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The appalling Shadow of Mordor contract signed by YouTubers is a real sign of games media corruption; will it be treated as such?

Corruption in the videogame media is a hot button topic at the moment, so let's talk about corruption in the videogame media. Don't get me wrong; I'm not in the slightest bit interested about the supposed revelation that people who work in the same industry know each other and are even friends, nor am I willing to entertain the puerile fascination with the sex lives of game journalists. That stuff is infantile nonsense; we're talking here about an industry worth tens of billions of dollars, in which millions upon millions change hands in marketing and PR deals every month. You think that compared with that kind of money and power, you can make a case that a handful of academics and indie developers are wielding influence through the simple act of talking to like-minded friends? Get out of here. You don't even know what corruption looks like.

Here's what corruption looks like. Corruption looks like a PR person taking a website editor for lunch and offering a world-first review of a big new game - but only on condition that the game scores 9/10. Corruption looks like an advertising salesman turning up at a journalist's desk and asking to see copy of their upcoming review, because it could jeopardise an ad deal worth tens of thousands of dollars. Corruption, more insidiously, looks like journalists being flown halfway around the world to review a game in an all-expenses-paid luxury resort, or getting a shiny new smartphone pre-loaded with screenshots of the game (instead of, you know, just emailing the damned things) as a terribly unsubtle bribe.

"Corruption looks like a PR person taking a website editor for lunch and offering a world-first review of a big new game - but only on condition that the game scores 9/10"

Followers of the recent harassment-dressed-as-consumer-campaigning saga have seemed mostly unconcerned with that kind of corruption, possibly because it didn't involve any sex - although god knows there are enough tales of PR people taking journalists to strip clubs and brothels, and I've personally been on a press trip where a PR person, barking enthusiastically up the wrong tree in entirely the wrong damned forest, intimated a willingness to pay for a prostitute on expenses. Maybe a bit more salaciousness would get people interested in this side of things; the reality is that corruption is a flow of money and power, and money and power cannot flow from people (indies, academics, etc.) who don't have either of them.

Equally, though, the soi-disant consumer activist mob might be surprised to find out just how little of this kind of corruption actually still exists. In fact, games journalists are one of the most extraordinarily ethics-obsessed groups of people you'll ever come across. It's completely impossible to go for drinks with other members of the games media without ending up in an ethics discussion; is it right to let publishers pay for travel expenses? Should we ever let interviewees see questions in advance? Is it okay for reviewers to discuss the game they're playing with other reviewers? What should we do with review copies of games after we're finished with them? Should all the freebies publishers send us be sold off for charity? These questions and countless others have gone round and round over the past ten years, to the point where games media websites generally have more rigorous and honest ethics policies than almost any other area of the media. Seriously, see if you can find a film review anywhere that tells you who bought the journalist's dinner and paid for his taxi to the cinema - details which have become almost de rigueur on major games websites.

"Want to find out who's doing deeply underhanded things to change the narrative around videogames this week? Allow me to introduce you to a company called Plaid Social Labs"

Even so, you don't have to look very far for corruption. Want to find out who's doing deeply underhanded things to change the narrative around videogames this week? Allow me to introduce you to a company called Plaid Social Labs. They're a marketing company that works with a variety of companies ranging from restaurants to healthcare firms, but most notably with game companies. They've worked with Sony, with Ubisoft and most recently - and most controversially - with Warner Bros on the marketing campaign for Shadow of Mordor. Plaid Social Labs does a variety of things, some of them entirely above board; they make pre-roll ads that run before YouTube videos, for example, and they hire YouTube stars to make ads for their clients, such as getting Rhett & Link (a YouTube duo famous for making amusing commercials for small businesses across America) to make an ad for restaurant chain Arby's. That's all fine; it's essentially just acting as a bridge between big companies and brands which don't get YouTube, and the increasingly important YouTube audience and community of creators.

Here's what's less fine. For Shadow of Mordor (and supposedly for several other games), Plaid Social Labs was in charge of distributing review copies of the game to YouTube broadcasters, and they did so on terms which were genuinely, overtly abusive. Broadcasters who wanted early access to the game code, which is pretty much the lifeblood of any professional media channel, had to agree to publish certain types of content, to be entirely positive about the game, not to mention certain things, to mention certain other things, and finally, most egregiously, to give Plaid Social Labs final approval over the content before it was posted. I say this is overtly abusive because it's actually abusive on two different levels; it abuses the broadcasters with whom Plaid Social is dealing, and it utterly abuses the trust of those broadcasters' audience.

"A video featuring an affable presenter talking to us directly from our screens is intrinsically more trustworthy, to our silly mammal brains, than a page of text"

The trust of the audience is a big deal. Something we've started to understand as video has become one of the dominant forms of expression online is that we humans are hardwired to trust video more than we trust text. A video featuring an affable presenter talking to us directly from our screens is intrinsically more trustworthy, to our silly mammal brains, than a page of text - even if the affable presenter is talking complete bobbins without a fact or a reference in the world, and the page of text is written by a confirmed expert and completely backed up with references. People who follow YouTube broadcasters and Twitch streamers end up feeling like they have an extremely close relationship with that broadcaster; they see their faces and hear their voices multiple times a week, and in the case of many YouTube broadcasters, they also get to see the inside of their homes or witness their interactions with their friends on video. Even the method of consumption subtly encourages the development of trust; we often leave YouTube or Twitch streaming while we do other things, so the broadcaster's image and voice accompanies us in our daily tasks, becoming deeply ingrained as a likeable, like-minded "friend". A video broadcaster can create a trust relationship with an audience member in the space of a single video, where a writer could take years and years to develop that kind of trust with his readers; indeed, he probably never will.

We saw this in action, in fact, in the recent harassment scandal, which was largely fuelled by the production of short videos "documenting" the supposed abuses and corruption of the campaign's targets. These videos were outright character assassinations, filled with utter untruths; yet no amount of pointing out these untruths on the part of the "traditional" media could sway people, and no amount of evidence to the contrary could make those allegations disappear. Why? In part, because they appeared in video; so often, attempts to engage and debate just ended up coming back to the stark reality that a large number of consumers inherently trust video content created by amateurs, and inherently distrust text content created by professionals.

