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Swedish developers sign declaration against sexism, abuse

Paradox, Massive, Mojang, Dice, Rovio, Starbreeze and more support diversity

A near-exhaustive list of Sweden's development community has signed a public petition protesting the sexist abuse being meted out to female developers over the last weeks, reiterating that diversity is a significant factor in Sweden's huge success as a development hotspot. Since the petition has gained headway, signatures from industry members from around the world have joined the list of supporters.

Whilst no specific targets of abuse are mentioned, it's undeniably obvious that the petition relates to the threats received by many female developers and industry figures embroiled in the ongoing GamerGate campaign, which has been mired in consistent outbreaks of abuse and misogyny, tarnishing it beyond redemption. Whilst many supporters of the movement's stance on perceived ethical shortfallings in games journalism have protested the association of the hashtag with the systematic abuse, the people on the sharp end of it have had no doubts surrounding its origins.

The petition was started by Swedish organisation Diversi, which penned an article in SVD (translation here) yesterday to publicise the list of the developer who'd signed up. reading like a who's who of the local industry, the message being issued is clear: sexism and threatening behaviour have no place in gaming.

"Most people know by now the Swedish computer games export success," Google translates the article as reading. "A large part of the explanation is that video games are no longer a hobby for enthusiasts, without broad popular entertainment. It is a major change that has occurred in recent years, not only in Sweden but in the world. It is this increase in demand that drives the growing market and more people are discovering a world of work in the game.

"Recently, we reached the terrible news about the women who publicly take a stand against sexism in computer games are subjected to threats and harassment by anonymous people online, so much so that their physical safety and security in their homes can not be guaranteed. It should not have to be said: hatred, intimidation and harassment is never acceptable."

The piece goes on to point out that Sweden's progressive laws on equality, such as extended paternity leave and mandatory equal pay, have helped the region keep pace with the increasingly broad audience which it creates for.

"Gender equality is one of the success factors for the Swedish game industry. In the high-performance gaming world might Swedish game studios compete for international excellence in offering a functional daily life as small children when paternity leave encouraged. [The] Diversity issue is obvious in an international working environment that recruits skills from around the world. Differences in work [are] required to create games for a diverse audience. Many of the Swedish hit games are played equally by women and men of both young and old. Games have become a natural hobby for everyone."

The petition is still available to sign, a list of prominent signatories is below.

ANDERS FRANK , researcher, National Defence College; Ann-Sofie SYDOW , training leaders, The Game Assembly; ANTON Westbergh , CEO, Coffee Stain Studios; BIRGITTA Lundvik , President, Hansoft; BRJANN Sigurgeirsson , CEO, Image & Form; CHRISTOFER SUNDBERG , founder and creative director Avalanche Studios; DANIEL HASSELBERG , CEO, MAG Interactive; DANIEL KAPLAN , business developer, Mojang; DANIEL ÖHBERG , CEO, Fragnet; DAVID Polfeldt , CEO, Ubisoft Massive; DAVID ROSÉN , CEO, Pieces Interactive; DENNIS GUSTAFSSON , co-founder, Mediocre; EIRIK PEDERSEN , CEO, Game-Hosting; ERIK ROBERTSON , founder, Redikod; FREDERICK OLOFSSON , president, Sens Avis; FREDERICK WESTER , CEO, Paradox Interactive; HakanLarsson , Furuboda Competence Center; Hans Svensson , Head of Department, Department of game design, Uppsala University; JOHAN HÖGLUND , CEO, Rocket Games; Johan Westin , game director, Level Eight; Karl Magnus TROEDSSON , CEO of Dice; KLAUS Lyngeled , founder, Zoink; LInneA AGNES , project, PlaygroundSquad; LINUS FELDT , founder and CEO, Filimundus; MAGNUS ALM , CMO , Palringo; MAGNUS BJÖRKMAN , CEO, Tension Graphics AB; MARTIN Ekdalsvägen , co-founder, Simplygon; MARTIN WAHLUND , CEO, Fatshark; MARTIN Walfisz , CEO & Founder, Planeto; MATTISUDDEN LARSSON , CEO / Creative Director, Zordix; Mr. Miksche , CEO, Stardoll; MATTIAS NYGREN , CEO, The Station; MATTIAS OHLSSON , Pixelbite; MIKAEL Nermark , COO, Starbreeze; OLA DE FREITAS , president, Goo Technologies; OLA Holmdahl , CEO, Tarsier Studios; OSKAR BURMAN , CEO, Rovio Sweden; PER STRÖMBÄCK , spokesperson, Games Industry: Per-Arne Lundberg , Senior Vice President, The Game Incubator; PETER LEVIN , president, Forest Light; PIM Holfve , CEO, Expansive Worlds; RICKARD FRISEGÅRD , CEO, Stunlock Studios; SEBASTIAN KNUTSSON , founder, King; Sigbritt KARLSSON , Vice Chancellor, University of Skövde; Staffan Björklund , Professor, University of Gothenburg; STEFAN HOLGERSSON , Executive Director, Foundation Teknikdalen; STEFAN ÖSTERGÅRDE , CEO, Fuffr; TOM LÖYCHE , Director of Studies, Future Games: TOM CHAMBERS , CEO of Ink Studios; TOMMY PALM , director, Game Plan-ASGD

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Latest comments (3)

Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 7 years ago
I take it that this is about the gaming industry workplace... Otherwise there are a lot of very hypocrit developers among the ones who signed the petition.. But then, why the hell does one have to sign a petition on sexism and threatening behaviour anyway, as it has no place in ANY workplace, as it's illegal..
But then there ofcourse it the problem of where does one draw the line when it comes to sexism and threatening behaviour?
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 7 years ago
Sweden is such a friggin groupthink culture.
In a groupthink society, in any conflict between individual rights - like freedom of speech, etc - and group tensions, the individuals will lose every time.
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Seriously, you guys? Statements like this:
Sometimes you have to state the obvious: we will never accept threats, hate, violence or sexism in the name of games. We welcome more diversity. We oppose all discrimination. Games are for all!
...are the most innocuous possible thing, and you still come to kvetch about it? What part of 'threat, hate, violence and sexism in the name of games' are y'all so itching to defend here?
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