N'Gai Croal Leaves Newsweek and Game Journalism

Friday will be popular gaming pundit N'Gai Croal's last day at Newsweek. The well-known game journalist took a buyout from the magazine publisher and plans to move more toward the development side of gaming.

Today, Croal posted his final update on Newsweek's Level Up.

I had a chance to speak with Croal recently about why he decided to leave Newsweek after 14 years at the magazine.

"The simple answer is that Newsweek had buyouts last year in may and then in the fall they reopened the buyouts," Croal said. "I didn't consider the first one, but the second one, I was like, ‘You know I'm 36 years old… I studied film making in college and I directed plays and short films and stuff like that, so I've always had a pretty pronounced creative side."

"I always thought I was going to do end up in movies or something else, but I kind of got sidetracked into journalism. It's one of the most amazing things that's happened to me. But when the buyout came around again, I said to myself if I don't do this now when am I going to do it?"

"That's really what it came down to. My editors never said to me don't cover games."

There are changes being made at Newsweek, a redesign and a shift in tone, but Croal says that didn't mean that there wasn't a space for video games.

While Croal hasn't cemented his future, he plans on shifting more of his time away from covering games and toward helping developers.

"I want to do something more creative than when you are on the journalism side of things," he said. "I think it's going to be a combination of things, I'm still in the process of figuring that out. There is some interest in me consulting on games, that's something I'm interested in as well.

Croal says that he believes there is a stratification that's going on in the video games industry. That developers concentrate too much on an audience of 12 to 24 year olds who have plenty of time on their hands to play, but forget that the older audience has less time to play.

That's something he thinks he can help with.

"As a journalist you sort of get a broad perspective across multiple genres," he said. "I've covered things here ranging from pop music to movies and other things. To be able to bring a bit of a broader perspective, I think that might be useful at a time like this for certain developers who want to expand their audience."

That doesn't mean Croal will give up writing about games entirely. He will continue his column in Edge and says that there are other outlets interested in having him write about games for them.

"I wont be doing pre-release coverage of games the way I was for Level Up and Newsweek because that can be a conflict of interest," he said.

Instead his writing will be more akin to commentary, he said. Let's hope that he continues stirring the pot as he did so famously with Resident Evil 5.