That's fine; that's the way humans are wired, and we just have to live with it. But it's also a human trait that's insanely, dangerously open to abuse. It was abused by those claiming to campaign against corruption, in order to turn the instinctive concerns of some consumers into a vicious hate-mob; with shocking irony, it is also consistently abused by game publishers and marketing companies, who know that YouTube audiences are trusting and that YouTube broadcasters are, bluntly, usually unprofessional and often unethical.

All those long debates about journalistic ethics? With some notable and very worthy exceptions, they completely passed by the YouTube community, who have shot overnight from being amateur hobbyists to actually making a living from their videos - in some cases, a pretty significant living. They still hate to be called "professional", one of many labels which YouTube broadcasters tend to avoid with the vehemence of a hissing vampire trying to dodge the sunlight; they're not fond of "reviewer" either, and they absolutely hate "journalist". In other words, they despise any label which might suggest that they have an ethical responsibility to their audience, or that their content, with its enormous number of views, might be influencing people's purchasing decisions. This is, of course, self-serving nonsense; if it wasn't influencing people, then publishers wouldn't be spending so much money trying to bribe and cajole you into saying positive things; they don't do it just to feel good about themselves in the morning.

" they love the idea of their YouTube "friends" being enthusiastic amateurs, an ordinary guy with a webcam and a passion for games, so different from the murky corruption of the traditional media"

It's nonsense that flies with their audience, to some extent; they love the idea of their YouTube "friends" being enthusiastic amateurs, an ordinary guy with a webcam and a passion for games, so different from the murky corruption of the traditional media. Yet in reality, that "amateur" label is allowing YouTube broadcasters to be prey to (and often, willing partners in) a level of corruption far, far worse than anything you're likely to come across in the traditional media. Hiding behind the charm of the enthusiastic gamer broadcasting from his bedroom is a ruthless business sense that is exploitative, corrupt and deeply unethical.

So much sound and fury in the past few weeks has been based on the gut feeling of many gamers that the media is "corrupt", and the tragic irony is that they're right - but they're looking in all the wrong places. How many naive camp followers have been tapping out messages of righteous indignation on Twitter while their favourite (amateur, enthusiastic, trustworthy, "proper gamer") YouTuber waxed lyrical about Shadow of Mordor in the background, I wonder? Perhaps they were enthusing about a Sony-published indie title (Plaid Social boasts that they got 166 videos published on Sony indie games last year), or a Ubisoft game (Far Cry and Assassin's Creed have both had the Plaid Social treatment). Either way; if you want to talk about corruption in the games media, sure, let's talk. But let's talk about actual corruption, the kind where power and money is involved; anything else isn't corruption, it's just conspiracy, lies and misdirection.

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Latest comments (53)

Dan Pearson Internal Business Editor, Square Enix West3 years ago
1) No preview event ever asks journalists to only give positive impressions, dictates what can and can't be mentioned or insists on previewing coverage before publication, so all of the things Rob mentions are different. In fact, a lot of previews are made from an alpha build sent out to writers - 'event' previews are rarer. There are sometimes stipulations about not using Alpha code for video, as it's not a finished product, but the Mordor videos were final code.

2) The hostile tone is used to make and focus a point. Rob's pieces are op-eds, and always have been. He's expressing opinion here, and this is something which has clearly riled him. Plus, there have been countless instances of infantile behaviour and harassment and it is those to which Rob addresses his comments. EG: "the puerile fascination with the sex lives of game journalists. That stuff is infantile nonsense"

Also, is there not some irony to your questioning a writer's hostile tone, given some of your recent comments?

3) You're a games journalist, Christian, why don't you tell me? I'd imagine that it could sound a little defensive. Without wanting to put words in Rob's mouth, perhaps that's because there have been so many ungrounded accusations of corruption and Rob feels the need to redress that somewhat. When accusations are made, the burden of proof is on the accuser, not the defendant. Rob is presenting a case where clear evidence of some calumny has been made public and addressing that issue, contrasting that to the wide and generally unsupported argument that games writing is morally bankrupt, fuelled by bribery and going to the dogs. All of the journalists I've ever worked with are extremely aware of where their moral boundaries lay and most publications have clear ethical policies (Gamer Network, our parent company, has theirs here: http://www.eurogamer.net/policies.php?view=how-we-work ).

I can't speak for every writer out there, and neither does Rob, but comparing games writing to almost any other product-based reporting and criticism puts it in a pretty healthy light, IMO.
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Alex Lemco Writer 3 years ago
Christian has a point. The subject of this article was a good point for discussion and I'd have pointed it out to the #GamerGate crowd, but the hostility of the piece (for about four paragraphs at the beginning) put me off doing that, because those paragraphs would've been homed in on by hardliners immediately.

Also, it would've been a good idea to reference the piece by Eurogamer earlier this year which brought up the issue of big YouTubers receiving pay-outs.

Instead, this article suggests:
[YouTubers] still hate to be called "professional", one of many labels which YouTube broadcasters tend to avoid with the vehemence of a hissing vampire trying to dodge the sunlight; they're not fond of "reviewer" either, and they absolutely hate "journalist". In other words, they despise any label which might suggest that they have an ethical responsibility to their audience
This completely overlooks the work being done by channels like Cynical Brit to draw clear distinctions between paid-for content and other video content.

Again, this was a great subject to discuss, but I think the hostility could have been toned down or cut out entirely and it would have made a much stronger piece. One I could recommend to #GamerGate supporters.

[EDIT] For the record, I'm also angry about the level of "infantile nonsense" that's been demonstrated by the mob in recent months. That said, I see no point in throwing that anger straight back out at them. It only strengthens their sense of self-righteous fury and blurs any arguments I'm trying to make.

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Alex Lemco on 10th October 2014 11:13am

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Dan Griliopoulos Dreams 3 years ago
Here's what corruption looks like. Corruption looks like a PR person taking a website editor for lunch and offering a world-first review of a big new game - but only on condition that the game scores 9/10. Corruption looks like an advertising salesman turning up at a journalist's desk and asking to see copy of their upcoming review, because it could jeopardise an ad deal worth tens of thousands of dollars. Corruption, more insidiously, looks like journalists being flown halfway around the world to review a game in an all-expenses-paid luxury resort, or getting a shiny new smartphone pre-loaded with screenshots of the game (instead of, you know, just emailing the damned things) as a terribly unsubtle bribe.
I've seen all of these things in my time in games journalism. I've seen a magazine get an exclusive review in return for a promise of a minimum score. And I've seen every significant UK (and perhaps global) editor get flown to a resort for Scarface, where they basically spent a few days on holiday at Vivendi's expense. I've also fended them off a few times - we had Eidos pull all advertising at OXM UK because they'd got wind of us giving the original mediocre Kane & Lynch 7/10. I'm happy to say that I don't see that sort of corruption amongst the press any more - perhaps because I'm now freelance.

