Over the past two decades, video games have changed. Once considered a cheap toy catered to kids, gaming today is the most profitable entertainment medium in the world, its revenue in 2014 doubling that of movies. No one can deny that video games are the future.
But you don’t get to multi-billion dollar industry without making a few enemies. If you follow the gaming scene at all, you probably have noticed the hashtag “#GamerGate” in social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
It represents the fight and disagreement between video game fans and gaming press and critics, and it has been going on for months now. To my dismay, this conflict is significantly mispotrayed to many, and it’s important that people get the correct picture.
In short, GamerGate is a movement of consumer revolt triggered by a series of revelations of corruptions and misconducts that have been taking place in gaming press. Back in August, gamers learned that a game developer Zoe Quinn was involved in sexual relationships with multiple writers in gaming press, such as Kotaku and Rock, Paper, Shotgun, in an attempt to gain favorable coverage of her games and generally boost her career.
Following this, further investigations revealed that such act is considered a rather “normal” practice in the game industry and there existed a behind-the-curtain group of writers from different organizations who colluded with one another to pass on their own narratives and political agenda in their publications.
In other words, they abused their power to decide what gets published and what gets censored, based exclusively on how it benefits the members of the group.
It was unquestionably a breach of journalistic ethics and integrity on so many levels, and obviously gamers were infuriated.
To make the matter worse, gaming press went on to further abuse its power to save its own skin and began silencing the masses, banning anyone who got involved in online discussion of this blatant corruption and publishing bad press about developers (and, by extension, their games) who spoke against the media’s wrongdoings.
As a final nail in the coffin, corrupt writers from multiple gaming media sites published over 13 articles, all declaring that gamers are terrorists and need to die.
It was clear that gaming press desperately needs a reform, and that’s what GamerGate is about.
Some argue that corruption in gaming press is no serious matter because “it’s just about video games”. Unfortunately, gaming today is a too big deal to shrug off. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry, and if there are journalists who want to write about such a lucrative field of entertainment, consumers must be able to expect a certain standard of journalistic integrity.
The biggest issue of GamerGate is that people who were involved in the scandal got away with their misconducts and left unpunished. Consequences for wrong actions; that’s the principle gamers are fighting under.
But admitting guilt makes the press look bad. With their hands already dirty, they did not hesitate to use more corruption to cover up their corruption.
The gaming media turned to a public figure, Anita Sarkeesian, and quickly twisted the narrative in their favor. Sarkeesian claimed loudly that she, along with other female developers, received a series of harassments and death threats, and that GamerGate is about gamers’ attempt to drive females away from the gaming industry because they were turned into misogynists as a result of the games they play.
Contrary to the gaming press’ claim, none of the death threats have been ever proven sent by GamerGate supporters, let alone gamers. There is no evidence that shows that GamerGate was responsible for any of the harassments, hence it is illogical to claim that GamerGate is a movement supporting misogyny. In fact, none of the harassments have been proven real in the first place.
For how many times they claim they were harassed, it is rather strange that no one has been caught by the authority over the past few months. Some of them, if not all of them, have been proven hoax, as they were sent from the same one Brazilian website who does business sending mass fake threats for traffic.
In addition, none of the self-proclaimed victims are gaming journalists and are therefore irrelevant in GamerGate’s cause. The press is distracting the general public by shifting the focus of the issue and painting themselves as the true victims because claiming innocence is easier as a victim than as a perpetrator.
It is the most pitiable that growth of gaming is being hindered by the corrupt individuals who are cashing in on the industry the easy way and pushing their agenda for their own gain by abusing their power.
I hoped to bring this matter to Tech students’ attention because I know for a fact that you are too smart to be fooled by dishonest press who make arguments against gamers with no evidence. Tech is one of the nation’s leaders in independent video game design and development. There are so many different resources that Tech has to offer that help students make their own games, applying what they learned in a classroom and encouraging innovations.
I am in no way in favor of corrupt writers discrediting and dismissing some of your future works because they don’t fit in with their narrative or you didn’t offer them bribes or sex for positive coverage. Video games are the work of art, and they deserve to be treated and covered fairly for their own merits, free of personal agenda and political beliefs.
This is arguably the toughest time for gamers and game developers alike in history, but GamerGate is a fight worth fighting for, defending the freedom of artistic creativity and honest press coverage in video games.
They said gamers are dead, but here’s the bad news. Gamers never die; we will always respawn until we beat the final boss.