On GAMR

Damion Schubert has blogged a post, which called for GamerGate supporters to form a consumer organisation. He claims that #GamerGate has come from Anonymous and 4chan’s culture of mob movement without any organization, which is not entirely true. GamerGate’s origins are far more convoluted and 4chan was only a place of discussion and GamerGate itself began as a multi-faceted movement tied to the consumers’ own motions, not to any certain website’s culture.

I’ll be straight from the get go; GamerGate has been as successful as it is because it is not organised in the fashion Schubert proposes. GamerGate, from where I as an individual see it, is a consumer movement without any common ideology or banner. There is only a goal, on which various people agree upon. Of course, there are variations how many goals people have, but one all GamerGate supporters agree on is the removal of corruption, nepotism, journalism driven by agenda, threats among other negative aspects within the video game press. All supporters are behind the ideas of journalistic integrity, open and honest debate, transparency and inclusive approach.

Organisations are for political battles. While to some GamerGate is a political battle, at its core its customer voicing their distaste on the current state of the video game press. If there would be a GamerGate organisation, it would be easy to make it into a sock puppet to play with and ultimately knock down, but it would also be something the opposition could actually stand against. To keep GamerGate as a consumer level movement requires two things; discussions on the matters on open forums, spreading the information and voting with your wallet. The Customer is god, and the customer can show some divine wrath

As GameGate is a customer driven movement, there’s no rifle that could take it down. You’d need one helluva shotgun to even try to take part of it down. Because it consists of individuals working on their own for a common goal, these individuals are completely on their own. If there exists criticism on how someone acts, that act never reflects on the rest of the people behind the movement. Engaging conversation with the customers is easy, because it’s sort of no-words communication to a large extent. The customers have voiced their distaste and want for change, and all the industry needs to do is either press yes or no. There is no middle ground here, there is no negotiating like it would be between two organisations or similar. There is no one true voice and that is strength, but it does have its detrimental qualities as well. Lack of cohesion would be one as would be the individuals Schubert calls as crackpots. However, that would be one thing GamerGate is against; exclusion. Not to mention these crackpots get things done at times, even if their behaviour might reflect negatively from time to time. All that said, you’d think a person working in game industry would know how to do customer research at this point.

Hell, I’d even argue that then industry should not have a discussion with its customers, all it needs to do is to listen and believe.

Schubert seems to regard that only an organisation could do things like vet rumours to attend conferences. The customer can do all these and then some. Being unorganised does not mean things will go unnoticed as long as there’s change. Worldwide there are movements that go unnoticed and unreported but they change things just as much. GamerGate supporters are like a hive of ants; all working towards one goal with their individual strength. The difference is how there is no queen and work is done through wallet voting and e-mail campaign, both of which have given positive results.

However Schubert is right, there is no reasonable criteria for success. Consumer movements rarely do have one, and the movement will die out when certain change is achieved that brings the wanted change, or interest is dropped. Nevertheless, this also demands the service provider to think for themselves what to do in order to fix the situation and restore the faith of the consumer. There is a clear direction, no matter how anyone will tell you otherwise. It may not be terribly cohesive, but it’s equally driving force.

Schubert has sixteen points in his post, all more or less singing the same gospel. I won’t touch all the points because of redundancy, but first of all, GAMR already exists and using pre-existing name is a humongous mistake. If an organisation wants to be taken seriously, it would need a proper name, not this hipster level garbage. While the whole organisation idea is awful, Schubert essentially suggest in creating a force that would police the movement with officer elections and leaders. While there may be need for some leading voices from time to time, it would be absolutely detrimental to the movement. Then he would suggest putting up a damn Patreon or Kickstarter for funding the movement, but this is a movement that doesn’t need one. Actually, it’s the very opposite; GamerGate is a movement that does not need funding because it’s done by not funding the opposition while voicing consumer wants.

I’m sounding like a broken record already.

The thing with GamerGate is that the industry has no idea how to handle the movement’s population, it has never had to do it before. It’s natural that they feel threatened by it and that someone would suggest in creating an entity they could handle, something they could reason and fight with. Perhaps change their modus operandi and aims, if needed.

I remind you that the video games crash of late 70’s and mid 80’s happened because the consumers did not see products worth purchasing. There was no organisation voicing the consumer distaste against the low quality of games. It didn’t help that the companies didn’t listen to the consumer voice, that is often silent and spoken in numbers and returns. Then things came crashing down. Twice. Times have changed now, and the consumers have the Internet to discuss things on message boards and in chats. Because of this, there’s no geographical limitations, there are no country borders keeping one from voicing their distaste as a customer.