Also, on Christian's point 2) Yes, some heat needs to be taken out of the GG conversation. Calling each other names, from any side, is unhelpful. but 3) No, Gamer network's ethics policies are the most rigorous I've come across. For example, I can't write reviews for Eurogamer, because I do mock reviews / consultancy for games companies, which might compromise me. I think that's utterly fair. The UK media I write for, in general, have very strong, consistent ethical policies. Especially compared to cars, travel, lifestyle, etc, which I've experienced and are terrifying nests of bribery.
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Show all comments (53)
Dan Pearson Internal Business Editor, Square Enix West3 years ago
I don't understand that it would be impossible, no, and not least because I've written unfavourable previews under those very circumstances.

Also, I don't really understand how Rab's piece is a refutation of my points...
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd3 years ago
This completely overlooks the work being done by channels like Cynical Brit to draw clear distinctions between paid-for content and other video content.
Which they did reluctantly after being called out by Gamasutra - prior to this their line was that the FTC only required them to disclose commercial relationships with a line of text at the bottom of a video description. (But I would add that you can't really characterise all YTers as using amateur status as a get out clause - there's a lot of diversity in how people are using the platform.)

As to your point regarding the tone of the piece, I think an incoherent hate mob have kind of forfeited their right to complain about critics condemning their behaviour. There's no space for constructive debate with people who have subscribed to a demented conspiracy theory (edit: see comment directly above), we just have to wait for the tantrum to run out of energy. We've most of us behaved like idiots on the internet in our teens and early twenties.

The tiny handful of high profile figures who are still arguing that the movement is a vehicle for any legitimate concerns that can be separated from the harrassment and abuse are doing so out of naked self-interest: sowing distrust of the games media 'establishment' to appeal to teenage YouTube subscribers, or fomenting tabloid outrage to hawk some awful book or gossip rag.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Robin Clarke on 10th October 2014 12:07pm

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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship3 years ago
WIthout wishing to make any kind of statement for or against (obligatory GG disclaimer), I do find the GG thing interesting from a sociological point of view. It has elements of a consumer revolt of the kind that is becoming more common in the age of social media; a demographic becomes aware of its power, and various forces, some malign and some well-intentioned, attempt to guide and steer the outpouring of opinion in a chosen direction, to an end no one can entirely predict.

I don't think GamerGate is adequately understood as harrassment-dressed-as-consumer-campaigning, though, it's clear that there's a very unpleasant element of that, and this viciously over-the-top (and often illegal) reaction is to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

I would partially explain it as a reaction to the perception that mainstream games journalism, and journalists, draw from a very narrow (very identifiably liberal) set of political and social values, and that these values were gaining traction and coverage. The fact that these types of advocacy articles only ever occupied a fraction of column inches is irrelevant; I think for a lot of people, the politicisation (or perception thereof) of a space reserved for leisure is enough. This is often parodied, but I don't think it's quite as simple as a bunch of guys who are scared that those SJWs are coming to take their misogynist toys away (but again, elements of etc). It's more a symptom of a games press increasingly willing to take on social issues in games, and drawn largely from a single political perspective on those issues, and an audience which, in large part, is not quite as interested. There's a disconnect there, and it's being exploited by some for their own ends.

I totally agree that the 'journalist corruption' angle is unconvincing. The specialist press in any field always has a slightly murky, symbiotic relationship with whatever they cover, but in recent years a lot of games journalists have been at pains to improve this. I do think 'corruption' is almost entirely a flag of convenience; YouTubers get a free pass, I think, because they more closely align with the social and political opinions of their audience.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 3 years ago
Rob is right and Rob knows how to get a Friday argument going. I do not see anything wrong with his article, why should he sugarcoat anything?

The core of the problem, the unwritten first law of video game reporting: thou shalt not instill patience in the gaming community.

Nothing is more terrifying to marketing than customers no longer queuing up at midnight and instead waiting for informed opinions. If that day happens, magazines stop closing down and marketing people are out of their job for a change. As long as every article is approached with the intent to excite its readers as if they were addicts desperate for the next shot, nothing will change.
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Craig Burkey Software Engineer 3 years ago
I think disclosure is the key, if something has the possibility of being influenced, even if it hasn't. When money and freebies are involved it's pretty clear cut. Relationship wise I think this http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-09-19-objective-impossible is pretty good article on the subject.
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Richard Perrin Director, Locked Door Puzzle3 years ago
I think disclosure has always been a red herring in this discussion. Taking money for coverage is an issue of ethics and trust regardless of whether you tell the audience you've done it or not. I don't like watching streamers or youtubers play games just because they've been paid to, I prefer to watch them play something they choose to. Knowing about it doesn't make me think it's more ethical that they've done it, no more so than a list of bribes my MP took would make me cool with that.

However over the past few years as they've risen to prominence these video personalities have managed to quickly convince everyone that taking money for coverage (often including signing agreements about what form that coverage will take) is pretty much the same as ads right? I don't really buy that, the difference between seeing an advertisement and a personality you trust and respect becoming the ad itself is a whole different ball game. Whether you call yourself a journalist or not if a huge audience is making buying decisions based on what you say then you owe that audience honesty.

I think Rob hits the nail on the head when saying it's about trust because I think that's where the biggest ethical battleground will be fought over the coming years. Right now I feel like the traditional games media has lost a lot of trust over what I feel are lot of unfounded conspiracy theories, and the new video personalities have gained a lot of trust even if they don't always deserve it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Richard Perrin on 10th October 2014 3:44pm

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Christopher McCraken CEO/Production Director, Double Cluepon Software3 years ago
The issues here, to put it into PR terms right now is credibility and perception. Considering Gamer Gate, the Shadow or Mordor/Youtube scandal and anything else you want to throw into the debate... are certainly a discussable points. However, the bigger problem here is one that every one in this industry seems to have seen fit to ignore: perception, and the credibility deficit that perception has created. Things like this Shadow of Mordor contracts just pour gasoline on the fire and this fire has been raging for weeks and weeks now.

