GameTrailers Shuts Down After 13 Years

GameTrailers was a very popular video game website which specialized in unique previews, reviews, recorded footage and HD trailers. The website had a very passionate community and became involved in uploading community content. Sadly, this wasn’t enough to keep the site running due to advent of Twitch, YouTube and other video services. Despite operating for 13 years, GameTrailers is now officially over, and all the staff members have lost their jobs. GameTrailers’ Editor-in-Chief, Brandon Jones made the announcement on Twitter and thanked fans for their long-term support:

Clearly, the site found it extremely difficult to retain a large audience as trailers were posted on YouTube by leading publishers. Additionally, the advent of NeoGAF, Reddit and other popular forums probably contributed to their demise. It’s extraordinarily difficult to run a video games website and keep paying the bills. Perhaps, AdBlock had a major effect to the site’s revenue. Whatever the case, GameTrailers is the latest website to be removed, and follows the likes of CVG. According to Associate Editor Ben Moore, the team only heard about the site’s closure hours before it went public:

“Hi everyone, Ben here. I just wanted to confirm that GameTrailers is shutting down officially today. Everyone is being let go. We all found out mere hours ago, so we’re still reeling a bit. Sincerely, thank you all for the tremendous support.”

This a shocking way to treat employees who worked for over 13 years at a company. It’s uncertain if the ex-employees will move to other websites, or even stay in the industry. The rise of streaming and YouTube celebrities has really made traditional gaming sites seem from a different, bygone era. Who knows which site will be next, but in many cases, it looks inevitable.

Are you sad to see the end of GameTrailers?

Image courtesy of Polygon

Pinnacle of v GTA Mod Creator Gets in Trouble

The Pinnacle of V creator Josh Romito has been under a lot of heat recently. So much that he has now shut down the project due to claims that he has stolen assets from other Grand Theft Auto mods that are available online.

Josh claimed that some people have contributed graphical assets for him to use in the Pinnacle of V mod. However, he was unaware that they had been extracted from other mods.

“Over the past week or so, I have been informed that parts of this project have been directly stolen from other developers, and handed to me as additions to my work. I have been made a fool of due to the motions of my peers, and I am taking action to try to preserve any honesty and integrity with the community I can. I apologize to everyone who was stolen from, and I wish there was a way this could be reversed.” Josh told DSOGaming.

He then explained to them the reason he has decided to shut the project down:

“I have personally put hundreds of hours of my own time and hard, legitimate work into this project. I am truly hurt and disgusted to see the fraud that has come from others. I hope the community can see this situation for what it is, that I have been honest from the beginning, and am doing what I can to make amends of this wrong doing. I started this project as a learning experience, and it turned into fraud when others became involved. The internet is full of scammers and people who serve no purpose but to cause havoc. This was my first time getting involved in a “community” type project, and I was shocked to see some of the support I was receiving, and how generous people were. It turns out it was all lies and stolen content. I’m not sure how else to handle a situation like this, so I am simply shutting it down and releasing the honest truth.”

I think it’s a real shame that such a fantastic mod with a great creator has been forced to shut down the project due to people submitting illegitimate content. However, Josh has now said that he will be releasing a new version of the mod under a new title in the next few months.

Image courtesy of segmentnext

400 Employees Laid off as Startup Company Zirtual Disappeared over Night

In a twist of irony, the company with a CEO that recently preached openness on company-restructuration towards their employees just closed the doors, shut down and fired their 400 employees overnight.

At 1:34 a.m PT, the virtual assistant company Zirtual sent an email to all of its employees saying that it had ceased operations effective immediately. The startup company had raised over $5.5 million, but they have now dissolved and the Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus pages have been deleted. A follow-up note to the companies clients later said that it was “pausing operations” to re-organize their current structure.

The news hit very hard on all the employees that all were expecting a paycheck next Friday, something that won’t happen. They’ll also have to find new jobs from one day to another without being prepared in any way, thinking their job was safe. Even 13 hours before it shut down, Zirtual was still accepting sign ups and their money, according to Aaron Weber who posted photos of his short-lived run with Zirtual on Twitter.

The shock was so big for the employees, because its CEO and co-founder, Maren Kate Donovan, had just written in Fortune three weeks ago, about the need for transparency during a company shift and preaching that employees need time to adjust: “Because what my employees don’t know could ultimately hurt the entire business. The sooner your team knows about upcoming shifts in the company—the better.”

What goes up, must come down. And the faster you go up, the harder you’ll hit the ground. That seems to be the lesson once again. We here at eTeknix wish the former Zirtual employees the best of luck and that they might find new opportunities soon.

Thank You MSN for providing us with this information

eBay Shuts Down Their 1-Day Delivery Service

Ebay has been running their eBay Now service since 2012 in selected cities, but not anymore. They are now closing the service and throwing they keys away. It originally started in San Francisco in 2012 and expanded to other regions later on and it was meant as a competition to Amazon’s one-day delivery option.

The eBay Now service was “always intended” as a pilot program according to eBay’s statement and it ran quite long when we consider that. The service showed “encouraging results”, but the marketplace giant will now explore different programs for express delivery instead. They can’t completely abandon something like that for their 25 million sellers and the new methods in work are also said to cover a wider variety of inventory. Ebay will continue to offer in-store pickups in stores such as Best Buy which has proven to be a liked feature. They just can’t compete with Amazon’s Prime offerings in the regard of shipping.

