A group of former Koktau writers have reunited to launch new video game website, Aftermath.
The worker-owned media company was co-founded by Nathan Grayson, Gita Jackson, Riley MacLeod, and Luke Plunkett, who’ll work with featured contributors Chris Person and Alex Jaffe and a roster of freelance writers to deliver breaking news, criticism and analysis, and “thought-provoking” editorial.
The founding team described Aftermath as a “continuation of the irreverent and hard-hitting journalism pioneered at Kotaku” and noted it will be an independent, subscription-based publication.
The Aftermath team will supplement the site’s editorial offering with two podcasts, including 52 Pickup, an exploration of DC Comics’ most ambitious and underrated series, hosted by Gita Jackson and Alex Jaffe.
Subscription options include a $7/month or $70/year base tier that will grant access to all articles and bonus podcast episodes. An additional $10/month or $100/year tier will also include access to commenting, a community Discord server, and regular staff Q&As.
Luke Plunkett told Game Developer the decision to shun corporate ownership was an easy choice despite the risks involved. “As a group, we’ve been through forced ownership changes, layoffs and mismanagement at the hands of private equity, so the decision to shun corporate ownership was a pretty easy one,” he said.
“While taking on the risk of launching a whole site ourselves has been slightly terrifying, it’s also been hugely exciting: learning the ins and outs of how a business works, designing the site and having lots of conversations about what we think a workplace should look like and how we get there. It’s been really empowering to basically create a company from the ground up.”
Aftermath co-founder saysthe ad-driven model that mostsites rely on is”collapsing”
Plunkett said the team is excited to see what a video game and culture website can become “when the people doing the writing also own the place,” and believes that pursuing a subscription-based model will empower both the Aftermath editorial team and theirreaders.
“The current ad-driven model most sites are built on is collapsing, and as that’s happening corporate ownership of media sites is becoming increasingly exploitative,” added Plunkett. “Anyone who has tried to read a games site lately would know it’s exhausting for the audience to try to read a post covered in ads, and it’s exhausting for journalists to be constantly asked to chase stories just to shovel them into search engine results and social media feeds.”
“By shifting to a subscription-based model, readers will get a website that isn’t full of popup ads and articles stuffed with search engine keywords. And as writers, we’ll only be answering to one group of people: our audience.”
Looking ahead to the new year, Plunkett and his fellow co-founders are targeting stability, but if Aftermath hits the ground running there’s a chance the nascent websitecould become home to other writers from across the industry.
“We started this site because we all just wanted a nice, stable place to be able to continue doing the work that we (and hopefully readers!) love,” said Plunkett. “Longer-term we’d love to be successful enough to bring on more writers and freelancers, but for 2024 we’d just like to have established ourselves, written some good stories and hopefully made some readers happy.”