Is It Time to Pull the Plug on G4 for Good?

Once again, we have allowed our nostalgia to get the best of us. And once again, the results were disappointing at best. Yes, it’s about time we had a chat about how G4 has been doing, and where it’s going. Unfortunately, a lot of it isn’t good. For those of you that remember, G4 needs no introduction. For those that never got the chance to watch it for yourself, a very brief history. G4 first started as a competitor to the rival channel TechTV before merging with it and going from G4TechTV to G4 again. The channel targeted gamers as gaming itself continued to rise in popularity. Of all their shows, the two most notable were Xplay and Attack of the Show. Xplay focused only on game reviews, previews, and a little gamer humor. Attack of the Show was broader in scope, covering movies, shows, and pop culture from around the world.

This was before the big boom of video sites like YouTube, so to have it on cable TV was pretty amazing. I remember watching episodes rather religiously and I’m sure many others did too. Which is why it sucked to see the channel fade away and why it was so great to see it return. November 16th, 2021 would be the day it came back to television and…it was alright. I don’t remember the response from the general public at the time and I was confused on the relaunch. I thought it’d be on YouTube, but no. It had its own channel and everything. Many of the old shows returned in some fashion along with new programming. As for their YouTube channel, it seems to be a stream archive that may coincide with the shows. I’ve watched some of the content there and from television and…it’s okay. It’s fine. This may have have wowed me 10 or so years ago but now, not so much.

Yet, it wasn’t the lukewarm reception that began their downfall. If they continued to just be “okay” then they could have coasted on without much trouble. Then came Indiana Juniper Black, also known as Froskurinn or Frosk. I can’t say I watched a whole lot of her before her breakout rant, but man do I remember that…disaster. There is a discussion to be had about sexism in gaming. From my perspective, the approach and timing were off. What’s the right way? I can’t say for sure. What I do know is that going from a discussion of gaming to then turn it into that rant about sexism may not have been best. Especially now that G4 has distance themselves from it moving forward.

Let’s fire off some of what G4 has been going through since the infamous Frosk rant. Amouranth playing in a ball pit in her underwear. Blair Herter, then senior VP of G4 telling their audience not to watch them if they don’t agree with them. Making people unable to chat in their streams unless you’ve been a paid member for four weeks. Kevin Pereira caught view-botting on another of his shows in the past (a permabannable offense on Twitch). Cory Smallwood, aka “The Black Hokage”, getting caught being the very sexist man that Frosk was speaking against. Russell Arons, President of G4, leaves for reasons undisclosed. G4 has massive layoffs that hit 20-30 employees due to financial troubles in the company. In response, Frosk made a tweet that said “I Survived.” Frosk was also fired. Or she left. The circumstances seem fuzzy.

This is to say nothing about their redundancy in the space. Despite their programming, it’s arguable that some of the creators there were doing better on their own than with G4. Two who come to mind are Scott Wozniak (Scott the Woz) and Jirard Khalil (The Completionist). How they got roped into G4 is beyond me, but it must have been an enticing paycheck. They were also starry-eyed gamers in their youth inspired by the old G4 and wanted to be a part of the relaunch. Well, as a fan of them both, I wish they would have stuck to their content and kept away from this sinking ship. I admit that I have not watched the majority of G4’s content, but from what I’ve watched I can see how this is happening. They didn’t do enough to stand out in the gaming space.

That’s the unfortunate long and short of it. The gaming space is one of the most saturated spaces in content creation on Twitch and YouTube. A lot of it is well produced, performed, and requires a lot less investment than G4 does. Even if G4 did everything right and had no controversies to their name, they could not rest on their laurels. They had to come with content that was more than just “okay.” They needed to hit the ground running and make their content “must watch.” Not a single time since they relaunched has anyone asked me if I’ve seen this or that show on G4. Matter of fact, I don’t remember the last time I spoke about G4 before now. Can you? Are you a present G4 fan? I’d like to know what you thought of it. I’d like to know exactly what they had going for them, because it doesn’t seem like it was enough to keep them alive. I don’t wish for their downfall. I love G4 or rather I loved it. But the writing is on the wall. I suspect the next time they’re in the news again will be when they shut the doors again.

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