Seriously people. They are just games. Why the crap are we resorting to death and rape threats over petty complaints? Don’t know what I am talking about? Then you have probably been living under a rock since the internet came about.
Polygon has a huge expose on the plague of harassment and bullying toward game developers and other public gaming figures. The whole thing is rather sickening. Polygon highlights a number of cases of bullying and outright psychopathic behavior from gamers upset over the most minor of things. Minor issues such as slight changes to a gun in Call of Duty or a sequel that didn’t quite live up to the hype of the first game.
Online bullying of game developers came to a head recently when Bioware writer Jennifer Hepler decided to leave the games industry after getting death threats targeted at her family. Another recent case was Fez creator Phil Fish abandoning development on Fez 2 and the industry over harassing behavior from fans and the media. Another case is that of Feminist Frequency host and Tropes vs Women in Games creator Anita Sarkeesian being subjected to death and rape threats all over creating videos which examine the roll of women in games.
But seriously, what is wrong with these people? There is nothing in these cases that should result in such psychopathic and sociopathic behavior. Yes, it is fine to have complaints about the direction a game developer or designer goes but that does not warrant threatening the person making the decision. I honestly can’t see what would drive anyone to act in such a way to issues that have no real bearing in their lives.
The problem has gotten so bad that the International Game Developers Association has put plans in motion to create a support group for game developers who are being harassed and bullied. A freaking support group. These bullies have gone so far as to create a need for counselling services for game developers.
There are some great gamers and game developers out there. Sure, I don’t agree with everything they say or everything they do, but I don’t think it is enough to threaten them with harm, death or rape. How does anyone who resorts to such tactics even function in society?
I really hope that this Polygon expose gets a lot of attention. I hope that those who participate in such harmful and unnecessary behavior take a look at themselves and realize just how much harm they are inflicting on others. The games industry is a great industry. There are real people working in it. People with feelings, lives of their own, families and more. We need to respect them and each other. So please, cut it out and be civil.