Word has it that G4 handed pink slips to over a dozen X-Play staff members this afternoon. We’re hearing that the layoffs precede a show slowdown — only a few episodes will air weekly, with reruns filling in the gaps between new stuff.
Confirmation seemingly came from G4’s games editorial manager Abbie Heppe, who tweeted the sad news around an hour ago. She mentioned that her last day with X-Play will be March 2. (She has since deleted the tweet.)
In December, G4 messed with X-Play’s length, bringing it to a hefty hour with an emphasis on humor and increased analysis. It was presented three times over the course of a week. In January, G4’s president Neil Tiles wrote that the goal of the experiment was to make the “60 minute daily show trial period a permanent format at some point in 2009.” He added later that the reason G4 didn’t have more than two videogame related shows was “… simply due to the fact that the gaming shows in the past didn’t have enough people watching them to support continuing them.”
[Update: According to a G4 statement to Kotaku, X-Play will go down to three original weekly shows starting March 2.]
G4 is returning AOTS and X-Play to their former production schedules and, starting March 2nd, AOTS will air 4 originals per week and X-Play 3 originals per week. While the company does not comment on personnel matters, we can confirm that producing fewer episodes has resulted in a decrease in staff. Savings resulting from this move will go directly towards producing more original programming in 2009. This is not a budget cut. G4 remains dedicated to these core franchises.