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Is there anyone left?

Moving On

As some of you may have already surmised, my time at GameSpot is coming to a close. It's been a mostly enjoyable three and a half years at CNET for me. I started in September of 04 here at the 'spot, and it's been a pretty amazing journey since then. I've met a lot of good people, written a couple million words about games, and overall I've had a pretty good time.

But just like in Star Trek, all good things must come to an end, and as such I've accepted a position on another seat of the developer/publisher/journalism merry-go-round. Today is my last day at GameSpot, but I'll be around on the site for the foreseeable future, I suppose. I don't think I should say much about my new gig at the moment, considering I won't start for a week or two, but suffice to say I'll be working for one of my favorite companies.

Joystiq gives thanks!

Joystiq says thanks for giving them the heads up on Mr. Shoemaker!

Gamespot Exodus: Say 'adios' to Brad Shoemaker

28 Comments by Justin McElroy Mar 19th 2008 8:45AM
Filed under: Business


We've joked before that, with all of the resignations post Gerstmann-gate, Gamespot's content must be generated by a lonely janitor in the offices, taking a break from picking gum out of the carpet. We're sad to report that his life is about to be even harder: Editor Brad Shoemaker (who has written for the site for eight years) will leave the company this Friday. He hasn't reveled where he's headed, but he's maintaining a personal blog to keep fans up-to-date.

The list of departures from the site is getting long enough that we'll soon have to set it to the tune of the "William Tell Overture" to remember it all. But for right now it's at Jason Ocampo, Ryan Davis, Alex Navarro, Frank Provo and, of course, Jeff Gerstmann himself. Just so we know, is this officially "fiasco" level yet? Are we at Code Fiasco?

[Thanks, Robert]

When it rains, it pours!

Happy trails...

...to you, until we meet again (and I'm sure we will). Just a quick note to say this Friday will be my last day at GameSpot.

I hate long goodbyes, so this will be quick. Believe it or not, GameSpot has been paying my bills for well over eight years now, first as a freelancer, then an intern, then a freelancer again, then finally an editor, at which point I packed my bags and headed from North Carolina out to the left coast to work in the office fulltime. I'm learning that leaving a job after so many years feels more like a breakup than a simple professional transition, but it's time for a break all the same.

The hardest part will be leaving all my coworkers behind, whom I admire and will miss each in their own way. You wouldn't believe the number of talented and inspiring people I've been lucky enough to cross paths with--and in some cases, truly befriend--in my years here. Pretty humbling, really. Keep on keepin' on, y'all.

As has become the fashion, I've set up a blog if you want to keep up with my exploits:

http://verbocracy.blogspot.com/

I've had a blast busting out content for you guys and gals all these years. Catch you on the flipside.

Hell Yes!!!

Sizable Explosive

March 6th, 2008 at 11:43 am

It's my extreme pleasure to invite you to check out giantbomb.com. It's the "new thing" that you've been hearing me and Ryan drop hints about for the past week or so. I am jumping-out-of-my-seat excited about what we've done so far, and the best is ahead of us. Seriously, I can't stop smiling and it's sort of freaking me out. Be sure to watch G4's X-Play today, where I'm pretty sure I sort of just start excitedly speaking nonsense near the end of the interview. It was hard to maintain my composure, for sure.

And none of this would be possible without the support of the people who've read and commented on this blog. Watching you react over the past few months has already shaped the site we're building, and as we work to convert the temporary blog that's available there into a full-fledged site about games, we'll have your thoughts and desires in mind. Together, we'll all be able to shape Giant Bomb. It's already my new home. It's my hope that it will become yours, as well.

Fanfriggingtastic!

The exodus continues: Jason Ocampo leaving Gamespot

39 Comments by Justin McElroy Feb 27th 2008 9:30AM
Filed under: Culture


At this point, when we think of the halls of Gamespot, we can't help but envision one lonely janitor who, taking a break from his full day of sweeping, occasionally tries to put a video game into a console and, on the rare times when he's successful, writes 800 words about it. We know that's not the case, but our grim image of the place has only been further cemented by the news during this week's Hotspot (the site's official podcast) that PC gaming specialist Jason Ocampo was leaving the site for another opportunity.

Ocampo said that he hadn't been considering a move three weeks ago, which would seem to rule any Gerstmann-gate connections out. That said, we'd be willing to bet that having so many of his co-workers jump ship didn't make the decision any harder.

January 2008 Hardware/Software NPD Sales Numbers

THE NPD GROUP's JANUARY 2008 US GAME INDUSTRY SALES

Category / Total / Change
Video Games: $1.18 billion -6%
Video Games Hardware: $378 million -25%
Video Games Software: $550 million +11%
Video Game Accessories: $191 million -4%
Total Sales Per Week: $295 million +18%

Hardware Sales (in units sold)
Wii: 274,000
PlayStation 3: 269,000
Nintendo DS: 251,000
PlayStation Portable: 230,000
Xbox 360: 230,000

Game Software (in units sold)
1) Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat (360, Activision) - 331,000
2) Wii Play with Wii Remote (Wii, Nintendo) - 298,000
3) Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Wii, Activision) - 240,000
4) Rock Band (Xbox 360, MTV Games) - 184,000
5) Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Xbox 360, Activision) - 183,000
6) Super Mario Galaxy (Wii, Nintendo) - 172,000
7) Burnout Paradise (Xbox 360, EA) - 144,000
8) Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat (PS3, Activision) - 140,000
9) Mario Party DS (DS, Nintendo) - 139,000
10) Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games (DS, Sega) - 133,000

Retribution is sweet!

