The Escapist Magazine posted up an open letter to the community on October 20th, 2017. The letter was likely buried under a lot of the commotion rising up out of the dredge of NeoGaf’s impious antics, but it essentially states that just about all the staff other than Yahtzee has been laid off, and they don’t know how much longer the site will be active.
The open letter notes that the site is now running on financial fumes and is operated through volunteer work due to the layoffs…
“It is with regret that, to our knowledge, that all paid staff have been relieved of their duties, with the apparent exception of Yahtzee, The Escapist’s streaming staff, and Encaen for a few contracted hours a month. We won’t beat around the bush, it is a serious situation. We can’t promise that The Escapist will last forever; it may have years left in it, or it may disappear tomorrow. What we can say is we will do our utmost to keep this site running in an orderly fashion, for as long as it stays online.”
The site may shift into operating on volunteer-contributed content.
The site has been in continual decline after seeing a surge in activity during the height of #GamerGate, given that it was one of the only few sites that gave the consumer revolt some fair harboring on their forums.
Of course, the site couldn’t maintain what little momentum it picked up during the 2014 escapades and eventually it tapered off and fizzled. Back in spring of 2016 DVS Gaming reported that the magazine was hit with a number of layoffs, following the closure of GameTrailers and other Defy Media subsidiaries.
Things became even more dire for The Escapist when some controversial articles about Star Citizen were published, causing a legal firestorm to erupt. Earlier this year in March, Roberts Space Industries and The Escapist announced that they were removing the articles containing testimonies from former employees. Some felt that RSI had used their lawyers to pressure The Escapist into removing the articles, others believed that they had come to some sort of financial arrangement.
Regardless, the site continued to dwindle in its presence, losing key staff along the way, and eventually coming to a point where they’re now hemorrhaging staff and money.
The parent company, Defy Media, has turned majority of its attention toward the YouTube space and their Smosh Games offshoot, especially after raising $70 million from venture capitalist last year in September to continue building their YouTube brands, as reported by Re/Code.
Of course, the company’s YouTube branch hasn’t been completely clean. Recently the creator of Honest Trailers, Andy Signore, was fired for sexual misconduct, putting a blight on the parent company Defy Media in the process.
There’s no telling how long The Escapist will continue to operate working on a skeletal crew, but it doesn’t seem like it’ll be in operation for long.