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Plugged In

1UP, Gamespy and UGO shut down

Plugged In

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It’s game over for a trio of popular video game websites.

Ziff Davis Media has announced plans to shut down 1UP.com, GameSpy.com and UGO.com to focus on its IGN and AskMen properties. The decision comes less than a month after the company purchased IGN from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

For over a decade, the three sites were among the most influential in the gaming space. With high traffic and up to the minute information, all three contributed to the downfall of several video game magazines, thanks to their aggressive reporting on the day-to-day minutia of the gaming world. 1UP brought video game podcasts to the mass market, while GameSpy's editorial division was just one facet of a company founded on multiplayer middleware, which was used in over 300 titles.

In addition to the site closures, IGN suffered a significant round of layoffs.

Each of the shuttered sites has been a bit overshadowed by the newer crop of gaming sites, like Joystiq, Kotaku and Polygon, but each still enjoyed a dedicated reader base.

In their farewell notes, editors of the sites went out gracefully, thanking readers and rightfully crowing about some of the editorial achievements of the site.

"It's been a fantastic (almost) 10 years," wrote 1UP editor-in-chief Jeremy Parish, who will transfer over to IGN. "Even in its most frustrating and even dispiriting moments (there were some pretty dark times before IGN bought us in 2011), 1UP has always been fueled by the sincere enthusiasm of everyone writing for the site. … God, there's so much here we need to archive in case someone does pull the plug on the servers."

GameSpy editor Dan Stapleton, who took over the site a little over a year ago, acknowledged the economic realities behind the decision.

"Ziff Davis wants to run an efficient, focused company, and managing several different sites that all cover videogames isn't exactly the model of efficiency," he said. "Even though GameSpy had its own unique voice that was separate and distinct from those of our sister sites, and there has always been value in that, it's hard to argue with that logic. Even if it does totally suck."

Former employees (along with a long, long list of commenters) wished the staffs of the affected sites well – as did some of their former competitors.

"All those properties ending up in the same hands seemed to make some change in this regard inevitable, so it's not like this was completely unexpected, but having all three sites go in the same firing squad is still a little shocking," noted Stephen "Blue" Heaslip, editor of the long-running news site Blue’s News.

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