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The Escapist is an entertainment website containing news and reviews related to video games, movies, comics, television and technology.
The Escapist was launched on July 12th, 2005 by founders Alexander Macris, Julianne Greer, Jonathan Hayter, Greg Lincoln, Jason Smith and Tom Kurz. The site was initially edited by Greer, releasing weekly PDF issues of the online magazine. In July 2007, the website was redesigned, replacing the weekly PDFs with webpage articles. On September 23rd, 2008, The Escapist Magazine YouTube channel was launched, which gathered upwards of 222 million video views and 544,000 subscribers over the next six years. In November 2012, the company Alloy Digital purchased The Escapist from Themis Media. In 2014, Break Media merged with Alloy Digital to form Defy Media.
After several emails from the controversial "GameJournoPros" Google group were leaked online, containing correspondences between journalists working for a variety of video game news sites, it was revealed that Escapist Editor in Chief Greg Tito had consulted the group about whether he should remove threads related to GamerGate from the Escapist Forums:
I’ve decided not to write about this because it’s kind of ridiculous, but there’s a thread created on The Escapist forums that is getting attention. I am unsure where to draw the line. As an editorial organization, I’ve made the call to ignore the story. But as the controller of a public forum on the internet, I’m struggling to find justification in shutting down discussion. There are voices all over the spectrum in there.
We will of course continue to moderate the crap out of the threads, make sure that all our stringent rules are kept. Should I shut down the thread? Should I bury it? I will be writing a post to add to the thread now, but other than that I don’t know.
Looking for opinions from the group because I’m stumped as to the best way to handle this. Damn it, Jim, I’m a writer not a skilled forum moderator!
After being urged by Polygon writer Ben Kuchera to delete GamerGate discussions, Tito refused. On September 8th, Escapist publisher and cofounder Alexander Macris released a statement addressing GamerGate and apologized for an article written by Tito which failed to meet the site's journalistic standards:
"But to explain is not to excuse. Our editor-in-chief, Greg Tito, having reviewed the facts at hand, concluded we ourselves have been imperfect in maintaining journalistic standards. A particularly problematic article, the one which generated his review, was about the alleged harassment of an indie developer by a forum community which denied the allegations but was itself victimized as a result of them. The article failed to cite the harassment as alleged, failed to give the forum community an opportunity present its point of view, and did not verify the claims or secure other sources. Mr. Tito has personally updated the article and spoken to all our editors about the importance of adhering to standards that will prevent such bad incidents from happening again. We, as a team, apologize for this error, both to our readers and to the forum community that suffered as a result. I, personally, apologize for this error, as well."
That day, the site released a revised ethics policy addressing many of the concerns. On October 10th, the site published an article titled "What Male Game Developers Think of #GamerGate," which contained statements from various video games developers about the controversy.
The Escapist features news articles, videos, comics, a web forum and various usergroups. In 2010, the site introduced a "Publisher's Club" paid membership which removes ads from the site, provides forum benefits and allows special entry into various site contests for an annual fee of $20.
Zero Punctuation is a weekly animated video game review series hosted by Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, in which he is portrayed as a stick figure who mocks the flaws in various games. After launching the series on The Escapist July 2007, traffic to the website increased 394 percent over the next six months according to an article by the tech news blog GigaOM.
Jimquisition is a video game web show and review series by former Destructoid editor Jim Sterling. The show discuses controversial developments in the video games industry. In November 2014, Sterling left the Escapist after launching a Patreon to fund his projects, acquiring over 2,200 patrons providing him over $8,400 per month. Some speculated Sterling left The Escapist due a controversial Escapist article titled "What Male Game Developers Think of #GamerGate."
The Glorious PC Gaming Master Race
The Glorious PC Gaming Master Race is a facetious label used to attribute superiority to those who prefer to play video games on a personal computer (PC). On January 23rd, 2008, The Escapist published a Zero Punctuation review of the PC game The Witcher, in which Croshaw quips how the game is optimized for PC users so that “those dirty console playing peasants don’t ruin it for the glorious PC gaming master race."
By November 2012, The Escapist received upwards of 3.3 million monthly unique visitors. As of November 2014, The Escapist has a global rank of 4,427 and an United States rank of 1,559 on the traffic analytics site Alexa.