Tobold's Blog
Thursday, September 04, 2014
Rebels against the mass market

I have seen the Gamergate story explained as a gender issue, and I have seen it described as a culture war. But being a strong believer in behavioral economics I do believe that ultimately the whole uproar is caused by changes to the gaming hobby which are due to market forces. The underlying issue is one of gaming moving from being a niche market for teenage boys playing on consoles to a much broader mass market. The prime minister of the UK boasts of having beaten Angry Birds, and a demographic that is older and has more women is making games like Candy Crush Saga the top selling games. Many game developers got into the business because they were those teenage boys on consoles before, and that makes change somewhat slow. But those market forces are strong, and slowly but surely games adjust to become a better fit to the changed audience. And the old audience is unhappy with those changes.

The problem is not some female game developer sleeping with a game journalist to get better reviews (which was just a fake story that revealed more about the utter lack of understanding of women by the people who made that story up than about any real issue). The problem is modern game developers, some of which are women, making games like Depression Quest or Portal, in which a headshot is not the optimal solution to every problem any more. And game journalists, who dream of being taking seriously, welcoming those grown up games to the annoyance of those who would prefer another sequel of Call of Duty instead. Even into sequels sometimes more complicated stories sneak in and are rejected by the old guard: They wouldn't have complained about the Mass Effect 3 ending if that ending had just been Shepherd violently killing some huge space alien.

Gaming is like a cinema that only used to play films like Dirty Harry, Rambo, and Die Hard, and is now starting to also show films like Titanic, Avatar, romantic comedies, and even Akira Kurosawa films. The old customers don't like not being the center of attention any more, they don't like that now an increasing part of the product on offer is for different demographics.

Games like they used to be have a problem in today's market. Many of the core themes are not acceptable to a wider audience. It isn't just as Anita Sarkeesian complains how women are shown as victims in the background decoration of games like Hitman. It is that games like Hitman which are exclusively about violence aren't as appealing to a wider market than they were to the old core audience. Game developers are still struggling to get the formula right, but they are trying with games like Tomb Raider to move the focus away from gratuitous violence and towards more difficult stuff like how the adventure has an emotional impact on the hero. Multiplayer games are changing towards rule sets and moderation that don't allow free-for-all PvP and griefing any more. Even the business models of games are changing, because Free2Play models which limit how much time you can play are a lot more acceptable to the modern audience than to the old core audience.

Games are growing up. Game journalism is growing up too. And some journalists are looking at the reaction of the people who didn't grow up with the medium and compare it to a grocery store tantrum of the kid who is angry about not being the center of attention any more because he now got a little brother or sister. They now consider the old gamer culture as kind of embarrassing. And of course that causes even more of a tantrum, because the core gamers feel left behind by both the game industry and the game journalists. Which is where the silly stories of a huge conspiracy between game industry and game journalists against core gamers are coming from.

There is a limit to how many consoles and $60 games you can sell to a teenage boy. The game industry can't afford to ignore the rest of the growing market. That means games that appeal to other demographics both in content and in business models. That doesn't mean that $60 console games full of gratuitous violence will go away, they are still a profitable part of the market. But they stopped being the WHOLE market. Today you can't just pick up any random game and be sure that it was designed for you specifically. And that hurts, like every growing up process hurts. But market forces make this growing up inevitable. Deal with it!

The corrupt journalists can claim it is about whatever they want. It's just a smear campaign to muddy the waters about what it is really about.

The gamers are concerned with corruption and nepotism.

That is nothing new. That issue has been around for over a decade (since the Driver 3 scandal) and long before any of the changes you mention. Only a few months ago journalists accepted free tablets at a Watch Dogs event and conspired to keep it quiet.

When ten identical stories drop in the space of two days and slam millions of innocent people over the actions of a few, you can't tell me that they aren't conspiring to change the agenda to something less uncomfortable. Combine that with mass thread and post deletions as well as total silence on the corruption scandal and I'd say it's obvious what is going on.

The majority of gamers have no objections to those issues you raise. It's a giant strawman and you fell for it.
It's hard to take something that was started by Adam Baldwin and 4chan serious.

They claim it's against corruption yet attack women on Twitter and celebrated on the hash tag when they "win" against these women.

The whole thing is ridiculous. If you think gaming journalism is corrupt don't give those websites traffic then. Simple.
I tend to agree with your characterisation here: it's not a culture war, it's the medium (or the genre) growing up. It's inevitable that a medium (or genre: choose your preference) that has valourised certain (gendered and ethnicised) representations is going to undergo a traumatic experience when it finally opens up to representations that don't fit the previously valourised (gendered and ethnicised) representations.

At the same time, and not unrelated, there is an underlying dissatisfaction with the state of gaming journalism: ie, it's largely just PR, not criticism. (I can imagine that there are some people who really do see this particular uproar as being about journalism - except for the fact that most journalists strongly side with the demonised developers and critics). It's obvious from the responses of so many journos and devs that they're unhappy with the role they've been given within the currently operating gaming industry. It's equally obvious that many journos would like to be more than just stenographers for the marketing departments of giant publishers - to be, in truth, critics like their colleagues in film and tv journalism. (It's the obviousness of this desire from games journos that makes the claims of corruption in this case so blatantly dishonest).

