Two of my favorite video game journalists quit their jobs a few days ago. The news stunned me.
After so many years following them, reading their articles, listening to them on podcasts and laughing at their jokes, enjoying their wit and knowledge of gaming, they had quit.
Greg Miller (@GameOverGreggy) January 05, 2015
Now that sounds very dramatic, but to some extent it was, however there is more to this story.
Greg Miller and Colin Moriarty. Two gaming journalists, who for numerous years had worked at Imagine Games Network (IGN), the most popular and well-known video game news website in the world. They covered everything from reviews of games, to community questions and to breaking industry news. Throughout their time at IGN, they developed a large following online and became semi Internet celebrities, through their witty humor and expansive knowledge of gaming, especially gaming in regards to the Play station brand.
Their popularity grew largely from their involvement in IGN’s Playstation Podcast, Podcast Beyond, which has over 350 episodes, and has been running for several years. Greg and Colin grew a massive fan base throughout their time producing the podcast, to the point they became the number #1 Playstation Podcast in the world, no small feat.
While continuing to produce Podcast Beyond and working at IGN, Greg started his own YouTube channel and producing content with Colin. As the years went on they spent more and more time on their YouTube Channel, creating more content and creating a bigger fan base around their own work, rather than just the content they produced at IGN.
However, their main focus was still on IGN, and I would never have thought they wanted to focus so much more on they own content, rather than the most extensive and well-known video game news website in the world.
Therefore, when I woke up and started checking my news feeds, catching up on all things news one normal morning, to see a status from Greg Miller in capital letters saying “I QUIT IGN”, I was a bit shocked. My two favorite journalists had decided to quit, become independent writers and create their own brand.
So why am I being so dramatic? They quit? Not a big deal right? Well to myself and many others it is a big deal. So what are they doing now? Why did they quit?
Greg and Colin, along with two other employees from IGN, Nick Scarpino and Tim Gettys, quit in order to focus and grow their own gaming news and entertainment brand. A brand through which they would create their own podcasts, their own talk shows and let’s play content, on their own terms, all day, every day, for their most loyal fans.
But how are they making an income?
Although Greg and Colin along with their two other former IGN workers, Nick and Tim, had their own YouTube channel, this wasn’t enough to create an income. Therefore the team of four created a Patreon account where they were asking fans to support their new brand, ‘Kinda Funny Games’, by paying for content, I was taken back.
The decision to quit IGN and create their own brand happened because they believed that the large group of followers they had gained over the years working at IGN, would support them in their personal endeavor. Not only emotionally, by continuing to follow them and watch their content, but financially as well, paying for exclusive content.
This is a huge gamble, surprising myself and thousands of others of loyal followers I am sure. Not only is it incredibly risky, putting all their faith and possible livelihoods in their fans, but they left IGN, having the biggest impact on myself personally.
For the past few years they had been my number one stop not only for video game news, but also for humor and companionship while listening to their podcasts. Listening to them over the years I have regularly downloaded Podcast Beyond, listened to it with friends, learnt the traditions and subtle jokes and even bought a podcast Beyond t-shirt!
But, most of all, they were one of the reasons I first started following and being so interested in games seriously and the video game industry. You could say without them, I wouldn’t be here writing an article for a blog about video games.
At first I felt conflicted when hearing about Colin and Greg leaving. For years I followed and supported them, and having them leave left me feeling incredibly sad because they would be leaving the podcast which grew my initial interest in the video game industry. However, after learning and hearing from them why they quit, in order create their own gaming content, I wanted to support them because they are following their passion.
An important question now us whether this is part of a movement of journalists seeking to become independent in order to create content on their own terms? Yes and no.
Although this was big decision, quitting their jobs and solely creating video content through YouTube, it is actually common day practice. ‘Kinda Funny Games’ is part of a larger trend of people making a living through creating video content and distributing through web platforms such as YouTube and being internet celebrities to create an income. Internet celebrities such as Angry Joe and Pewdiepie, have shown it is possible.
However, in order to be able to create a career from producing video content online though, the brand or show needs a large following and fan base. Not many people have a large enough following to be able focus entirely on their own content and have trust fans will support them. Therefore, they may be individuals such as Greg and Colin who have built a fan base over numerous years who can become independent. But for the majority of journalists, it just isn’t possible.
Throughout the past few years, Greg and Colin have not only entertained me and given me company, but have inspired me, and they continue to inspire me now. They inspire me to continue to create my own content and see how far I can go based on my own hard work and commitment.
In regards to how successful they have been in becoming independent, and creating their own brand, its safe to say they will be supported for the near future at least. Over 2600 patrons/supporters are contributing to and paying for exclusive content from them, with over $18500 being contributed to ‘Kinda Funny Games’ every month at the moment.
It’s fair to say they have taken a chance, but the community have shown their trust is well placed, and they and myself, care and will support Greg and Colin in any endeavour they pursue, because we love what they do.
And it isn’t all doom and gloom for lovers and followers of Podcast Beyond. Greg and Colin have announced they will continue to host the show at IGN. Although they do not know for how long, I know I will cherish and enjoy every minute they continue to do be on Beyond.
Best of luck to Greg, Colin, Nick and Tim, you will be missed at IGN.