Following on from last week’s shock announcement that owner America Online was planning on shutting down the long-running and hugely-popular gaming sites Joystiq and Massively, the deed is done. Despite growing its traffic year-on-year, Joystiq was recently bundled together among a number of sites that its owner deemed to be “underperforming”. Its future now lies as a provider of gaming news on Engadget.
Joystiq, which was well-known and well-respected for its diligent coverage of Game Industry news – such as the goings-on surrounding Kingdoms of Amalur developer 38 Studios’ closure and the subsequent legal battles with both creditors and the New York authorities who initially provided it with finance – was initially founded back in 2004, as part of a group of sites collectively run by Weblogs, Inc. In 2005, AOL acquired Weblogs and the years that followed saw steady growth for Joystiq and no small amount of controversy – both due to the stories they covered, and internal matters.
Joystiq went through many changes over the years, and weathered a number of controversies. But it always held true to its goals, and wouldnt be swayed by critics. For that alone, they demand respect. The gaming press owes a debt to Joystiq that it can only hope to repay.
In 2007, Joystiq’s sister site, Massively, launched – dedicated to covering the burgeoning MMO genre. To this day, Massively is regarded by many as the #1 source for up-to-date MMO news, opinions, features and community debate, and it thrived over the years to become a valued resource of information about the massively-multiplayer genre. No game was too small for them: from the lowliest import MMO to the bright young things which tried, and repeatedly failed, to take a shot at the big time, Massively stood fast and ensured that it catered for fans of dozens of different games, without succumbing to populism- following the tradition set by its parent site and breaking a number of major stories. As recent as this last week, it continued to pump out coverage of the most obscure MMO games, no matter how small their audience. For that, they deserve an extra-special round of applause from the MMO gaming community, and we hope that their contribution to the gaming press is recognized long past their premature demise.
While Joystiq will, in theory, live on as a sub-section of Engadget, the site that so many have come to love over the years is unfortunately no longer with us. This is a sad day in the gaming press, and a sad day for the hundreds of thousands of people who developed fond memories of Joystiq over the years.
The thoughts of every member of Continue Play are with anyone who has found themselves affected by this sudden move. If anyone wishes to leave any comments below, please feel free to do so and we will forward them on as best we can.