Breaking news is happening more and more often on socail media as people, groups and collectives choose to speak first to the people who are their fans and have connected with them. This is what happened this evening as the ExtraCreditTeam used Facebook and Twitter to announce they have parted company with The Escapist.
Statement taken from the Facebook status page:
I’m sorry about a lot of things over the last month. I’m sorry that I’ve been incommunicative. I’m sorry that I’ve been snappish. I’m sorry that I haven’t talked to you about what’s been going on. It’s been a rough few weeks, but I can finally talk about it, so here’s what’s been happening with us…
(this may take a bit, I’m sorry for spamming you too…)
When Allison hurt her arm all I wanted was to help her. I believe that a person has a responsibility to those near them and you should feel shame when you can’t live up to that responsibility…but I couldn’t. I was near destitute. I had spent all my money on the show.
Dan and I work on it for free and I pay Allison’s salary out of pocket each month, then, in turn, The Escapist was supposed to pay us for our work – not much, but enough to cover Allison’s wages – unfortunately they were never able to.
When Allison hurt her arm, The Escapist had only paid us for four episodes over the course of a year. That meant I was down $20,000. That was the $20,000 I could have put in to help Allison. That was the $20,000 I would have used to get her surgery while figuring out how I could earn more money. It hurt that I couldn’t tell you that then but I was asked not to.
I felt so bad asking without being able to do more than sell a computer and call in old debts…but you taught me a lesson in humanity and the goodness of people. I had never lost my faith in mankind, but that first Rockethub week you redoubled it.
And that was truly one of the greatest weeks of my life. Better than releasing games, better than lecturing in the halls of GDC. I really can never say thank you enough.
But since then things have not gone so well. We joined The Escapist because we believed in what was going on there. We believed in the idea of examining games more thoroughly, whether it was Yahtzee’s blunt honesty or ENN delivering game news, we liked the idea that it was a place where consumers and developers could have a real conversation about games. We believed we were all in this together, fighting for the same ideals and goals.
We asked the guys at The Escapist if we could trade some of the debt they owed us for the rights to our intellectual property back if they weren’t going to be able to pay us so we could do things like sell t-shirts or write a book. We thought this was going to be an easy discussion. Instead they responded by telling us that they felt that they were entitled to 75% of the Rockethub money, thus their debt was covered and, despite not paying us for nearly a year, we owed them $9500 dollars
What followed was weeks of legal wrangling, lies and muck. Unless you guys really care about the details I won’t go over them here. I do think The Escapist does some good, and I wouldn’t want to destroy what good it does with how they operate their business. I’m going to work under the idea that our situation was unique and that their other content creators are paid regularly and don’t have a contract that was as onerous as ours.
Again: we don’t want to add to the damage done. I’m already kind of heartbroken that things turned out this way. I had faith in what The Escapist stood for. That faith is in tatters, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t good people doing good things for The Escapist.
What matters is that the show won’t stop. We’ll be releasing it on YouTube every Thursday until we find another site to pick it up. We’ll be posting links to here and on our twitter feed whenever a new episode goes up…but we’ll be counting on you guys to help let people know.
More of the issue esp around money outstanding and the nature of the contracts signed was posted about on twitter. That The Escapist held the rights to all the Intellectual Property rights associated with the Extra Credits show.
(I’ve now spent more on lawyers than we were ever paid for the show…this isn’t what I wanted at all)
The Escapist is still claiming our IP and our back catalog of episodes as “work for hire” though we weren’t paid ;_(
Extra Credits is a show which I have always watched, the content being some of the best which I have see discussing female gamers, gender in games, how achievements play a part in the gaming experience, the socail impacts of games as we learn about the psychology of gaming and how it can be used in other areas of life.
When 1 part of that team needed surgery the many fans of the show who want to see the show go one, chipped in to make it happen and frankly it is galling to read that the powers at be at The escapist tried to say they had a right to that money, esp when they had not been for filling their end of the contract which was in place.
I wish the Extra Credits Team the very best and hope that they will continue their good work else were.