Penny Arcade discontinues Report and TV

Founders drop channels as they decide to "be Penny Arcade"

Penny Arcade has made the decision to drop both industry editorial branch the Penny Arcade Report and TV hosting service PATV in order to double down on the brand's core features.

In a brief blog post on the organisation's main site, co-founder Tycho discussed a desire to return to focusing on those parts of the business which were felt to be the most representative of the site's initial aims, as well as devoting more time to the increasingly growing needs of charity Child's Play and the consumer show PAX.

"I don't think I want to 'grow my business' anymore," explained Tycho. "I sort of want to do the opposite. And I'm tired, sick to death, of saying 'Maybe Someday' when it comes to the things we really want to make. So, we're not going to do that anymore. The next year is going to be a pretty big one, one of the biggest yet; it's the year the previous fifteen have been leading up to in the literal sense but also in other ways. I think they're going to be 'big years' from now on, frankly. And it hurts pretty bad, but I don't know where PATV as a 'channel' for third party shows and The Penny Arcade Report fit into that. We'll be shutting those things down at the end of this year.

"I think they're beautiful and useful and important; I use them every day. It's possible that you do, too. I hired people to run them, or paid them, and I am making their lives worse by doing this. Losing Ben is especially painful - he did everything we asked of him, and more. The only comfort is knowing that everyone affected by this is excellent, as is attested continually by their excellent work, and will certainly land on their feet. We've tried to connect the dots for them where we can. Still hurts."

Whilst PATV hosted video from external sources, the Penny Arcade Report had become a respected industry opinion of its own in the two years since its inception. Its editor, Ben Kuchera, made a brief statement of his own.

"I'm not really interested in crying over spilled milk; sometimes these things work out, and sometimes they don't. I've had a wonderful two years at Penny Arcade, and the few times I worked directly out of the office I enjoyed the commitment and joy that everyone found in their work.

"I've learned a ton covering PAX while getting a taste at what it takes to run that sort of show, and I was able to write many, many stories of which I'm very proud.

"This is to say nothing about the great work that Dabe Alan, our photographer, Kristin Lindsay, who both edited and copyedited the site, and Andrew Groen and Sophie Prell delivered on a regular basis. The goal was always to be enthusiastic about the games we loved, and to be ruthless with the games we hated. I think we succeeded in those two goals.

"I couldn't have asked for a better crew, and I'm proud of the things we were able to pull off with such a small, dedicated team. This is the way I like to work: Lean, hard, and with great purpose.

"I'm very happy with PAR, and if this is how it ends, that's not too bad. We had a good run. We didn't fix game journalism, but the whole idea of it being broken and needing a white knight to run in and make everything better was arrogant and more than a little pigheaded. There was good game writing before PAR, and there's going to be good game writing after we go away."

Related stories

Channel 4 announces retro games mini-series starring Rob Beckett

Four-part series will see stand-up comic and other celebrity guest exploring the history of video games

By Haydn Taylor

UK screen industries back "zero-tolerance guidance" on harassment and abuse

Free 24/7 support hotline under development to help those affected by bullying and harassment

By Haydn Taylor

Latest comments (6)

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
Personally I was regularly irritated by Ben's clear high tech pro "tech pushing" and anti-Nintendo biases. This came as no surprise, as he regularly behaved like this on Ars as well, but it made me stop reading PAR pretty early on. PATV never showed much to keep me interested either. Maybe it's just me, but considering they're being canned, somehow I doubt I'm the only one who wasn't engaged by these sides of the site.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicholas Pantazis on 9th December 2013 2:06pm

1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada4 years ago
Crud, I've always liked PAR reviews. Hopefully Ben and crew set up something independent elsewhere.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Judith Haemmerle Executive Director, Digital Game Museum4 years ago
We really appreciated the excellent article Ben wrote about our controllers exhibit at PAD 2012. It was the best reporting anyone has ever done on our organization. Thanks again, Ben!
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (6)
James Prendergast Research Chemist 4 years ago
I didn't use them but sad to see services that other people loved shutting down.

I really dislike the way that the people responsible for every loss of work constantly let themselves off the hook with phrases like this:

The only comfort is knowing that everyone affected by this is excellent, as is attested continually by their excellent work, and will certainly land on their feet.

It completely removes any sort of responsibility and lets them feel better about their actions - all in one fell swoop!
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago
I have to say, I stopped reading PAR when I stopped reading the PA comic... Which was awhile ago. Having flicked through some past articles recently, though, I have to say I find Ben Kuchera's Twitter more interesting than his articles. Whilst that sounds like damning with faint praise, I do find his tweets more... thought-provoking and succinct than his articles.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 10th December 2013 7:13pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance4 years ago
I always loved Ben's work, personally. I think it's getting harder in the review business for smaller sites like the PA Report and the now-defunct Gamespy because of the attitude they took toward the games industry as a whole - not to cater to the AAA publishers and be involved in things like review embargoes. To do things like disclose every perk they receive and be 100% clear about their viewpoints.

To not do so, to cater to the big dogs of the industry, leaves them at a disadvantage - lower level access to previews and exclusives, say. But the internet needs sites like these, to keep things honest. If all that existed were the megasites like IGN, you'd be hardpressed to get an honest review anywhere.

Having said that, Penny Arcade's decision to shut down the PA Report makes perfect sense from a creative standpoint. There are a number of excellent projects, like Automata and Lookouts, which deserved creative attention and growth from an IP standpoint. At some point you have to choose which parts of your business are the priority and adjust accordingly. But I am sure that Ben will land on his feet and be providing us with his excellent writing very soon.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.