Another one joins the list. At the end of January of 2019 CinemaBlend shut down its gaming section after 13 years of operation. There was no official, public announcement. It all came to a sputtering halt with a silent whisper instead of the bang with which it came in; but not all things need an explosive ending to warrant a spot on the ever-growing Get Woke; Go Broke – Master List.
In this case the lead-up to the shut down was slow and painful, gaining the venomous grip of death back in mid-2014 when an overhaul to the way the content was produced was put into effect, despite ample protests from the writers. The community that was so bustling and vociferous throughout 2012 and 2013 – especially during the very heated console wars – had basically dried up and left for greener pastures after the new direction in content fizzled out all the spicy news, hot takes, and contentious editorials.
Things further devolved for the section during #GamerGate, when Breitbart ran a story on September 21st, 2014 about the #GameJournoPros. The game journalists who got exposed turned their attention to any and everyone they suspected of being a leaker in order to get them fired and their sites shut down. Cinema Blend responded to the pressure by giving in to the game journalists and axing all coverage of #GamerGate while handing out demotions.
From here onward a lot of the gaming news became milquetoast, mirrored after whatever was being printed and published by the likes of Kotaku, Polygon, and PC Gamer. They could no longer keep editors in the section, many of whom would come in, flounder like a fish in oil, and then hop out before losing sanity.
The only editor who seemed to have any idea of how to get the section up and going again was Brittany Vincent, who – for a short time in 2015 – proposed some fun ideas and kept the verve in the section alive and thriving for a brief spell before eventually parting ways after getting into a tussle with management.
By the time 2016 rolled around the games section was coasting along on its laurels, unable to find a voice, and essentially regurgitating news from the likes of anti-gaming outlets that nearly every normal gamer hates. It was a downward spiral into an abyss with no escape and no one willing to right the ship by moving in the opposite direction.
Throughout 2018 the only notable coverage the section had was following the loot box scandals, but once again that was all due to reiterating what was posted on other sites; treading in the footsteps of what was trending in the Social Justice circles.
By 2019 the section was basically a skeleton; present but withered like a dying fig tree struggling to stay upright during the bitter frost of winter.
Before January could conclude the section was given the axe; no one batting an eye or a care that the fig-less tree had finally met its end.
Unlike other entries on the Master List, CB Games didn’t get woke in some grandiloquent way. It was more subtle and nefarious, following behind thought-leaders in the game journo ring, and mimicking the kind of coverage every normal gamer hates instead of diving headfirst into the topics that gamers craved. The only thing this did over the years was bolster the page ranks of the sites that most of the gaming community want to see gone (namely Polygon and Kotaku), and it did nothing for the section itself.
While CinemaBlend’s movie and pop culture sections continue to thrive, the game section met an uneventful end. There’s always the possibility it might return in the future, but for nowit joins other failed attempts at embracing the phantom audience on the Get Woke; Get Broke – Master List.