Wednesday, 10 August 2011

An Open Letter To Alexander Macris

Dear Alexander Macris,

I am sending you this message to let you know that I am finished with supporting The Escapist, and all of Themis-Group's subsidiaries.

But this is not your fault. Please understand that. Maybe the whole incident with Extra Credits wasn't your fault. Maybe James Portnow is a filthy liar and you are the victim here, in a case where you felt entitled to 75% of charity funds directed to allowing a woman to continue doing the work you apparently didn't pay her for, as well as going toward an indie game scholarship.

No. The real problem lies with me.

Or maybe it's you.

You see, I was under the mistaken impression that you weren't just running a business here. I was foolish enough to believe that what was featured on The Escapist mattered to you. I was convinced that despite this magazine's myriad flaws, you would never replace all of its content with animal porn if it would bring in more traffic dollars.
It was wrong of me to assume you were a human being, Mr. Macris. This is my shame to bear. Yours is to let the single-most important video game-based webseries on the internet slip through your fingers, while holding on as tight as you can to Jim Sterling.

I mean, it's okay if all that matters to you is the money. You run a business, after all. It's not your job to concern yourself with what could make our hobbies more enriching, or our dialogue on current events more thoughtful. But don't expect me to keep giving you traffic or a subscription. When you willingly parted ways with James Portnow, Allison Theus and the other guy, you decided you don't want my business.

Actually, this decision leads me to believe you don't want anyone's business. Losing these three is going to bite you and your bottom line in the ass. If you couldn't catch more flies with honey than vinegar, people wouldn't have given more than 3 times the amount they asked for when it came time to solicit donations from fans for Allison's surgery. They cared enough about them to pay up in a time where money is already pretty scarce.

If you can't understand why people would be loyal to those they trust, who make them feel appreciated, and show their appreciation with their wallets, then you're a pretty shitty business man. And if you think you can succeed in business without that kind of audience, while treating your employees like slaves and your fans like mindless cattle, then is it any wonder you're in debt?

Photoshop couldn't make this picture any douchier.

How exactly does this benefit your compan(ies)? Do you have shareholders? How do they feel about your slippery business dealings pissing off and alienating the most patient, optimistic and reasonable human beings you'll ever meet? Is this what you had in mind when Themis Group acquired The Escapist? Do you really think letting them escape, and pissing off thousands of people who have proven they're willing to pay for this sort of content is a sound business strategy?

What do you have left? Do you really think Ben Croshaw's imp plushies are enough to sustain your salary, let alone every other expense?

Who the fuck do you think you are? Do you think we care more about you? Do you think you're why we kept coming to The Escapist, even after your forum moderators banned people for saying the words "ad-block" or for not thinking Happy-Thoughts? We've come to know and enjoy the Extra Credits crew, albeit vicariously. What do we even know about you? We can determine from your past actions that you aren't a successful man, or even a grown-up for that matter. You're certainly not good at what you do. How does it feel knowing a guy who lives with his mom and draws My Little Pony fan-art thinks you're a failure?

Not as bad as I feel, because I actually believed in your company. I would have stood by it if there were any indication that you cared at all about what you do. I was even going to get a subscription, because even though you yourself are a laughinstock, your business is home to a lot of people whose opinions are valuable to me. Enough to support financially. I held up your magazine's website as the best place to go for news about video games, movies, television and other popular culture, and with the best correspondents to go to for critical analysis and discussion of these things. If you didn't want The Escapist to be any of this, why don't you just go to work at IGN, and stop ruining a place that has potential?

If bankruptcy is what you want, I will respect your decision and encourage others to ignore you until you're homeless. Maybe you're in some sort of Brewster's Millions/The Producers situation, where you have to get rid of as much public good-will and money as possible, in order to cash in on your great-uncle's will. Fine. But don't think for a second that you can still proclaim that what you do matters. Nor can you continue to claim that The Escapist is some beacon of integrity.

Unlike you, Russ Pitts, The Escapist or Themis Group, games do matter. And so do the people who play them. I hope you understand that you could have mattered too.

~Alex Hill

No comments:

Post a Comment