onGamers News

My farewell to all of those at onGamers

A final goodbye.

Hello everyone,

Apologies for my social media absence as I have been sick in bed and for the most part offline for the last week following the end of the MLG Anaheim Championships. I was taken out by all the great games from Smash, StarCraft and Call of Duty that weekend.

This will be my second op-ed during my time at onGamers and GameSpot, with the initial offering coming when I first joined on board the team two and a half years ago to tell what the state of eSports was to begin 2012. “I am more confident in eSports/professional gaming/competitive gaming than I ever have been since entering this amazing world”, I wrote then, boasting about over $6 Million in combined prize money for all tournaments and games combined. How things have changed and progressed, the industry catapulting forward in such a short period of time compared to the 15 years prior. An industry responsible for packing stadiums across North America, Europe and Asia, multi-billion dollar acquisition rumors for Twitch, and a looming Dota 2 International Championship that will make several players instant millionaires and teams instant legends.

This will sadly also be my last op-ed during my time here, as this is my last day at onGamers.

I was notified yesterday that I had been site-wide banned on Reddit, along with the onGamers domain. Reddit administrators notified onGamers that this was due to me messaging Reddit users asking if they would submit content, with titles, to the site, and that both I and the onGamers domain are now banned for one year. This comes after already being on thin ice as the site and user accounts of colleagues were banned and unbanned for Reddit infractions. This includes a lengthy meeting I had with Reddit General Manager Erik Martin in New York about the current state of eSports on Reddit, eSports content on Reddit, the onGamers situation and my own situation. Erik is a man I have spoken to for many years about Reddit's powerful and important influence on competitive gaming, and is the one who advocated for both the site and myself personally to reverse the first decision.

One of the stipulations to come out of change in heart was that no onGamers journalist could submit their own or onGamers content to Reddit, including any and all subreddits, eSports included. I admit to having sent messages to users with instructions on submitting content, and then upvoting my own content thereafter. I tried to be open about this in subsequent threads that popped up after a user took my message to them and submitted it as a discussion thread on Reddit.

I acted alone in this matter without the knowledge of any of my colleagues, including senior editors. They have followed the rules since the reversal of the last ban, they did not upvote on Reddit or participate in any manner, and there has not been any manipulation of votes from employees beyond my own singular vote. I take full responsibility for these actions and my Fargo-like run on that ice, and plea to Reddit to absolve my hard-working friends and the onGamers domain ban for what I alone have done. I will gladly take an additional year ban to rightfully keep good people from potentially losing jobs. My friends nor CBS interactive and GameSpot asked me to write this, and they are reading this just now as it is published.

I am sorry to Erik, who has put himself out there for me on multiple occasions including his help in recent problems, and trust in me that there wouldn't be further issues. Erik did that for me and I haven't returned the same respect here. Because of that I cannot continue to contribute to Reddit, a place that I've advocated for its legitimate importance in the aforementioned continued growth in eSports, and also the several diverse, vibrant competitive gaming communities on the site.

I am sorry to those out there who are fans of me and my work, and those who respect what I do. I have tried to maintain a certain level of integrity, and the results of these actions don't reflect that.

Most importantly, I am deeply sorry to my team whom I've now put in jeopardy for their careers and future. These are not just my colleagues but my friends, and the last thing I want or can do is put them in this position. I am and was a true believer of the team, personally investing myself to bring together the best journalists, editors, and reporters that eSports has to offer. Most definitively with the core crew of Duncan 'Thorin' Shields, Travis Gafford, Matthew 'Cyborgmatt' Bailey, and myself as senior editors of onGamers. I have seen myself as a leader in this way, and have not demonstrated those same leadership qualities here.

I believe we have set the bar on several aspects of our eSports coverage, and that we have put out great work on the large scope of competitive gaming that spans over several games, genres and communities. This has come in the form of breaking news, extensive interviews, exhaustive written and video features, player and team signings, event coverage, hosted talk shows, in-depth reporting, statistical analysis, mainstream access and insider insight into the industry at large. I believe our work has spoken for itself, and that our readership has echoed in that belief. The team has been responsible for traffic only having increased month over month, with a quite respectable number of unique views and video views compared to other gaming destinations that cover video games as a whole. I'm very proud of what we have been able to accomplish, and could not be more saddened right now that I can't keep kicking ass with my team.

My heart goes out to my guys Duncan, Travis, Matt, and the team of Kim, Hunter, Adam, Daniel, Sully, and several contributors along the way. Special thanks go out to Benito Gonzalez and John Davison who brought me to GameSpot to begin with, and to represent GameSpot as their only ever eSports editor. Benito and Erick Tay covered dozens of major events with me, working tirelessly into the morning hours every weekend to make eSports coverage at CBS Interactive a reality. Without Benito, Erick, and John's help, GameSpot eSports would not have had the opportunity to transition into onGamers.

I don't know what my future holds, but I am sure to continue in this industry that I love, and spent more than half my life dedicated to. I hope you all stay with me through it.

Best,

Rod 'Slasher' Breslau

11 Comments
Posted by sarcasmappreciated

Good luck and best wishes, Slasher :/

Staff
Edited by Ajido

I think this attempt to get OnGamers back onto Reddit is honorable, but it's disappointing that OnGamers will only fire employees when they are caught doing something that reduces traffic to the website. What Slasher did is something many content creators have done before, he's not the first and shouldn't be crucified over this. It's also worth noting that Kim Rom, the guy who fired Slasher, has manipulated votes on Reddit as well with 40+ alt accounts and was in part responsible for a previous OnGamers Reddit ban.

Meanwhile, Thorin has brought more negative publicity to this organization on almost a monthly basis, but OnGamers turns a blind eye because his drama brings clicks and views to OnGamers.com. The individuals working here are all very talented people, but the way they're managed (If they're managed at all) is appalling.

