Major gaming website Kotaku just lost its board games writer

Kotaku, one of the biggest video gaming websites in the world, has just lost its board game writer Luke Plunkett after more than 16 years with the company.

Australia-based Plunkett, whose last day will be Friday July 14, writes almost the entirety of Kotaku’s board game reviews and news, alongside his coverage of the video games industry.

The veteran reporter leaves Kotaku amid the latest backlash from employees of parent business G/O Media, which also owns sites including Gizmodo, The Onion, Deadspin and AV Club.

Private equity-owned G/O took control of the suite of websites in 2019 following former parent Gawker’s bankruptcy.

Within a year the company had lost a string of high-profile staff including Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, now at Bloomberg, and Deadspin editor Megan Greenwell, following management diktats about content and arguments around the sites’ editorial independence.

The most recent clash with staff came just over a week ago, when G/O began testing AI-written content on its websites, which were immediately condemned for being riddled with errors and full of repetition.

Photo Credit: Stonehand Games

Plunkett was among G/O staff on Twitter who highlighted issues with G/O’s incorporation of AI, although he has not said whether the issue directly led to his leaving Kotaku.

His recent articles have included coverage of the Quackalope and Aeon Trespass: Odyssey altercation, which BoardGameWire exclusively reported on in May.

Reviews written by Plunkett in recent years include Frostpunk: The Board Game, Dune Imperium, Undaunted Normandy and Company of Heroes.

Plunkett is also a board game designer, having created The Great Air Race through Stonehand Games. Plunkett, who describes the game as Porco Rosso meets Mario Kart, told BoardGameWire he is still looking for a publisher.

His announcement about leaving Kotaku, which he posted on Twitter, said, “Feels weird to be writing one of these finally but… after almost 17 years it’s time for me to say goodbye to the very good website kotaku dot com.

“My last day will be next Friday, July 14 (Aus time). It’s been a blast and a privilege.

“I’ll be taking a little while to decompress and relax, but if anyone is hiring anywhere that could make use of someone who can do… practically anything in this field, my dms are open!”

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