We need to have another one of those serious chats, for which I apologize and promise we’ll be getting back to the gaming talk ASAP.
As I type this, at 7:40pm on February 25th, the hashtag #letmarkspeak is number two trending on Twitter. If you haven’t been paying attention to the going-ons in the gaming press, you’re probably not aware on what this means or why it is so important.
Mark Kern, ex-CEO of Red 5 Entertainment and industry veteran, posted a petition on Change.org asking for websites like VG247 and Kotaku to decrease the amount of yellow journalism that goes on. The gaming press, as he believes, is at least partially responsible for the Law & Order SVU Gamergate episode, and Kern wants the press to become active in healing the relationship between themselves and gamers.
Find the common ground, drive productive dialogue, and find solutions instead of simply pointing fingers. Stop celebrating the hate and start serious coverage of the issues of ethics, women in gaming and video games as a positive medium for change.
The response from VG247 has been described as a hit-piece by Kern and others. It drags other developers into the fray and, most notably, ends with a subtle threat towards other developers. Don’t get involved, otherwise you’re going to regret it later on:
As was made blatantly obvious by Gamergate, the last thing the gaming community needs at the moment is more ill-informed bigots getting angry on the internet. Think before you sign. It may be very difficult to erase the ink.
Kern’s attempts to get VG247 to engage in conversation following the piece have been met with a flat out “no,” leading to today’s trending hashtag.
And herein lies the problem. When accused of yellow journalism, VG247 runs a hit piece. When gamers ask for better ethics in gaming press, the yellow journalists attacked gamers. Now that developers are joining in asking for more ethical behavior, those same people are attacking developers. Furthermore, they’re attacking journalists, the many outlets that have either solidified their ethics policies or transformed to allow for more disclosure.
This is how it’s going to happen, folks. This is how it always happens.
Because if you believe your motives to be pure, you will defend your actions against accusations. The guilty, upon being outed, will resort to attacking their accuser. They will defame, they will slander, they will attempt to invalidate the entire argument. Whatever happens, their true self is inevitably revealed.
This isn’t a fight between gamers and press, or devs and press, it’s a fight of everyone against yellow journalism, an industry that recently found its back up against the wall and like a cornered animal is lashing out. But to heal the rift, as Kern puts it, we need to start by figuring out who is here to work together and who is here to divide the community and make money off inciting hatred and shutting down conversation.
Gaming should be a place where everyone, no matter who you are, should be able to get together and enjoy our mutual hobby, and where creators don’t have to worry about being blacklisted because they asked for more ethical practice.
Can we go back to talking about video games now? I’d like to do that.