Not So Massively: Joystiq Finds Out They Are Being Shut Down

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2

If you’ve grown tired of media conglomerates buying out smaller sites that cover the Products and News that you care about then shuttering them shortly thereafter, you may want to look away.


The folks running MMO powerhouse Massively and its parent company Joystiq, found out today through sites like Re/Code and Kotaku that AOL plans to shutter their sites in the near future. Editor Alexander Sliwinski was put in the extraordinary position of posting a “no comment” in reaction to the news. To some, the most shocking news out of all this may be that AOL still exists, but for most of us, the number of gaming sites still actively covering MMOs especially EverQuest II continues to dwindle so any loss is of concern.

From Kotaku‘s article:

AOL is preparing to shut down the video game website Joystiq after over ten years of publication, according to people familiar with the situation. It’s unclear exactly when Joystiq will close, but we’ve heard that this is connected to a larger-scale reorganization planned by AOL, the longrunning media company that has had more than a few struggles in recent years.

When I spoke to him yesterday, Joystiq editor-in-chief Ludwig Kietzmann declined to comment on this story, but this morning, Joystiq reported that they were “aware of the closure,” despite the fact that AOL corporate had not informed the staff.

Last week, the AOL-owned TechCrunch reported that their parent company was planning a restructure that would lead to layoffs and site closures. Though TechCrunch didn’t offer specifics on which sites AOL would be closing, the report did mention that Joystiq‘s traffic had declined by 18% in the last year.

Continue reading @ Kotaku…

Already, SOE President John Smedley has come out in support of the site:

as has former EverQuest II Senior Producer, Rift Senior Producer , and most recently CEO of Trion Worlds Scott Hartsman:

A Shift in Tone

Over the last year or so, it has not gone unnoticed that Massively coverage has picked up a bitter undertone. Perhaps today’s news explains this tonal shift. At one time, EQ2 was fortunate enough to have two staffers at Massively commenting on and covering the game — Karen Bryan and MJ Guthrie — while others stepped in with brief updates and news posts.

Karen even gave us our big break by interviewing us about EQ2U in her popular Tattered Notebook column at a time when SOE Community barely acknowledged our existence. Alas, Karen moved on from Massively last February but MJ has carried the torch, reviewing EQ2’s content updates and expansions with zeal.

Going Indie?

Could Massively staff continue with their own site? It’s possible!

If you were a fan of shows like TekZilla (hosted by Patrick Norton formerly of the Screen Savers, and Shannon Morse) and gadget/linux tweakshow Hak5, then you know that these shows were abruptly cancelled last November less than three years after Leo Laporte’s Revision3 purchase by Discovery Communications. Fortunately, TekZilla has been reborn on crowdfunded Patreon as TekThing while Hak5 lives on as an independent show. So far these shows seem to have lost none of their quality, while gaining independence and freedom to run as long as the producers remain interested.

Massively staff could also end up at competitors like A number of sites have already expressed interest in their work.

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Comments (6)

  • Antonia Bayles Bit on the side


    Hmmmm that is sad news indeed.

    Other than EQ2Wire, I only really visit Massively for my MMO gaming news, not a big fan of some of the other major MMO sites out there, such as / Curse.

    Massively has a great editorial team, great coverage, and beyond that, that one of the things that it became my MMO gaming news site of choice was its simple clean blog style design, very easy to use, and very easy on the eye. Some of the other big MMO sites are an absolute headache to look at and use, which is a real turn off for me.

    Massively being shut down will leave a big hole for me now as far as MMO gaming news goes, and potentially a big gap in the market. I’m sure the editorial team will bounce back in times ahead, and who knows maybe even something new will rise from the ashes.


  • Danejasho


    Massively is a great resource that seems VERY engaged in what they do. Not just the articles, but live (and archived) streams of the games they cover, and possibly other stuff I’m not aware of. This is very surprising if it ends up being true.


  • Eric T Lewis


    I used to use mmorpg to take a look at all the new games coming out. One day I finally figured out that a lot of the games they were giving 9’s and 10’s too must have paid big money to get those ratings. I find it hard to believe anything that some of their current writers have to say. Even Bill Murphy has his favorites that he will not cut on. It been painfully obvious that they will never give a bad review of a game, unless whoever that is, does not play ball. I point at all the negative hit jobs they did on star trek, then one day, they started reporting positive stuff. I think at that time Cryptic just about told them to knock it off or they would not be allowed to review any more of their games.


  • Ereon


    A shame, I enjoyed the tattered notebook and their other coverage. Not many sites cover EQ2 more than to post press releases, and sometimes (I am looking at you IGN) not even that.

    AOL went on a buying spree for content, the most notable of which (for me) was the Huffington post. The problem with big companies is scale.. Massively still probably makes money, but probably not enough in comparison to other sites if AOL is looking to reduce operating costs…

    I do hope they can put together their own site….


    • Hoot


      Some of that has to primarily do with SoE and how cheap they are when it comes to PR. Last time SoE ever put effort into promoting EQ2 was arguably EoF and to a lesser extent RoK. When I say EoF, I meant it was actually displayed at E3, had a lot of online promo, it’s own site ect. Can’t blame Gaming ‘Journalist’ for not covering a game that SoE tries to hide under the floorboards.


      • Ereon


        I don’t disagree. They did, however, come to DragonCon last year and that is the first year I have seen them there at all… I actually attended some of the MMO track because they came (otherwise its just too much WOW). Hopefully that is a good sign.


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