OnGamers needs to get their act together and improve their image. They rely too much on the fact that they're more or less the sole producers of eSports content (In terms of interviews at least), and think they can do whatever they like. Get your people in line, get them to act like the professional adults that they get paid to be, and continue to produce the high quality eSports content that we're used to from OnGamers.

Posted by ZeraZera

@Aidjo

While I agree it's a shame corruption happens - it business, people will do all kinds of back end things for more money/viewership. That's ultimately the number one thing any business cares about. It's understandable for OnGamers to value Thoorin as he brings a huge viewership with his Grilled interviews and Summoners Insight. He's an asset to the company and will be treated as such, even if he makes an ass of himself sometimes (all the more reason to watch him to be honest.)

Negative publicity isn't always a bad thing "ongamers.com is a haven for people who enjoy judging others" means that those who enjoy that type of discussion will find it. To say they're a bad company for promoting this kind of behavior is naive.

Posted by thatsmypanda

Been following your work for over a decade. This BS won't change that. See you in your next endeavor!

Posted by Ponza

Ultimately, I thought about making a comment on here or not, and I think I will, because it's nagging on me.

I'm one of Slasher's biggest critics, as I both love his articles, and also wish he contributed more to the space. He does a ton of work in competitive gaming, going to events, doing interviews etc. Unfortunately, people make mistakes. In this particular instance, a mistake cost him his job. Also unfortunately, onGamers management have made mistakes, mistakes so vile that it's the prime reason why other websites suggest that onGamers is on life support.

There's a lot of young talent at onGamers that I admire for their contributions. That's why I'm here. I'm here for top-notch journalism, event recaps, interviews and content. Cyborgmatt, Wndwrt, Travis Gafford and Spellsy (the last of which I'll touch on later) are why I am here. They don't disappoint me. Neither does anyone else, with one exception, which I won't get into right now.

I'm not here for reddit karma. I'm not here for bullsh*t drama, that onGamers itself helped create. I'm not here for biased, racist opinions, from people who think they can change my view of eSports. I'm also not here to have reddit pushed down my throat like it's God's gift to journalism. I hate reddit.

OnGamers needs to change, and it needs to embrace change at all levels. From management, to freelancer writers. You don't need reddit. You need fan loyalty. You need to give your readers a reason to accept you. Posting on reddit doesn't do that. Twitter would love you guys if you got more tweets out there. In fact, your Twitter game needs work, onGamers. Step it up! Make people care! Right now, a lot of people do, but your infatuation with reddit is a genuine turn off.

I met Spellsy at Leaguepedia (pre-breakup with Curse). His abilities with LoL statistics are unprecedented. When I heard he was leaving LP for onGamers, I knew you guys here would be a great place for him. I still think this. Don't fail us now, onGamers.

tl;dr - OnGamers/CBSi management, you have made a tragic mistake. reddit sucks. Twitter rules. Everybody who writes at onGamers is awesome, including Slasher, even though he's gone. Everybody can learn from this experience. Bring on the EVO coverage, WHEN'S MARVEL?!

Posted by hebble

@ponza I see you tweet at us all the time and I appreciate your passion. I can only speak for myself on this issue, but we know we need to step it up across the board. This was a wake up call, for sure. We knew we were attached to reddit when we started and hoped the community features would come along. We were starting from scratch on twitter and facebook and youtube. We consistently wished we could do more, but we're all busy with the various aspects of our jobs, unfortunately none of which are pumping up social media presence.

That's not a good excuse but it is true. We've been becoming less reddit-reliant over time, and the site was growing while we were weening ourselves off of reddit some. We had our best months ever and not-coincidentally our lowest reddit % months ever recently and were optimistic about the future there. This might not have been a huge bump in the road in 6 months, but it came way sooner and in a much more dramatic way than we expected.

But I think we'll be ok. I don't know for sure, of course, and I'm just one guy. But I believe in the people we have and the content we create. I'm glad for your support, and while I don't always love your criticism, I'm glad that you're here making comment. We need you.

Staff
Edited by hebble

@ajido I can't speak for the organization and I'm not in position to make these decisions, but this is my perspective on our controversies and the decisions we've made. I think the biggest difference between the decision with Slasher and the decisions in the past with Thorin and Milton relate to the organizations role.

With the first reddit ban, with Thorin's statements and with Milton's misquoting of Brokenshard, I feel like the organization was partially to blame. With the reddit ban, as far as I know, people were following the rules as we had them set out and we got banned anyway. I've seen no evidence of anyone doing anything outside of our rules prior to the first ban, rumors of Kim's multiple accounts are simply rumors as far as I'm concerned. With Thorin's comments, I feel like we allowed the show to grow more edgy until it was well past a reasonable point. With Milton's quoting issues, we should have been watching him more closely and mentoring him.

In this case, there were very clear policies in place and a Senior person violate those. The organization made the rules very clear and these were not within them. Consequences aside, a direct violation has to be taken seriously. Given the consequences of this rule violation, I can't disagree with the final decision.

Regarding our image, I imagine we're all tired of controversy and drama every day at work. I hope every week we'll just get to make content and not worry about things. Professionalism is my goal, although we might at times have different definitions. I know the site has to be bullet proof if it's going to last a long time, but I know we're also going to make mistakes. Hopefully we can learn from them and get better at what we do.

Staff
Edited by Dursti

Thanks for over 2 years of journalism. Thanks for all the time and energy you invested in helping E-Sports grow and evolve. Sad to see you go for such bullshit, but everyone makes wrong decisions and stupid mistakes from time to time. Thanks for everything, and good luck for the future!

Posted by Venser

Come back to Esreality