Dicebreaker owner Gamer Network bought by IGN, redundancies begin across group

Board game news website Dicebreaker and its video game-focused stablemates have been bought by IGN Entertainment, with redundancies immediately starting across the newly-purchased sites.

US events company ReedPop has sold Gamer Network, which also includes GamesIndustry.biz, Eurogamer, Rock Paper Shotgun and VG247, six years after buying the UK-based business in an attempt to expand into digital news and video.

BoardGameWire reported last November that ReedPop was seeking a buyer for the sites, with one senior source at Gamer Network telling us at the time that the situation was “honestly not as bad as people assume”, adding that the group’s websites were doing “really well”.

A separate source from within the industry told BoardGameWire at the time that Eurogamer and RockPaper Shotgun were doing especially well in terms of readership, compared to their competitors.

But that has not prevented IGN from immediately making a series of redundancies at Gamer Network, which so far have included GamesIndustry.biz managing director Brendan Sinclair and staff writer Jeffrey Rousseau, RockPaperShotgun deputy editor Alice Bell and VG247 news editor Stephany Nunneley-Jackson.

Dicebreaker’s team currently consists of editor-in-chief Matt Jarvis, senior staff writer Alex Meehan, regular news writer Chase Carter, head of video Michael Whelan and video producers Olivia Kennedy and Maddie Cullen.

DiceBreaker is yet to announce any redundancies, but Carter and Kennedy both took to Twitter soon after the announcement to comment on the situation.

Carter tweeted, “This sale is already costing GN’s editorial teams too much precious veteran talent. I can’t say much at this moment, but fuck media consolidation. This sucks for readers and journalists, both.”

Kennedy said in her posts quote tweeting the announcement, “Once again, I apologise if I’m a little off the grid over the next few weeks. I will say – unbelievably – I’m okay. Won’t say any more for now but I’ll still be getting my bearings over the next few weeks.”

Since the takeover announcement, Dicebreaker has also cancelled Friday’s Tabletop Creators Summit at MCM Comic Con in London, citing “unforeseen circumstances”.

Dicebreaker, launched in 2019, is one of the vanishingly few board game journalism outlets whose reporting goes beyond new game announcements and reviews – something BoardGameWire believes is hugely important for an industry which has quickly grown from a relatively small niche hobby into a multibillion-dollar sector.

Articles published on the site that otherwise may not have seen the light of day include an exposé of alleged toxic workplace culture at Pandasaurus Games (which the firm has denied), an investigation into the impact of Twitter’s decline on tabletop creators and the reporting of a wave of redundancies at Dark Souls and Elden Ring board game maker Steamforged.

All of those investigations were the work of Carter, who in February launched TTRPG-focused journalism site Rascal News alongside award-winning reporter Lin Codega, who broke the news on D&D’s OGL controversy, and TTRPG and actual play journalist Rowan Zeoli.

Speaking to independent video games journalism site Aftermath, newly laid-off RockPaperShotgun deputy editor Alice Bell said she had asked management about the possibility of layoffs, only to be reassured that everything would be fine.

She added, “Just as I am against the consolidation of video game developers, I am against the consolidation of video game websites, so I cannot see this as a good thing.

“I am most worried about people’s livelihoods, but I am also very worried that they won’t be allowed to be weird and write thoughtful, critical things.

“I worry that, now that the machine has increased in size, it will necessarily crush my most talented peers from the Network into writing boring, SEO-focused things designed to appeal to the averaged-out reader.

“But people aren’t average, so when you try to appeal to the average you end up appealing to nobody.”

The full Aftermath piece, which features Bell and several unnamed Gamer Network sources, can be read here.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *