weekend:

 

In an introspective and cathartic way, writing this combination of eulogy and tribute for Joystiq has served as a powerful human experience for me. I mostly get my gaming news and reviews from Giant Bomb, Polygon, YouTube and Reddit these days but the significance of the Joystiq team’s contributions to the gaming community is still deeply appreciated. I look forward to seeing how their careers unfold as they embark on new adventures.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Why Reviews Matter: The Changing Values of Critical Games Analysis | playwithpixels

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