John Davison, former boss at What They Play and 1Up is in at GamePro. In the last week, significant personnel changes have also been made at 1up, Shacknews, G4 and Crispy Gamer.
Tomorrow GamePro will officially announce that John Davison, who recently sold his start-up, parent-targeted gaming site What They Play to IGN, will assume the role of executive vice president of content for the company's editorial initiatives. The veteran editor told Kotaku he hopes to "reboot" one of gaming's oldest editorial brands.
In the same week that the biggest magazine about video games, Game Informer, is launching a new publication design and a revamped website, Davison will attempt to begin a re-invention of GamePro. The 20-year-old magazine once known for its reviews that rated games based on numbers and used facial expressions rather than stars has "struggled to find an identity for itself," Davison said.
The company indicates that its GamePro Media Network "already engages 7.6 million gamers a month," according to the press release that will announce the hire of Davison. The company's most recent editorial director, George Jones, left the company last month.
Davison sees a potential rebirth for GamePro in a better integration of the magazine and its online component. And he sees a way to explore a fresh way to cover games, avoiding clashing with the giant IGN and GameSpots purely with game-centric coverage but to expand the coverage of gaming's culture and personalities. "Working at What They Play for the last two years and working outside the world of hardcore readers and users you start to notice what some of the gaps are, what people complain about and what they're yearning for," he said. "There's a really good opportunity to reboot." Davison said he's also prepared to re-think the game review addressing, he hopes, what he sees is a malaise about one of the most popular types of content in the gaming media.
Davison's move is the latest in a flurry of changes in the games media in the last two weeks.
-Garnett Lee, former executive editor at the 1up network and host of the Davison-frequented Listen Up podcast is taking the reins as editorial director at GameFly Media, which includes Shacknews. Leaving 1UP came about more as a function of joining GameFly Media which includes the Shack sites. Over e-mail Lee explained his move to Kotaku: "For me, it doesn't seem like a day has gone since I started covering games that I haven't thought to myself I'd like to try this or do that for some sort of content. Not only does my new position put me in control of that, it does it with a core site both respected for its editorial integrity and known for its strong community — the two biggest ideals for good content in my mind. And it comes with a management group ready to back it up and 100% committed to a basic idea as simple as make something awesome. It's hard for me to imagine a much better opportunity to come into."
-Billy Berghammer, the former director of gaming editorial at G4 who was part of the TV network's attempts to beef up its online presence earlier this year is out at that company. Details of Berghammer's departure are unclear. "We do not discuss specifics regarding personnel matters," G4's Adam Sessler told Kotaku. "I can confirm that X-Play and G4tv.com are still as committed to their coverage of gaming as they always have been." Kotaku was unable to reach Berghammer by the publication of this post.
-A founder of upstart site Crispy Gamer, John Keefer, has stepped outside of that operation. Keefer told Kotaku that one of his new projects will be to write for GamePolitics.com. "Crispy Gamer continues to push the conventions of games journalism to new levels of excellence," he wrote in an online message. "I leave the site in good hands editorially. I wouldn't have left a project many of us have worked so hard on otherwise. But it was time for me to explore other opportunities. I'm helping out at GamePolitics and have been exploring other editorial options, as well as options on the development side, as so many other games journalists have. We'll see where it takes me."