Waypoint | Vice Media’s gaming website set to close

waypoint

Waypoint, the gaming website owned by Vice Media, is being shut down as the company faces continued financial woes.


 

The gaming site Waypoint is set to close on 2 June. Waypoint reporter Patrick Klepek announced the closure in an emotional Twitter thread. “I’m not sure where to begin, except to say, with equal parts fury and sadness, that Waypoint is over,” he said. “The team, myself included, have been terminated by VICE, and our final day running the website, the podcasts, and streams, will come to an end on June 2nd. I have never been more proud to have been associated with a website, or a group of people, than I have since @austin_walker called me up so many years ago, and asked if I’d start this project, what we would eventually call Waypoint, with him. It’s my proudest achievement.”

The official Waypoint Twitter account also made an announcement: “You might have already heard, but VICE is shutting down Waypoint. The crew will be around until June 2nd to record a few podcasts and stream a few streams and find a few five-star runtimes, but soon, the Waypoint project is over. You were the best audience we could’ve asked for.

Waypoint was launched by Vice Media back in 2016, when chief editor Austin Walker set out how the website would offer a different take on gaming coverage. “There are a ton of destinations within gaming media that do a great job covering whether a game is worth your money,” he said. “Players looking for that coverage are well served. Instead, we want to focus on telling stories about why people play, and investigating how the games we love and spend so much time with come to be. Whether a game was a commercial success or has a small, dedicated community, we want to raise the conversation and take an in-depth look at the passion, people, and politics that underpin these worlds.”

But Vice Media has suffered increasing financial difficulties over the past few years against a backdrop of fading interest from investors in digital media. The company is currently seeking a buyer, and the closure of Waypoint comes as part of the firm’s announcement of 100 layoffs from its total staff of around 1,500 people. It’s been a turbulent year for games media, with The Washington Post announcing it would axe its video-game coverage in January, not long after Fandom signalled layoffs at Gamespot, Giant Bomb and Metacritic.

Twitter has been awash with praise for Waypoint and laments about its closure. “It will be a huge loss to games in general and weird, original indie games in particular if the Waypoint crew don’t land somewhere or find a way to keep this going independently,” said Chris Wright, founder of indie publisher Fellow Traveller. “Truly one of the only places with a big audience treating indie games at the same level as AAA games.”

Others shared their gratitude for the opportunities Waypoint gave them to write unique features of the kind that would be unlikely to find a home elsewhere, like a 36,000-word oral history of Guitar Hero. “Iā€™m eternally grateful they let me do this one,” said the author, Blake Hester. “A high point of my career owed to them!

Sam Barlow at Half Mermaid, the maker of Immortality, vented his fury at the lack of funding for games media in general: “Videogames are making more money than movies! The big companies are making record profits! Billion dollar acquisitions! But we can’t afford a robust press, sorry that’s just too much, yeah, not sure but, um, yeah there’s no money for *that*”

Kotaku published an impassioned editorial about Waypoint’s closure, calling Vice Media an “absolute shitshow of a company” and warning that the financial basis for digital media as a whole is falling apart. “As the whole concept of an ad-supported internet begins to creak and pop and show signs of imminent structural collapse, every website you currently read for free is at risk of ending up exactly like Waypoint.”

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