UGO, GameSpy And 1Up Shut Down By Ziff Davis Just Weeks After Purchasing IGN

CEO says restructuring will turn company into "a better functioning and nimbler organization from this moment forward."

 @YannickLeJacq
on February 21 2013 4:50 PM
Ziff Davis Shutting Down UGO, 1UP, And GameSpy Just Weeks After Purchasing IGN
Ziff Davis is gutting IGN Media following its acquisition from News Corp, according to a leaked memo from CEO Vivek Shah. IGN Media

Little more than two weeks after purchasing a handful of popular gaming and tech-oriented web properties from News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA), J2 Global (NASDAQ:JCOM) subsidiary Ziff Davis is putting IGN and its subsidiaries through some serious layoffs and restructuring.

According to an internal email obtained by the gaming sites Polygon and Kotaku, Ziff Davis is shutting down the gaming sites 1UP, UGO and GameSpy, and laying off some workers at IGN, though the number is not yet defined. Ziff Davis will also stop hosting ads promoting third party sites like GameSpot.com, another popular gaming website, and is “actively engaged with parties interested in acquiring IPL,” IGN’s eSports network, choosing instead to “cover a variety of eSports events.”

Ziff Davis CEO Vivek Shah said in his message to employees that the “changes made today are designed to allow us to Simply and Focus” in turning the publisher into “a better functioning and nimbler organization from this moment forward.”

"Our goal is to do fewer things and to do them exceptionally well,” Shah said. “In that vein, we want to direct all of our energy and work behind our two flagship brands: IGN and AskMen."

Shah acknowledged the severity of the current restructuring, but added that he expected these to be the only layoffs planned for the time being.

“It's also important for you to know that we are absolutely confident that we now have the best structure and team to successfully move the company forward and that there are no further planned reductions,” Shah wrote.

Jeremy Parish, the editor-in-chief of 1UP, said on Twitter after the news broke that 1UP would not shut down immediately.

“We won’t be killing the site today,” Parish wrote. “I’ll post more thoughts later. On 1UP!”

The news was more grim for UGO’s editor-in-chief Chris Radtke, who penned a goodbye letter on the website simply titled “UGO is Dead.”

J2 Global first announced its purchase of IGN Entertainment on Feb. 4, writing in a statement at the time that “the acquisition provides j2 with a group of world-class digital properties” that “more than doubles” the size of its digital media business.

"This is a transformative deal for our digital media business," j2 Global’s CEO said in a statement on the acquisition. "By combining two of the most storied organizations in tech, gaming and entertainment, we have created a very powerful company capable of producing and delivering content in all forms to an audience that marketers highly value."

In his comments on the acquisition, however, Shah already seemed to honing in on IGN and AskMen alone.

"IGN and AskMen are tremendous best-in-class brands that we are proud to have as part of our digital media portfolio," Shah said in the Feb. 4 statement, saying nothing of the web properties he has now jettisoned. 

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