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The PA Report - It was a great two years, but now it’s time to say goodbye



  • KryptographyKryptography Registered User regular
    PAR wasn't perfect, but it was a fine gaming info website/clearinghouse.

    Penny Arcade proper has become full time unbearable with the quality of the comic getting worse and worse and most of the "news posts" focusing on: 1. things they are trying to sell or 2. things they are giving free advertising to in exchange for product.

    They also have kind of shitty taste or are complete shills, and as they're becoming more and more famous are becoming more and more unbearable. I don't know if this is the beginning of the end of the PA empire, but it's certainly the end of me coming to any website with the words "Penny Arcade" in the title with any regularity.

  • IM_THE_DECOYIM_THE_DECOY Registered User regular
    @ Rapizid

    God, I wish the comment sections were working properly so I could downvote you.

    I would downvote you so hard the pacific coast would be on tsunami alert for the next 6 hours.

    I mean, everyone has an opinion and you're more than welcome to your own.... but there comes a point where the things you are saying go past opinion and into just plain untrue.

  • wedgeskiwedgeski Registered User regular
    Good luck Ben and anyone else affected by this change. I didn't always agree, but unilateral agreement is not required.

    And for everyone commenting on money, jobs, taxes, PA Megacorp, or the moral switchblade of getting laid off at the end of the year...please, just stop.

  • mrthewhitemrthewhite Registered User regular
    I will miss some aspects of this site but I won't miss Ben's overly aggressive approach to people who's opinions differ. As a writer I found his ability to form replies pretty shallow and often hostile.

  • nturchinnturchin Registered User regular
    Very dissapointed to hear about this. It was my trust and respect for Ben Kuchera that brought me to PA. Where ever you end up, I'll be there to looking for your insights and opinions. See you again soon Ben!

  • themainemanthemaineman Game Designer Saint Louis, MORegistered User regular
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Why Ben.... Whyyyyyy!?? I was just talking about how PAR is the only videogame news website I can bear to read! Where am I going to go now?

    "Fall from heaven, fight like hell." - The J.U.M.P. Corps Motto
  • Exley97Exley97 Registered User regular
    First and foremost, good luck to Ben and everyone else past and present at PA Report. This site was a must read for me, and I appreciate the creativity and hard work that the team brought to the table, as well as the effort to make a better gaming news site. I hope all of you land on your feet and wish you the best.

    Second, like a lot of folks I'm a little shocked about this move. I don't really understand Gabe's post about PA Report not fitting in to the larger Penny Arcade strategy. I'm sure there are probably a lot of reasons behind the scenes as to why he and Tycho are doing this, but it's still a puzzling move considering the PA brand has never been bigger.

    Third, part of me is a little bit....relieved about this. The fact is, some of the recent -- and not so recent -- Penny Arcade stuff has made me reluctant to visit any PA property, even PA Report. And I've been growing increasingly puzzled as to how PA Report's and Ben's attitude toward issues like gender equality mesh with some of the unfortunate behavior I've seen from both Mike and Jerry. There seemed to be a huge disconnect there, and I know from reading the forums I'm far from the only person who's noticed it. So here's hoping Ben lands somewhere that's a better match.

    And lastly, as for Penny Arcade....I'm out. Frankly, I'm tired of the dickwolves. I'm tired of the ignorant transgender comments. And I'm tired of the apologies, which usually arrive too late and are short on remorse and sincerity and long on defensiveness. I never visited Penny Arcade before PA Report -- it just wasn't my cup of tea. Like a lot of folks, I think they've done a great job with PAX and I've certainly enjoyed my time at the events (and to be sure, PA deserves recognition for its booth babe policy). I was hoping PA Report would make Penny Arcade as a whole a more welcoming and compelling destination for me. That didn't happen. So here's where I get off.