The whole gamergate farrago reminds me of the history of film criticism. Until the birth of the Nouvelle Vague in the ashes of post-WWII France, there was *no* consistent tradition of film criticism: most film critics were - just like game journos at this juncture - vectors for transmitting film studio marketing. It was the birth of Cahiers du Cinema - a journal specifically designed to *critique* film - AND the eventual movement of these critics/ journos to become directors implementing the criticism that they'd championed, that gave birth to film criticism, and thus all the Roger Eberts and Rotten Tomatoes and Janet Maslin's and Phillip French's of the world.

The whole gamergate farrago, and the notable evidence of games journos who are unhappy with their role as adjunct marketers for game studios, make me feel like we're at a Cahiers du Cinema moment at the moment in games journalism. Cahiers attracted a lot of grief when it started, for daring to treat films as serious and worthy of the sort of criticism that novels received. Games criticism (and games development is a form of criticism) is now in the same place: those seeking to discuss, analyse and understand games are attracting serious grief. Hopefully from out all the gamergate drama we'll get gaming's Andre Bazin....
The problem is that unlike with movies, there is no clear genre marketing. There are action movies, comedies, romantic movies and from the trailer you know what to expect. Expendables III didn't want to appeal for romance lovers and Frozen didn't try to lure in action fans. Games need similar characterization and marketing, because a mad player who bought something he hates is a bad marketing.
Woody, this is pretty much how "journalism" like this goes.

I put journalism in quotes because it's mostly a joke. When the only people who want to buy ads on your website are the same people who control your access to what you write about, it's always a joke. The automotive magazines are the same way. With a few exceptions the journalists are just quasi-independent PR people with delusions of grandeur.

The reaction against the mainstreaming of games is as predictable as it is futile. The people who have intwined their personal identity with games feel threatened and react but it's a tempest in a teapot.
The gamers are concerned with corruption and nepotism.

That "concern" erupted over accusations that a certain game journalist had given a favorite review to a game after sleeping with a certain developer. That caused a huge outrage that wasn't even stopped when the site for which the journalist pointed out that the journalist in question never ever published a review of a game of the game developer in question.

Even if gamers are concerned about too close connections between game developers and journalists, a mix of death threats, publishing private data, and fake porn is *NOT* a valid way to express such concern.

I think those "concerned gamers" are a mindless mob led by the nose by some jealous ex-boyfriend with a personal revenge agenda. If of all possible moments of an issue that is as old a game journalism you choose this week to express your "concern", you are de facto allying with a very unsavory bunch of people.
I strongly disagree with the idea that games are in some way growing up. You cannot reduce decades of varied and nuanced gaming to simply a sideline to a small minority of multiplayer arena first person shooters. That group was never representative of the entire gaming community.

Way back when the super nintendo came out, it was released with super mario world (a platformer), f-zero (a racing game), simcity (a city builder), pilotwings (a flight sim), and Gradius (a shmup). Nice and varied, not just a bunch of games for teenage boys to shoot each other in the head. Headshots were never 'the optimal solution to every problem', and it's disrespectful to dismiss away years of thoughtful games by saying that.

That's like saying that movie watching has grown up, because all the old movies were just like Rambo and Die Hard, but now we make more interesting films. No, there have been interesting films the entire time we've been making them, and there have always been interesting games as long as we've had gaming. Different genre's rise to greater prominence, but not one defines gamers as a whole.

Just to throw this out there, Silent Hill 2 came out in 2001, and it was all about the guilt a man feels for wishing that his wife would just die, because he can't bear the torment of sitting at her hospital bed and watching her slowly die by inches. I have never seen a game with a more mature/adult plot. It is simply flat out wrong to dismiss this and similar games as part of that embarrassing era of games where everything was designed for teenage boys.
"Even into sequels sometimes more complicated stories sneak in and are rejected by the old guard: They wouldn't have complained about the Mass Effect 3 ending if that ending had just been Shepherd violently killing some huge space alien."

I really hope you're kidding about this. It had nothing to do with being "complicated" or "non-violent." It was the equivalent of the Nazis opening the Ark in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and having Darth Vader pop out and force choke everyone to death. It made zero sense.

Or imagine if the last 5 minutes of "The Usual Suspects" involved suddenly talking about Keyser Soze's boss who was even more ruthless than Keyser. You'd be thinking "wait, what's going on, who's this new character being introduced in the climax?"

"Gaming is like a cinema that only used to play films like Dirty Harry, Rambo, and Die Hard, and is now starting to also show films like Titanic, Avatar, romantic comedies, and even Akira Kurosawa films."

Are you forgetting things like, say, Citizen Kane? Casablance? The Godfather? Schindler's List? 2001 Space Odyssey? To Kill a Mockingbird? Apocalpyse Now? Etc.

"The problem is modern game developers, some of which are women, making games like Depression Quest or Portal, in which a headshot is not the optimal solution to every problem any more."

I don't know about you, but I used to play games like "Oregon Trail," "Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego?," "SimCity," and more. Portal and Portal 2 are definitely in my top 10 list of games and it was a very unique idea, but it's hardly the first game that isn't solved by pure violence.
The tech "news" site slashdot even covered this today. I liked the phrase "Extinction Burst" in The harassment has prompted geek-dating advice columnist Harris O'Malley to declare the backlash the "Extinction Burst of Gaming Culture," the last reactionary gasp before the culture shifts to become more inclusive.

