GamerGate: The progress we’ve made so far
Through the mess and the flame wars, it seems that some very real change is starting to happen within the gaming industry in regards to the allegations of deep corruption following the Zoe Quinn scandal. Most of the change is positive, even if the mainstream gaming sites have been dragged into it kicking and screaming as the debate burning the industry down has evolved from ‘ZoeGate’ to ‘GamerGate’.
The first to cave into the mob was Kotaku, as editor in chief Stephen Totilo released a public statement on the site (found here) damning the actions of Patricia Hernandez and Ben Kuchera who were found out to have conflicts of interest far greater then Nathan Grayson, and stated that Kotaku writers will no longer fund developers through Patreon, a service which gives monthly donations to developers and artists. That’s a monumental good start in severing the overly close ties between developers and reporters, especially considering that the site in question has been at the forefront of all this chaos.
What could prompt such a change in tactics from publications that have had no problem in smearing their readership though? It’s almost as if calling your readership smelly nerds has an adverse effect on page views and thus ad revenue. Which is of course, exactly what is happening. The gaming community has truly become fed up with gaming sites that believe that they’re too big to fail and keep biting the hand that feeds them, not unlike the once popular Cnet, Softsonic, and Brothersoft, and the result has obviously been massive dips in page views and angry advertisers. One anonymous writer (possibly the escapist), about the current editorial meltdown in his office:
Ouch. And it’s not just big sites either, freelance writers are being driven out of the industry after having their corruption laid bare. One such example is Jenn Frank, a freelance writer for big sites like The Guardian and Kotaku, who has quit her career in the industry after deep financial ties with Zoe Quinn made the subject of her own corruption unavoidable and making her ‘the example’ of industry corruption. One less broken chess piece on the board is good news for both sides, and proof that the claims of corruption are being taken seriously by big names.
It’s also no secret that the loudest voices in this have been Youtuber Internet Aristocrat and Firefly actor Adam Baldwin. So far their activities have been limited to Youtube and Twitter, but that looks to change tomorrow as they share a booth with political radio star Ed Morrissey. No word yet on where you’d be able to view it, though it’d probably be mirrored onto Internet Aristocrat or Ed Morrissey’s pages soon enough.
On another positive note, The Fine Young Capitalists are making great progress towards funding their goal of the Women’s Gaming Jamboree. There’s one month to go and the team is 77% of their $65,000 goal. This is in no small part in thanks to gamers from 4chan’s /v/ board and Reddit, who found out about how Zoe Quinn and her PR Company Silver String Media originally sabotaged the initial campaign after it was declared a rival to Quinn’s own Rebel Game Jam. Putting aside the irony and hypocrisy of a ‘feminist’ developer and ‘feminist’ PR firm shutting down an inherently feminist event, it’s outstanding that those labelled as gross, disgusting nerds by those in the Social Justice crowd have done more than they ever have to actually bring about positive change in the industry. Remember kids, actions speak far louder than words posted on Twitter and Tumblr. If you want to fund this great cause, click the link here.
Youtube superstar TotalBiscuit has also taken a break from defending himself against constant abuse and recorded a short song, named Shania Bain: That Don’t Impressa Me Much, making fun of recent events and the arrogance of some indie developers. Take it away, Johnny.