Kotaku Loses Editor-in-Chief Over New Focus on Gaming Guides

Kotaku is in a bit of trouble. Today, Kotaku’s editor-in-chief, Jen Glennon, resigned. Glennon announced this on X without going into detail, aside from saying, “Jim Spanfeller is an herb.” If you don’t know who that is, she’s referring to James J. Spanfeller Jr., the CEO of G/O Media Inc., which owns Kotaku, as well as Gizmodo, The AV Club, and more online media outlets. Glennon has held the editor-in-chief position for only five months, having been hired in November 2023 following her predecessor Patricia Hernandez’s firing in August 2023.

However, the website Aftermath goes into more detail about Glennon’s departure. They got ahold of her resignation letter (probably because its co-founder is Nathan Grayson, a former Kotaku employee who will turn up again later), which reads, in part:

“After careful consideration, I have concluded that the current management structure and decision-making processes at G/O Media are not aligned with my values and goals for Kotaku… I firmly believe that the decision to ‘invert’ Kotaku’s editorial strategy to deprioritize news in favor of guides is fundamentally misguided given the current infrastructure of the site… [This decision is] directly contradicted by months of traffic data, and shows an astonishing disregard for the livelihoods of the remaining writers and editors who work here.”

What does she mean by “deprioritize news in favor of guides”? Aftermath has learned from a source that this entails exactly what it sounds like it does:

“According to a source close to the situation, Kotaku’s staff will be expected to create 50 guides a week at the site. Currently, Kotaku’s homepage features a prominent ‘game tips and guides’ module at the top of the page, in a space that was previously reserved for major stories and breaking news.”

Kotaku is focusing not on games journalism (such as it was) but on creating video game guides. So, you won’t see much in the vein of “Sweet Baby Inc. Rocks Harder Than Aerosmith, and They’re Too Good for Those Horrible Gamers,” but you will find “Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Bloodborne Build,” “Blitz Your Way Through Call of Duty on Easy Mode,” or “How to Bake the Tastiest Princess Peach: Showtime Cake.” (That last one is a guess; I have no idea how that game is supposed to work.) It would be hilarious if it weren’t… yeah, okay, it’s pretty hilarious. And the evidence for this being true, aside from Aftermath’s Kotaku connection, is that Jen Glennon has been sharing posts with this Aftermath article and its contents on X all day:

Kotaku guides Kotaku guides Kotaku guides

You probably think this couldn’t possibly get any better, right? Well, refill your coffee, caballeros, because there’s more. That fifty-article minimum sounds high, but don’t worry; Kotaku writers aren’t meant to think up their own guides like gamers or anything crazy like that. Here’s Kotaku staff writer Levi “Elle” Winslow with some of their new corporate guidelines:

Kotaku guides

They don’t even want Kotaku to write these things. They’re telling professional writers (yeah, I know) to effectively copy and paste guides from sites that actually do the work. That’s how little G/O Media cares about Kotaku. But it’s a good thing so little work is required because here’s former Kotaku senior reporter Nathan Grayson (I told you he’d be back) revealing how many writers Kotaku has left:

They want seven writers putting out fifty gaming guides a week; that’s one per day each (if you include weekends, which  G/O Media probably isn’t), plus an extra from whoever draws the short straw that week. What the hell could that many guides from seven people even be about? But Grummz, the X handle for former Blizzard producer Mark Kern, thinks that’s the point:

It makes sense. It’s also indicative of how, despite their protestations and smug assurances that they’re in the right and the “tiny fringe” of Gamergate 2 bigots are going to lose, despite the bullying tactics of a PlayStation employee working hand-in-hand with Kotaku, that Sweet Baby Inc. article was devastating for an already weak brand. Nobody likes these people, and they’ve cost their bosses too much money, so they’ve got to go.

Speaking of that Sweet Baby Inc. piece, how is its author, Alyssa Mercante, taking the news?


Hold the line. The gamers are winning.

Comments (3)

March 22, 2024 at 6:59 am

Great read, some great articles overall today!

March 22, 2024 at 9:25 am

2024 is already a big improvement on 2023!

March 28, 2024 at 2:07 pm

The writers who want to create activist content should create their own company and let the free market decide whether the people support their ideals. Nobody is owed a platform.

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