“We’ve found that the types of things that people buy on eBay aren’t necessarily those that are in high demand for same-day delivery, and that same-day options for the most part exclude core eBay sellers who don’t have offline locations,” explained an eBay spokesperson

I for one won’t miss this feature, mainly because it didn’t apply to my geographic location. Even if it did, it wouldn’t bother me as the things I buy on eBay aren’t high-priority and it doesn’t matter if it takes 2 or 3 days to arrive and it looks like I’m not the only one.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

MSN Messenger Finally Takes Its Last Breath

For most of the world the MSN messenger, or Windows Live Messenger, has been history for a while now after being shut down in April 2013 in favour of Skype, or even longer if you’re like me. It however lived on strong on the Chinese mainland, that is up until now.

Chinese MSN users are starting to get email notifications that the service will shut down at the end of October. The current users will be moved over to Skype instead and each user will get a $2 coupon as compensation for the move to the new service.

This isn’t the exact same Skype version we use though, as it’s modified to fit with Chinese laws and censorship requirements. MSN lived longer in China, but got it’s final nail into the coffin from the success of the QQ messaging service that now has over 200 million users. Skype in comparison has less then 100 million in the Chinese market.

Thank you gigaom for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Justin.tv Has Come to an End

It has long been expected, and now it has happened. Justin.tv has closed the doors and shut down, thanking their user-base for 7 years of live video memories. While the service has been shut down and the content isn’t available any more, any user who wish to transfer their profile to Twitch can request a transfer, but must do so before September 5th.

Justin.tv as a company isn’t gone, they changed the name to Twitch Interactive earlier this year. Twitch originally spawned as just a category on Justin.tv, but quickly overshadowed the entire rest of the site combined with the number of viewers and streamers. In 2011 Twitch launched as an independent service and has since been a leading actor in live gaming-streams.

Paying customers of Justin.tv should already have received an email about refunds of left-over memberships. Since Twitch only offers gaming related streams, everyone else is recommended to switch to YouTube, Ustream or Livestream.

There are also rumours going around that YouTube (Google) is looking to purchase Twitch for as much as a billion dollars. As of late July those talks are said to be nearing their end. Neither of the companies have made any official statement about the possible merger.

Thank you Justin.tv for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Justin.tv

Facebook Shuts Down Gift Service, Shifts Focus on Other ‘Commerce-related’ Projects

Facebook’s ‘Gift Shop’ initiative wasn’t doing so good these past years. The social network’s Gift Shop that lets you buy and send gifts to friends was originally launched back a few years back, granting you the ability to send virtual goods to your friends.

In 2010, Facebook closed it since it was not doings so good, which is was to be expected since the website was focusing on social media and not e-commerce. Following Karma’s acquisition by the social media giant in September 2012, a physical ‘Gift Shop’ was then re-opened. However, according to a report by Re/Code, Facebook plans on killing this one too on the 12th of August.

Facebook apparently learned its lesson from these past mistakes, having the first attempt at stopping the second Gift Shop initiative in August 2013, when the social media giant partially shut it down, removing the ability to purchase physical goods and focusing on gift cards. However, Facebook appears not to give up on its idea completely, having another ‘job’ for its e-commerce team.

“We’ll be using everything we learned from Gifts to explore new ways to help businesses and developers drive sales on the Web, on mobile and directly on Facebook,” Tera Randall, a Facebook spokeswoman, said in a statement.

The team formed by Karma founder Lee Linden and the rest of the previous Gift Shop team are said to remain within Facebook and work on other ‘commerce-related’ projects.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information

The Pirate Bay Resurfaces At A New Domain After Being Briefly Shut Down

The well known torrent site The Pirate Bay had its domain moved to the Caribbean destination of Sint Maarten this summer, but based on a report from TorrentFreak that domain name has since been shut down by authorities forcing the torrent pirates to move the targeted hub once again.

Since we all know about The Pirate Bay’s reputation of being persistent, we would expect it to pop up in another part of the world after being shut down, and so it did. The website, stripped of its previous “.sx” domain name, now resides in the quaint mid-Atlantic locale of Ascension Island operating as “thepiratebay.ac”.

Ascension Island will remain home to the site for now until the owners move it over to the planned long term residence in Peru. While The Pirate Bay has several backup domain names ready to go, it plans to operate the site from thepiratebay.pe on a more permanent basis.

Although there is no official word yet at what or who specifically gave the order to take it down, it appears that it could have been based on pressure from the Dutch anti-piracy group, BREIN. TorrentFreak, who spoke with The Pirate Bay shortly after the domain name was shut down, indicates that the .sx domain name is controlled by the Dutch part of Sint Maarten and therefore under the jurisdiction of BREIN.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information

iGoogle Has Been Shut Down As Planned

Google introduced a personalized web portal where users could create its own homepage with the most important information named iGoogle back in 2005. Although the service was promising at the beginning, plenty of things have changed since then. After Google issued a thirty-day warning to iGoogle users, the end of iGoogle has come. One of the main reason of this is Google’s focus on its own social network, the Google+.

“As we announced on the Official Google Blog nearly a year and a half ago, today we’re retiring iGoogle. Moving forward, iGoogle will redirect to www.google.com. If you’ve been using iGoogle gadgets to access information from Google products like Gmail and Finance, you can continue to do so via our new app launcher.
We know that many of you enjoyed your customized iGoogle experience, so if you’re looking for alternatives, there are some options that might fit your needs.

Anybody going to the iGoogle page will simply navigate back to Google’s homepage. The only thing left is the search listing for iGoogle, which will also go away.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information