On Friday, the Twitter accounts of G4TV and G4’s Attack of the Show! and X-Play, two popular shows on the network, both posted the same cryptic teaser video, captioned with “We never stopped playing.” The video culminates with the numerals “2021.”
IGN, the game and entertainment publication owned by j2 Global’s Ziff Davis, also posted a version of the video (two minutes before the G4 account did). The teasers were timed for Comic-Con@Home, the first virtual streaming edition of the annual fan convention.
The g4tv.com website, which currently features a playable Pong game, is registered to Comcast-owned NBCUniversal Media. An NBCU rep declined to comment.
A source confirmed to Variety that the relaunch of G4 is coming out of Comcast Spectacor, the company’s sports and esports division whose main businesses are the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center arena. Comcast Spectacor last year announced that it’s building Fusion Arena, a 3,500-seat venue touted as “the largest new-construction, purpose-built esports arena in the Western Hemisphere.” The division also is home to esports team Philadelphia Fusion, which competes in Blizzard’s Overwatch League.
Comcast Spectacor recently hired two G4 alums. Brian Terwilliger, most recently at WWE and former producer for G4’s “Attack of the Show!”, joined in May 2020 as VP of programming and creative strategy, according to his LinkedIn profile. Blair Herter, who once worked on both “X-Play” and “Attack of the Show!”, joined Comcast Spectacor in June as VP of content partnerships and brand development.
The teaser campaign for G4 comes less than two weeks ahead of the Aug. 5 launch of VENN, a linear streaming network dedicated to gaming and pop culture, on Twitch, Twitter, Facebook Gaming and other platforms. VENN, the Video Game Entertainment and News Network, was co-founded by industry vets Ben Kusin and Ariel Horn and has raised funding from several prominent game execs.
In 2013, NBCU said it would rebrand G4 as the Esquire Network; the media company a few months later reversed course and pivoted Style Network to Esquire Network — before announcing the full shutdown of G4 in November 2014.
G4TV’s new website featuring Atari’s Pong, which also was referenced in the teaser video, is a nod to the network’s original launch in 2002, during which it broadcast a full week of matches of the classic low-fi videogame.
If you play the Pong game on g4tv.com and win (by scoring four points), a message appears that says, “You’re a winner! Congrats, Titan of Gaming. Enter your email and a corporate marketing plan will be in touch soon. His name is Phil. Phil will be in touch soon.”
Adam Sessler, who had co-hosted G4’s X-Play video game review series, responded to the reemergence of the G4 property with a tweet saying: “Woah, that’s a twitter account i didn’t expect to see again.”
Morgan Webb, another X-Play alum, commented: “I’m just impressed someone remembered the password to the twitter.”
And actress Olivia Munn, who started her career as a co-host of “Attack of the Show!,” joined in the excitement over the resurrection of G4, tweeting, “Oh hey now… #G4 #G4TV.”
As part of G4TV’s guerrilla promo campaign, entertainment journalists Friday received an email from the aforementioned “Phil” character (no last name), with the sender identifying themselves as a “respected corporate marketing professional.”
Here’s the text of the email, which had the subject line “G4ME ON!”:
Esteemed Journalist –
This is Phil, respected corporate marketing professional. I’m checking in with a courtesy note as you may have come across a smattering of unconfirmed rumors surrounding this video. Please check it out, as well as the below fun facts.
Fun fact! The G4TV Twitter account hasn’t tweeted since 2013. Well, I mean… it tweeted today. But before that, not since 2013!
Fun fact! G4, Attack of the Show, X-Play, Code Monkeys, Adam Sessler & Morgan Webb have all trended in the Top 10 on Twitter today (that’s good, right?)
Fun fact! G4TV.com is back online, too.
Fun fact! I really enjoyed your last [article/blog/vlog/tweet/rant]. Please keep up the good work!