    P.S. To all the folks I've engaged with here, for better or worse: it's been fun, informative, and enlightening (and okay, a little frustrating and maddening at times, too). Thanks to all for making this a pretty damn good community -- yes, that includes you @enderandrew as well as anyone else who's slammed me. Maybe we'll cross paths on another forum or even on Steam. Happy holidays to all, and to all a good game:)

  • digital_ronindigital_ronin Registered User regular
    edited December 2013
    This was one of the few gaming-related news site I read in the past years. Due to this, I can't comment much on how exactly its quality compared to the rest.

    However, every week, I always found an article or two that interested me, even if I often disagreed with the views presented. (who knows, maybe sitting in Europe really gives you a different perspective on some things)

    Even so, it brought parts of the gaming world to my attention that I hadn't even been aware of before.
    For that: thank you, and good luck.

    digital_ronin on
  • DashXeroDashXero Registered User regular
    Peace, Ben. There were a few things we agreed on, and a few things we didn't agree on, but ultimately it was a nice couple of years of content. Be proud of what you've managed to do here.

  • Silent DanSilent Dan Registered User regular
    Ah, how the high-and-mighty have fallen. The High Overlord of Game Opinion Orthodoxy will have to find another venue for bullying people who don't blindly parrot his own opinions back at him. Good riddance. Penny Arcade just earned some credibility points for axing this failed experiment.

  • Shogun of ShodownShogun of Shodown Registered User regular
    I've read Penny Arcade and since it first started and I enjoyed most of the comics and the news posts. It was because of one of those news posts that I started coming to the Report and enjoyed the pieces enough to go through the back catalog as well. I registered on this site so that I could comment in these discussions, although I didn't throw my hat into the ring very often.

    I didn't agree with all of the pieces, authors or commentators on the Report, but I think games journalism, culture and the discussion around them was on a whole the better for it.

    Best of luck to the staff (Ben, Sophie, Andrew et al), and the community; you will be missed...

  • metroid_dragonmetroid_dragon Registered User regular
    Shame, PAR was my kotaku replacement. Ah well, I'll just use r/truegaming for my database of worthwhile links

  • GoodcactusbreadGoodcactusbread Registered User regular
    I don't understand the hatred coming out of the comments here. Instead of being angry that a couple of small business owners made a change to their company and now we can't read a website about video games, can't we choose to be grateful that we had the opportunity to read and share with people like Ben for as long as we did? Can't we choose to just be happy that we have lives where losing a website about video games is such an affront that we must spew vitriol and wave our neck flaps over it?

    As long as we're spewing some vitriol all up in here, I just want to say for the record (as long as the comments section lasts) that I don't really understand the people commenting about being done with PA as a whole because they made a comic about dickwolves or misspoke about transgendered people. I consider myself a pretty normal person, and I could easily see myself misspeaking about something like that (I think Gabe helped open a dialogue which itself can be a very good thing and prevent future misspeaking) or making a joke that would cross many, many lines. If people were to react this way to me- sever ties and loudly, publicly proclaim mean, hurtful or otherwise especially judgmental things about me over such a small sampling of everything I've ever said or done, I'd find it to be a ridiculous over reaction. And that's what I think a lot of what I'm reading here is. Come to center people- there's a lot of internet still out there, is it really worth getting that angry about?

    Hey guys! Want to go hunt demons with me?
  • WarforgedRusWarforgedRus Registered User regular
    edited December 2013
    Ben, Sophie and others. Thanks for all the great articles and links. Sorry to see this go as it was really the only game news source I've been reading since life got busy.

    Glad GabeTycho of two years ago gave the go ahead to expand. Sad the current GabeTycho couldn't find a way to keep this going independent of their time/$... is probably the $... I blame Khoo! Hope they get some of those "taking all our resources" pins stuck up their asses... or maybe pinUpTheAss caused this decision.

    WarforgedRus on
  • heinousjayheinousjay Registered User regular
    a real shame. i don't know what i can read now

  • dennisdennis Registered User regular

    This is the internet. Check your reasonable opinions at the door, please. We only like bombast here.

