The good news is, no one blew up the planet. The bad news is, Ziff Davis perennial Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) is gone and online property 1UP is now "functioning" less 30 to 40 of its best and brightest, as a subsidiary of UGO Entertainment. UGO's parent, Hearst Corporation, owns wide ranging properties like Popular Mechanics, A&E Entertainment, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, XM Satellite Radio, and O, The Oprah Magazine.
The grapevine pegged Ziff as seeking to unload EGM, 1UP, and the now defunct Games For Windows Magazine over a year ago. GFW shuttered its print version in August last year, but maintained an online portal presence that was still updating with new articles and exclusive interviews at the end of December.
Ziff CEO Jason Young called the sale "a smart transaction for Ziff Davis Media that places market leading assets and teams in a great environment poised for further success," which translated into bottom-line-speak means "Hopefully this'll mitigate Ziff's debt dilemmas." Ziff's been struggling with debt issues for awhile now, and the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2008, though my own sources suggested things had turned the corner by end of last summer.
Other slices of 1UP that travel in the bargain to UGO include: MyCheats.com, Gamevideos.com, and Gametab.com. In an internal email to Ziff employees, Young says "many of our employees will travel with this business and become part of the UGO team." "Many," that is, not counting the guys on this list.
EGM was one of the oldest still-standing print pubs in the biz, founded all the way back in 1989 (two decades, I know). The January 2009 issue will be EGM's final.
A moment of silence for these guys, and may they all land on their feet in even better gigs.