What the hell happened to the Escapist?

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I've only been gone for a little while, but Jesus Christ. It seems like there hasn't been any news posted in forever, half the content seems to be gone, and the forums are fucked as hell. What happened?

Gamergate caused a huge rift that drove off many of the regular posters and a fair number of contributors. Moviebob went kinda nuts and got fired, Jim Sterling and Gavin went solo, and lot of others either left or got cut, and the tech team was laid off. So the place is pretty much a husk now.

Irrelevance happened.

Between Reddit, Youtube and Patreon, not to mention direct competitors like Kotaku and whatnot, this site doesn't have much to offer to either viewers or content creators.

Yeah, I logged back on for the first time in over 3 years just now. During that time I would still lurk for the news articles every and now and again but without those the site is just adrift in a sea of obscurity on a Yahtzee raft now.

Look at the weekly content schedule on the main page, and that will tell you everything that you need to know, really.

What happened to all of the contributors is basically just politics, a desire to go independent, and probably not being able to pay them anymore.

The loss of the news articles hurts the most for me, though. I always thought this site was a pretty great place for news and information, and thats gone, too. Now the entire news column is little more than a list of out-of-date deals, trying to get me to buy a Raspberry Pi, and videos from The Escapist's golden age of content. Disappointing.

It all went down the toilet over a longer period. For me the real start of decline was when jim sterling left. Since then there was an exodus of prime content. Over the last 3-4 months though it got really bad. They are not even pretending anymore to bring "news updates".

Ive never been an 'active' member but every since signing up Ive always checked out the escapist 1-2 times a week. I am sad to see it go.

Every time I click on the escapist bookmark I wonder: "is this the time when the site is finally down and I will get a connection error?".

If Zero Punctuation wasn't still here I probably wouldn't be here either. I used to post on forums every noe and then but for the past couple of years there have been less and less threads I find worth commenting on (I won't post just for the sake of it)

Everybody got fired. Content creators, journalists, tech team. Why is a point of contention.

Youtube, and content leaving for solo work.

Johnny Novgorod:
Everybody got fired. Content creators, journalists, tech team. Why is a point of contention.

This is by far the best answer I think. All the other things people mentioned didn't help but new people could have been hired to replace Jim, Bob or whoever else left. The current owners however, don't want to spend a dime on this website and won't even let anyone install a captcha, even if some users or mods around here probably would do it for free. Everybody besides Yahtzee got fired as well.

cjspyres:
What happened?

*shrug*, it died. the Escapist is a living fossil, a website from a different era in the Internet's history and it failed to stay relevant. Some of this was the various management decisions made by the site but honestly a lot is just that aggregate 'whole of the buffalo' sites like this are dead.

I mean, sure the 'reason' is that they drove away content creators and a lot of long time users and so on, but the root cause of that being a death spiral rather than churn is that sites like this are simply outdated.

EscapistAccount:
sites like this are simply outdated.

Nope. Defy just sucks ass. The internet is more than YouTube and Twitter.

Arnoxthe1:

EscapistAccount:
sites like this are simply outdated.

Nope. Defy just sucks ass.

I'm not sure gaming can carry a site like this any more, it's hardly so niche it needs special gaming websites for people to make gaming jokes on, that shit's on Reddit, Facebook and in newspaper websites these days. About the only gaming website I still know of worth a damn is kinda sorta Kotaku.

The internet is more than YouTube and Twitter.

In theory yes, in practice most of the Internet's page views are to a small selection of entertainment hubs, mail providers and shopping sites. The Internet may be more but there aren't a lot of people there and that's why the Escapist died. Gaming isn't a special interest any more, damn near everyone games so gaming is on those big mainstream sites and I mean, what does the Escapist do that Reddit and Youtube don't?

I mean honest question; imagine Defy pumped hundreds of thousands into the Escapist, hired new content and so on. Do you actually think it would drive huge numbers of people to come here?

Johnny Novgorod:
Everybody got fired. Content creators, journalists, tech team. Why is a point of contention.

This pretty much sums it up. Personally I would chalk it up to mismanagement, but that's just me.

1. Major posters fled into user groups/forum games.
2. Ponies divided/drove out big chunks of the communities.
3. The Space Wizards 3 Ending did as the ponies did.
4. Gamergate did as Space Wizards 3 did.
5. Major content creators left.
6. The parent company continues to neglect us.

EscapistAccount:
I mean honest question; imagine Defy pumped hundreds of thousands into the Escapist, hired new content and so on. Do you actually think it would drive huge numbers of people to come here?

