Jim Sterling Takes His Act on the Road with Patreon-Funded Site
Jim Sterling, The Escapist’s former reviews editor, host of The Jimquisition, and frequent collaborator with Yahtzee Croshaw, is setting out on a new project that just might change the face of video games journalism.
Unhappy with the current state of how advertising and revenue models are affecting content on gaming news sites, Sterling is striking out on his own with his own Patreon-funded website, TheJimquisition.com.
Prior to his announcement last Friday, Sterling was the reviews editor of The Escapist. He has been in that role for only a short period of time having moved from the same role at Destructoid. All told, Sterling has worked in the games media for eight years before he abandoned the mainstream publications to start his own venture.
In making the announcement, Sterling noted a desire to get away from the possibility of his writing and video content being compromised by corporate interests. So he’s starting his own independent website and will be running it ad-free thanks to support from backers on Patreon.
On his Patreon page, Sterling describes his reasoning as follows:
“Until recently, my work has been hosted within the confines of “traditional” videogame media – established outlets that use advertising networks and, increasingly, sponsored content, in order to pay their creators.
And I have grown to dislike it. Significantly.
The ad-supported model is the default model, but it can give undue power to people who really don’t care for, or indeed know much about, videogame criticism. I’ve grown tired of the perpetual fear that one day I’ll be asked to say, “Today’s episode of Jimquisition is brought to you by the refreshing taste of Mounting Doo!” I’ve always considered myself fortunate enough to maintain a lot of distance between myself as a content creator and the marketing departments cutting their brand deals. I’m afraid that the distance, however, is getting smaller and smaller, regardless of my efforts. There are media powerhouses out there that are struggling, and their struggle is leading to changes in business that I am not comfortable with. I don’t want to be under the shadow of corporate entities, and I don’t want to feel my criticism of the games industry exists by their good grace.”
The Jimquisition will take a three-pronged approach to coverage. The Jimquisition weekly web series will continue on Sterling’s YouTube channel. Sterling will continue to write video game reviews on a new site called TheJimquisition.com (which he says comes with the possibility of expanding to include other coverage including from freelance writers). And he will start a weekly Jimquisition Podcast that he hasn’t quite settled on for a format. Each of these will run without ad.
Sterling had originally set a funding threshold of $6,000 per month which it was implied represented how much he was previously making with The Escapist. That threshold was quickly dropped but it’s also not where funding stopped. As of writing, The Jimquisition currently has over $7,800 per month pledged with that amount likely to top $8,000 by the time this post goes live.
Sterling is the first major games media personality to make a move from mainstream online publications to a crowdfunded self-published model. We’ve seen people move between publications. The likes of Adam Sessler moved from G4 to an ad-supported YouTube channel but Sterling’s move is a first. Considering that the early indications are that crowdfunding it is a success, it’s entirely possible that another big name could try the same. Granted, apart from Yahtzee Croshaw, there aren’t any other writers for mainstream sites that I think could take a large, deep-pocketed audience with them.
And despite the move off The Escapist, Jim hasn’t changed and nor has The Jimquisition. Here’s his first Jimquisition under his own banner. It’s steady as she goes for Jim. Thank god for him.