Massively is closing. I know, this is likely the first time a blog post is being written about it, but that’s just what I do, break news and set trends. You’re welcome.
I bashed Massively often. Usually it was their comments section, but at times it was also the content/site itself. To say the site wasn’t perfect is a bit of an understatement. But to call it terrible is also incorrect IMO. Simply put, Massively was the only ‘major’ gaming news site I visited, so clearly they were doing something right. The biggest insult you can give anyone is not caring enough about them to have an opinion, and I often had an opinion about Massively.
Keen mentioned them stealing content back in the day. I experienced that as well, and while it somewhat bothered me, I wasn’t as bothered as Keen. Stealing content is what the internet is about really, and at least Massively eventually stopped (mostly). Still, a very valid reason to dislike them.
I also agree that they were far too tied into corporate PR puppet strings. Finding a real opinion from Massively was difficult, because it felt like 95% of the content was indeed “Hey Massively, say this about our game now!” style posts. Another very valid reason to dislike them.
If you play EVE you likely dislike Massively for a long list of reasons, pretty much all valid.
I could go on, but the point is that Massively was far, far from perfect.
Yet far from perfect was still better than a lot of other sites (for example, the utterly unreadable format that MMORPG.com uses), and that’s why Massively was a site I visited at least once per day. I rarely clicked on an article (other than to see the comments section for a good laugh), but I did enjoy scrolling through everything and being able to keep up with the basic happenings of the genre. That, above all, was Massively’s greatest strength.
I don’t know how many of Massively’s problems came from being owned by AOL, but I suspect that was a major factor. One only has to look at Bleacher Report (to use a sport ‘blog’ site as an example) prior to being purchased by CNN and after to see just how quickly your site can fall once suits get involved (not that BR was great before, but it wasn’t the absolute joke it is today).
I also think the general concept for such a site is solid from a reader/content perspective, and should the good of Massively be brought over to an independently owned site, I would give it a look at least. I also think from a business perspective that can work. Whatever group tries to make it happen, I strongly suggest looking at a site like Barstool Sports (hide the kids before you do, site is often NSFW, and if you posses a thin skin, prepare to be offended). That site has gone from being a tiny local player in sports media/blogging to one of the most influential voices in the city of champions and beyond, to say nothing about the amount of revenue they generate via ads, the shop, and sponsorship, all without truly ‘selling out’ (a running joke is that they do sell out, but sell-outs don’t continue to post stuff that would cost you sponsorships left and right).
So yes, ultimately I’m a bit sad that Massively is closing, unless that closing leads to a better, non-puppet version of Massively. The good writers should make that happen, and do so quickly. Best of luck to everyone in their future endeavors.