Most of the remaining USGamer staff has been laid off as part of “ongoing layoffs,” making for the second round of layoffs at the Reedpop-owned gaming site serving as one of many members of the Gamer Network and possibly signaling the closure of the site.
Editor-in-Chief Kat Bailey and News Editor Eric Van Allen broke the news this morning, shortly followed by Reporter Mathew Olson and Staff Writer Nadia Oxford. The gaming site lists a crew of nine active writers, although Joel Franey announced that he was leaving back in September 2020. This most recent round of layoffs potentially began a few days earlier with the departure of Reviews Editor M.H. Williams who has since moved to PCMag.
Second round of USGamer layoffs leaves few writers remaining
Some news: My time at USgamer will come to a close at the end of December. It’s been six great years — the longest I’ve ever been at one job — and I owe @gamespite a debt for both hiring me and letting me take the helm. Still working out what’s next. Yes, Blood God will continue.
— Kat Bailey (@The_Katbot) November 16, 2020
The five people announcing their layoffs at Reedpop-owned USGamer is actually the second round for the company; earlier this year, Joel Franey and Caty McCarthy signaled that they would be leaving the company before the end of 2020. The severity of this second round of layoffs may mean the closure of the site.
Joel Franey’s announcement, in particular, stated that these were part of “budget and staff cuts” at the company. As for Caty McCarthy, her tweet on the matter referred to the process as “ongoing layoffs,” ominously hinting at what was ultimately announced this morning.
As a result of budget and staff cuts at ReedPop, I will be leaving USgamer on September 18th and looking for work. Feel free to DM me regarding either freelance or hired work, including guides, features, news, reviews, PR, social media and narrative design.
— Joel Franey (@JoelFraney) August 27, 2020
Today's my last day at USG, due to ongoing layoffs. Luckily, I've had a couple months heads up about it, and have been able to find a new opportunity somewhere new and exciting. It's outside of games media, so I suppose this chapter's closing on my life. https://t.co/XFlmxZ5QJc
— Caty McCarthy (@yumecaty) October 1, 2020
2020 has been a difficult year for many people and online media is no exception. CollegeHumor, Dorkly, and Drafee laid off over 100 people before the pandemic even began. A few months later, the UK’s National Videogame Museum was in danger of closing after being open for only a year and a half, owing to the closure of non-essential businesses in the country. Thankfully, a successful fundraiser brought in 251% of the museum’s goal and saved it from closing its doors for good.
Even some of the gaming world’s biggest events have been affected by the pandemic. E3 2020’s physical show was shut down three months before it was set to begin; an online show was announced to replace it — but that too was canceled, ultimately forcing game publishers and console makers to create their own independent shows for 2020.
USGamer is one of several sites that are a part of Gamer Network, a Reedpop-owned network of gaming media properties. Other sites owned by the company include EuroGamer, GamesIndustry.biz, and Rock Paper Shotgun.