Are we the product of some cosmic coincidence?
March 7, 2024 7:20 AM   Subscribe

Rooster Teeth is shutting down. Warner Bros. Discovery is ending the Austin-based media enterprise after 21 years.
posted by doctornemo (31 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Warner is doing a stellar job of stomping on their own testicles.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 7:38 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]

Indie games aren't faring much better under Warner, either.
posted by May Kasahara at 7:47 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]

Well, can't say I've enjoyed anything from them in the past five years, but, man the Warner Bros. fire sale just keeps going. Ugh.
posted by pan at 7:51 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]

Warner is doing a stellar job of stomping on their own testicles.

that doesn't seem physically possible

posted by logicpunk at 7:54 AM on March 7 [7 favorites]

posted by Gelatin at 7:58 AM on March 7

I know I'm only a data-point of one, but, until right now, I had never heard of Rooster Teeth nor any of their offerings.

But, regardless, yeah, WBD is certainly doing a stellar job of hollowing-out itself.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:59 AM on March 7 [10 favorites]


I got into their DnD podcast in the last year, but there's a chance it will survive.
posted by drezdn at 8:09 AM on March 7

Last year I got my brother-in-law a paid subscription to Black Box Down literally one episode before they announced they were ending the show. Great podcast if you’re an airplane nerd, hopefully the archives will still be up.

It never occurred to me that an indie games media network would rate big enough to be on the radar of WBD, but it’s really just capitalism eating itself over and over
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:14 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

I saw Rooster Teeth pop up yesterday and though "Oh wow, Ii guess they're trying to make a revival, probably still not for me though" but it was the opposite. Whether it was for me or not, it's really tiring what WB is doing here. Plenty of other media companies pulling similar shit, deleting games fro mstores with a policy to never transfer that stuff back to the creators.

Reminder that it is immorally wrong to buy media from companies like WB and it is your moral duty to watch any media you can through means that do not give money to these companies. If you're thinking that it's good to give money for the art you see, that's very nice notion and all but has no meaning in our current economic system. There is no way for your money, given to a corporation like WB, to actually reach the hands of a worker who deserves it. The economy is simply not set up that way, money cannot be allowed to flow in that direction by those who control it.

Sharing art is always good. Spending with money is rarely anything but convoluted bad.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:19 AM on March 7 [10 favorites]

The principals should leave and go it alone again, while they still have a lot of fans and followers, do a Deadspin/Aftermath/Second Wind.

Oh, I know! They could create a machinima comedy series based on some popular FPS! Like maybe Team Fortress 2? They could call it BLU vs RED....
posted by JHarris at 8:40 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

Thorzdad, Rooster Teeth is - was, sigh - an unusual thing. It started off as some gamers making funny machinima videos, then grew, adding new media, people, and projects. RT had such a great sense of fun.

Check the linked Wikipedia article for more.
posted by doctornemo at 8:40 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]

the then-called World Wide Web

Um what? That's still the name. Am I missing something? Sure, people often conflate different parts of the internet and misname things, but the web is still the web. Are they being goofy just because we often shorten it to 'web'? But even in 2003 we rarely said the whole thing out loud. Sorry, I know this isn't really related to the content of the message but I'm just baffled as to why they would open their important letter this way.

As for WB, I hope they manage to destroy themselves and get out of the way of smaller media companies.
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:41 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]

Not to contribute to the derail, but yes, it's still the World Wide Web, and it's still just one (very popular) service built atop the internet infrastructure. SaltySalticid said it well, but I wanted to echo their statement just because I feel that strongly about it, no matter what the announcement says.
posted by JHarris at 8:45 AM on March 7

If the remaining creators banded together and started anew with fresh IPs, they could call it Phoenix Teeth!

in the unlikely event that any of them are reading this and think these jokes could somehow be good ideas, take them, I don't mind, just think of me if such a project takes off
posted by JHarris at 8:50 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

In November of 2014 Rooster Teeth was acquired by Fullscreen Media, a company that had been acquired by AT&T only earlier that fall as part of AT&T's vision to move from providing network/telephony to becoming a major player in content. This was a big trend at the time IIRC Verizon bought up Huffington Post/AOL/Yahoo and a bunch of digital media companies and Comcast acquiring NBC/Universal. These new owners did not understand what they had bought, didn't know how to manage it and generally overpaid for all of it. T-Mobile on account of being too cash starved and generally ignored / hated by their German Deutsche Telecom overlords to make such terrible investments would become incredibly successful in doubling down on network services and their core business.

