The gaming press world has been in quite some turmoil of late. Tencent just gutted Fanbyte, G4TV just fired a bunch of its staff, and Future Publishing just let go a swathe of writers and editors, despite making hundreds of millions of dollars last year. So it’s with perhaps some trepidation we report the news that Fandom, the wiki hosting company, has just bought behemoths including GameSpot, Metacritic, and Giant Bomb.
In a deal reported by Variety to be worth about $50 million, the sale sees Fandom—originally founded by Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales—becoming a serious player in the world of games media, stacking on top of its already very established wiki-based business. However, if that figure is correct, it suggests a colossal fall in value from the last sale of this collection of outlets in 2020, when Red Ventures purchased the entirety of CNET from ViacomCBS for $500 million.
The full list of publications announced as being acquired by Fandom from Red Ventures today contains many well-known names: GameSpot, Metacritic, TV Guide, GameFAQs, Giant Bomb, Cord Cutters News, and Comic Vine. Previously owned by CNET and then CBS in the last decade, the sites have changed hands plenty of times over the years. Now everyone involved is getting ready for yet another rebranding, this time to the surprise name of Fandom.
Fandom, which I imagine like me you still think of as Wikia, is the site you end up on when trying to find out details about a forgotten TV episode, or the name of that one planet from that Star Wars novel you read as a child. In more recent years, it has been running curated news and blogs, and now appears to be launching world domination. In 2018 Fandom bought Screen Junkies and last year snapped up video game publisher Focus Multimedia—and with it Fanatical, the authorized key reseller that used to be known as Bundle Stars.
However, none of this compares to today’s enormous announcement. “Gaming is one of our largest audiences at Fandom,” said Fandom when Kotaku reached out for comment. “We have 115 million gaming fans across 17 million pages of content and more than 100,000 gaming communities on our platform. So the addition of GameSpot and the other gaming sites will help us super serve gaming fans even more deeply in addition to the library of gaming reference content we currently have.”
We asked whether there might be job losses or mergers in light of the acquisition, but Fandom did not respond to those questions.
CNET was originally bought by ViacomCBS for $1.8 billion in 2008, and then sold on to Red Ventures for considerably less in 2020, at $500 million. While today’s purchase by Fandom doesn’t include the CNET name and all their related websites, $50 million for such major players as Metacritic, TV Guide, and GameSpot seems incredibly low. It could, of course, be the case that Variety is simply wrong about this figure, as other places are reporting the number is “undisclosed.”