Most "journalists" today, be it in gaming, automotive, computers/hightech are mostly just rewriting companies press releases. In June, AP announced they would be using automation to write their earnings stories: instead of providing 300 stories manually, we can provide up to 4,400 automatically All forecasts I see talk about a continued decline in newspapers and journalists' budgets.
Extinction Burst explained.
It is correct that Nathan Grayson never did an article which was strictly a review for Zoe's game. However he did write an article where he played up how many indie games were coming out on a constant basis and then stated that the big standout among them was her game. And the only picture for that article was a screen shot or something for her game featuring the games title I believe. Now that might not count strictly speaking as a published review. But it is certainly a glowing endorsement, and things like that have been known to be much more effective than blatant advertising. Now I did see somewhere that he wrote that before they allegedly had sexual contact. Of course that time difference could be seen as payment after the fact.

From a lot of what I've read it does sound like Zoe is quite an asshole, for which I don't plan to buy any of her work. Her sex life doesn't really play into that though. And I tend to feel much the same about that lady who does the videos about misogynist tropes in video games, she is probably correct in a good deal of it but I'm not going to watch them to find out while she seems to orchestrate her own death and rape threats.
Very sad that you have been taken in by such an obvious con-artist as Anna Sarkesian. Her agenda is solely personal profit.
Tobold, you used a fallacy.

A small number of exaggeraters claimed the guy had "reviewed" the game. Gamergate supporters have been constantly telling those people to shut up because when they make an inaccurate statement like that it is used by people like yourself to discredit the arguments of everyone else who didn't exaggerate or post inaccurate information.

Millions of others never said that and you shouldn't be using debating fallacies to discredit their position.

They said it was about exposure and positive press for "friends" games at the expense of other developers who couldn't get attention for superior games.

Glowing gushing articles of other games have emerged where the writer and devs were sharing a flat at the time. The writers have sneakily added disclaimers on them now, bit late though.

Biggie is also up to his usual tricks claiming "they attack women on Twitter".


How many did that out of how many gamergate supporters?

What do gamergate supporters say to anyone claiming to support gamergate and using hate speech or personal attacks?

What did they say?

Attack or critism?

Stop using weasel words.
Woody: Why do you think you can speak for the majority of gamers?
Woody: I didn't see any comment from you or any mail from you to me demanding to treat the subject in the week where some game journalists were "bribed" with tablets. Apparently you didn't give a shit at that point.

This week there is an uproar which is clearly connected to false accusations of a jealous ex-boyfriend, and suddenly today you care? You joined a lynch mob, and you will have to live with being connected to the methods that this lynch mob uses. And those methods are unacceptable by any standards of civilization and decency. Even if there is a legitimate concern hidden somewhere in the uproar, it is mixed with personal agendas, jealousy, sexism, hacking, death threats, lies, and people just being jerks on the internet. If you voluntarily join a lynch mob, you are in part responsible for the actions of that mob.

At the moment I am seriously considering kicking you from my blog, because I simply don't want to give a voice to members of the Gamergate lynch mob. Plus you are coming dangerously close of replacing arguments with ad hominem attacks on me and other commenters, which makes me think that you are in fact not so far away from the methods of the other members of the Gamergate lynch mob.
Whatever this episode - and I doubt it's over, much as many folks would like it to be - shows to be growing up, it's not games journalism...

" Extinction Burst" - I like. A much more evocative and understandable metaphor than my film criticism metaphor!

I also like: "You joined a lynch mob, and you will have to live with being connected to the methods that this lynch mob uses." That's the unvarnished and unavoidable truth - which is also why those within the lynch mob fight so loud and hard: if they lose, they get judged as the lynch mob they are.
I was posting on forums about the Driver 3 scandal when it happened. GR forums iirc, I remember a guy called eighthours moderating at the time if anyone wants to verify that. I was posting under my Steam /Xbl name which I no longer publicise so I apologise for not being able to give more evidence.

I was posting on forums about all the other scandals over the years too - kane and lynch 2 etc. I'm no "Johnny come lately" jumping on a bandwagon.

I don't recall your blog about the Nexus Tablets and can't remember if I posted. I was discussing it else where though.

Gamergate isn't about Quinn. It just triggered the latest in a long line of criticisms about integrity. If it weren't for the false dmca Quinn would be innocent; as a dev her job is to promote her games by any legal means.

The journalists are the ones at fault and discussion quickly moved on to the issue of journalists funding developers they were reporting on and the flat mate issue.

By the way the journalist admitted a relationship, he had written articles about her and Kotaku have now introduced a policy forbidding writers from funding developers they write about and having to disclose relationships. So a lot has come of the "false allegations".

I did accuse you of using a fallacy, this much is true. But I didn't mean that in a confrontational way, just pointing out an error in your argument. I clearly explained the nature of the fallacy you used. I am surprised that you would describe that as an ad hominem or close to an ad hominem. I will ensure I am more careful with my wording in future in case I am inadvertently appearing hostile in tone.