I will out myself once more on GamerGate; I support it. I personally see it as a movement against all that is wrong in the industry from corruption and nepotism to breaking journalistic integrity and customer service ideals. I am making a stance with my wallet and e-mails, meaning I’ve stopped browsing sites that encourage anti-consumer ideals and enforce censorship, as in case of 4chan. While all this seems to small, like a droplet in ocean, I can assure you that the ocean is storming and all individual droplets are making a difference.

Music of the Month returns on Sunday.

Destroying what you can’t suppress

I thought that I’d leave GamerGate as a subject where it is at the moment, but the events that have taken place during the week just baffle me to no end. Especially the latest push that essentially shows how the game press has a cabal to suppress the proper issues at hand.

There are numerous sites that are effectively censoring and suppressing proper discussion on the subjects of conflicts of interest with these so-called journalists as well as the corruption that takes place. Sites like Kotaku, Destructoid and GiantBomb have been, effectively speaking, worthless in their content. The aformentioned sites and the ones connected to them on an industry level are systematically pushing their own agenda across the board. They have blacklisted and done every dirty PR trick in the book. It’s a laughable attempt at destroying the thing you can’t suppress. If they would be successful doing that, it would mean they managed to destroy the people they were making money of. It’s a self-defeating situation.

The situation with GamerGate is screwed in many ways, mainly how the customers have always been painted in negative colours across the board. Not just recently, but always. The general population has a negative view on people who play electronic games as a hobby, and thus the black painting has no effect. However, every time the news is pushed out how the gamers have done something good, that’s a plus for us. That’s a huge negative impact to the sites panning on the customers. Every time the customers put out something new that shows more of the links between developers and press, it’s the press that is put in a very bad light.

These people have everything to lose. It’s all about their reputation and careers for them, but the customer doesn’t care about those. The customer cares only about how well they are able to do their work as journalists. At this point, they are everything but. Every single person who are part of the Game Journalism Professionals should be fired. There’s no gray zone here at all; all of these people are practising rotten journalism and have conspired together against the consumers through deceit and corruption.

Discussion of this topic needs to be enforced, not quelled. It’s a travesty that certain infamous sites have began to censor the discussion. Even the Internet Hate Machine, the place that was once called the last Wild West on the Internet, seems to have gone upside down and deletes threads all around. That is not healthy.

These people have put themselves into the spotlight, and now that they are treated like the rockstars they wanted to be, they’re acting like cowards rather than facing the consequences of their actions. I don’t care about these people, but I care about their actions and their actions have been the worst.

Outside having discussions and bringing the subject forth even more than it already is, the only proper thing a customer to do is to move with their best weapon; money. All these sites and people get money as they are visited. To make press these sites to correct their misbehaviour is to diminish their revenue. Call out sites like Kotaku on their bullshit actions and spread the word of better alternatives that are willing to handle the matters in objective manner and allow free discussion. Sites like Techraptor or Gamesnosh are perfect alternatives with vastly better articles to boot. Hell, if you want some good game reviews, go follow Lord Karnage on Youtube. Their brand has not been tarnished by anything negative, and the moment they are called out on something they have done, their reaction will define them. Mailing the companies that are associated with them about the whole debacle will make a difference and refraining to support their products will hit them as well. No company wants to be associated with a brand that’s brandished with corruption.

The whole issue wasn’t even personal to begin with. However, the gaming press took all the outed information and criticism as personal attacks like bunch of juvenile kids and now have allowed the thing to grow larger. The customers have one shot to make their stand and voice their will. If these people are allowed to continue in the same fashion they’ve been doing things for a long time now, not only the customer will be further oppressed by the industry but the industry will grow very stale and rot from inside out.

Concentrate on the games, not on the developers who screw things up

An industry that doesn’t want you to see behind its curtain will get defensive. The more defensive, the worse the things are.  The Zoe Quinn issue, while a front to the whole issue with the relationship with electronic game press and developers, in itself is noteworthy. It is a noteworthy issue that the hardcore seem are surprised that this isn’t a common thing. The way the video game news sites and the industry overall reacted in a very defensive manner shows that the shred of integrity and validity any of these sources had are now gone. It’s laughable to assume that any site that has not made investigate news reporting would have have any sort of validity in this case anymore.

