Before I begin, these views are my own opinion and don’t express the opinions of the company or other staff.
Over the last week I’ve seen a big problem in the game industry, not a new one but since it’s the more recent occurrence of it I’ll mention it first.
The first occurence is, Jason Scherier being threatened via Twitter DMs for reporting that No Man’s Sky may be delayed. This was reported on Wednesday, May 25th. Jason then posted to Twitter a screen capture of the DM he recieved from a very upset reader. He just captioned it “this is what it’s like to write about video games on the Internet:”. He was blamed for essentially doing his job. This is not fair or reasonable. You shouldn’t be threatened for doing your job and it happens all but too often.
I get a lot of nasty social media messages, mostly from Gamergaters, but not a lot of death threats. And nah, I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve developed a pretty thick skin.
I wasn’t exactly surprised to see #GamerGate mentioned. For those of you who don’t know, count yourselves lucky, but if you want to know, #GamerGate is a movement supposedly seeking out more ethics in games journalism but really they are just a group of ignorant lunatics who threaten anyone who disagrees with their idea of how to go about it. They threatened to murder, assault and rape several women in games and have tormented many journalists like Jason Scherier over the last while. The ESA and Sony have both condemned the actions of the #GamerGate followers which should give you an idea of what they are like. It’s a disgraceful movement that has no place in this industry. Games journalists and the industry as a whole needs to be ethical and more open, but this movement helps nothing.
Threatening to kill someone, abusive behaviour all because you aren’t happy with a decision a developer made or a review score given to a game you like, this isn’t what games are about. When we play video games we do it for fun, admittedly more often these days I do it for work, but when I see an article I disagree with or developer press release about a delay I’m not thrilled with, I don’t tell them I’m going to murder them. The idea is just insane to me, to think I’d tell someone I’m going to go to their house and murder them is just ludacrious to me. And to know there are people who wake up in the morning, see a news post they don’t like or a review they disagree with and they tell the author, hey, you I’m going to kill you and your family. This is what happens people. This kind of shit is what some people deal with in their jobs. When I post a review, this is what I know might happen, I could upset the publisher and be blacklisted and I could receive death threats and abuse via the comments or on Twitter. That is actual bullshit, that’s not what I should expect to happen dare I have a different opinion to someone else, it’s mad.
And it’s not just journalists who are on the radar for these mad men. Developers both indie and AAA receive threats when a decision is made that they don’t like. Last week Hello Games were bombarded with death threats over No Mans Sky having a two month delay. Last year a developer for Call of Duty was receiving death threats over a change in how guns were balanced and around the same time a Sony executive had their plane forcibly grounded because of a bomb threat. And while reading that perhaps doesn’t come across as much but think of this, the man on that plane, was going home or to a business meeting, maybe they have a family, children, what would go through your head?
GamerGate has made the industry a worse place and the movement started trying to do the opposite, this is what happens when you bully and threaten people, you don’t get anywhere. If you’re going to try and make a difference, be an example by being a civilised group of people, not a bunch of minsongyst bullies.