We can discuss facts, we can discuss Leigh Alexander's comments, Zoe Quinn's sex life, Nathan Grayson's ethics and get mired in minutiae over Phil Fish and IGF all we want. We can shout from the mountaintops about how shady Time Warner has been here. There's so many opinions and vitriol that whatever the facts are or were, they have become lost and thus meaningless in the broader context. In other words, it no longer matters who started it. What matters is what our industry is going to do about it Furthermore from what I have seen...it appears as though everything is in such disarray that for the immediate future nothing is going to be done about it. That is the real tragedy here.

The perception..., whether it's 100% true or 50% or even 1% (Think about how many game playing people there are, out of all game playing people even 1% is...and you'll realize its not a small number) true is that there is collusion, corruption and ethically bankrupt standards in this industry when it comes to games, how they're made and how they're promoted.

And this perception issue, regardless of the facts which bolster any side of this debate...has led to a serious credibility issue in terms of the customer base. The people we expect to buy the things we make are lost in a fog, and I would wager a lot of them feel as though they do not know who to trust. A customer base with no trust is not something we should be proud of. It's something we should be trying to fix.

Some of the factions in this debate have attacked the customers...(gamers are dead) which has deepened the mistrust to astounding levels. The customers have struck back to varying effect. Note the terms. They have the connotation of battle. Because in many ways that's what this has become: a war. It's also a war everyone is losing, and will continue to lose for the time being. Wars of any kind, be they conventional or on the internet...they all represent a failure to listen. The damage it's doing is nothing you can figure out with metrics. About as close as you can come here, is Shakespeare: All are punished.

This credibility issue will not just die down, it will not just go away. All of the parties (and there are more then two sides here) are going to have to stop yelling long enough to listen. I am personally horrified by just about all of the behavior I have seen from Gamer Gate folks, from Anti Gamer Gate folks and everyone in between. From writers, from devs, from people who represent hardware manufacturers, to the customers. It's to the point now where I, and I am sure quite a few others have just tuned it out. Sometimes turning off the radio is better than trying to fiddle with the tuning knob and scrub through the static. It's literally in some corners turned into who can out bully who.It's a collective insanity. Human beings throughout history are famous for moments of collective insanity such as these. It makes me sick. It's not why I got into games. I'd love for it to stop, but I don't see that happening any time soon. So, personally...I'll just continue doing what I do with my team and ignore that insanity as best as I can.

So, the questions I am asking right now is: who's going to be the adult who comes into the room, settle it all down and actually lead? Who is going to stop and listen? Not just to the echo chambers. But to all aggrieved parties? Leaders of this caliber are few and far between. I lament the damage being done in the meantime.

Sadly, I know of no one in games right now who could do this. I keep waiting to be surprised. Time will tell.
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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus3 years ago
I was just as riled by this as Rob was, though I will admit freely my temper is a touch more incendiary than his. For me, it's almost a games journalist form of PTSD because I have been writing about this shit for eight bloody years, and no one gave a shit. They still don't. No one really cares about corruption; they only care about punishing people for sex. So it is, and has always been, punishment of opinionated females and their defenders. Period. Full stop. And I'm getting sick to death of seeing people I respect try to talk about "well, GamerGate is a consumer movement" and talking about engaging these people. It's not. It never has been, unless consumer movements have "NO GURLS ALOWED" signs painted on them (wait, sorry. They're allowed if they toe the company line, conveniently showing up when #notyourshield started). I think I finally understand how Kathy Sierra feels, because people treat Weev like he's not a horrible person, too.

No one gives a shit about corruption. At all. My articles on the subject for years basically got feedback amounting to "who cares" and "stfu and talk about the games". Now, everyone's Woodward and Bernstein? We're pissed because we're tired of letting the mouth breathers destroy lives and displace people who write about video games - video games!You would think Anita Sarkeesian was Gary Webb! - when they don't know what they're talking about, and we're even sick of the naval gazers who want to pooh-pooh this under the rug.

(As for the Youtube people themselves? I don't even think they're corrupt. They're naive. They don't understand how PR works. They're just getting close to the people who make what they love. They don't realize yet how much of a patsy they are. They're learning what a lot of writers learned years ago. I don't want to flame them, I want to give them a remedial class in how PR works. PR is NEVER your friend, and I had to learn that the hard way)
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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus3 years ago
Bullshit. This didn't blow up until Leigh wrote her piece for Gamasutra. Geoff Keighley sitting like a POW around a bunch of Doritos? Meh. Some chick saying that a subculture of gamers is becoming less relevant by the day (and they are)? THAT WILL NOT STAND.

EDIT: I was sick of this shit when Doritogate dropped, too. Notice I didn't really blame Geoff for the environment in which he was thrown. http://www.gamingbus.com/2012/11/02/fireside-chat-the-recurring-slam-dance-of-journalism/

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Christopher Bowen on 10th October 2014 6:18pm

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The beauty of you tube reviews is that most of us know games well enough now by simply watching 5 to 10 minutes of actual game play whether its of interest to us or not. Show me the game, tell me a few facts but you can save me your opinion, upon seeing the game play for myself, I dont need your opinion.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 10th October 2014 7:47pm

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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios3 years ago
@Christian - ANYTHINGgate is always a lazy reference to Watergate. Google it.

But the article you linked yourself (http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-10-24-lost-humanity-18-a-table-of-doritos) demonstrates that mainstream journalism has been both mired by AND attempting to challenge such ethical issues for years. There was no consumer backlash to anything until Quinn's ex brought her sex life into it.

I'm sure a lot of pro-GG folk who came late to the party took the "journalistic ethics" line at face value and were shocked to find that some of their allies were misogynistic trolls. But sadly it was the misogynistic trolls who spawned the movement. Leigh Alexander's "Gamers are Dead" piece was a reaction to that harassment campaign, but it does unfortunately seem to have polarised opinion :(

By all means let's talk about Plaid Social or Doritos, but let's not claim that any of this legitimizes GG.
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David Canela Game & Audio Designer 3 years ago
Both "sides" are by now so large, heterogenous and frustrated, it's just too tempting to be lazy and always focus on the stupid arguments made by some voices in either camps. It's much easier to disprove and dismiss the blatantly silly and lash out with broad brushes, after all, and much more satisfying, too. Much too tempting to make generalizing statements and comparisons that don't hold up at second glance, but they don't have to, as long as you get that initial reaction and can soak in the approval of your favourite echo chamber.

