Nobody starts a venture telling themselves, “yea, I think I’m just gonna cock everything up.” That Clauf propped up a straw-man under the premise that esports at large thought the opposite of them, that we all thought they were really just faffing about, and proceeded to beat at it for nine paragraphs is a telling gesture of just how detached from reality this particular venture has been from the start.

From our perspective, we saw an industry with a lot of competitions and leagues, a setting where players were racking up international achievements without much highlight of them as people. This was something we wanted to change and our ESGN TV outlet would accommodate for that.

There’s no demand for this. There just isn’t. I hold a romanticized notion of audio-only esports commentary but very few other people actually gave a shit; this thought should have been cast in the same bin. Gamers, as most athletes, are typically rather ordinary people, though you may find an interesting backstory here and there. There’s not enough there to sustain the company and infrastructure that has been thrown behind it.

When we set out to do something, we wanted to do it right and with everything we had. That meant we had to accrue many expenses for equipment, our studio and video production teams.

No, you didn’t.

I don’t know what else to say. This is the first set for SportsCenter; and yes, that was thirty-five years ago, but what they built was within a sustainable budget and didn’t bleed ESPN right out of existence. Today’s SportsCenter is a massive operation with scores of full-time positions required to keep it running, but they evolved to that; there was no need to build a set and a production with the aim of catching envy from the likes of ESPN or anybody else producing sports or esports content.

We wanted to match what the competitors offered to audiences around the world and treat them as they deserved; we hope, despite the issues shown now, that they felt that way with us during each and every recording we spent nightless weeks on improving.

Which way are your viewership numbers going? There’s your answer to that prayer.

While the approach and execution might have been flawed, we still believe in the original vision and see this situation as a challenge that needs to be overcome as part of the growth of the company.

It’s not matter of execution. You probably executed as well as you’re capable of given the people you have involved. It’s a matter of projecting an incorrect assumption of existing demand on the esports audience, and not doing your research before racking up all your many expenses.

The idea that we were excessive in our investment with the studio and equipment setup of the company can be interpreted as an overstatement, especially if we account with what figures have been circulating around the community (and are simply untrue).

Look at your damn studio. It’s excessive. Which is why people are pissed that they aren’t getting paid, and why we’re pissed for them. Which is why it’s practically criminal that you haven’t paid staff in three months, and that you’re super serious about intending to not let it go further than four months, as if it actually remedies anything.

Is this really that difficult to understand?

All in all, Clauf is a start-up company, a new endeavor that, even months after launch, is still searching for its identity and what works. We are an easy target to dismiss and it is an unfortunate barrier we will need to overcome but we had no intention to hurt or cause trouble to the scene. We simply wanted to create new outlets of both content and facility to a fast-growing industry.

What must die is the notion that it’s acceptable and all in due course for a ‘startup’ - which is just a quick way of saying ‘new business’ - to not be responsible for their expenses and to only consider the next several weeks ahead of them when making decisions that will cost them money. You do have to spend money to make money, but only fools take that axiom as literally as Clauf seems to have over the last half year.

Another notion that it’s acceptable for a ‘startup’ to pop into existence and chew through investment while flailing about trying to find itself like an unwashed, dreadlocked, recently-graduated teenager taking a gap year to backpack through Europe also must die. If you don’t have a mental model of a business that is capable of breaking even when you’re being as critical as you possibly can about it, then why even bother? If you have to rely on some miraculous swing of consumer sentiment just to have a chance at success, why begin in the first place?

Because your egos demanded it, clearly.

To finish, we want to express our sincere apologies for causing such concern and bother to the community.

To be quite frank, there are few people outside those that have uprooted their lives for your cause that really have a vested interest in your continued survival. Luckily, there’s enough activity in esports today that if you were to officially go insolvent there would be little to no adverse implications for the larger scene.

It’s not that we want you to fail. It’s that you’re just the latest in a long line of self-described revolutions that severely under-delivered and massively over-spent. We’d like that to stop, if only because you make the rest of us look like idiots.