The Death of Rev3Games
Mention the name Rev3Games now, and to most gamers it wouldn’t ring a bell. But mention them during late 2013 to early 2014, and they would be instantly recognizable. Rev3Games was one of the few non-bias and wholly respectable Youtube Gaming channels left during that time. They were a pillar of professional journalism, ushered in between hosts with great chemistry and extensive knowledge. Their more than entertaining lineup of shows weren’t just centered around the typical preview/review coverage of most sites either. Instead, it included dives into 80’s culture and it’s effect on games, game analysis videos, and mini-podcast like discussion pieces. It didn’t feel forced, and sponsorship's never really seemed to step their way into the channel’s structure. It was perfect. Until one day, everything seemed to fall apart.
Part 1: Sessler’s Absence
Possibly the most profound and well-known host of the Rev3 lineup was Adam Sessler. A games journalist for upwards of nearly fifteen years, Adam Sessler was known for his wit, charm, and overall love and intelligence for the industry he’d been with for so so long. After leaving an ultimately decade-long stressful stint at G4, Sessler decided to not only continue in the games journalism business, but to join Revision3, a popular online entertainment network owned by Discovery. In his announcement video, Sessler says “It’s nice for me to be able to get a change, as the industry itself is in such an upheaval of change and innovation. I think we’re about to go on a wild ride, I do not know where it’s going to end up but I know it’s going to be really cool and fun as we get there.”
It’s hard to pinpoint what Sessler’s ambitions truly meant in this video, but one thing’s for certain. He did not expect to carry Rev3Games as much as he did. Within his departure, nearly fifty percent of the Rev3Games workforce quit within the same month. Six months later, Rev3Games was shut down by Revision3.
It’s more than clear to see that Sessler’s departure made the channel unsustainable. By Fall 2014, (a couple month’s before the channels shutdown) Rev3Games only had one real employee, Nick Robinson. Videos had become even more discussion focused, with Nick talking to interns, friends, and people he knew around the office. Worst of all, Rev3Games was barely scraping by audience wise. Although their somewhat successful Twitch streams kept them on life support, it was a far cry from their Youtube stats. Videos averaged 65k views at most, which equaled a low profit turnout that was more respectable for someone who did it as a part-time job or passion project, much less a career. Yet, Rev3Games always felt like a passion project. Instead of doing yet another video on boring press releases and gaming rumors, there would be videos on why there should be a PsiOps reboot, or if Nintendo should have given up on the 3D aspect of the 3DS. In expected post-Sessler fashion, these videos regularly received less than 30k hits.
Part 2: The Consequences of Conciseness
On February 27th 2015, popular Rooster Teeth co-host Adam Kovic explained why the company relied so much on flashy titles and eye-catching thumbnails to get the point across. “Ultimately I’m here to make the best content we can, unfortunately YT has the additional challenge of grabbing eyeballs in this crowded space; thumbnails that stand out are a result of that.” This, commonly referred to as “click-bait” has been a growing commonality among many Youtube channels, and is another one of the reasons why Rev3Games continued to spiral downwards in terms of viewership. While they uploaded videos titled in intricate and informative ways (The Division E3 2014 GAMEPLAY and INTERVIEW — Combat, Weapons, and Co-Op Details, Does “Hatred” Go Too Far?, etc) Bigger channels like Machinima chose to go with flashy titles like The Division BETTER than Destiny? and Hatred: MOST VIOLENT GAME EVER?. Unsurprisingly, these videos received triple to 10x the amounts of likes,views, and overall clicks. But Rev3Games never stuttered. By always refusing to go against the norm, they sadly dug themselves their own grave.
Part 3: Quality vs Quantity
Nowadays, popular and prominent gaming channels like Machinima, IGN, and Gamespot upload up to an average 15 videos a day. (give or take) Although these videos don’t particularly do gangbusters (10–80k) it gives the channels enough of a backlog to rely on in-case anything goes awry. New forming examples are already present, with IGN and Gamespot both splitting their podcasts into clickbait-like chunks, and Machinima increasing the timeframe of it’s news shows. Channels also title their videos in increasingly relevant ways, so they can always gain a couple views when the time is right. While it’s a smart idea for capitalization, it undeniably gives the videos an aged nature. On the other hand, Rev3Games’s videos have aged like a fine wine. Videos about rampant E3 speculation feel campy in a good way, and without the necessity to rely on trends, it seemingly blends well. In an area dominated by so many this and that’s, it was seemingly positive that Rev3 decided to side-step when necessary, and on the right patterns.
Epilogue: Ambitions Without Abutment
Approximately a year and two months after Rev3Games closure, other channels have borrowed influences or carried the flame. Examples like SuperBunnyHop, Outside Xbox, Innuendo Studios, and GameTrailers/GT Reviews have provided a wide variety of charismatic opinions on gaming itself. Unfortunately, these channels didn’t have to pay the bills and quickly cut corners as Rev3 did. As Youtube became more and more strict with ad-revenue, so did the companies behind the channels. Two people left Destructiod at the end of the year, while big-name departures affected companies and groups like Podcast Beyond and Inside Gaming. It may have been more financially viable in other cases, but channels are still at disadvantages. The age of clickbait has narrowed down a sense of true journalistic originality, leaving others with no place to go.
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- Is Spelunky The Perfect Video Game? Prod. Cisco Za. Dir. Nick Robinson. Perf. Nick Robinson, Cisco Za. Rev3Games. Revision3, 28 Oct. 2014. Web. 27 Jan. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pKKQ_XDx4E>
2. How Nintendo Got the Rights to Two Pornos. Dir. Scott Bromley. Perf. Meg Turney. Rev3Games. Revision3, 11 Mar. 2014. Web. 27 Jan. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmGbOSa595Q>.
3. Schrier, Jason. “Adam Sessler Out At G4 [UPDATE].” Kotaku. Gawker Media, 25 Apr. 2012. Web. 28 Jan. 2016. <http://kotaku.com/5905119/adam-sessler-out-at-g4>.
4. Adam Sessler Joins Rev3Games! Dir. Adam Sessler. Perf. N/A.Rev3Games. Revision3, 12 Nov. 2012. Web. 27 Jan. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzKNdPMI9-s>.
5. Sinclair, Brendan. “Rev3Games Shutting down.” GamesIndustry.biz. Dx, 6 Nov. 2014. Web. 29 Jan. 2016. <http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-11-06-rev3games-shutting-down>.
6. Bromley, Scott. “Random Nonsense: Scott Bromley on Career Opportunities (Not Starring Jennifer Connelly).” The Comedy Button · Scott Bromley on Career Opportunities (Not Starring Jennifer Connelly). Hand Turkey LLC, 24 Apr. 2014. Web. 29 Jan. 2016. <http://www.comedybutton.com/blogs/random-nonsense/13886745-scott-bromley-on-career-opportunities-not-starring-jennifer-connelly>.
7. Goodbye, Discovery Digital Networks. By Anthony Carboni. Perf. Max Scoville, Lacey Green, and Jeff Cannata. Goodbye, Discovery Digital Networks. N/A (Independent), 4 Apr. 2014. Web. 28 Jan. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uai3ZVEuZio>.
8. Minor, Zac. “Re: After Starting as an Intern on 6/1/09, Today Is My Last Day at Rev3/Discovery. It’s Been a Great Ride, but Excited to Figure out Whats Next!” Web log comment. Twitter. Twitter, 6 May 2014. Web. 28 Jan. 2016. <https://twitter.com/zacminor/status/463702138644742144>.