Just saw on Metafilter that The Escapist has fired Nick Calandra, who helped revive the site after they threw their lot in on the side of Gamergate during that whole fiasco. In summary, it took a huge amount of effort and good will on their part to recover, and that they did was largely because of Calandra, and long-time Escapist video maker Ben Croshaw, a.k.a. Yahtzee, the maker of the 16-year-running Zero Punctuation. Croshaw has left the site too, which is difficult for him because The Escapist owns the rights to ZP. I think he’ll probably bounce back from it, ZP is nothing without Crowshaw, seeing as how it’s inextricably tied up with his voice, editing, art style and sense of humor, all of that is a lot more recognizable than the name “Zero Punctuation,” and it’s all him, but it does mean having to start from scratch without a link from the old site, just hoping that his fanbase can locate him again.
(On Metafilter, people are mentioning that Croshaw was one of the voices both-sides-ing Gamergate, which is something I had not been aware of when I linked to him here in the past. I do think people are allowed to change, although I haven’t seen him say anything about it since. Mind you, his general style isn’t hugely appealing to me, so I probably still won’t be linking to him that much in the future.)
The word is that Calandra is taking Croshaw and possibly other people and may end up “doing a Defector,” start an independent site with the evicted/departing talent. Getting creators out from under the thumb of having to give up control in order to chase startup money is good, generally, and I wish them well on that.
“Aftermath” in the title doesn’t refer to the aftermath of the collapse of The Escapist, but to a separate thing that some people from Kotaku have started, for similar reasons to the Defector. In fact even moreso, since Kotaku is owned by the people who own Deadspin. Luke Plunkett, who I’ve linked to before, is among them.
Lately we’ve put Kent Drebnar’s news recap feature here on hold, on the grounds that it’s a lot of work for relatively little reader interest, but maybe we should revive it, with an emphasis on these new gaming outlets? It is a thought. Among the Aquatic Life Sizes of gaming journalism Set Side B weighs in at a mere Guppy, but supposedly any link helps increase Google ranking.
However, I am still concerned. There’s almost always something to be concerned about in this internet age, after all. My biggest worry about a proliferation of gaming sites is that many of them are going to go with hard paywalls. This is understandable, people gotta eat after all, but there are only so many dollars out there for these places to chase, and proportionately very few of them are in my pocket. I know that I feel strong qualms about linking to articles that most of my readers won’t be able to read.
Update: the name of the new venture is Second Wind. They already have a Patreon, a Youtube channel and a Twitch channel. They say they’ll be hosting a livestream today at Noon US Eastern with information on their plans. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they will be successful! Here’s a link to the stream, for when it goes live.