[Update 4/25/2017: It looks as if Brash Games is now back up. A review was recently published on April 24th, 2017 for The Deer God, so it appears as if there may have been some domain name issues. There hasn’t been any word yet from Paul Ryan on what happened or why writers weren’t notified about the downtime. Paul Ryan has been contacted for comment and a further update will be added if he decides to respond.]
[Original article:] The entire Brash Games fiasco has now seemingly come to a close. The site domain is now up for sale and the entire video game review site appears to have shut down.
Not many sites have covered it, but International Business Times did a report on how the shady business practices of Brash Games have caught up with them and the site’s domain is now up for sale.
According to a former writer who used to contribute to Brash Games, the login and administration backend was no longer accessible to the remaining writers contributing to the site since early Sunday morning on April 23rd, 2017.
The IB Times reported that they were still publishing reviews leading up to their closure. This is true, on April 23rd, 2017 at 4:49am in the morning they did post their final review of Star Wars: Galactic Battleground.
The site had undergone a scandalous torrent of headlines leading up to its closure, specifically in regards to writers having their bylines removed and their work scrubbed from their accomplishments, as well as the site regularly changing review scores in order to fit in line with the Metacritic averages.
After it was discovered that Brash Games had been modifying their review scores – in some cases against the wishes of the writers – OpenCritic had them removed from their database.
There was also an additional scandal involving potentially undisclosed native advertisements. This was covered in an in-depth report by KiriothTV.
When attempting to reach out and contact the supposed owner of the site, Paul Ryan, he opted not to respond. Various outlets all tried to get in touch with Ryan to find out if the rumors were true about Brash Games taking money from native advertisers without disclosing it, and why he was attempting to scrub the bylines off the reviews of certain authors. Ryan avoided contact with other media publications, but I did reach out to one of the native advertisers, a small gambling website. They claimed that they didn’t have any association with Brash Games, and after further pushing the topic by discussing the native ads on the site, the owner opted not to respond.
Ryan, however, did later send an e-mail out to the remaining writers working at Brash, stating that the only reason the bylines was removed was because they violated certain ethical policies, even though the site didn’t have an ethics policy.
Forbes contributor Paul Tassi claims that the Brash Games incident proves that writers should never work for free and that instead of writing for free for some sites they should just pay for the games themselves and start their own blog. For writers who can’t afford to pay for their own games, I do wonder what Tassi’s solution is for them to build a profile from reviewing games?