A few months ago, I reached a crossroads in terms of how I consume media online. When games journalism site Joystiq announced it would be closing its doors, I didn’t believe it; it seemed like they were doing well, and they had announced a bunch of new features and content for fans to look forward to in 2015. Unfortunately, the rumors proved to be true, and Joystiq was shut down after over ten years of operation. In true Joystiq fashion, the staff went out in style by sharing some of their favorite memories and experiences in a series of short interview style podcasts that are a must listen for any fan of the site. Aside from the fact that the Super Joystiq Podcast was one of my personal favorite news podcasts, I also really admired the staff as some of the people I looked up to and hoped to model my own writing style after. It’s a shame that all of these talented people are no longer at one site together, but several have already found a new home and continue to produce great content. Articles on Joystiq never failed to make think outside the box, and all of their writers excelled at using their unique voices to start conversations that made me reflect on myself and what role games play as a part of my life.
In observing the circumstances surrounding Joystiq’s closure, I began to see it as a message to those us who enjoy consuming the types of content created online, whether it be videos, livestreams, or great written content. The future of the industry we love has without a doubt found a home on the internet, as proven by the ever growing consumption of news and entertainment media through web based forms. An aspect of this that I do not think has been fully realized is that this form of media production is a business just like any other. In these cases, there is no physical storefront to frequent or goods to purchase in order to show your support for these companies. While I obviously have no inside information on the situation that lead to Joystiq’s closure in particular, I cannot help but infer that the parent companies of these sites that go under simply don’t see them as viable assets in terms of future moneymaking potential. This in turn leads me to think that not enough people frequent the virtual “business,” thus it does not make sufficient revenue to ensure the financial support it needs to stay afloat. In turn, the sites go under, the same way any physical store would.
That being said, it’s hard to pin these closures on one facet alone, because sites like Joystiq carry a loyal reader base of thousands, and in some cases hundreds of thousands, of people who consume their content every day. Instead, I think that closures such as Joystiq’s remind us as fans and consumers that we have to do our part to support the things that we love, the same way we give our business to companies that we want to see succeed. That being said, every time you or I check out the comments section on a YouTube video, there is guaranteed to be a thread of viewers complaining about the length or the number of advertisements on the video, or noting that the creators are clearly promoting a certain product or brand in their content. People fail to recognize that this is how most creators make their money, because the video itself is FREE to view if it isn’t monetized in these ways. Oftentimes, people watching these videos justify using Ad Block to skip advertisements, or call out the video’s creators as “sellouts” for supporting a product. Content creators work hard each day to share their ideas and personalities with consumers, and they deserve the money they get in return if they choose to claim it. There is a double standard when it comes to media, especially on the web, in that consumers forget the time and effort that goes into making a video or writing an article. These forms of media are quickly approaching the production level of a television show or movie, and the people that create this content deserve to profit off of their fine work. The simple fact of the matter is, if you do not properly support these companies, they are going to go out of business, just as a physical store would. So next time you watch an advertisement pre-roll on a video, or pay a membership fee at a website, spare a thought for the great people that produced the content you are about to consume, and make sure you are doing your part to ensure the future success of your favorite sites and creators.
This article was written by Lucas Woodward, a writer for dusk magazine.