Monday, 1 September 2014
As I understand it, Gamergate began as an accusation of corruption in the videogames industry as a symptom of corruption across the entire industry, particularly in how it deals with the media.
When the original accusation turned out to be false, many would say the issue should’ve died. But the broader frustrations that people have with the media and the videogames industry remained unanswered; and so the movement continued.
People were then threatened with rape and death for disagreeing with the movement, so now it is synonymous with threats of rape and death.
I’m not really sure what happened after that. I don’t think anyone has been murdered or raped yet, but some high-profile people in the industry have resigned or have been forced to flee their homes, and several former colleagues are ripping their hair out over the whole thing.
I tend to think it’s less frustrating when one appreciates the binary logic being applied by the concerned parties. You know what I mean – corruption is bad, therefore a corrupt industry is bad and Gamergate is good; threatening rape and murder is bad, therefore Gamergate is bad and the industry is good… and so on.
But the videogames industry and the media are made up of many people; and they’re in the business for different reasons. Believe it or not, they don’t all talk to each other. Some are corrupt. Some are not.
Likewise, Gamergate is made up of many people who have different grievances with the industry. Believe it or not, they don’t all talk to each other. Some are making threats of rape and murder. Some do not approve.
The arguments are simple. It’s the people who are complicated.
Here’s the thing that should be blindingly obvious: no one likes being told they’re wrong. No one likes being told they’re an asshole.
There are, in fact, good people in the games industry who are just trying to keep their heads down; and there are, in fact, legitimate concerns about corruption within the industry from people who wouldn’t dream of harming another soul.
So here’s a radical suggestion: would there be any shame in letting the Gamergate name die? Rape and murder are awful things to be associated with, after all.
Plus, there are other ways to effect change. For instance, stop giving your money to people you don’t approve of.
The PR and marketing personnel in the games industry use a set of skills that have been refined over a century to make you feel like the world will come to a cataclysmic end if you don’t get your hands on the latest game the instant it’s released.
Trust me. It won’t.