So, let’s say you haven’t been paid your agreed-upon salary for three months, but you feel compelled enough to stay and turn a profit, even though they haven’t paid anyone in three months. I suppose you’d have to just hope no one would bring up the fact that no one’s been paid.
What do you do if someone finds out, though?
Oh yeah, you hand a statement from your CEO over to Slasher and tell him to post it for you because you can’t post it on your own website for some awful reason.1
Oh right, you lose complete control over the story when you let Slasher hold your statement while trying to investigate its claims. Turns out you’ve been caught being a little fast and loose with the truth. Now you have to double down or else it’s time for the real mea culpa.2
Oh sure, you tell someone who can read that they misread your months-overdue public statement when it was concluded, based on information from ex-employees, that ESGN’s CEO was simply moving the goalposts regularly.3
Oh what? You start acting responsibly and hold off making more broken promises?4
Is it too late to turn ESGN around? Most likely. As ambitious as the project was from the outset, I suppose the only thing I can credit them with is how focused they are on proving to everyone that they can create international context to all of the esports. It’s never really going to work, but I’m not going to crusade against them for trying even though their content is 100% cringeworthy and it sets a bad precedent for venture funding independent content producers in the industry moving forward.
I do hope that they would stop spending money like it grows on trees and that they stop trying to punch above their weight. Making it seem like you’re legitimate because you have plenty of money to go around doesn’t really work after it’s been nearly-scientifically proven that you’re unable to pay your own employees, who—by the way—don’t even have employment contracts! How about moving out of that ridiculous sound stage and into someone’s garage or even a small warehouse for a few months? Why jump skip straight to spending hundreds of thousands of Euros when you know you can’t sustain your own workforce without capital infusions?
I know working for free isn’t a historically uncommon theme in esports, but if you were focused on standing out from the get go—why not pay everyone within a reasonable amount of time? Sounds like a great differentiator to me.
Update: Well, I suppose that focus on proving their point wasn’t as strong as I thought.5
- Twitter: Clauf GmbH Business Relations staffer announces exclusive statement ↩
- OnGamers: ESGN has released a statement saying that all outstanding debts will be paid by the end of June ↩
- Twitter: Clauf GmbH Business Relations staffer says Slasher misread the statement. ↩
- OnGamers: ESGN cancel their future ‘Hearthstone Champions’ $25,000 prize pool tournament ↩
- Esports Heaven: ESGN Studios To Close; Staff Contracts Terminated ↩