In a move that I have to imagine surprises no one, it has come out officially that I'll be resigning from GameSpot (Joystiq gets the link for using my favorite picture.) While I'm confident in the Internet's ability to distill this into screaming hyperbole about "moneyhats", I assure you that my departure is a little more complicated than that. I will say that Jeff's termination was certainly a catalyst. It shook my faith in the people running GameSpot, something I haven't recovered from.

A few months have past since all that **** went down, and now editors and producers are getting back to work, trying in earnest to pick up the pieces and get GameSpot back on track, but my heart's just not in it. I feel awful about dragging down the people who've still got something to give. I honestly could've coasted for a while longer here, but these are people who I deeply respect and will miss terribly, and I don't want to make their jobs any harder in these troubled times than they already are. It takes a whole lot of energy to keep this massive machine running smoothly, and they deserve someone who's going to give it their all.

I want to be crystal clear about this point: from Ricardo Torres on down, GameSpot's editorial and video teams represent an incredible assembly of talented and dedicated people, and it has been an honor and a pleasure to get to work alongside so many truly brilliant people. I hold nothing against the people who actually create the content you see on GameSpot, and through all of this drama and confusion, I hope you won't either.

I'm 28 years old, and GameSpot has been an important part of my personal and professional life for nearly eight years-this isn't just where I go to work, it's where my friends are, it's where I funnel much of my humor and creativity. It's time for me to go, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to miss it. Unless something dramatic happens (which, at this point, wouldn't surprise me) my last day at GameSpot will be February 14th. Happy Valentimes!

After that, I'm taking a little break. I'll be doing some freelance writing to keep my brain limber, spending more time with my girlfriend, and generally enjoying a bit of a reprieve from the regular 9-to-5. You can be rest assured that I'll continue writing in this space, though, as I can't keep my opinions to myself, and I love the sound of my own voice. I've been considering launching my own podcast featuring all my famous friends, and maybe a line of handbags as well. Oh yeah, and I'll definitely be spending plenty of time, money, and energy advocating the use of LAFF instead of LOL. Stay tuned!

I hope this is true!

If you haven't perused it yet, 1UP's Sam Kennedy's piece on Gerstmann-gate is really fascinating. Not only do you get a not-quite-insider's view on the whole situation, but there are also some really eye-opening nuggets on the methods GameSpot uses both to track users and to cater to its marketers. If you like the inside baseball side of games journalism, it's a must-read.

There's also an interesting rumor buried within: Kennedy reports that "word on the street" is that ousted Jeff Gerstmann and GameSpot founder Vince Broady would be teaming up to create a new site to "take on GameSpot." We don't know if it's true, but we'd keep an eye on Gerstmann's blog for more info.

You made the right choice.

Joystiq has confirmed with longtime Gamespot staffer Alex Navarro that he will be resigning his position at the CNET gaming site in response to the controversial firing of editorial director Jeff Gerstmann.

"I felt like it was just time for me to go," Navarro told Joystiq in an exclusive interview. " Certainly [the decision to leave] had a lot to do with the whole Jeff [Gerstmann] situation. ... I wouldn't have left if this situation hadn't gone down the way it did. ... Sometimes you just realize a place isn't for you anymore, you know?"

Navarro has been a mainstay on the site since early 2003, writing hundreds of reviews and appearing regularly on video podcast The Hotspot. His last day at the site will be Jan. 24.

Navarro refused to discuss his take on CNET's public explanation of the circumstances surrounding Gerstmann's firing, out of respect for those still working at the site. "You probably saw the blog post I put up when things went down, not to mention the heap of other blog posts the edit team and other members of the staff put up," he said. "I think the sentiment was pretty clear." In a Nov. 30 blog post, Navarro compared his situation in the wake of the firing to a game of SimCity where "someone hit the disaster button for me."

Though he's leaving, Navarro said he still respects those Gamespot staffers that are trying to make the best of the situation. "There are a lot of people over there still trying to work hard and get through this, keep the name and the reputation of the site alive," he said." Obviously that's not an easy thing right now, but they're still working their asses off trying to keep the dream alive. ... Part of the reason I felt like I had to go now was that I wasn't necessarily keeping up the same level of passion anymore, and that it wasn't fair to those guys to stick around there if I wasn't on board all the way."

Navarro's departure comes in the wake of a similar decision to move on by longtime Gamespot freelancer Frank Provo. When asked if other staffers might follow their lead, Navarro said he "wouldn't be shocked ... but I can't say I out and out expect it."

In announcing the news to the press, Gamespot Editor-in-Chief Ricardo Torres said Navarro was "a good guy [and] a hard worker. We're gonna miss him."

As for his future plans, Navarro said he's "just going ride it out a bit" for the time being while he considers positions in journalism and game development. "It was a tough decision to let go of something [I've] been so thoroughly attached to for this many years," he said. "It's a crying shame that things went down the way they did, but like I said, I think my time had just come, the time to let it go."