Geek and Sundry, Felicia Day's passion project and the source of fun shows like Wil Wheaton's TableTop and RPG-centered Critical Role, has been undergoing some major changes recently. Its shows used to be freely available on YouTube and other online platforms, but as many of you know, that is about to change. While TableTop used to be funded by other means, including crowdfunding, Geek and Sundry is now part of the Legendary Digital Network—and LDN is putting a lot of Geek and Sundry content behind a paywall. Now, if you would like to watch TableTop as the episodes come out, you will need to purchase a subscription to LDN's "Alpha" program and pay $4.99/month.
I understand that creating online content takes both time and money, and I understand that artists need to be compensated for their work. But I'm going to be real: I don't think an Alpha subscription is worth paying for. I just got the email asking me to officially sign up, and most of the stuff being advertised sounds like... well... a bunch of YouTube shows plus some chat rooms and forums. I am not already hooked into the Geek and Sundry network and I have only watched TableTop. The descriptions of other shows offered through Alpha sound pretty blah, which means I would only be subscribing to watch one or sometimes two shows.
Besides, if you are willing to be patient, TableTop will be available to everyone on YouTube at the end of January. I can wait. So really, I have no incentive to subscribe at all.
Legendary, then, may have made a mistake: If other relative outsiders are like me, they won't be attracted enough to their programming to subscribe. Even worse, Geek and Sundry subscribers on Twitch and integral members of the community pre-Legendary seem to feel extremely alienated. There has been a lot of commentary on Reddit about Geek and Sundry and the departure of many of its original team members. There was even an AMA about Alpha that looked pretty acrimonious to me. What is the point of alienating the community you have while also not doing all that much to attract outsiders who might grow your viewer base?
There is probably a way to make consistent money off of nerdy content. But I'm not sure Legendary Digital Network has quite figured it out yet. Wil Wheaton's own comments on the situation are telling:
"I'm not thrilled, and it's entirely out of my hands. I probably shouldn't say much more about it right now."