CNET shuts Gamecenter

Decimates staff


CNET will call time on Gamecenter at the end of this week, blaming the closure after four and a half years on a drop in advertising revenue.

The move is part of a streamlining plan announced today that will see around 190 people, 10 per cent of CNET's workforce, lose their jobs.

Other CNET ventures which are unprofitable or have failed to grow will also be culled, CEO Shelby Bonnie said.

The company intends to eliminate duplication of coverage across its network, and this would appear to be why the axe has fallen on Gamecenter.

Since acquiring ZDNet in July last year, CNET had owned two gaming sites - Gamecenter and ZDNet's GameSpot. One of them had to go.

Gamecenter has sites in the US and Asia, but GameSpot is a worldwide brand, established in 15 countries and published in their native languages. So the winner comes as little surprise.

Interesting timing, though.

Last month, CNET plugged one cash leak by withdrawing its Gamecenter Alliance, an affiliate scheme which supplied advertising to third-party sites on a commission basis.

At the time, spokesman Josh McCloskey said: "CNET has decided to re-dedicate resources from the Alliance right back into Gamecenter and Gamespot. We want
to concentrate on making Gamecenter and Gamespot the strongest gaming sites on the Internet."

But the closure of Gamecenter just a month later is sure to raise suspicions that CNET bosses planned this week's redundancies as long ago as late last year.

CNET lost just shy of $400 million last quarter, and forcasts revenue for this year as low as $450 million, a cut of one fifth over earlier estimates.

The company's stock is currently worth around 30 per cent of its value one year ago. ®

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