Ailing retail giant Gamestop today laid off hundreds of employees across a wide array of divisions, including positions at its corporate headquarters in Texas and its industry publication Game Informer in Minnesota. Game Informer Senior Editor Imran Khan, Managing Editor Matt Bertz, Senior Associate Editors Jeff Marchiafava and Kyle Hilliard, and Associate Editors Elise Favis and Suriel Vazquez were all let go, seemingly without warning.
While I’m on fucking vacation.
— Jeff Marchiafava (@GIJeffM) August 20, 2019
“I am trying to get things right with my people,” said Game Informer Editor in Chief Andy McNamara on Twitter. “I love Game Informer, its people and its readers more than any corporation could, and I will address all the issues when I can, but for now I need to focus on my GI family.”
A Gamestop spokesperson confirmed “a workforce reduction” that impacted “more than 120 corporate staff positions, representing approximately 14% of our total associate base at our company headquarters as well as at some other offices,” in a statement to Kotaku. Gamestop justified the move as part of its “Gamestop Reboot” initiative, which also eliminated dozens of regional manager positions earlier this month, in addition to further layoffs in June.
“While these changes are difficult, they were necessary to reduce costs and better align the organization with our efforts to optimize the business to meet our future objectives and success factors,” the statement to Kotaku reads. “We recognize that this is a difficult day for our company and particularly for those associates impacted. We appreciate their dedication and service to GameStop and are committed to supporting them during this time of transition.”
Please note the careful and deliberate use of the word “associates,” rather than “employees,” in all official Gamestop correspondence relating to layoffs. It is unclear what kind of support former employees can actually expect from Gamestop corporate, but it’s worth pointing out that Game Informer is not a unionized publication.
Gamestop has hemorrhaged money for the last few years, as the increasing availability of digital games made its brick-and-mortar retail operations progressively irrelevant. Gamestop attempted to stop the flow of blood by diversifying into geek-based goods when it purchased ThinkGeek in 2015, but that was not enough to pull its market value out of a perpetual nosedive. Gamestop ended today on the New York Stock Exchange slightly up, at $3.42 a share — this pales in comparison to its five-year NYSE peak of $47.44 per share in August of 2015.
Game Informer has been in print for almost 30 years, originally launching in 1991 with a six-page, bi-monthly format as FuncoLand’s in-house publication. The magazine changed to its current monthly format in 1994, and when Barnes & Noble purchased Funco in 2000, it became the official publication of B&N’s new games retail company, Gamestop. Game Informer is the only video game magazine that managed to survive the steady annihilation of print games media, which claimed virtually all of its competition, including Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro, and Nintendo Power. Until today, Game Informer employed a staff of 19 full-time editors, who produced content for both the print magazine, and Game Informer’s website.