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Original publication date: Thursday, August 11, 2011.

Related story: GreedIsEasy.com: Hostile Takeover

Jester’s Trek: Found money

For those not following the story, the makers of the video series Extra Credits have decided to leave The Escapist.  As of today, there are about a hundred articles and videos out there about it.  I’ve linked a couple of Extra Credits videos on my blog that touched on topics that I write about.  I find the series interesting and insightful about the gaming industry.

But with this drama, it becomes a reflection of an EVE Online topic, too.

The short version of the drama, as I understand it, goes like this:

  1. The Escapist has been having problems paying its contributors for quite a while, so the makers of Extra Credits agreed to be “last in the queue” when payments went out, so The Escapist could concentrate their remaining funds on other video producers.
  2. The makers of the series had been paying their artist, Allison Theus, out of their own pocket, and then waiting for reimbursement from The Escapist.
  3. This is how things went for at least six months, until this June, when Allison needed extensive shoulder surgery.  So the makers of Extra Credits asked The Escapist for their back pay — some $20000 — so they could help with that expense.
  4. The Escapist came up with $1000 for them, which was nowhere near enough.  The surgery, plus the cost needed to hire guest artists while Allison recovered, were estimated to be between $15000 and $20000.
  5. The people involved on both sides decided to set up a Rockethub page asking for donations.  The EC makers would contribute a special episode for people who donated.  The Escapist would provide t-shirts and paywall accounts for their site to people who donated.
  6. The donations greatly exceeded expectations during the first week.
  7. The people involved on both sides agreed that any additional money gained over what was needed would be used for guest artists and other needs for the Extra Credits videos.
  8. The donation page went viral, then greatly exceeded even the wildest dreams of everyone involved.  (The total donations currently stand near $100,000.)
  9. The makers of Extra Credits decided to use the additional donated money to start an independent gaming studio.
  10. They hired a “business development manager.”
  11. They then went back to The Escapist and demanded the remainder of the money that they were owed, or (as an alternative) an agreement for them to fully own the Intellectual Property rights around the Extra Credits videos, so that they could produce their own merchandise.
  12. The Escapist was open to this, but stated that if alternate uses for the extra donations were being contemplated, they felt that some of the extra money made from donations should cover the cost of t-shirts and other benefits that The Escapist had donated, and further, that additional Extra Credits videos for use by The Escpaist should be produced with some of that money, to the tune of $9500 worth of content.
  13. The makers of Extra Credits roundly rejected this, and demanded the remaining money they were owed, or they would leave The Escapist.
  14. The Escapist paid them in full.  Or they didn’t.  The two sides disagree on that.
  15. The makers of Extra Credits decided to leave The Escapist regardless of if they were paid or not.

There’s probably some gross simplifications and some inaccuracies here and there in that account.  Any time you start dealing with money and contracts and expectations, things are hardly simple.  Still, that probably captures the gist of what happened.

Who comes out of this looking bad?

Everyone involved, of course.  Everyone involved in this is coming out of it looking greedy, petty, and selfish.

The Escapist sure didn’t need its dirty laundry aired.  A dozen or so of their contributors are coming out of the woodwork to confirm that The Escapist hasn’t been paying their bills.  To first donate those t-shirts and paywall accounts, and then demand that those donations be paid for in full?  Yeah, that isn’t cool.  To try to use that donation money as an excuse to say that the makers of the content they were supposed to be buying have been paid?  Also not cool.

But the makers of Extra Credits aren’t looking any better.  To use the proceeds of donations to a humanitarian effort as a catapult from which to launch a personal business endeavor?  That isn’t cool, either.  To push for IP rights, then continue to press on a publisher that they knew was in financial difficulty because of the leverage they had from the money from those donations?  Another uncool act.  But then, to top it off, they put all of this out on the Internet to be tried in the court of public opinion.

And that back-and-forth public bickering is still going on.

Yeah, everyone involved in this looks really really bad.

In real life, I’ve seen this situation play out at least a dozen times.  Large amounts of found money never ever brings out the good in people.  Money can’t buy happiness, they say, but I’ll tell you what it can buy: acrimony, distrust, and until-that-moment repressed hurt feelings.

How does this relate to EVE Online?  Glad you asked.

How many corps and alliances in EVE have fractured when a suddenly-available, heretofore unknown source of vast ISK was uncovered?  From wormhole loot to moongoo to supercap production profit to a surprisingly successful new business venture, found ISK doesn’t bring out the good in people any more than found money does.  Just this year, we’ve heard many stories of corps or individuals taking money they felt they were owed from alliance coffers.  I’m sure every person reading this post has a story about how a large amount of found ISK broke up or did damage to a corp or alliance they were in.

And broke up or damaged the friendships of the people involved.  Nobody ever comes out of these situations looking good.

If EVE is real, this is one of the darker reflections of that.

Ripard Teg

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38 Comments

  1. Gumpin

    K

    April 22, 2012 at 8:12 pm Reply
  2. Some Dude

    Why did I read that?

    April 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm Reply
    1. Jita Will Burn

      Who else is looking forward to it ?

      April 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm Reply
  3. U are missing the point poetic, It's over a year old, but it's relevant to today's out of eve realities.

    April 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Shouldn't you be bitching about E-Uni or something?

      April 22, 2012 at 8:37 pm Reply
      1. FuckLoggingIn

        You realize Jester's post that EN24 just put up is from last August?

