In a post titled, simply, "UGO Is Dead," Chris Radke confirmed today that the gaming/pop-culture site would be shutting down:
I've spent many years of my life trying to turn UGO.com into something entertaining for you guys. Hopefully you stopped by recently to watch one our funny videos. Or you found yourself debating one of our nerd culture lists, read a movie review or pondered the age old question "Who would win in a fight, a minotaur armed with a trident or a centaur armed with a crossbow." Could be you tried to win something off our homepage or you Googled "Hot Girls" and found a couple of pics you liked. I don't really care how you got here, just as long as you were entertained when you did.
Be excellent to each other,
The post was accompanied with a video of the Sid Vicious rendition of "My Way."
Venture Beat reports that pubishing giant Ziff Davis -- who recently purchased the IGN sites -- has decided to shutter UGO, 1UP, and GameSpy. Citing an internal memo, Venture Beat goes on to report that ZD will focus instead on sites IGN and AskMen. From the memo:
"The changes we made today are designed to allow us to Simplify and Focus. Our goal is to do fewer things and to do them exceptionally well. In that vein, we want to direct all of our energy and work behind our two flagship brands: IGN and AskMen. They are both category killers and share a vision of a multi-screen (PCs, tablets, smartphones, TV) and multi-format (text, photos and video) world."
If this sounds like a flashback to the recent sea-change of geek/games network G4 into the "Esquire Channel" -- well, yeah.
We have here another case of the focus away from "nerd" topics such as video games and comics towards a more upscale, "mainstream" demo. The fact that UGO was axed in favor of strengthening AskMen feels even more like the G4/Esquire situation.
What do the tea leaves at the bottom of this particular cup say about the future of "nerdutainment" news versus a more homogenized, male-driven approach? Will female fans get lost in the shuffle, or will increasingly have to turn to "niche" sites that cater specifically to their gender? To be fair, IGN did recently cover "Parks and Recreation" and the wedding of Leslie and Ben. So are we really seeing the pushing away of the female demo...or the "mainstreaming" of the entire kit and kaboodle?