There's nothing to be gained here by having a broad discussion (it never really was a discussion, anyway). I think the best we all can do is drop the catchy, all-conflating hashtags and buzzwords and have more narrowly-scoped, concrete discussions about specific events, practices etc.

It might seem unfair, but I hold professional journalists and devs to a higher standard of public discourse than the interwebz mob, so that's where I'm placing my hopes but also expectations. For instance, while I could relate to leigh's frustration and agree with many of her points, that one controversial article of hers read like a piece that could have done with leaving it in the drawer overnight and editing some of the less constructive bits in the morning...

Edited 3 times. Last edit by David Canela on 10th October 2014 9:24pm

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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 3 years ago
Finally, the gaming industry and attached consumers step up to the plate and prove to the likes of US Weekly that it can pull off a worthy game of he said, she said. Toss in two pages of haircuts for fashion conscious fps level designers and the magazine is done.
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Al Nelson Producer, Tripwire Interactive3 years ago
When I think of corruption related to marketing games, I think back to the 90's. Remember when you needed "MDF" AKA Marketing Development Funds, AKA cash in a brown paper bag? And who was getting said bags? Retail. "Oh you want an end-cap? or to be in the window display?" , "How badly do you want it?" Digital delivery changed all that.

As for journo's, I've not seen or participated in any quid pro quo naughtiness. Truth is, if your game shows well, if you give decent interviews plus the screen shots & video clips they need to make articles/videos/whatever, your game gets coverage in the media, no hanky panky required.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
@ John
Zoe's case just caused them to link the issues of corruption especially also considering how the media had sought to supress the story and social issues together
The question of suppression is an odd one. I've not worked in "proper" journalism, but I'm acutely aware of the phrase "public interest" (yes, I'm from the UK, with all its libel/slander laws). So, to me, the whole "suppression" of Zoe's personal life/relationships in the media wasn't suspect. Not in the slightest. Why? Because you yourself say:
ultimately in her case they weren't related.
I may not trust the games media 100%, but I trust it enough to know that they'd report on something if it was relevant to the story/public interest. That a lot of #blahgate hasn't been reported on/has been ignored is, I feel, because games media isn't the Daily Mail or The Sun - we don't need to hear about it, if it isn't relevant. The problem with #stupidhashtag comes in something that no-one seems to have considered:
The key to assessing any public interest decision is transparency of the decision making process, including balancing competing interests.
(from the Wiki on Public Interest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_interest ).

I think a blanket decision and press release by all media to say "We will converse with GG'ers on issues X and Y, but not Z, because it has no relevancy" would've helped. Possibly not a lot, but more than the perception of journos closing ranks did.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 11th October 2014 8:04am

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
@ Al
As for journo's, I've not seen or participated in any quid pro quo naughtiness.
In hindsight (and from the outside looking in), there's some suspect things done, but I place it more on the side of naivety than corruption. Look at, say, Aliens: Colonial Marines, where the media was as conned as the consumers were. Look at the whole EA/Steam issue, which was almost blanket reported-on using EA's press releases, and nothing more (at least initially). Your comment about the 90s reminded me of Rise Of The Robots - a game that multiple magazines hyped in previews, but ended up being a fighting game you couldn't even turn around in (and I think was shoved out to shops before reviews hit).

If you don't give the benefit of the the doubt, things look bad. If you accept people are human and make mistakes, and that those people run magazines... They don't look as bad. *shrugs*
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
@ John
Do you think the average "gamer" knows the dictionary definition of "public interest" or has a degree in journalism.
This mostly sums-up my issues with the non-abusive, ethics part of the controversy. You're right, I'm sure, and that's the problem. Even when discussing these issues with well-spoken, well-mannered people, there's the gap in their knowledge that means that GG'ers (or whoever) are too ill-informed about (or just lack awareness of) the very basics of journalism/writing/reporting. It's hard to have a coherent discussion - and to learn and improve - when one side doesn't understand.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 11th October 2014 3:43pm

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Konstantinos Giatilis NA 3 years ago
So let me recap:

- Youtubers were uncovered around 7 months ago and they replied to the criticism by saying they would disclose these types of transactions. A simple google search can prove that.

- TotalBisquit - youtuber, GamerGate, was the first to come out with this info. Just check his twitter.

- You condemn the "mob", but then say the "mob" should focus on other things, mainly the opponents of standard sites, the ones accused of collusion (with evidence). Is it the job of GamerGate to police everyone in the industry? What is the job of journalists then? Oh, yes, I forgot to stand in the back of the room and say: too much cleavage.

So we have effectively demonstrated that months before you mention the subject it has already been covered, the youtubers have replied and when a new instance of an aggressive campaign appeared, the first ones to react were the youtubers and gamergate. The exact opposite of what you claim, almost two weeks after the actual events took place...

Now that I have destroyed your weak attempt at distraction and the creation of in fighting let's talk about the tone of your "article".

Your tone is not for focus, your tone is used, because you want to be aggressive and bring out the worst in the GG side. So you can then sit on your high horse - though it is clear that you can't be on it, since you started the shit-flinging, but that won't stop you.

Your tone is also the result of not being IN THE RIGHT, you think that by being aggressive we will ignore how far off the mark you are with your misguided comments. Commenting and accusing the same people that actually talked about this, two full weeks before you even found out. Good job on staying informed on the latest news. Amazing job, we are all very proud of your attempt at slandering us with 2 week old news, which we already took care of.

Bye bye.

Better luck next time.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Konstantinos Giatilis on 12th October 2014 1:55am

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Robbie Cooke Marketing & PR, Rebellion3 years ago
Let's face facts - so much of this article we already know - the hype of a "community" circling the wagons and "telling it how it is" with their vacuous promises of "revealing corruption" most of which hidden by a wave of sexist abuse and harassment. And we know that writers should be justifiably frustrated that certain gamers laud the opinion of the "amateur" Twitch streamer over text when real critical appraisal can be lacking.

However the heat coming from this op ed is somewhat blinding the argument a little.

While I dislike the way they're throttling the tone and content of coverage in a banal way (I've long learned you have better results just trusting YouTubers for who they are - entertainers. Don't limit that - let them be themselves) the YouTubers involved ALL HAD TO INDICATE THE CONTENT WAS A BRAND DEAL.

Now don't get me wrong, I think all paid for content should have a "paid promotion" slate at the beginning, rather than being farmed off to the footnotes somewhere, but there's nothing corrupt about it in so much as no money is changing hands secretly and out of view of the public, even if RF does make some good comments about how we trust faces more than text.

