The Escapist has laid off the majority of its paid staff, according to a post from one its moderators, with the future of the long-standing gaming site now in jeopardy.
The Escapist's community has frequently criticized the site in recent months for the lack of interaction between its staff and its readers, with many of its most popular contributors such as Jim Sterling, Extra Credits and Moviebob having already left the site and its numbers dwindling as a result. Sizable layoffs, which included the site's veteran Editor-in-Chief Greg Tito, made the future look even more bleak for the outlet, with its forum moderators now addressing this issue.
Though there hasn't been a formal announcement from The Escapist regarding this latest batch of layoffs, moderator JoJo forum took to the site's forum to explain the situation to its readers:
"As many of you may have noticed by now, there hasn't been much staff interaction over the last few months. 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. That said, nearly everything that it does is through volunteer efforts."
According to JoJo, the moderating team has now been given more control over the site, with it moving towards becoming "community-run" and making use of volunteers to keep it on its feet. However, given the extensive amount of downsizing it has faced, it is questionable whether or not it would survive such a major transition. "Together we can breathe some life back into this site, one article at a time," JoJo concluded.
The Escapist has been running since 2005, with it being purchased by the online media company Alloy Digital in 2012 for an undisclosed sum. In 2014 Alloy Media merged with Break Media to form Defy Media, with a number of the site's more controversial changes taking place during this time period. It's unclear whether or not the site will survive this restructuring period, though a number of commenters on JoJo's post appear to be hopeful that they can keep the site active in the meantime, or at least keep its forums alive.