The fact that you have used fallacies (no offence) and we have a difference in understanding of what *most* gamer gate people are saying suggests that perhaps you should consider the possibility that you are allowing some bias or preconceptions to cloud your judgement? Or maybe you haven't read enough impartial reports which granted are hard to find.

I'm normally aligned with your views on most issues but your usual cool analysis hasn't been present in this discussion imo with a lot of strong emotive wording instead.

I mean "lynch mob"? Mass discontent is not a lynch mob. Who is in the lynch mob? How many?

A handful of basement dwelling no lifers threatening women?

How do the majority feel about the lynch mob?

The lynch mob are the worse enemy of the gamergate people.

"If you voluntarily join a lynch mob, you are in part responsible for the actions of that mob."

This is exactly the type of thing I talked about the other day.

Smearing masses of innocent but concerned people over a minority of wrong doers over which they exert no influence or control. Bringing up the issue of the death threats etc. How many made death threats or were misogynistic?

Your see with the Driver 3 scandal, the Kane and Lynch scandal and the Nexus scandal it was safe to speak out. This time if we speak out people accuse you of making death threats. If you say "I didn't make threats and I condemn threats" people say "if you run with the mob you are responsible for their actions".

If your speak out, no matter how moderately, you are automatically enrolled in a gang with the abusive hate crowd it seems.

I can't control these people, neither can any other gamer. The FBI can't control them. We can't stop extremists jumping on an issue and hijacking it.

That applies to both sides.
I'm up to usual tricks? Really?
So people on gamergate didn't harass two journalist yesterday to the point that both said said they will never post about games again?

Its rhetorical. I have screenshots of the tweets to prove it. I was online when it happened. Not that I need to.

Gamergate started as a 4chan op to try to sway people to their side and make them look better. IVE SEEN THE FREAKING OP THREAD MYSELF.

It then spread to reddit where explicit instructions were given to create THOUSANDS of spam accounts, then to follow each other and get gamergate trending.

They then came up with the not your shield hash tag to try to make gamergate look legit.

So you are either willfully ignorant woody, really naive, or just don't care where your "movement" got its roots.

Is fighting against corrupt journalism a good thing? Of course it is.

But gamergate is not doing that.

You want to fight corruption? Don't traffic those websites. Or better start your own and create compitition.
I did accuse you of using a fallacy, this much is true.

Actually I found the "weasel words" far more offensive. One can discuss fallacies (and I just did on another thread, where somebody fell for a fallacy when trying to point out a fallacy.) "Weasel word" is just an insult, because I could just as easily accuse all of your comments just being "weasel words".

Smearing masses of innocent but concerned people over a minority of wrong doers over which they exert no influence or control. Bringing up the issue of the death threats etc. How many made death threats or were misogynistic?

No, you aren't "innocent" here. You are aware that the "movement" was launched by exactly that minority of wrong doers, out of very base motives, and using very evil methods. You then picked one issue from the bucket of shit these people were throwing out, and because you are concerned with that one issue you voluntarily picked up the hashtag of the whole movement. At that point you aren't innocent any more, because by declaring yourself as a "Gamergate Truther" you suggest that you also support all the evilness that spawned the movement.

I very much agree that game journalists are stooges posting press releases from the game industry and not much more. But one can express that opinion without supporting the Gamergate movement, which is more deeply corrupted than any games journalist.

And by the way, if you are so much against "smearing masses of innocents for the actions of a minority", I would very much like to see your proof that EVERY SINGLE GAME JOURNALIST THERE IS accepted tablets or sexual favors. You are smearing a lot of innocent journalists for the actions of a minority.
Another strawman post which actually proves what I said the other day.

Those of us against corruption and nepotism "spoke out" against all forms of abuse and hate.

Exactly what Tobold recommended we do.

As I predicted, here is Bigeye still trying to link us and make us responsible for the actions of a few. "Speaking out" does not work. Exactly as I stated, it simply reaffirmed his belief that the majority are responsible for these evil hate filled people.

The origin of the movement was mundane matt, a YouTuber who was false dmca'd (illegal) by Quinn.

Had that illegal act not occurred the Streisand effect wouldn't have kicked in and it would have soon blown over. At this point it was called the "quinspiracy".

I've been following it from the start though and contrary to what you just stated, "gamergate" was created to move the debate away from Quinn (because us decent people knew she wasn't the problem) and to stick to the issue of gaming. It referred to the branding of all "gamers" as terrorists and the stories claiming that "gamers" were dying /extinct.

In that respect gamergate as a tag was created by the people you support.
The above was a reply to big eye.
the stories claiming that "gamers" were dying /extinct

I would agree that this is an unfortunate choice of words. Gamers are obviously alive and kicking. The better word would have been "becoming irrelevant", as the market share of the self-declared core gamers is dwindling.

Kotaku have now introduced a policy forbidding writers from funding developers they write about

As my sarcasm in my previous post on that issue was clearly lost, I would like to point out clearly that I do not support this policy. We are not talking about a journalist buying a big amount of shares in a game company here and then promoting their products (which would be ethically wrong). We are talking about journalists participating in crowdfunding projects on platforms like Kickstarter or Patreon.

