All things must come to an end eventually. Word broke out yesterday that G4TV will be a thing of the past come 2013 to make way for an “older, more hip” approach. Parent company NBC Universal seems to be making a move away from the “geek” demographic with this decision. Where does that leave us gamers?
Back in 2002, the channel simply known as G4 was created by former Walt Disney Television President Charles Hirschhorn. He saw the network as a way to get video game creators to produce their own original programming much in the same way MTV got started with music video producers.
TechTV, a network devoted to computer and technology news, merged with G4 in 2004. This move brought the show X-Play into the lineup along with host Adam Sessler. The show is still a part of the regular lineup and Sessler ended up being a mainstay until this past April. Other former TechTV personality Kevin Pereira also left shortly afterwards in early June leaving Morgan Webb as the only remaining employee left pre-merger.
A downward spiral began in 2009 when reports of staff and production crew layoffs were making the rounds. Coinciding with that had major programs X-Play and Attack of the Show! being cut back to 3 and 4 days a week respectively. This in turn caused a stir of controversy amongst G4TV fans that the channel was deviating away from gaming and technology and focused instead on sexual innuendo and baseless conjecture. Programming outside of X-Play and Attack of the Show! primarily consisted of Cops reruns which has become an inside joke within the gaming community.
Adding insult to injury,DirecTV ended up dropping G4TV from their channel lineup in 2010. Low ratings and subscriber interest were claimed to be the primary reasons. The cable provider made the following statement on their decision.
“DIRECTV was unable to reach an agreement to continue carrying the G4 channel, and it has been removed from the DIRECTV channel lineup.”
Rumors of the WWE and UFC making bids for the gaming channel came and gone before NBC Universal finally made the decision to rebrand it instead. This is claimed to be an “upscale” move that will focus on the older male demographic. Supposedly, the goal is to be a major competitor against Spike TV.
If this truly is the end of G4, it will be a blow against the representation of gamers within televised media. The network could have put in a better effort to appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike with a wide variety of programming instead of cutting back on what little they had for lazy reruns and hashed concepts. As a fan of Adam Sessler, it was painful to watch his talents and experience go to waste. His departure was, to me, the final nail in the coffin for G4TV.
This sad bit of news could end up leaving the door open for someone else to take the televised gaming reins. I could see a large website like Destructoid or Machinima make the transition considering both already have an online video presence. Would this be the right move to make or should gaming news and content stay relegated to online channels? Post your thoughts in the comments below.