Be careful what you wish for – after less than a year in business and only ten short months after network host Frosk told critical audiences “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it,” Comcast has officially shuttered the door on their attempted revival of G4.
The news that absolutely everyone could see coming was first broken to employees on October 16th – eleven months to the day since its November 2021 relaunch – courtesy of an all-company memo sent out by the CEO of the telecom giant’s Spectacor arm David Scott.
“As you know, G4 was re-introduced last year to tap into the popularity of gaming,” Scott opened the memo, as per a copy reportedly obtained by Deadline. “We invested to create the new G4 as an online and TV destination for fans to be entertained, be inspired, and connect with gaming content.”
“Over the past several months, we worked hard to generate that interest in G4, but viewership is low and the network has not achieved sustainable financial results,” he then revealed, before declaring, “This is certainly not what we hoped for, and, as a result, we have made the very difficult decision to discontinue G4’s operations, effective immediately.”
“I know this is disappointing news, and I’m disappointed, too,” Scott continued. “I want to thank you and everyone on the G4 team for the hard work and commitment to the network.”
Noting that Comcast Spectacor’s “human resources team [would be] reaching out to you to provide you with support, discuss other opportunities that may be available, and answer any questions you may have,” the head of the two-time defunct network ultimately closed the books on G4 by giving thanks to his now-former employees “for all your hard work for G4.”
In one final stumble as the network made its way out the door, given that this message was issued on a Sunday afternoon and many were understandably away from the email inboxes, a number of now-former employees received word of their termination not from an official company source but rather via internet word of mouth.
Replying to a tweet regarding the news published by noted video game news Twitter account @Wario64, Xplay co-host Jirard Khalil exclaimed, “Hey! This tweet is how I found out how I lost my job! How neat!”
“Love that this tweet is how I found out I don’t have a job anymore,” wrote production coordinator Beth Scorzato, retweeting the news from Puck News founder Matthew Belloni. “I guess let a bish know if you have literally any work available.”
Likewise finding that his time at G4 was at an end “during lunch time on a Sunday,” UCLA Esports director and G4 development intern Ryan Nakata responded to the news by lashing out with the very same rhetoric that led to the network’s death.
“Unfortunate that this will be tied to right-wing incels complaining about wokeness being the downfall of a network which pursued content in the age of shorts & twitch,” he bemoaned in his strawman-based tirade.
“btw it isn’t ‘wokeness’ that killed a failing millenial focused gaming network, so please keep your incel complaints on how the internet is soft to your 2012 gamergate era, we do not care about you being bigoted in a CoD lobby in 2011,” Nakata continued. “you’re crying about humans being normal huh”.
Returning to the topic the next day, he clarified, “I think people are looking as my original tweet as accepting that wokeism killed the company, I don’t, it’s just unfortunate that a certain hateful ‘go woke go broke’ [crowd] will view the hard work of these amazing people as being the failure”.
“I 100% agree the business handling was not the best and that the content layout didn’t help to bring in more viewers,” he said. “I think another big issue is an appeal to millennial, older former fans versus mainstream zoomer twitch fans who don’t know what G4 is aside from [streamer AustinShow’s game show Name Your Price].”
As noted above, the G4 revival’s woes began in earnest in January 2022 when Xplay host Indiana “Frosk” Black was met with criticism from G4 viewers for making misinformed claims regarding the year’s upcoming slate of video game releases.
In particular audiences took issue with her assertions, as seen in the video below, that the PlayStation 5 had no exclusives due up in 2022 – despite Sony having previously announced a general release window for God of War: Ragnarok within the year – and that Hogwarts Legacy would be a Microsoft exclusive – despite its reveal coming at a PlayStation event where Warner Bros. Interactive explicitly confirmed the Harry Potter as multiplatform.
[Time Stamp: 13:45]
In turn, rather than engaging with her earnest critics and dismissing the obvious trolls, Frosk used a subsequent appearance on Xplay to disingenuously write off the above backlash as being based not on her work, but the fact that she was “not as bangable as the previous hosts”.
“It has somehow been expected that you can talk about how much you jerked off to women as a compliment,” she asserted in her now-infamous, network-killing rant – which despite being proudly touted and promoted it at the time, had since been scrubbed in its entirety from all of G4’s social media accounts.
“Here at X-play, our reviews are written and produced by a team of people,” she explained. “There are too many games for one person to shoulder the burden, so we divide and conquer. So when we use language like ‘we’ or ‘I’, that’s the reviewer, that’s coming from the mouth and experience of the reviewer reading that review.”
“And that’s not to say that Jirard, TBH, Adam, or myself don’t contribute to the reviews,” the now-former Xplay host, who was cut from the network prior to its shutdown, added. “We absolutely do. But it will always be in varying degrees and take a whole team behind us.”
“We have done the experiment and controlled for the variables,” Black further elaborated. “Adam will read a script, written by the same writer, that I will read the other half of the script for, but I’ll be the one flamed.”
She then admitted that though “it also happens to Jirard and [Smallwood],” their experiences do not “discount the sexism of how it happens to me when it does.”
“Both things can be true!” she exclaimed. “That there is a general hatred of any change that isn’t Adam, and that I’ll receive special flame just for being a woman. And I wish I could turn the camera around so you could see the incredible team that make Xplay. Half of our producers and writers are women.”
Drawing her thoughts to a close, Black chastised viewers, “When you’re in our DMs, or in those YouTube comments, or in Twitch chat right now, those reactionary threads, thinking that I’m somehow ruining your current Xplay experience because you can’t objectify me, how you previously did to Morgan, or that I’m somehow less qualified to speak on something but you can’t quite put your finger on why, even though I’m reading the exact same script as Adam, but you have no problem with his part of it, you’re letting your unconscious biases ruin my day and you’re gatekeeping the gaming space.”
“So maybe, for 2022, we be a bit nicer, a bit more self-reflective, and we enjoy the fact that people are working hard to make free content for you,” she concluded. “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. PEACE.”
“PEACE,” indeed, Frosk.