Four years after the popular gaming forum, ResetEra, was born from the ashes of NeoGAF, it has been sold to a network of Swedish sports sites for a whopping $ 4.5 million. While the agreement puts a price on the previously non-quantifiable value of discussions such as, “How Blizzard got away with selling Overwatch for $ 60, ”It also underscores the messy dynamics of how the internet makes money and who can make money on it.
ResetEra was originally formed in 2017 after gaming forum NeoGAF imploded following charges of sexual misconduct against this site. While NeoGAF’s owner denied the allegations, moderators stopped in droves and many users flocked to the newly created ResetEra in an attempt to create a space to discuss games it would be less toxic and more inclusive.
“ResetEra.com is another step in our strategy to grow through acquisitions and create more relevant communities with attractive, growing audiences that many companies want to expose themselves to,” said Björn Mannerqvist, CEO of Buyer, MOBA Network, in a press release announcing the sale.
According to MOBA Network – a group of forums where players share information and strategy for competitive games like Dota 2—ResetEra has over 45 million forum posts and about 55,000 members. This apparently brought in about $ 700,000 in advertising revenue over the last year, which the company claims accounts for 80% EBITDA profit margin. In other words, ResetEra is cheap and earns a decent amount.
MOBA and ResetEra did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
How successful ResetERA has been in its mandate to remove toxicity and be more inclusive is still up for debate, but gaming industry insiders like Game Awards founder Geoff Keighley and others have helped establish it over the years as an internet hotspot to breaking news and discussions around recent gaming controversies. Now it seems that at least one person will earn good on this reputation.
User Cerium, the only owner who went into the sale, tried to reassure the users an update today that nothing would change meaningfully for them. “The staff will maintain total independence when it comes to moderation and the day-to-day management of the place,” they wrote. “That independence will be considered absolutely sacred, in the same way that editorial independence is treated in journalistic publications.”
Cerium also said the existing tech team would figure out their own agreements with MOBA, while volunteer moderators would still not be compensated. They also promised users that their private data (ResetEra requires a verified email address) would not be misused.
“MOBA Network is not in the user data business and will never be,” Cerium wrote. “They are not going to sell your data. Nothing will change how your data is handled and protected. ”
Many ResetEra posters responded positively and congratulated Cerium on the sale. Others shared concerns about whether this would affect moderation when political issues come up. “I do not want all right posts to be encouraged and not immediately banned,” one wrote.
Another cheeky suggested, “anyone with more than 10,000 jobs should also be paid,” a mood that blossomed into his own satirical thread. One person wrote, “If modernity does not get paid, what chance do we have?”