On a short, somber note, a few gaming related websites are closing down tonight; WoW Insider, Massively, Joystiq and TUAW, all websites that were owned under the AOL brand have been shuttered, with the intent that their content will be absorbed into AOL's remaining sites. All four of these sites provided excellent game related and other content, and were some of the first online dedicated sources for news in their particular fields. More one than one reason, it's sad to see this be happening, and its important to take a moment and talk about why they were important.
Joystiq was well regarded as a standard bearer for gaming content, having first been founded in 2004. Many of its editors and writers went on to work at other publications such as Kotaku and Polygon. As Kotaku wrote just this week, while at one point they competed for views, they will be sad to see the journalism team go. Meanwhile, Polygon writers were a bit to the point, sparing no time to say how much they would miss Joystiq.
Massively was a Joystiq offshoot site, providing information and an overview of the various MMO games and the state of their platforms. Only around since 2007, it still helped keep the community of a very large genre together, and as their final post says, they sought not to be a mirror, but a lens that people could use to stay excited about the games they loved.
Another Joystiq offshoot, WoW Insider was an outstanding resource for both novices to the World of Warcraft community, and to experienced players as well. Around for eight years, the website helped share news about perhaps one of the largest and most popular video games to date. Blizzard's official twitter account even sent out a tweet last night, thanking them for their content and dedication.
TUAW(The Unofficial Apple Weblog) also provided a lot of tech industry content, but would frequently provide reviews of games when/if they came to Apple's various platforms. Another Weblog veteran since 2004, this group helped pave the way for tech blogging, and getting news out there about new tech in great new ways.
These sites all featured great community outreach posts, with weekly podcasts and streamed content. Not every piece was Pulitzer worthy, but I never felt my time was wasted reading content from any of them. And to be honest, if not for the success of some of these sites, there may not be a Sprites and Dice today: these groups being as successful as they were in providing content from the ground up inspired us. Say what you will, but when Joystiq started, it helped begin the blogging journalism in the gaming industry, opening the way for many more voices, more opinions, more personal stories. We here at S&D, as we start out trying to generate our own content and find our collective voice, just wanted to take a moment and say thank you to all those who made these blogs happen.
Thank you for all the years of content, and thanks for paving the way. Your work will be missed.