People really should read up on the definition of "corrupt". Corruption is game companies paying journalists for better coverage. A journalist giving money to a game company or developer isn't corruption. It just shows that he is a fan. And I'd much rather have journalists which are fans of games than mindless robots.
Tobold I sincerely apologise if "weasel words" has a different meaning where you are.

In the UK it is an inoffensive phrase referring to ambigious statements. E. G. "this government has reduced poverty" - they may just have given one penny to a homeless person.

Again I'd urge you to seek out impartial sources regarding gamer gate. Bigeye is posting misleading information and the gaming press are obviously presenting their story.

The campaign was initially "quinspiracy" which most of us disapproved of as it targeted one minor player.

We wanted to move it onto gaming and stop the sexism strawmen as well as distancing from the bad guys who were sending out threats.

The media launched a large attack on the term "gamer" and so the tag was born.
With regards donations.

If a real motoring journalist (not Clarkson) kick-started or bought shares in a new sports car manufacturer, he would recluse himself from writing a review.

Donating money to a Patreon is effectively paying someone's rent. That reflects a personal relationship which in turn should prevent you reviewing their work.

Kotaku actually agree with this despite being at the centre of the storm.

Of course whilst it's not always clear what the motive for donations is, journalists avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest. It is the same in my business, I have to avoid the appearance of conflicts even if it were innocent because we know it is hard to prove the motive and my industry therefore has zero tolerance on just the appearance.

Otherwise corruption would be rife with people saying "prove I favored them" as a defence and trust would be lost.

People like reuters and journalism unions have codes of conduct and the gaming press certainly don't comply.
bought shares in a new sports car manufacturer

That is exactly my point: Crowdfunding platforms are unlike buying shares in a company. If a car journalist bought shares in a new sports car manufacturer and then reviewed those cars favorably, it would result in a personal gain from rising share prices. You don't get personal gains from crowdfunding platforms (in the best case you get the game you financed). Plus the sums are far too small to matter. If a local journalist donates $10 for the renovation of the church roof, should he be banned from writing about that church or its roof for the future? That is just plain silly.

You cannot have corruption without personal gain.

Again I'd urge you to seek out impartial sources regarding gamer gate.

A) I did. Long ago.
B) None of the sources I found could honestly be called "impartial". Every single site discussing it clearly took a side in the debate.

Even in the most neutral terms possible, Gamergate "grew out of" the fake scandal around Quinn, where her jealous ex-boyfriend accused game journalists of giving her favorable reviews in exchange for sexual favors. Gamergate wouldn't have critical mass without that story. Which is very, very evident from the fact that nothing similar happened in response to the tablet story where there was an actual proven attempt to bribe journalists. And because Gamergate grew from a fake sex scandal, it is tainted by it. A wise man would have chosen a different time to express his concerns about how close the industry is with journalism.

And frankly, the few alleged cases of a single journalist being close to a single game developer don't worry me. What worries me is that if I buy a games magazine the overwhelming part of the pages will be disguised press releases from game companies, because the so-called journalists don't have any independent sources and rely on the media kit handouts from the game industry for their so-called "writing".
P.S. For reference, the closest to independent article on Gamergate I could find, written by a Forbes journalist, not somebody of the gaming press.

Note how it starts with "It all started with a blog post. Jilted ex-boyfriend Eron Gjoni wrote a long treatise on the alleged infidelity of his ex-girlfriend, video game developer Zoe Quinn. Members of the video game industry and press were implicated." It is impossible to separate Gamergate from Quinn.
Personal gain is hard to prove. It didn't have to be monetary. It could sexual, exclusive access etc, promise of a job later or just helping a mate at the expense of others. As I say ethics are as much about removing the suspicion when proving corruption is hard , at least where I work.

You are right we can't seperate it from Quinn and sexism.

The journalists have won a hollow victory. Their sexism smears against people like me stuck and my concerns that I have been discussing for over a decade were drowned out in that debate. Even the #notyourshield campaign couldn't defeat the strawman.

I can't stop lone gunmen or teenage fools sabotaging my arguments by saying something offensive or sexist. So any corruption alleged or real involving or originating from a female is not worth fighting.

I've spent most my time defending against accusations of sexism and death threats that I never made. Their tactic worked. No one wants to hear about nexus tablets.

Sooner or later another Driver 3, kane and lynch or nexus scandal will occur. I hope the bad guy is a "cis white male" as then the media will be defenceless.

I say "hollow victory" though because they did more damage to their own industry than the British tabloid press ever did.

Also their site views are down and adblock use is up - I'm now using it. They have been in decline for a long time. They can't compete with one-man YouTube operators like totalbiscuit who have ultra low costs and are trusted more.

Consumers have benefited as they will now view the indie-journo relationship in a similar light to the AAA-journo relationship. Reviews like Polygons 10/10 for Gone Home wont be trusted in future (they were reviewing their friends game).

Ironically Gone Home was one of my favorite games of 2013 so good indie games could lose out if no one believes the reviews are impartial.

The biggest losers are the indie devs that aren't in the San Francisco clique.

They couldn't speak out for fear of a black out on their titles but also have to put up with being sidelined or getting second rate coverage in favour of titles from the journalists friends, partners and flat mates.