The guys who started Rooster Teeth appear to have cashed in at the right time. The fact that it continued to plod along for this long is an absolute miracle given the scandals and lack of new hits. The former being the reason they should have been shuttered a long time ago and the later being the reason that the industry shut them down.
posted by interogative mood at 9:07 AM on March 7 [8 favorites]

I watched a bunch of seasons of Red vs Blue years and years ago and enjoyed the hell out of it. Tried to go back to it recently and didn't connect with it like I had previously. Which is fine, I had fun the first time around.
posted by hippybear at 9:12 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

Scandals? Evidently there's a part of the story I've missed, let me have a look--ah. What a timely article, it went up yesterday.
posted by JHarris at 9:14 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]

I've been on the sidelines of all this AT&T/Warner kerfuffle and it all comes down to debt payments and Wall Street. The play that AT&T was making to own Content/Distro/Network is a solid one. Ensure long term utility of network services by providing a self-owned way to stream highly desirable bits that you own as well.

But.... then Wall Street gets annoyed that you've taken on debt without immediate return this quarter and "are moving away from your core biz because phone sales are slipping because people aren't upgrading as frequently". So... they spin off their newly acquired assets at a loss. And with Warner the cycle is repeating because Discovery needs to shed their debt load.

It's makes sense in the world of magical fictional capital spreadsheets, but it's a rock stupid way to build a business.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:36 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]

Yeah, this comes across as more of a mercy killing more than anything, especially given the abuse and harassment endemic to the studio.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:43 AM on March 7

I don't know anything about this outfit (not a gamer) but I just seconds ago, through gritted teeth, signed up for a monthly contract with the detested WB/Discovery+ so that I (and my cycling fan daughter) can watch a season of bicycle racing. Here in Sweden they have basically a monopoly now, and the yearly rate is an 880% increase over what I paid for the equivalent service last year through GCN+. If I hadn't got my daughter hooked I wouldn't have bothered and would have satisfied myself with iffy pirate streams here and there, but as a parent need to encourage those shared interests and this is the only game in town.
posted by St. Oops at 9:49 AM on March 7

And with Warner the cycle is repeating because Discovery needs to shed their debt load.

The whole history of Warner is an endless cycle of them trying to find bigger and bigger suckers to offload their crushing debt onto.

Steve Case merging AOL and Warner was one of the most boneheaded moves in the history of corporate America, but at least he wasn’t dumb enough to try to run the studio personally, unlike Zaslav.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:08 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]

Tried to go back to it recently and didn't connect with it like I had previously. Which is fine, I had fun the first time around.

That was my feeling too. When I was the right age to enjoy it, I enjoyed the hell out of it.
posted by mhoye at 11:20 AM on March 7

This whole company and all the names in the articles are new to me too - what a fragmented world! I hate seeing small companies assimilated like this , but in this case it sounds like it was a mess from the start. Working for any company whose plan is to get bought and let the owners cash out is a red flag to older wiser me.
posted by caviar2d2 at 11:21 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

You ever wonder why they're here?
posted by The otter lady at 1:47 PM on March 7 [4 favorites]

St. Oops, I am so mad about GCN+. Now have to subscribe to two services here in the US and that still doesn't get me the Giro. GCN+ was so great.
posted by sepviva at 2:00 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

For posterity, here's Red Vs. Blue, Season One, Episode 1 referred to in the title.

Kinda holds up, honestly.
posted by mhoye at 3:31 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]

I keep doing this bit a lot lately, across different social media, etc., but:

posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:51 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

At any mention of an ice cream social (I currently work at a community college, so it happens), I compulsively respond with a slightly baffled "Ice cream social?"

(This was so thoroughly stuck in my head that I used it across a ten-ish year period without being able to recall where the phrase (with that particular intonation) was from. Thank goodness it's in the first episode of Red vs Blue, else it probably would've taken me much longer to suss out.)
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:44 PM on March 7 [4 favorites]

There was a teary staff goodbye livestream a few hours ago.
posted by ovvl at 5:48 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]

ANMA is a great podcast featuring two of the Rooster Teeth founders, mostly just riffing on past experiences and memories of Austin. It’s not subject matter I care for but I’ve always been down for listening to them. Their camaraderie, humor, and wit have kept me listening. Founders Gustavo, Geoff, & Burnie were the creative core of their pod space. Any tight group of friends can be fun to sit in on and listen to, regardless of subject matter. But RT was kind of tech, video game, and culture centric so fit nicely in my wheelhouse.
Since discovering them It’s been a weekly enjoyment of mine for prolly fifteen years. I’m sure they’ll be bummed about the demise of their company. But honestly I’ve never really engaged with any RT content besides the pods. Hope ANMA podcast and (for drezdn’s sake) Tales from the Stinky Dragon can survive.
posted by GrandPunkRailroad at 8:21 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]

hippybear: "I watched a bunch of seasons of Red vs Blue years and years ago and enjoyed the hell out of it. Tried to go back to it recently and didn't connect with it like I had previously. Which is fine, I had fun the first time around."

I didn't keep up with it consistently after the original season, but there are some gems in there. I still love the epic slapstick of the fight with Tex, and the animated short was pretty funny, too.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:38 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

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