Depends on the content they hired. If it's providers like Top 10 with Lisa Foiles then no, it wouldn't succeed. If it's providers like EmCeeProphIt, Noah-Caldwell Gervais, Yahtzee, and Grey and Cory, then yes. Furthermore, if they're a good news source then people will also come just to see what's going on and to perhaps comment.

Ultimately it won't come down to just one thing. It will come down to a multitude of things. People aren't going to come to the site and comment just for one content provider that's good. If there's a lot of great content to consume though and good news and fun forum games and etc., people will come. And besides, did you know a quarter of the people that watch Yahtzee come here just to see it first? You can work with that number. And that's just ONE content provider. Imagine five of them. And news. And great comics. And etc. By making The Escapist a sort of one-stop-shop, it provides something that's very valuable. Something that Valve cashed in on heavily a long time ago. Convenience.

And as for Reddit, it's purely user-driven and very non-professional, so if people want more than what someone posts (and reposts) on Reddit then people are out of luck. Defy screwed everything up. Their userbase was going quite steady until they started axing everyone. It's like they shot themselves purposefully in the foot. No, not the foot. The neck.

PureChaos:
If Zero Punctuation wasn't still here I probably wouldn't be here either. I used to post on forums every now and then, but for the past couple of years, there have been less and less threads I find worth commenting on. (I won't post just for the sake of it)

Same here, I mean yes, I post here, but I also do it because Erin Dies Alone doesn't have a comment thread yet.

cjspyres:
I've only been gone for a little while, but Jesus Christ. It seems like there hasn't been any news posted in forever, half the content seems to be gone, and the forums are fucked as hell. What happened?

Where do we start? Other posters could do it better, but I can understand coming back and either looking at the Weekly Schedule, wondering why it's a ghost town, or looking at the site and going "WHY IS EVERYTHING EITHER MISSING OR ON FIRE?!". I would blame the blowback GamerGate caused (which I can summarize as someone getting upset and assuming that all gaming journalists are sexist, cruel people because of what a few people did, and the internet reacting to the journalists reactions), some of the creators got annoyed that they weren't getting paid, so they either vanished, or left and went to do their own thing. Erin Dies Alone has it's own site now, Rob of UR does weekly or monthly RP podcasts, Extra Credits is still doing what they do, in addition to a segment they do called Extra History, where they talk about history in an interesting way, and a fair amount of others have a Patreon now. Defy screwed people over, I wonder how this site is even still here some days. I like coming here, but I also want this site to get better. Looking at the Most Popular and Weekly Schedule is...depressing at times. But we need not go speaking of depressing subjects. Let us speak of better things.

There's no budget and no tech team. We're on a wing and a prayer.

Souplex:
1. Major posters fled into user groups/forum games.
2. Ponies divided/drove out big chunks of the communities.
3. The Space Wizards 3 Ending did as the ponies did.
4. Gamergate did as Space Wizards 3 did.
5. Major content creators left.
6. The parent company continues to neglect us.

Man, I missed the Pony Purge...

Should have known the site was going down the shitter when they never paid Extra Credits, and then tried taking fundraiser money that they raised for medical expenses of a member of the team.

A business ran by toxic, greedy people will always eventually fail.

Tranquility:
Should have known the site was going down the shitter when they never paid Extra Credits, and then tried taking fundraiser money that they raised for medical expenses of a member of the team.

A business ran by toxic, greedy people will always eventually fail.

Actually the Escapist has changed hands from Themsis Media to Defy Media since that happened. So the site is being run by different toxic and greedy people that, astoundingly, care even less about it.

I posted a thread like this not long ago, I'm basically in mourning, I have a lot of nostalgia tied up in the Escapist, I remember the community being the most reasonable one I ever found (on the whole) and the content in the golden age kept me coming back basically every day (even if I didn't post much) I find myself wondering, is there any hope for The Escapist? Even if new, better management took over tomorrow, has the damage been done?

Redlin5:
There's no budget and no tech team. We're on a wing and a prayer.

And we were almost there. Such a shame.
I don't see very many posters from my age around anymore. I imagine we all grew up and simply moved on from a site that was lefton its own by a parent company that decided to just let it drift until it sank.

Neonbob:

Redlin5:
There's no budget and no tech team. We're on a wing and a prayer.

And we were almost there. Such a shame.
I don't see very many posters from my age around anymore. I imagine we all grew up and simply moved on from a site that was lefton its own by a parent company that decided to just let it drift until it sank.