I played a wonderful game called "Among the Sleep" a few months back. It didn't get as much coverage or a 10/10 like Gone Home but I enjoyed it as much. It even had a gender trope busting ending although the SF based social justice crowd wouldn't have liked that despite their claimed opposition to sexist tropes...

I expect that it got a fraction of the sales of gone home. I feel sorry for those guys. As we say here 'it's not what you know, but who you know ".
If people have to resort to death threats and expletive filled rants to respond to "gamergate", then they've lost the argument.

It's akin to what someone once said, that if your argument contains the "hey, it's free speech" interjection, then you are admitting that your argument can't stand on its own merits.

Death threats (including those directed at 10 year old's and 50% of the population (men)) have come from both sides.

Any chance of a serious debate has been destroyed.

Of course one side benefits more than the other from the debate turning into an almighty mess where no sense comes from it...
Debate is impossible when one side dismisses everything the other says as a "straw man" arguement and talks past the other person.

Say whatever you want Woody. The fact is that gamergate would never have trended without 4chan and reddit creating an ops to spam tweet with freshly created accounts.

Are there good people trying to use gamergate for legit reasons? I'm sure there are. And journalism corruption IS something to stand against, HOWEVER gamergate is tainted by this presence.

And its kind of funny that people throw out the it's a minority defense when they are damning the entire game journalism industry for the ALLEGED action of 5 people..

At the end of the day like I said twice already. The best way to fight against corruption is to not give those sites traffic. No traffic = no ad dollars. Get like minded individuals and boycott Woody. Create your own websites and compete against them.

I guarantee a large enough boycott would change things much faster then a twitter hash tag.

That's how you bring about change.
Debate is impossible if one side continually uses a strawman. A person can't debate in favour of, or defend a position that they never took and don't even agree with.

Given that you can't stop 4chan or reddit becoming involved in any discussion, does that mean they effectively have the ability to shut down any debate by tainting it?

It's just a classic guilt by association fallacy. It's also a fallacy to suggest that a position held by an unsavoury source with past misdemeanours is automatically wrong.

Claiming "taint" is merely weak ammunition for those lacking a genuine defence.

I never took the position that the industry has been dammed over the five people.

The smouldering started a decade ago with Driver 3, was kept alight by kane and lynch then started really hotting up with tablet gate, machinima and yogscast controversies. It ignited over the "ten articles".

Twitter stats show that Quinspiracy wasn't that big a deal, it was the media attack and tarring of everyone that saw the huge surge in the gamergate tag. That was when most people became involved.

As I say, I can't defend five guys. I never took that position. I had an interest in whether there was a close friendship (don't care about salacious details) that may have influenced whether coverage was given at the expense of other titles both with Grayson and other journalists. This was resolved when the sites updated their ethics code and added disclaimers to articles with conflicts of interest.

If you want to talk about death threats and misogyny you will have to find the people that did it/have the attitudes and talk it through with them. Good luck though as the police haven't yet found them either. Although I heard that no police report had actually been filed?

The boycott and adblocking are being promoted. YouTubers are picking up the pieces as an alternative. Need to remain vigilant as YouTube is odds on for being the next scandal. They have had a couple already this year.
So the new images that surfaced showing HUNDREDS of people in /v/ raid irc discussing how to get revenge and take down Zoe Quinn and others by creating gamergate and not your shield is totally not how gamergate started right Woody...

Yup it was all totally only about corruption in journalism.
totally not how gamergate started right Woody.

I'll go with presumption of innocence here and say that Woody was just fooled into joining that movement, not knowing how he was set up.
There is nothing new here, no great revelation.

Just another fallacy of guilt by association. You had been banging on about the dodgy chatroom for the last few days and I already stated that they are nothing to do with the main campaign. Good job I did really isn't it.

Quinn can make all manner of claims about who "leads" gamergate.

"Gamergate" was (for the n'th time) created by the MEDIA with the 10 articles attacking "gamers".

NO ONE leads gamergate. No one nominated 30 odd people on a chatroom to lead it. The 30 people in the chatroom can't nominate themselves to be leaders and Quinn cannot nominate them either.

Gamergate is just a typical internet phenomenon that is organic in nature.

Curious that those who considered it impossible that 50 odd people at the centre of the San Francisco indie/game site scene could run a conspiracy against gamers suddenly believe that 30 odd people on a chatroom can run a massive conspiracy against an unethical industry.

Funny that.

The 30 odd people involved are far less than the 100 or so that have posted misogynistic or harassing messages.

Same rules apply. The majority cannot control and are not responsible for a minority.

One giant strawman.

Journalists still took free Nexus tablets and conspired to keep it quiet.

Journalists still wrote glowing news articles about Indie games created by flat mates and partners and didn't add a disclaimer until months later when we called them out.

Journalists didn't implement rules on funding those they review or rules on disclosing conflicts of interest until we called them out.

What happens on a chatroom that hundreds of thousands of concerned gamers have never visited in their lives doesn't change a thing.

There are 1.5 million views for the main quinnspiracy videos. I'd hazard a guess that at least half of those people are concerned about corruption.

30 guys don't control anything. Kids bragging doesn't prove control of anything.