And anyway, how is that any different to the "Official" Magazines, or advertorials written on websites by the same authors that write the publication's 'normal' article?

What is a problem, are the younger, more naive (at least I hope they're naive) video creators who accept small amounts of cash because they're humbled that they've been noticed by a big publisher (Mike Rose did an excellent article about this).

The argument too that this exploiting YouTubers who need to earn money from their work just isn't valid - they shouldn't have created a business that required them to get preview access to a game. No developer, no PR person is obligated to give anyone a look at a game before launch. So now YouTubers are in a tricky situation - they want the same access to content that journalists get, but don't want to be associated with them.

I'm a big fan of TotalBiscuit's videos, and I respect that he refuses to take money, even in plain sight with a contract, but he ALSO loves claiming he's NOT a reviewer and yet he whines every time he doesn't get "review" copies pre-launch. You can't have it both ways TB!

Basically if you're a dev or PR, the best thing to do if you don't want to get dragged into all this is pick your contacts carefully. We've had great success by building relationships with streamers, the same way most try to build relationships with writers. Meet them at events, get to know them, build trust and let your game do the talking. No money needs to change hands, no stipulations need to be written.

The silly thing about all this is that Shadow of Mordor is an amazing game and didn't need any of this controversy!
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
Honestly, I do wonder why this subject seems to give some people carte blanche to behave badly. Konstantinos's post is full of the passive-aggressive, defensive, sarcastic manner which seems to be the overwhelming tone of the vocal-majority (or is it a minority?). I am sure that #gg has some reasonable, articulate, well-mannered people within it who do care about ethics. But it's hard to care about those people and their concerns when others torpedo the movement with ill-judged words, and easy sarcasm over constructive dialogue. Do I care about what's happening? Yes, of course. Do I care about #gg's concerns? Barely, and that's decreasing with each passing day, and each vacuous, rude comment.

In passing, I wonder what would happen if the people making these comments were still in school? I know several teachers, and not one would suffer the GG'ers attitude in class.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 12th October 2014 11:48am

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
But you don't seem willing to look what arguments he made in his post
No. I am not willing. Why? Respect. In every post I have made here, I've tried to be respectful, and keep my tone civil (I may have failed, but this is why I use lots of smileys). Imagine doing this face-to-face - would you want to converse with someone who made sarcastic comments, and buried their point beneath thinly-veiled hate? No? So why is this different? Certainly, the article could be read as hostile, but no-one says that hostility should be met with hostility.

Edit: This is meant as a general comment about the #gg movement, btw, not a specific slight against Konstantinos. Why converse politely with people who abuse you, or others? And, yes, I understand that some articles are hostile, and it goes both ways. But no-one has the right-to-reply on the internet, so it's in the GG'ers best interests to rise above the hostility and make doubly-certain that what they say can't be mis-interpreted.
/End Edit
and you were only willing to make a lame joke/insult comparing GamerGate members be to school kids
It was not meant to be a joke. It was meant seriously - how would these people act at school? Would they act in the same way, or would they be forced to be polite, due to authority figures being present? (This point is also a general "Why are people so rude on the internet?" point, though. :) )

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 12th October 2014 12:22pm

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
You realise, that comparing you discussion partner with a school kid always is an insult?
Really? It was not meant as an insult; as I say, it was a genuine question. And, I'll hasten to add, it's not directed at anyone in particular, just the group as a whole. How about this, as a rephrase:

Why are people so rude on the internet? Would those people be as rude if they were in a face-to-face conversation? Would they act in as hostile a manner? Would they throw abuse at other professionals, simply because they were "passionate" about what they were discussing?
You speak a lot about respect, but I miss the respect in your 2 latest posts in this thread too.
I apologise. :) I am just genuinely dumb-founded that people within this movement are so rude. I've been gaming since the early 80s, and never have I witnessed such a continual wave of hate, sarcasm, defensiveness and passive-aggression. The worst it got before this was "What's best, StreetFighter or Mortal Kombat?" (Yeah, okay slight exaggeration, but I hope you know what I mean. :) )

Edit:

Sorry, I shouldn't pick at this, but I can't help it...
Even more, by adding, that you think those people would act different in the presence of an "authority figure", because this means the people are cowards.
People adjust their behaviour all the time. We don't smoke/drink/swear in front of kids. We don't blaspheme in front of people who are religious. We don't gloat about pork in front of people who are muslim, or kosher. We act differently when we're around our parents, our boss, our partner. Kids act differently in front of a teacher than they do in the mall. This doesn't mean we're cowards, it means that we respect our fellow man, and our social situation.

On the internet, we're removed from immediate social-interactions that force us to regulate our behaviour. This means we need to be self-aware regarding our actions. All the examples I give at the top of this post are things that 99% of people wouldn't dream of doing in person, but once on the internet, some feel it's okay to do them. Questioning why they feel that's appropriate is fair, I believe.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 12th October 2014 1:01pm

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
On your point, that you never have witnessed suche a continual wave of hate, sarcasm, defensiveness and passive-aggression, I have to ask, where have you spent the last 2 or 3 years?
*cough* When I said "slight exaggeration"... I was being understated. (Damn this internet - understatement works as well as visual comedy. :p )
GamerGate is part of a bigger discourse and in my opinion can only be understood, by also looking at the whole picture (online newspapers closing their comment functions; rise of news blogs, that say they don't want to be "mainstream media" any more; etc.)
I don't know if I wholly agree with that, but I definitely see where you're coming from. Certainly the rise of Web 2.0 and "consumer journalism", for example, has given rise to a grassroots consumerist culture when it comes to the news, and that consumerist culture is very... grabby? If you get what I mean? Demanding, I suppose, and not in a "wants news all the time" way, but in an immediate "give me something now!" way? It's an interesting angle to look at GG from, actually. :)
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
if you read what you've said and apply it to the journalists and activists then I think it might go some way to understanding the other side.
The thing is... Yeah, I can see how some of the articles (and people) have been antagonistic. But at the same time, I can't understand the response from gamers. I'm reading various articles, and I'm not offended; I'm not defensive; I'm not worried about my hobby leaving me behind; I'm not stressed the games I like won't exist in the future; I'm not stressed about corruption. I'm genuinely not trying to be rude or antagonistic, but it strikes me that a fair number of responses hail from an immature group with a persecution complex. To be fair, it's gaming - when hasn't it been persecuted or attacked for society's ills? But... Ah, I dunno.