  • MaalivateMaalivate Registered User regular

    You make valid points. However, the argument that we shouldn't complain because it could be worse is never a good one, contrary to popular beliefs. If mankind had always thought this way, we'd still be living in caves, struggling to keep the fire alive, because, you know, it could have been worse.

    Also, I completely understand that come some point in one's existence, striving for other goals kicks in and changes a lot of things. I've personally been through such a stage, I can relate. That being said, when you lead a company, there should always be more consideration put into it. If you are the sole proprietor of a car shop you work alone and decide you want to move on to other things, fine. The only limit is how much you are willing to give up for yourself to achieve a new goal. When you own a company that's putting to work other people, well that's an entirely different matter. You have a responsibility to these men and women that work for you. If you want to go do something else, that's fine, but don't make the people that work for you pay for it. I think Jerry and Mike should have left, let PA in the hands of the so talented people they regret so much leaving behind (from their own words) and do their own thing. What they did in fact, is simply dropped all the guys that didn't fit into their new goals, apologized, and called it a day.

    That's the real issue that should upset. Not dickwolves, dick cookies, or transgender issues. It has nothing to do with how early they informed every one involved. It's a modern issue, one that we just don't want to look at. We can find hundreds of more or less valid excuses for this kind of behavior. In the end, they remain excuses, we still don't care much about the guy next door, and we even dare to call it progress.

    Dickerdoodles and side projects on PA have always been, for me, the bad, uninteresting part of PA, that is not going to change, and that is why I won't be coming again, because that is all that will be left. They were not, however, the reasons I criticized the issue. The points I made here are. It's not hatred, it's concern. I don't hate PA, Mike or Jerry. I disagree with the way they are handling this.

  • MaGamiMaGami Registered User new member
    Initially I was disappointing by this, but then I remembered the multitude of garbage articles Ben put out.

  • PyrianPyrian Registered User regular
    Best wishes and good luck!

  • hextopiahextopia Registered User regular
    He didn't say don't complain because it could be worse, he said take a look back and remember the good times. Be happy they were here, not mad they're gone.

    Also, the idea that as a business owner it's unacceptable to drop people that don't fit your business goals is ignorant at best. Businesses I believe do have a moral responsibility to their employees to make them aware in advance of changes to their employment, but that's it. You aren't entitled to keep your job, regardless of the circumstances.

    I'd like to know what you propose they do instead.

  • dennisdennis Registered User regular

    Really. Are they expected to just run it as a philanthropic venue FOREVER? I think it was pretty clear PAR wasn't making any money in... maybe forever? I think they might have if it had fulfilled it's mission a bit better. Let's face it, there were really good things about PAR but it also dropped the ball a lot of times. It was launched to focus on long form journalism (go read the announcement post) and in depth stories, but how much of that did we really see?

  • MaalivateMaalivate Registered User regular

    Actually I did propose an alternative, which is one that has been used before in other companies. Since Jerry and Mike have shifted their goals to other activities, I suggested they let the actual ones they no longer had interest in in the hands of those who actually work them, so they could focus on what they intend to do.

    It's interesting that you kept from my words the fact that "the idea that as a business owner it's unacceptable to drop people that don't fit your business goals is ignorant at best". I never said such a thing. However I do believe a line has to be drawn somewhere between dumping people that hurt the company and dropping people after reshifting company goals, especially in the case of a 15 year old company with a fanbase. I also believe that if you ever find yourself in a position where the people who work for you don't fit in the company goals, you screwed up. Not them. You run the ship, they don't. I can understand you disagree with me on that point, and the fact that you do is quite symptomatic of our times. At some point we completely lost the idea that we worked to make our lives better, and that those who helped us achieve that deserved more than a few apologies and be walked to the exit once we got bored of them.