However, because Zoe Quinn is now as a centre of attention at the moment, her situation will be used as an example here. The rumours of her spreading herself to men for better reviews or whatnot is taken value for the sake of argument, because without a doubt that has happened and will keep happening.

Edit; Here’s some links to get you onto the page the issue is going. This, this and especially this are nice and rather objective overviews.

A total and complete shake from grounds up has been necessary for years now. Any and all electronic game press sites that have connections to the developers at any level have always been automatically invalid. Their journalistic integrity has been nil for years now, and getting surprised that somebody getting a good review in exchange for sex is, for all intents and purposes, exactly same as giving a good review because of money or other contracts. There is a need for a completely third party site that would push objective information forwards.

There is another issue here, which is the developer Quinn and her associates. There’s no reason us to ever hear about them. Quinn herself is pushing political agendas and her game shows this. Players do not want politics in their games. Consumers play games to relax and get rid of the daily routine and junk it pours on them, to get rid of politics for few minutes. Papers, Please is highly unpolitical game despite how well it portrays certain elements in the history of Soviet nations. It doesn’t force any issues on the player. It doesn’t try to make a thing about government, communism or capitalism. If there’s a view about something some way, it’s the player’s own decision what it says to a very large extent.

I repeat the core of my last post; the customer doesn’t need to hear from you or see you on the Internet.  The service provider does not matter. Zoe Quinn or whoever don’t matter. Their products and the service they provide are the only things that matter. These people are not worth the attention they’re getting. Yet they have shoved themselves to the limelight and showing themselves alongside their product. If they had wished act more accordingly, none of this would have happened. If you’re putting yourself on the podium, you better be ready to take the heat of your actions, both regarding your product and everything surrounding it. Quinn herself has acted like a social reject during this whole thing. While the game industry has always attracted all sorts of nerds and geeks, nowadays the industry has attracted these low class hipsters. I hate the put in this way, but they’re almost like degenerates. They represent the society at large as well as a stone represents the animal kingdom. Zoe Quinn and people like her have some validity only in their small communities and have practically no voice outside it. Furthermore, no serious outlet would actually take notice of these people outside as being a mob of sorts.

Perhaps they are acting accordingly to their industry to some small extent. We are getting a lot of entertainment from them, after all. it may not be good entertainment, but there’s some humour value in this whole deal.

It doesn’t matter if Zoe Quinn is a woman. Customers overall don’t care who is behind the product. The discrimination of this is blind; be it man, woman, white, black, venusian, gay or anything like that, it doesn’t matter. How many of us go and check the chef in the restaurants? Nobody gives a damn about the chef as long as the food is good. I doubt any person who eats a sausage thinks about the race or sex of the person who made it. You may meet a salespeople at the cashier, but online you don’t even need that.

I checked out Depression Quest, Quinn’s game that is sort of in the middle of this shitstorm. It’s a lacklustre game. It’s barely a game. It’s a game that doesn’t deserve any attention. It’s exactly like a choose-your-own-adventure text stories we wrote in Pascal in high-school computer classes as an introduction to coding. Interactive (non) fiction game my ass, this isn’t even a game. This isn’t even a bloody visual novel. I didn’t pay any money for this and I feel like I was just scammed money.

I understand very well why anyone would use sex in exchange for positive reviews if their product is like Depression Quest.  The software doesn’t stand on its feet at all. It more or less requires a whole drama to surround it and sell with the developer’s name. It’s a very sad thing. Quinn clearly wanted to tell a story with choices given to the player. She should’ve have written a book, or even better, created a campaign about depression where Depression Quest would have played as a small window how depressed people mosey around in their lives.

However, as now we have this full blown event, we might as well see where it takes us. The hot discussion at large with the hardcore community who, to put it bluntly, care enough for these people and resources have voiced their distaste on how the industry functions. Personally speaking, I agree. I hold no game news site in any regard simply because they have no journalistic integrity. They are tertiary news sources at best, a place where to start looking for the main sources. It is very sad to say that often they themselves are the main sources with interviews and other resources. The relationship between the press and developers needs to be severed and have a clear and distinct separation between the two. In any other, far more valid place in journalism, this sort of thing would lead into direct termination of contract and apology. The amount of conflicts of interests is phenomenal. If the mainstream public were ever to take video game news or press as valid journalism, a complete reconstruction of the industry is needed, and I’m afraid that is only possible with the electronics game industry crashing on itself.