What began as a rumour last month has now escalated into full-blown fact; Ziff Davis have officially sold the 1UP network to competitors Hearst, owners of UGO.com.
Hearst - who more importantly own many of the nation's biggest newspapers along with ownership stakes in ESPN and the History Channel - will however only be taking ownership of the network's online presence.
Which means long-running print magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly won't be along for the ride. This will be the last month the magazine is published, bringing to an end nearly two decades of independent, influential games editorial.
I can't even say how much this bums me out. EGM has always been my favorite gaming publication for one reason or another; when I was younger I liked that it managed to walk a line between "professionalism" and "sophomoric," especially considering that most gaming mags at the time were going for either one or the other (usually the latter). In recent years, especially as my interest in journalism has grown, I'd come to admire them as a source of integrity within the industry.
Which, I think, is the main reason I'm so sad to hear this news. Publishers trying to influence review scores with either veiled threats ("Give Barbie Magic Fun Time an 8 or higher or we pull the ads for all of our games") or flat-out bribery ("Hey, want a free flight to New York City and a stay in an upscale hotel for a few days so you can try out our newest title?") is one of those things that is way too common in the industry but nobody every really talks about - but EGM was different. Editorial policies were put into place that worked to circumvent such back-alley dealings; review scores were changed from numeric to academic, writers previewed games in the magazine's home office whenever possible, and publisher gifts and freebies were refused. In an industry that is often seen as immature and illegitimate, EGM worked hard to show that integrity in journalism means integrity in journalism, whether you're covering a government scandal or Metal Gear Solid 4.
So long, Electronic Gaming Monthly. You will be sorely, sorely missed.