    I don't think PA needed to drop PAR and PATV, or at least, that's really not how things were presented to us. The way I understood it was that Mike and Jerry had had enough of running PAR and PATV and wanted to refocus on their primary goals. Basically, I felt it like they had had enough of all of this so they threw it away. If it's not the case, they failed to explain what the case really was. In such a context I have to disagree with how this has all been handled, considering the news was dropped under a serving of dickerdoodle pictures and adds for new PA Pins. That's clumsy, at the very least.

    And for the record, I'm a business owner. Sure, it's not PA, and hasn't been there for 15 years, yet. The day I decide to do something else with my time, if I still have people working for me then, I'm pretty certain I'll let them in charge rather than apologize to them that I no longer care about what they do. It's not because it's business that it has to be unconsiderate. And that was my point all along.

  • KalazorKalazor Registered User regular
    PAR has been by far my favorite place for video game reading online. I'm sad to see it go, and in my mind, it will continue to be the benchmark for video game news, reporting, and opinion. To Ben and everyone else who contributed to this site, thank you. I hope to find your future work somewhere else, I'll be missing this site for some time.

  • thepuregamerthepuregamer Registered User regular
    I think your idea is basically the same as firing them. Penny Arcade is basically Jerry and Mike from a money generation standpoint. Most of their hits are from the comic and from the side work they do. If you take those 2 out of Penny Arcade, how much money do you think it generates? If it doesn't generate profit, what then? Are Jerry and Mike supposed to send money to a business they supposedly removed themselves from? So how is your idea even functional?

    Furthermore, unless there is some non-competing clause in their contract, Ben and Co can start their own version of PAR back up. The startup costs for a website are low and I am sure Mike and Jerry would link to them considering they already did link to SUSD, LRR, and EC.

    Private Business owners have no obligation to take long term losses for sides of their business that are not profitable and no longer fit their goals, just to keep some people employed. If Ben and the rest got what they felt was enough notice to land on their feet, then Mike and Jerry have done no wrong(I have no information on how long the people at Penny Arcade have known).

  • dennisdennis Registered User regular

    I just don't think you have an accurate idea of how PAR worked within PA. Granted, none of us really know the truth but what's likely is that it was intricately intertwined. They used PA's server, PA's forums, PA's tech people, PA's human resources people, PA's medical insurance and other benefits, PA's payroll, PA's ad buying people, PA's lawyers, PA's corporation (or whatever it is) status - I'm just going to stop there because those are the major ones but you could go on and on.

    You can't just say "okay, guys, just go off and do your thing." They'd basically have to do a SHIT TON of work to create a new business wholly out of nothing to run PAR. And it's incredibly likely they'd be a business that would not even have a prayer of making enough money to support all that stuff I mentioned above. It was feasible to do that as part of the larger PA business because there are a lot of sunk costs. All it did was take up a slice of the time/resources of an already existing organization. But you want to somehow disentangle that and make it its own thing that's able to pay its own bills a month down the road? If you stop and think about it, don't you realize how unlikely that seems?

    And that also illustrates why they dropped PAR and PATV. All that support staff was dedicating a chunk of time to both. So PA had to either expand more (hire more people) or refocus (cut out PAR and PATV). If they just hire more people, they have to have enough work to keep them profitable since now they're no riding off the sunk costs. But even with that, there's a problem with growing your company too big. It gets out of control and it makes management and cohesiveness harder. And every time you hire someone you're rolling the dice on how they'll fit into the culture of a small business. How often have we seen neat companies blow up and lose focus and eventually close their doors?

    So something had to give. Either Mike and Jerry stayed chained to past decisions for fear of ever firing someone and never pursued these projects they've been putting off for so long or...they did what they did.

