How I Arrived At My New Home, Vox Games
A few months ago, I got fired (well, laid off) from MTV. This may be the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I actually really enjoyed my time working there, but there were problems. The network has yet to grasp the importance of video games (ironic, given its youthful audience), so most of the work I did was all but ignored. I performed well, hit my traffic goals, wrote some exciting stories (like this one, one of my favorites) and worked in a bubble. It was a nice, but also clear that there was no need to support the work I did with any sort of staffing. I was on my own, doing what I could with the help of a handful of woefully underpaid freelancers, a ridiculously out-of-date CMS and zero power to change the situation.
And also zero leverage when it was decided that all games coverage would be given to MTV Geek, the network's burgeoning attempt to capitalize on geek culture. Moving games out of MTV News meant I was out of the job, a victim of my department's shrinking budget and its need to focus on core competencies like movies, music and celebrities.
The day I found out, I posted a message on Twitter and, in less than an hour, I was called by none other than Chris Grant and Justin McElroy. I had known the pair for years, we were colleagues after all, and I always had a tremendous respect for the culture of honest, thoughtful reporting at Joystiq.
It was during this call that they described something remarkable. And something a little unbelievable, if I'm honest. They talked about creating the best video game site on the web, bringing together some of the best writers in the industry to create something entirely new. And, behind it all, was the company that had just proved it had the know-how to do just that. The Verge was still This Is My Next then, but it was clear that Vox was a company that knew not only quality content and awesome site design, but also a willingness to take risks and build something unique. Imagine what they could do with a games site.
So, as it happens, the day I got canned was also the day I took my first step into this new gig. As the weeks passed, I learned about some of the other folks that were in talks to join the team. I won't list everyone out here (you can see the bios in full in this Business Insider piece), but it's safe to say that, in addition to being huge names in games writing, they're also all gents that I would gladly have a beer with. It's an amazing crew, and I'm thrilled and honored to be part of it.
For the time being, you can follow our comings and goings at @voxgames, and you'll start to see our writing here on The Verge in the coming weeks. That'll all build up to a new site launch and, yes, our actual name, coming later this year.
You can also follow me at @RussFrushtick, where you're likely to see me talk about my latest iOS gaming addiction or how terrible the Mets are.