Yesterday, Giant Bomb announced the death of what may have been the single most beloved personality in the gaming press, Ryan Davis. It was a sudden, unexpected passing, as he’d been married less than a week and was a mere 34 years of age: A tragedy by any definition. I barely knew the guy, so I haven’t really commented; given the outpouring of love and devotion that’s flooded the Internet (and even the Reuters newswire) over the past day, I’ve had nothing to add. But I do regret not taking the time to get to know anyone who can inspire that degree of sincere sentiment from the callous, embittered audience that follows gaming.
Do you know how hard it is to convince publishers to let you run a podcast these days? Anyone who runs a business regards it as a losing venture, a waste of time and energy. Podcasts are hard to monetize, they only get so many downloads compared to video, they take too much time to create, etc. etc. The creators’ pushback has always been the same: No, they may not make money themselves, but they build an audience and create a real sense of connection between the “personalities” and the most dedicated readers/viewers/listeners. This logic — this appeal to generating an audience by letting them see your personalities and listen in on your conversations — always crumples in the face of hardened money men and their numbers, the fools who think gaming Reddit for fleeting one-time traffic spikes is a more effective path to sustainable business than creating good, desirable content. Thank god Ryan was able to find a place where he could run his own show his own way; he proved the suits wrong.