All that said, I am also "the choir", so to speak, so obviously I'm not offended by the preaching. And I think this also goes some way to my not being able to understand the response from GG'ers? I don't know. *shrugs* It's odd... I think on some level, the whole thing is just bizarre.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 12th October 2014 3:32pm

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Shehzaan Abdulla Translator/QA 3 years ago
The bit where the writer attempts to hoist (journalistically-speaking) professional responsibilities onto video content creators is particularly cringeworthy. Here's a hint Rob, those guys don't prescribe or set themselves up to a certain value standard, they even make a point of not doing so, so who are you to come along and force those standards on them? This is totally different from videogame journalists who bang on (even in this very article) about how high their standards are.

So no, contrary to what you are saying there is nothing wrong or controversial about what's happening on Youtube because those Youtubers have been working to temper expectations for years meaning few are feeling betrayed. You journalists however have tirelessly built up an impossible to match persona of integrity and are now suffering because you can't deliver. A standard so ludicrously high that you are now under attack for anything and everything because anything and everything was what videogame journalism promised (and unsurprisingly, they can't provide).

Don't turn around and blame others. You did this when you were blindly claiming you could deliver instead of humbly admitting you couldn't. And it wasn't just once or twice, it was a process of several years over which this standard was built up. It's why I don't give a toss about what you think, I don't consider even the slightest bit credible and why I think this site is a load of tosh. But you know what? That's the standard I hold you to and it's a realistic standard.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 12th October 2014 7:09pm

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Shehzaan Abdulla Translator/QA 3 years ago
Christopher: I'd immediately distrust anyone making any claim as to what GG was about or the true nature of it. Especially "journalists" who have shown to have piss poor fact checking skills in comparison to some truly terrifyingly detailed, multi-faceted consumer breakdowns. Truth is no one can make that claim and more importantly it doesn't matter as it simply mires the various debates in baseless claims of "you say x but what you really mean is y".

I for one will not be responding to anyone making the ludicriously grand claim that they have THE intepretation of GG. GG developed over multiple issues, events and actors making one concise explanation (as much as self-appraising journalists would like to have one so they can "authoritatively" talk on the subject) impossible as well as, for reasons detailed, pointless.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
GG developed over multiple issues, events and actors making one concise explanation [...] impossible
Equally, though, GG'ers can't say the movement is just about ethics, when the hashtag is also used to threaten, abuse, or hound writers and developers. One concise explanation may be impossible, but that means that the movement has to take responsibility for everything done in its name. The alternative is to specifically say what it is about, and denounce all the uses which fall outside its remit, repeatedly. To be fair, I have seen one or two instances of this, but that is not good enough, considering what's happening.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 12th October 2014 8:43pm

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Shehzaan Abdulla Translator/QA 3 years ago
Equally, though, GG'ers can't can't say the movement is just about ethics, when the hashtag is also used to threaten, abuse, or hound writers and developers.
Precisely. No one can make anything of it. What they can do however is simply take their position/angle/pet issue and run with that.
One concise explanation may be impossible, but that means that the movement has to take responsibility for everything done in its name.
This is why I never represent anyone but myself. I don't prescribe to movements and I don't engage in assumptions about anyone who isn't aligned with a movement (how can you? And based on what?). I even make a point of not jumping on any hashtag bandwagons because what might be an innocuous hashtag today might come to mean something very different tomorrow.
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Shane Sweeney Academic 3 years ago
This is such a political issue instead of a simple reasonable debate surrounding ethics. More and more I can see that completely different mind sets are driving the debate.

Has anyone actually checked out Adam Baldwin's twitter? He created the hashtag and is the biggest supporter and promoter of the movement, tweeting it several times a day.

His twitter account is just embarrassing. Aggressive, bible quoting, anti-Obama, pro Gun, anti abortion etc. Currently he is quoting #GovernmentEducationIsEvil, and I have no idea what it is about but I bet I will disagree with it.

I love Firefly so much, especially the character Jayne so this all just hurts me so badly.
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Kevin McIntosh Head of Production, Torus Games3 years ago
"...where a writer could take years and years to develop that kind of trust with his readers; indeed, he probably never will."

I trust you Rob. :)
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Matt Jeffries Senior Producer, Telstra3 years ago
So, um, is Shadow of Mordor actually any good?

I couldn't tell from all the mudslinging and faux-enraged comments. Maybe I'll just check out some online videos of it..
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Kevin Clark-Patterson Lecturer in Games Development, Lancaster and Morecambe College3 years ago
I can't help but think if you have had made a video instead of writing this article that I would have 'trusted' your opinion more...

You have raised some serious points and far too many to be addressed in one sitting, for me it has gone back to being the loudest mouth in the playground getting the most nods.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
which is why right-wing websites and celebrities have come down on the side of Gamer Gaters.
Except the Daily Mail, which is pretty-damn right-wing, has an article pretty much eviscerating #Gamergate. When even The Daily Mail isn't on your side, you have to wonder what's going on.

(Oh, and the irony of SJW's being photoshopped onto nazi pictures. *shakes head* Gets more bizarre by the day.)
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd3 years ago
The bit where the writer attempts to hoist (journalistically-speaking) professional responsibilities onto video content creators is particularly cringeworthy. Here's a hint Rob, those guys don't prescribe or set themselves up to a certain value standard, they even make a point of not doing so, so who are you to come along and force those standards on them? This is totally different from videogame journalists who bang on (even in this very article) about how high their standards are.
Try explaining that to the FTC. If you publish or broadcast, you're part of the media and subject to that legal framework.

The VC-backed games news blogs also used to claim that they "weren't journalists" to excuse poor standards and lack of editorial oversight. It would be stretching credibility for any of them to try to claim that now.
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Shane Sweeney Academic 3 years ago
This version of the movement started with Baldwin. I'm not suggesting conservative celebrities and conservative sites have sided with the movement of GamerGate. I'm suggesting they *are* the movement.

