The sudden closure of GameTrailers seems to be a surprise to everyone, but as soon as I read the announcement on Twitter I saw it as another sign of the trend of the early 2000’s era of video game coverage falling away.
On the one hand, we all know video content is taking over video game coverage, so a site completely devoted to video content should be fine right? On the other hand, the eponymous point behind GameTrailers is an inherently pre-YouTube idea. It’s sad to admit it, but I hadn’t really visited GameTrailres in a long while.
Maybe the problem with GameTrailers, despite being all about video and even having a YouTube channel, was how it likely still devoted so many resources to a website. I say all this without actually knowing the financials behind GameTrailers or who actually owned it, but you’ve got groups doing basically the same thing as GameTrailers existing entirely within YouTube, sometimes being run by only one or two people. We’re in an age when people are announcing the death of the web in some aspects in favor of apps or social network pages. Organizations offering what GameTrailers offered perhaps don’t make as much sense being centered around a lumbering website today. I don’t really know.
The only actual website I’ve visited specifically for video game trailers in recent times has been Gamersyde, which has the unique appeal of offering its own encodings of videos with much higher bitrates than what you get on YouTube. Even Gamersyde has sort of stepped back from trailers recently in favor of its own gameplay videos.
Actually, while reviewing this post I did remember one huge asset GameTrailers had and lost more recently: Geoff Keighley. He was at least able to get juicy exclusives around which GameTrailers could put together good shows: things like world premiers, new trailers, and interviews. Those are the kinds of things the small YouTube channels don’t really have the resources to grab. When GameTrailers lost Keighley it was probably a huge blow. I don’t know if IGN and GameSpot have taken that place, but I’m told they have.
That reminds me that gaming video channels like this are usually at their best during trade events like E3 and the Tokyo Game Show. That’s when most of Keighley’s exclusives kicked in, but back in the day it’s also when the 1up Show produced some of its best content. I don’t really see anybody filling that void anymore.
In any case, it increasingly feels like the late 90’s and early 2000’s era of games journalism is being wiped away, at least in terms of the brands which defined it. Many are still with us — IGN and GameStop being the monsters they are, along with people who’ve been shuffled to other websites through the years. That’s not even mentioning all the magazines that have disappeared. New sites have emerged to fill in niches but the passing of GameTrailers makes today’s world look a little bit less recognizable through the lens of 2003.
- It’s nice to see the GameTrailers staff is already beginning to find new work. I heard they basically got no warning the site was closing down.
- Rock Paper Shotgun has a really good new write up on Hitman — seems good but with some concerns: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/02/10/hitman-pc-preview/
- GameInformer has a good piece up about singleplayer games. I like the quote from Harvey Smith: http://bit.ly/1RjxchP
- New upcoming game: Eastshade. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-TtZtPy8Ms