I'm too stubborn to ever leave.

Gamergate happened. August 2014. That caused Jim Sterling to leave the site earlier than he would've otherwise and not amicably either. That's October 2014 IIRC. If he left on good terms later on the site probably wouldn't have been hurt much but that wasn't what happened. Ownership, Alex Macris in particular, polarized Jim Sterling, Sterling made that quite clear when he left and when he left he took about a third of all site traffic with him, permanently. The site never rebounded and never had as much traffic as the month before Jim left. It then axed off its most popular content creator not named "Yahtzee", who was Moviebob. Feb 2015. Bob wrote at least four articles a week and posted at least two videos a week so that a big blow. It doesn't help that the EiC and the three most productive writers on staff were axed just a few weeks before Bob was. Escapist was pretty barren for a few months and as a solution management mostly just paid people from Youtube to post their stuff here a week earlier, which didn't work in driving site traffic up. The damage was done.

Fast forward through to 2016, some have already left of their own accord and and almost everybody remaining was fired, including, quite inexplicibly, the very reliable tech staff. How do you run a site without tech support? The answer is that you don't. I remember the most popular remaining contributors, Grey Carter and Cory Rydell, expressing that they think somebody just forgot to tell them that they were fired when this purge occurred. The very few remaining content creators were fired in 2017 with the exception of Yahtzee and the writer of Garwulf's Corner. I like his articles but I figure the only reason for keeping Marks around is that he has blackmail on somebody or somebody forgot he still works here and his pay is just issued automatically.

So yeah, that's how we got here. Ignore the forum stuff. That drives some traffic, definitey, but the majority is content driven. Just like most people who watch a Youtube video will never scroll down to read the comments people weren't like that here.

Oh, and Alex Macris, the guy who used to own the site, is a complete douchebag according to pretty much everybody who ever worked for him. Russ Pitts and Susan Arendt have both given severe condemnations of his behaviours, which includes cheating contributors out of payment, while Greg Tito has definitely not shown any love for him that I've ever seen and plenty of writers have said he was a dick as well. He was the one who tried to take advantage of Gamergate and his gambit objectively failed, polarizing Jim Sterling and leading to the downfall of the site. He sold the site sometime this year or last year for pennies on the dollar of what he would have gotten if he had sold it before Gamergate and most likely if he had just not intervened during Gamergate.

The Escapist was on a slow but gradual backslide for a few years prior to Gamergate but, ironically, the site was turning it around and starting to raise their numbers again just as it started.

Neonbob:

Redlin5:
There's no budget and no tech team. We're on a wing and a prayer.

And we were almost there. Such a shame.
I don't see very many posters from my age around anymore. I imagine we all grew up and simply moved on from a site that was lefton its own by a parent company that decided to just let it drift until it sank.

Souplex:

Neonbob:

Redlin5:
There's no budget and no tech team. We're on a wing and a prayer.

And we were almost there. Such a shame.
I don't see very many posters from my age around anymore. I imagine we all grew up and simply moved on from a site that was lefton its own by a parent company that decided to just let it drift until it sank.

I'm too stubborn to ever leave.

^^^ THIS

Although for different reasons I suspect.

Self-explanatory if you stop and think about it.

cjspyres:
I've only been gone for a little while, but Jesus Christ. It seems like there hasn't been any news posted in forever, half the content seems to be gone, and the forums are fucked as hell. What happened?

You left. You happy? You happy with the wasteland your previous departure created?!? :)

OT: Human nature happened. Those in charge of the site (Defy Media) bought the site out but then did nothing with their investment. The vast majority of the contributors left and a small (but incredibly vocal) portion of the site started decrying any and all attempts from various users to get the place back on track again. The forums are now split into two groups, those who post in the regular forums trying to carry on as normal, and those who post in the rules-free Wild West forum who complain about their rules-free forum being rules free. And yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds but as you have said yourself, you haven't been around for the last few months.

It's fine.

image

2014 hit The Escapist like a freight train.

Zeo quinn cause gamergate which made thegsme industry implode.

I don't why they just shut the Escapist down at this point, it's on life-support. It can't be making money

Hazy992:
I don't why they just shut the Escapist down at this point, it's on life-support. It can't be making money

Which makes me wonder how the Hell they're keeping Yahtzee on board. With the news articles all but dead now his videos are literally the only draw the site has. And if you're willing to wait a week you can just watch them on Youtube anyway.

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