        April 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm Reply
        1. Zeroniss

          It states the date of publication at the top of the article mate. I'm not sure what your issue is? The article is fully relevant to the circumstances surrounding, it just doesn't draw any direct allegory. Would you prefer I made it more clear?

          April 23, 2012 at 12:41 am Reply
          1. Elloise Kashada

            Poetic's just jealous because Jester's blog is a million times more intelligent than his.

            April 23, 2012 at 3:58 am
      2. Anonymous

        Wow. Just because I'm Mexican you think I should be mowing lawns. Way to be racist.

        April 23, 2012 at 2:23 am Reply
    2. DarthNefarius

      I have to agree with Poetic here Garmon's accused treachery should have been mentioned in the same story as it is time relavent

      April 23, 2012 at 4:19 am Reply
    3. zzz

      what are you fagging about now poetic?

      April 23, 2012 at 8:50 am Reply
  4. Marcus_McTavish

    TL;DR: Greed is the root of all evil.
    Not alcohol, so live it up

    April 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm Reply
    1. EYEpoopD

      Marijuana

      April 22, 2012 at 9:05 pm Reply
  5. solar ally

    how is this related to eve?

    April 22, 2012 at 8:37 pm Reply
    1. Strange

      Why are you so stupid? can't you read? Go away! Go play WoW instead.

      April 23, 2012 at 7:55 am Reply
  6. Carlos

    god i wish i did not waisted my time reading this shit =(

    April 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm Reply
    1. Muul Udonii

      Wasted. You wasted your time. Gah!

      April 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm Reply
  7. Unsatisfied reader

    Tl'dr the OP likes to hear himself think…. Then thinks he is so brilliant that he needs to share his thoughts with us readers. We are so lucky to have him in ourlives…

    April 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm Reply
    1. EYEpoopD

      I'M KILLING MYSELF IF HE IS NOT UPLOADING NEW CONTENT DAILYZ

      April 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm Reply
  8. Gary

    Don't care, really, and I don't think either side looks really bad. "Donate so we can continue to bring you Extra Credits". To me that covers getting the artist fit for work again (surgery for her, hiring temporary replacements), future project development (business development manager), paying people what's owed to them for past work, etc. I don't really see a problem with any of it, on either side.

    My alliance over the last few years has discovered new sources of isk and ways to make it. It hasn't affected us at all.

    btw I have no clue what Extra Credits is and i couldn't care less

    swing and a miss here

    April 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm Reply
  9. sasdr

    i cal this – minding my own bussines.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm Reply
  10. failtopic

    What a load of absalute shite people in real life made money doing this others want paid for doing that this might aswell have 0 relevance to the eve community failtopic my good sir.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:31 pm Reply
  11. ZedoTelhado

    I've been there. It's sad.

    April 22, 2012 at 10:01 pm Reply
  12. What the hell does this have to do with internet spaceships?

    April 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm Reply
  13. Jim A

    Definitely agree with the point of this post. 0.0 carebears can make hundreds of milllions of isk a week, but just you do something with tens of millions that's perceived as profiteering from your alliance and the crap hits the fan.

    April 22, 2012 at 10:20 pm Reply
  14. Sold

    lol, another example of rl money being handled by Eve gamers going bad. Eve is real.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:33 am Reply
  15. noobielord

    Dafaq i just read, and what is this shit

    April 23, 2012 at 1:10 am Reply
  16. frog

    What are you guys talking about? Is someone mad bro?

    April 23, 2012 at 1:20 am Reply
  17. ???

    who the hell are escapist and extra credits

    April 23, 2012 at 2:07 am Reply
  18. Random Miner

    i stopped at number 4… i hope everyone else enjoyed it though

    April 23, 2012 at 2:35 am Reply
  19. Ashesofempires

    The Escapist is relevant to EVE because it's a gamer website, and there's even a snarky review of EVE by Yahtzee:
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-

    I doubt that this story is entirely accurate. There was probably some more that happened behind closed doors that we will never find out, but it's the kind of shit that happens when you have an essentially freelance journalist crew working for established media. One side tries to fuck the other over, and in the end everyone loses. I'm sure Extra Credit lost some reputation with their actions, and they will probably have a hard time doing business with any other gamer news outlets in the future.

    April 23, 2012 at 6:37 am Reply
  20. Of the 21 commenters below me, 4 have comments about Jesters point and the rest are either wondering what the hell this has to do with eve (showing they clearly didn't read the whole thing, since he TELLS YOU AT THE END *cough*, are confused, or are just plain high.

    The internet, it's serious business…

    April 23, 2012 at 9:18 am Reply
  21. Ras

    Gah! My eyes! gouge them out, gouge them out!

    April 23, 2012 at 9:25 am Reply
  22. Buggrit

    So there's people stupid enough to pay for internet videos and crap?

    Amazing.

    April 23, 2012 at 9:42 am Reply
    1. CareBearStares

      Heh, some people still use yahoo.com, or pay for AOL Dialup for that matter…

      April 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm Reply
  23. TOTO

    EveIsEasy smells like

    April 23, 2012 at 10:38 am Reply
  24. Missy Moist

    Who is jester, btw

    April 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm Reply
  25. anal

    What the fuck does this have to do with eve? nobody cares…

    April 23, 2012 at 11:40 pm Reply

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