When an ex-boyfriend posted a chat log showing Quinn admitting to indiscretions and expressing a desire to cover it up it wasn't considered "evidence" and many said it was fake.

When Quinn posts a chatlog it is suddenly believed to be absolute 100% proof of a conspiracy and the fantasies of a bunch of teenage boys contained within are absolutely true of course.

How very strange that different standards apply.

I just keep focussed on the issue of corruption and don't worry what a small number of teenage boys get up to.

Frankly I am very more concerned about the person who sent Anita Sarkeesian disturbing Twitter messages involving illegal images.

I can handle being smeared by the fallacy of guilt by association over some worthless little jerks on a chatroom, but the Tweets sent to Sarkeesian are something I find far more troubling. That is totally reprehensible.
All I see is a handful of cases, several of them based on hearsay. It hardly adds up to an industry-wide conspiracy.

So some journalists wrote a biased review. Guess what? Every review is biased. And because everybody knows that, reviews have hardly any influence any more. If some guy shows his flatmate the indie game he just programmed, and the other guy find that game cool and writes about it on some game site, so what?

You are completely missing the bigger picture: Game journalists have no means of independent reporting. All they do is report on the material that game companies give them. All they write is just glorified press releases. THAT is what is wrong with game journalism, and not some game journalist giving some indie developer $10 on a crowdfunding site.
Giving their friends/flat mates/ex lovers indie game precious coverage whilst you don't get to hear about rivals? Good for the industry?

The indie market is saturated and nepotism can allow inferior titles to succeed. They can manipulate sales.

They can't refuse to cover AAA titles because they need the clicks.

In the case of indie titles the market is saturated and everyone is begging for coverage.

There is your absolute power that we discussed yesterday or the day before.

Now they get to choose the games that are seen and sold. They can distort the market based around their own political agenda.

They massively publicise Gone Home and overrate it (it's really good, but no 10) because it covers issues which they wish to push. Whereas Among the Sleep gets barely a mention and is underrated because the ending whilst trope busting doesn't fit in with their agenda.

There is a time to discuss these social issues and plenty of forums are dedicated to that purpose. I don't even mind if they discuss it in reviews a little as I had no issue with the controversy over the GTA review although it did come across as rather surreal as if they went in looking for an excuse to push an agenda.

But anyway when they are able to go further and actually push some products whilst totally suppressing others I get worried.

In the case of AAA games you can blame consumers for not using all the material available but with indie games this isn't the case and there are so many titles it really is the journalist in control of filtering the wheat from the chaff.

Rather than providing a service to consumers they are instead providing a service to their inner circles and political beliefs.

If you are OK with that then there is no point me trying any more. I just won't buy any of these indie titles and the rest of you will just have to put up with whatever the Journos serve you.

I guess there is no tragedy in missing out on a good game if you don't even know it exists.
Giving their friends/flat mates/ex lovers indie game precious coverage whilst you don't get to hear about rivals? Good for the industry?

What are you saying? That every single game journalist happens to be a flatmate of an indie game developer?

Why make such a fuzz when all I can see is a few cases of minor bias? Do you know how many game publications there are? Why would coverage of games in general be corrupted only because less than 1% of game journalists are in some sort of unethical relation with an indie game developer?
All the main gaming sites have been demonstrated to have posted articles with conflicts of interests between journalists and the subjects. I thought you knew this because you told me you had read up on it thoroughly. So surely you know it's not 1%?

Although I had heard the joke that the only site whose writers were completely clean was IGN. Whether that's true or not I don't know. IGN tends to be linked more to misdemeanours with the larger publishers and AAA games than the indie scene. They also seem to keep their site politically neutral at least relative to the others.

The aim is to come out of this with games journalists following a similar code of ethics to "real" journalists.

The example I use is that in my industry I have to enter all hospitality and gifts I receive on a register that is made public. If I attend a meeting at another companies premises and they put on a working lunch buffet I have to declare that too. I would not be allowed to accept a Nexus 7 even if I did enter it on a register as gifts over a certain value have to be declined. I can accept things like diary if it is sent unsolicited in the post but it goes on the register and we destroy them. I get to keep a pen at most. All relationships must be declared and we are moved to other areas of the business where no conflict would exist. There are mandatory timed post rotations to mitigate the danger of relationships/friendships building and leading to conflicts over time.

I would have been fired by my employer in my industry for the conflicts of interests that have been revealed in recent weeks. Not least because if the Daily Mail had found out about it, both they and the public (and my employer) wouldn't be rushing to make excuses for me in the manner that these "journalists" have been given the benefit of the doubt.

By the way the other side of the 4chan story has come out. Key phrase you might want to listen to and the one I've stated many times when correcting bigeyes misleading statements: "4chan did not create gamer gate, 4chan is not gamer gate". That is from the horses mouth.

WTF is #GameOverGate?:

You will already know this because you said you researched and read up on the facts but for those that don't the guy that made that video was the guy who was the victim of an illegal false dmca that Quinn filed in a censorship attempt and subsequently had to withdraw. That was the incident that kicked off the Streisand effect.

Having not used or visited 4chan I wasn't aware that the conversations in question took place on a widely known public forum. The way Quinn had described it one would have thought that she infiltrated a private group. That was how it appeared to me at first.

