On AOL shutting down Massively

As you probably know, AOL shut down several of their professional blog/news sites including Joystiq, WoW Insider and Massively. Early on last year Massively already took a big budget cut but as far as I know the views were up and they hadn’t expected it. There is already a Kickstarter by the former members of Massively, even though I have to say they offer nothing tangible and are doing pretty much the same thing they often ridiculed kickstarters for.

The main reason I’m writing this is an interesting post by my favourite grumpy MMO expert Jason Winter and what’s my point of view on the situation. So please read his article first.

Oh man, where do I start? News sites are absolutely obsolete – I have no reason to go to a site for a quote and a link to the press release when I can just go to the press release. I never liked news content because it’s pretty much the anchor throwing it to the reporter on the site throwing it to the source. It just doesn’t work when you’re already on the internet. What I mostly consume is op-ed content and interesting podcasts and if I want news I go to the source. MMO sites in particular live and die on the pre-release hype so they have to go from game to game to stay alive.

Concerning financing, written content has the disadvantage that the more it’s viewed the more you pay for hosting while video content is the opposite – the more it’s viewed the more you get paid. I have adblock turned off whenever possible but I hate any sudden noise without volume normalisation so I always block videos. What I do instead is use a second browser on mute and play playlists of what I like, without blocking. Then you have to consider the dipping CPM, for example Twitch used to pay a LOT more than they do now so streamers rely mostly on subscriptions and donations. So when I can I directly pay the people I like.

From what was said in the last Massively podcast it seemed like AOL had no idea how to run the business so they just cut the sites. I’m not sure who is at fault but I’ve notified Massively about NSFW ads on the site several times over the past years and still no change, hence why I kept blocking them:

I also had to stop going to Gamebreaker because of all un-sourced clickbait nonsense, not to mention the budget issues they had (10k per month, salaries not included).

Or Team Liquid which is full of Asian wife ads and similar:

Which never happens to me on sites like Flight Rising. So yeah, Google and Twitch need to be doing a better job selling their audiences to fix the shitty CPM, stop taking 50% of subscription money from the little guys and actually invest the Amazon buy-out money back into Twitch instead of buying Good Game Agency that is openly making moves to create monopoly on the e-sports talent pool. Other than that the sites need to evolve, that’s for sure…