• GameTrailers Hit with Mass Layoffs as Defy Media and Viacom Strike a Deal

    Big news today in the gaming world as it was revealed that Viacom and Defy Media have struck a partnership that will give Viacom stake in Defy Media. Defy will, in turn, assume control over various Viacom digital assets which includes GameTrailers, Shockwave, and Addicting Games.

    According to Variety, the deal will see only 20 Viacom employees make the transition to Defy. That means that across three major assets, only 20 employees will still have a job.

    Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. Approximately 20 Viacom employees will join Defy as part of the transaction; as a result, Defy Media will have a headcount about 250.

    Needless to say, most of the staff at GameTrailers are now seeking employment. Some of the notable names affected include Daniel Kayser whom has been a host of various GameTrailers productions for years now and is almost as well known as Geoff Keighley. Ryan Stevens, a rather well known and respected Director at GameTrailers was also let go.

    Jeremy Hoffmann, a Producer on GameTrailers and GT.TV has also been let go.

    Defy Media already owns a few gaming sites such as Smosh Games and The Escapist. The layoffs and the news broke after the staff at Gametrailers busted their asses off at E3. Frankly, this entire situation is incredibly shitty for all parties involved.

    Best of luck to those from Gametrailers that are affected by this.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: GameTrailers Hit with Mass Layoffs as Defy Media and Viacom Strike a Deal started by Shawn Zipay View original post
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. K-16's Avatar
      K-16 -
      What surprises me is how Viacom and Spike gave no notice to GameTrailers' staff, or at least that's what I gathered from reading everybody's tweets. Ryan Stevens was recently working on a video montage of each instance somebody says "games" during the Xbox press conference. Now there's no point in finishing it. Rohan Rivas was promoted last year, which is why Kyle Bosman took over. Well that promotion didn't last...

      The only ones left that I can think of are co-founder Brandon Jones (the voice of GT), Daniel Bloodworth, Kyle Bosman, and Michael Damiani (Pop Fiction creator and editor). They've all been given a choice to stay or go, so they have a lot to think over the weekend.

      (Going to hide the rest of the wall of text. I didn't realize I had so much to say about GameTrailers.)

      Personally, I would hope they would leave, because this is not the GameTrailers Brandon had in mind for the future. As much as I want a GiantBomb re-enactment and see the spirit and former staff of GT go to a new website, I'm also not naive enough to forget the financial backing Viacom and Defy Media gives. Financial stability isn't easy to attain in the games industry, and even more so for journalism. Honestly, only Marcus Beer seems to be the only one who is looking into creating a new website. A new startup isn't exactly done by rallying all former staff together and pooling in whatever savings they had, and finding investors without losing creative control is easier said than done.

      Well... At least Pop Fiction isn't going anywhere. Can't say the same for all the other GT features though, and I stopped caring for their reviews after watching the Verizon 4G LTE Stress Test video.

      Then there's Rich Brown and his deep voiceovers, Amanda McKay being one of the very few people who convinces me that she is a gamer and a solid journalist who doesn't need to try hard to fit into both mainstream and hardcore communities, Daniel Kayser who multi-tasks between EpicBattleAxe, GT.TV, and GameTrailers with solid reporting on the positives of the industry (will miss Combat Facts), and Marcus Beer... Without Shane Satterfield, Marcus' opinions had no bounds for all the wrong reasons, and can even make developers quit their jobs in frustration. Still, he was a key player along with Rich Brown in making Invisible Walls podcasts happen. Now I'm ready for IW to be cancelled now because I don't want it anymore.

      I don't know, maybe Fullscreen has enough money to hire these people and have them work for ScrewAttack or something. ScrewAttack's content has been on GT for some time, so their relationship is solid enough for such a transition to be possible, depending on how well Fullscreen pays. I mean, a VFX artist who was amongst the laid off did connect to Craig Skistimas through Linkedin.
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