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Zoe Quinn calls for big companies to speak out on GamerGate

"It's so fundamental, otherwise this is going to keep happening"

Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn has called for the industry's biggest companies to speak up about the controversial GamerGate movement.

A blog post by an ex-boyfriend of Quinn's is widely regarded as a catalyst for GamerGate, a social media hashtag claimed by some to promote concerns about ethics in games journalism, but that ultimately became synonymous with online harassment and misogyny.

Speaking with the BBC at Nottingham GameCity, Quinn expressed her frustration at the reticence of the most influential companies in the industry to take a stance on the issue, even after the GamerGate hashtag was used as a cover for targeted abuse and threats of extreme violence.

"The fact that so much of the responsibility is offloaded to the people most harmed by it is frustrating"

Zoe Quinn

"The fact that so much of the responsibility is offloaded to the people most harmed by it, when someone in a much safer position than I am can stand up and condemn it, is frustrating," she said.

"When people that are prominent in the industry can stand up and say 'I'm part of games, I love games, this hate mob doesn't speak for me, this is not welcome in games', it has the twofold effect of making it less damaging to those that this can hurt, and it does something to repair this horrible misrepresentation of this medium that so many of us love.

"Condemning them and saying they do not speak for games - it's so fundamental, otherwise this is going to keep happening."

Certainly, The New York Times reported that Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard and Take-Two all declined to comment for an article on the matter, and Fortune only managed to get Ubisoft to go on the record that, "harassment, bullying and threats are wrong and have to stop."

It is worth noting that Ubisoft's statement was largely in support of the ESA's stance on GamerGate. Given that the ESA represents virtually all of the industry's major players, it could be argued that its one statement speaks for all parties. Conversely, it could also be argued that the ESA's statement is a convenient excuse for silence on the part of companies that do not wish to upset any part of their audience.

In any case, Quinn doesn't see the industry's response as good enough. "We need everybody to stand-up and condemn it," she said, "and not in this milquetoast 'harassment is bad you guys' way - because they don't think that what they're doing is harassment."

Interestingly, Quinn did suggest that there are "real concerns" about ethics in games journalism, but from the very beginning the GamerGate movement focused on the wrong area - on "the people with the least power in the industry."

"Nobody's talking about the relationship between the major publishers and the press," Quinn continued, advising those with actual concerns to abandon the irrevocably tarnished GamerGate hashtag.

"Many of the real concerns that people should have about ethics in games journalism have been completely ignored."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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