So we have a small number of people who didn't create gamer gate, don't own gamer gate and who are supposedly running the entire show, operating hundreds of thousands of sock puppets (presumably I'm one) and conducting secret hacking/doxing operations....via a widely known public forum. Sounds plausible no?

I'm surprised you immediately jumped on that and considered it all highly plausible and believed that these few people represent gamergate but are prepared to give the San Francisco scene benefit of the doubt with the 1% figure?

As a scientist I thought you would have taken a more critical look at what was being both sides.

I don't believe all the gamer gate revelations either, that is for sure. I filter out the grossly unsubstantiated rumours as weak intellectual arguments are easily countered and offer no value to the cause.
Sorry, I don't understand. If you have evidence of a handful of misdemeanors that means that the whole game journalism is tainted, but if Bigeye has evidence of a handful of misdemeanors that doesn't mean the whole Gamergate movement is tainted? Aren't you unfairly measuring with two different scales here? To me both seem pretty much the same, two groups of unethical people throwing mud at each other.
There are two groups of unethical people throwing mud at each other.


The issue is trying to filter out two groups of lunatics fighting each other and use this as an opportunity for those rightfully concerned people in the middle to rectify an issue I've been writing posts on for over a decade.

I'd hoped gamer gate would be the trigger that set in motion the adoption of an industry wide set of standards and ethics. No doubt you can trace the rules in my industry back to a similar event.

The indie game scene was itself supposed to be the answer to the corruption in the AAA market. The fact that some similar and some slightly different problems emerged with the indie market could have been the tipping point.

Alas my hopes were dashed. It appears that moderates on my side are drowned out by the fallacy of guilt by association, and moderates on the journalists/developers side are silenced by a threat of career repercussions following some sackings, demotions and threats of coverage black outs from their own side.

Gamer gate will not be the incident that leads to change. There will be another incident either in the AAA or indie scene and I will sit back and wait til then. It may even come in the form of a corruption scandal involving large YouTubers. Perhaps the old gaming press would use that as an opportunity to recover lost ground by taking the higher ground and leading by example.

I'm surprised that the Nexus scandal didn't lead to this much outrage. I guess people just always assumed that such bribery was rife (very sad that's the case) and just rolled their eyes, shrugged and thought "well that's how it's always been, I can't change it."

I suppose Gamer gate caught the publics imagination because the trigger event was salacious in nature (sex sells as any tabloid will tell you) and because it involved the indie scene which until that point had been promoted as the Mother Theresa of gaming.

It brought out the extremists and the extremists on both sides acted as a spark plug that finally ignited the wider publics interest. Unfortunately the extremists didn't shut up at that point and drowned out the wider public.

So it was all for nothing.

Hopefully the public won't have short memories and the next Nexus scandal will cause a reignition but without the extremists involved.

Just pray the next Nexus scandal involves "cis white males" so that the misogynists and SJW's aren't drawn in.
I'm surprised that the Nexus scandal didn't lead to this much outrage.

The Nexus tablets were from Ubisoft. Who, last time I checked, are not an indie game developer. While Ubisoft was certainly TRYING to influence the coverage of Watch Dogs, it is hard to imagine a situation where the public would have ended up being unaware of the game existing. I have yet to see any proof of an indie company handing out $200 gifts. On the indie side it's all just allegations of certain people being too friendly with each other, or money flowing in the OTHER direction via crowdfunding.
Woody here is something I think we can agree on. Trying to get more fairness and objectivity in journalism (all kinds not just games) is a good thing.

I would say that this whole thing has done at least one good thing. And that's to get people talking about it.

While I totally disagree with the methods and the supposed scandel I do think journalist getting to in bed with devs and pubs is an issue that should be examined.

Unfortunately though this is not a problem attributed to just game journalists. Just look in politics, sports, or film and you will see that journalists in those areas get perks and what not as well.

Now does stuff like that heavily influence reviews? I doubt it. However we never want journalists to turn into simple amplifiers of the industry instead of questioning the industry.

The difference I think in my opinion with yours Woody is that I don't see us as being anywhere near that point in the games industry yet. I think you feel we are pretty much already there.
Tobold - as I said the problems between AAA devs and the press are different to those between the indie scene and the press.

The balance of power is reversed.

One is about bribes (exclusives/ad revenue/nexus tablets) for scores and pre-order bait, the other is about coverage and nepotism.

As you see bigeye acknowledges that we have a problem.

The problem is a lack of a widely adopted code of ethics and standards, it just manifests itself differently depending on which segment of the industry the press are covering.

Bigeye raises a point about other areas of the press.

The British tabloid press are disgracefully partisan on matters of politics.

However during this whole scandal a lot of people have been linking the code of ethics used by "real journalists" at the likes of Reuters.

Sadly the games media do not appear to want to adopt them not least because none of those organisations currently comply.

I'd like the gaming press to operate in a similar manner to "Which?".

It is difficult to agree on a set of standards not least because of different cultural and legal standards between countries.

E.g. in the UK/EU we have strong consumer rights laws where as in the US it seems to be more a case of caveat emptor with vendors able to make quite outrageous claims. In a culture where vendors can lie through their teeth there is little chance of holding those reviewing those products to account.
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