  • dennisdennis Registered User regular
    edited December 2013

    Graham Stark from LRR posted that they got over a months notice ahead of the announcement. I'd have to guess Kuchera got even more, given that he's fired and they weren't (they are an independent company that does other things and won't be going under or anthing). And, again, we don't know the details so it's kind of wrongheaded to make a lot of judgments based on no knowledge. I wouldn't be surprised if they paid Kuchera through the rest of the year as severance. For better or worse, it's best for companies to make staffing changes before the new year to simplify administration. So, would some people still feel as bent out of shape if he was basically given the three months notice this would work out to?

    dennis on
  • The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter Rogue Jpeg Jockey Registered User regular
    This is too bad. I loved the unique mix of tabletop gaming, Digital gaming and general geekery.

    Looks like it's back to browsing separate sites for all of the above. Any suggestions anyone?

  • FriedZombieFriedZombie Registered User regular
    I really can't say this any other way: it's a real fucking shame that literally the only things that I paid attention to penny arcade for (sans PAX ticket news once they go on sale) is PAR, and the PATV. It's nice that at least the EC crew and the LoadingReadyRun guys are all still intact for now, but who is to say that will be the same for the future?

    Oh and Ben, I thought I would point out that while we can't pay you; I would love to offer you a soapbox granted a smaller one as a temp position for you at our website gaming-unleashed if you ever decide you need to fill your hours with good reviews and editorials while you look for a more permanent paying position.

    Look forward to all your future endeavors as always Ben and PM me on my twitter @friedzombie if you're interested.

  • MosesMoses Registered User regular
    Bummer, PAR and PATV were my two favorite at-work timekillers. I'm really sad to see those aspects of Penny Arcade ending... And in favor of some expanded comics that weren't particularly enjoyable for me.

    Ben, I hope you continue writing for a site that you enjoy. I've grown to appreciate your perspective on many things. Thanks for the words.

  • Dark JaguarDark Jaguar Registered User regular
    All I can say is I'll miss this news site, it seemed more trustworthy than most. I really don't "get" the whole pin thing, or why the PA guys are so obsessed with them lately. For that matter, I never really bothered with "PATV", as I would much rather get right to the article I want to read than wait for a video file to get to the only thing I'm interested in.

    I disagreed with Ben a number of times, namely on the constant defense of MS's attempts to shave away the already thin consumer rights we actually have for our games, all in the guide of "progress". However, I always appreciated his candor at least, and in articles that had little to do with such erosion, I found them very informative.

    I'll probably never buy one of those pins, but I'll continue to read the comics.

  • VenkmanVenkman Registered User regular
    So many people upset about Gabe's statements on transgendered people. It wasn't enough for him to learn he was wrong and grow to be a more informed person. It wasn't enough for him to apologize. After his statements from an admitted place of ignorance, he was attacked - AFTER he apologized - until he donated tens of thousands of dollars as an "apology". Only then, when the community had its pound of flesh - and $20,000 or so - were they reluctantly going to accept his apology. What was a teaching moment became bullying and extortion.

    None of you whining tightwads would have $20k to give as an "apology" - you guys bitch about $100 differences on consoles, $2 apps (while using $700 phones with $100 monthly contracts), and $5 micro-transactions in $60 video games. You spend thousands on gaming PCs that looks like Fast and Furious rejects, $100 on gaming mice, and then whine about a $10 price difference on multi-million dollar video games. You pirate games and movies, calling developers and studios greedy.

    Instead you can be all high and mighty from your anonymous accounts, accountable for nothing, pretending like you've never said something stupid or uninformed. Go suck an egg. When you get to be as public of a person as him, we'll see if you do better when you stumble. And we'll see if you are as generous with your wallet when the mob is coming for you.

    But I suspect you aren't as generous as Gabe. Sure, you'll buy video games when part of the proceeds go to charity, because you get games super cheap and feel good that you're somehow an activist and not a couch potato (when it's the developers who are really giving the money). But can you - WOULD you - donate enough money to buy a decent car when you've been called out for saying some ignorant things in public? I doubt it. I doubt I would.

    You guys are all talk. Gabe got called out for his words, took that hit, and tried to make amends. That's decent of him. I hope he learned something.