We are seeing the same organized response from conservatives against pretty simple feminist ideas in other Internet areas such as the atheist and skeptics communities. I chalk most of it up to the adolescent period of the Internet as it struggles to find its own identity.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 13th October 2014 12:40pm

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
The thing is, it seems like for every rational GG'er, there's 10 who are irrational. When the majority of a movement (or whatever they're calling it now) appears to be made of bad eggs, then something is wrong. GG'ers are applauding Jim Sterling's recent retreat from Twitter (too many venomous tweets). Regardless of your view, when a vocal majority are happy that a journalist/writer/youtuber is being pushed out of the industry, then that movement is itself poisonous to the industry.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
You mean bad apples like Leigh Alexander, who worte 2007 on Destructoid,
2007? You have to go back to 2007 to find something awful a writer said? Look at the past 48 hours alone, and you'll see far worse from GG'ers.

Edit:

And by that I mean, GG'ers are continuing a wave of hate. Writers have said bad things in the past, but it appears that GG'ers are the only ones still saying crap.

Edit 2:

That sounds a bit... angry? And it is, but not aimed at anyone here. I honestly don't get how hounding writers is supposed to a) make things better and b) give the impression to outsiders that gaming is fun and happy. The Daily Mail and The Guardian have both written about the abuse that GG'ers have heaped upon others. Has anyone actually taken a minute to think about the image that's creating for our little hobby? That in itself makes me angry with the GG group.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 13th October 2014 3:47pm

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
You continue defending the bullies on your side, it's hard for me to understand why, but it's a fact.
Am I defending them? Mmmm... I'm not denouncing them, but I'm not defending them, no. I evaded your point about Leigh, to make one of my own, one that is very real, and very pertinent. Does "my side" lack empathy? Perhaps, but it's hard to empathise with
Fuck 'im. He can join *insert YouTuber here* in eating a barrel of dicks.
Or even the more polite
Good. Hopefully he'll vanish too. The less antagonistic, gamer-hating, "media" heads the better we'll be for it.
Perhaps I personally lack empathy for the GG'ers, because I think the industry would be better off without the hate, the abuse, the threats. I see nothing good coming out of this; the issue of ethics disappears entirely when you see comments like the above quotes. When all I see from one side is that, then regardless of the other side ("my side") I will not suffer it.

Question which I've been pondering: If this were developers instead of writers, would there be such a question of balance? David Vonderhaar who got abuse for that CoD patch. Phil Fish. BioWare staff after the ME3 ending... all of them got abused for doing something that "gamers" hated. But I don't recall there being such a question of empathy and balance. Did I miss those comments?

(and ending with a smiley, because, hey, I'm trying not to be a dick. :) )
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd3 years ago
Yes Christian, a woman telling an off-colour joke seven years ago is even remotely equivalent to a campaign of harrassment and criminal intrusion. Everyone who has complained of continually being abused has been making it up and should grow a thicker skin, and was asking for it anyway because they said something that maybe hurt someone's feelings a bit. That's your position in a nutshell, isn't it?

It's utterly bewildering that you still have posting privileges on this site.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
Maybe we have a different defintion of "abuse"; sending somebody death threats via twitter is not nice and definitely shouldn't be done, but it's nowhere near anything like "abuse".
Words bloody fail me. How sad that you think like that.
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James Brightman Editor, North America, GamesIndustry.biz3 years ago
Maybe we have a different defintion of "abuse"; sending somebody death threats via twitter is not nice and definitely shouldn't be done, but it's nowhere near anything like "abuse".
Wow, just wow. You're done here man. You're just trolling, and derailing any intelligent discussion. GamesIndustry.biz can do a lot better than this.
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Thank you.
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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus3 years ago
"Neither David Vonderhaar, nor Phil Fish, nor the BioWare staff got "abused", they were criticised"

Uhhh... David Vonderhaar was HAMMERED with threats. http://www.gamingbus.com/2013/07/29/john-vonderhaar-phil-fish-and-a-culture-of-blind-hate/ (I realize the URL has David's first name wrong. It was linked often enough where fixing the link as well as the title would have hurt traffic)

(Not that you can likely read it at this point, but hey. Self promotion is always fun!
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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus3 years ago
It should be noted that most of the issues coming about recently have not been coming from 4chan. They've been coming from 8chan.

Guys. GamerGate is too freaking hot for 4chan. TOO HOT FOR 4CHAN.
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Shane Sweeney Academic 3 years ago
@Christian. You are not listening. Occupy did not start via anti zionism. Feminism did not start out of transphobia or chemtrails etc.

GamerGate started out by Baldwin. I will say it glibly so you don't misinterpret my point a third time. Baldwin is crazy. It started crazy, it continues to be crazy, it has attracted crazy and it will end crazy.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 13th October 2014 10:54pm

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James Brightman Editor, North America, GamesIndustry.biz3 years ago
@ Andreas, if you think there's an "opposing view" to be considered when it comes to threats and abuse towards women, then I cannot help you. My decision on Christian stands. Downplaying the significance of death threats and harassment is simply not acceptable behavior. It's sad that I even have to explain this...
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
@Andreas

I think this actually points-up the false-arguments that some GG'ers have.

Either Christian was trolling, or he genuinely believes that threats of harm against someone and/or their family is not abuse. If the former, he's a destructive presence, and if the latter, then he is, dare I say it, part of the problem, since his mindset and actions do nothing to prevent threats and hatred. Either way, entertaining his argument in a rational way does... What? Gives a mouth-piece for an extreme view-point? Gives balance to the larger argument? Providing balance with someone who thinks
If you have any kids, they're going to die too. I don't give a fuck. They'll grow up to be feminists anyway.
is not abuse is not balance. In fact, I would argue that allowing Christian to continue upon that path would essentially be legitimising the view that threats of violence are okay, and people should just accept them.
Your action clearly shows that GamerGate has merit and that the gaming press does have issues.
There is no right to reply, anywhere. Related to that, the thing that strikes me about GG is that, if they think their political and social viewpoints aren't being represented, why don't they create a website where they are? I'm unsure how rich that Baldwin guy is, but he honestly seems like the type who wouldn't mind fronting server costs for a pro-gun, anti-Obama geek website. No-one would have any issues with that, I think (certainly I wouldn't).

(@ James: Apologies if this is a little too-close to back-seat-modding. Delete if you think appropriate. :) )
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James Brightman Editor, North America, GamesIndustry.biz3 years ago
FYI, Andreas has requested that his account be deleted, so that also deletes any associated comments, which is why they no longer appear here.

But let me be clear: we will not stand by and let people downplay the seriousness of threats towards women. This isn't about how I feel. It's about what's right and what's wrong. There's no gray area and there's no "opposing view."
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