    But no, keep on trashing him in between sessions of GTA online and BF4. I'm sure your gamerscore makes you a wonderful person.

    And guess what? PA is a business. The owners can do whatever they want with it, including trim off portions of business they don't want anymore. You may not like it, but that's the world grown-ups live in. Ben is a big boy. He'll be fine.

    And if he can't get a job in the video games "journalism" business anymore, then that's on HIM. Not P.A.

  • dennisdennis Registered User regular
    BTW, people who think PA are "obsessed" with pins or pushing them to much: Jerry and Mike have already addressed this on multiple occasions. If they do something other than the comic, they have to spam the hell out of the news post to get people to even notice it. Did you miss reading that or did you just not believe it? If you read the PA forums thread for this (, there are two posters there who have been reading PA and posting to the forums for a decade who had no idea what the pins were. Seriously. That's why they spam. Some people hardly ever read the newspost or read it first thing in the day and not later updates (which is usually where pin ads go). Also, keep in mind if you read PA every comic day, that's over 150 newspost pages per year. Even if only 10% of them had pin "bullshit", it'd be 15 pages a year and it'd feel like a lot to someone who reads every newspost and update.

  • dzenithdzenith Registered User regular
    I think you forgot to take your meds this morning.

  • JariJari Registered User regular
    Finally a story by Ben Kuchera that I actually enjoyed reading.

  • cynical_bugcynical_bug Registered User regular
    I actually really liked PAR in the very early stages. After Ben Kuchera was hired it went down hill very fast. I don't know Ben as a person (I'd like to think that he is an agreeable sort) but coming from Kotaku it became very apparent that his job was simply to drive site traffic.

    Hot-button or highly controversial issues where brought up for no other reason than to stir up the hornet's nest. Actual informative articles gave way to more and more opinion columns. I'm not sure if this was again another shrewd attempt at using the "flammable content = page views" formula or whether it could just be indicative of the glaring problems with video game journalism. PAR and PA have had "symptoms" for a while. (Some of PA's questionable Kickstarter campaigns come to mind.)

    Either way, PAR, this "white knight" fell from grace in record time.

  • TubeTube Administrator, ClubPA admin
    You realise Ben was the lead on PAR from day one right?

  • st.creedst.creed Registered User regular
    Ben, sorry to see PAR ending - some of the articles weren't great, some were horrible, and some were the best articles in gaming journalism I've ever read and certainly changed my mind about a few issues. I will miss PAR a lot.

    As for the trolls on the page (@cynical bug and others): it's sad Ben didn't get better enemies, but you have to make do with what you got.

  • Mr.FahrenheitMr.Fahrenheit Registered User regular
    @ Jari

    That was pretty funny. Have fun Kuchera, I liked the articles about the inflated twitter accounts for that basketball game; here's hoping you can pull a Sessler

  • SiddownSiddown Registered User regular
    You realise Ben was the lead on PAR from day one right?

    I was a fan of Penny Arcade until those Mike and Jerry guys got involved...oh, wait.

  • CymCym Registered User regular
    Sorry to hear the news. I followed you here from Ars, Ben, and I expect that I'll follow you wherever you end up next. I didn't like everything you did, nor did I agree with you on everything, but your work was overwhelmingly worthwhile to me, and I'll take you over anyone else out there. I think Andrew was doing increasingly good work, too. Hope he lands on his feet, too.

    I'm a little bitter about the shutdown, and that I had to Google "PAR shutting down" to find out that the reasons for the change were buried at the bottom of a post right before a weekend. Maybe PAR readership is a fraction of PA readership, but I'd rather lose the comic than PAR, and I wish PA placed a little more importance on announcing that PAR, Extra Credits, PATV, SUSD, etc. were being discontinued.

    But there's enough internet hate and bitterness in this thread already without me adding more to it. If I ever see you around town at a restaurant or bar (do you get a chance to go to those with as many kids as you have?), I'll buy you a drink.

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