So, I've been thinking of what could be the real issue behind the recent string of places like Giant Bomb, Gamespot, Eurogamer, Polygon (although that site has a two fold reason), and now Game Informer, have come out against GamerGate because one person somehow represents hundreds of thousands of people. Outside of the fact that people simply do not do research enough into this situation, I tried to think of what this all could be about. I knew Polygon's Ben Kuchera had an axe to grind from how he got exposed to contributing to the catalyst of this, Depression Quest. Again, he has every right to do so as long as he recused himself from covering the game in any sort of context, and neither did he do so, but he's obviously is in no mood to atone for those actions.
But why Giant Bomb? Why Game Informer? Why those sites that should clearly know that there is some issues within games media that must be addressed? If they care so much about ethics in gaming, then instead of condemning the movement outright, condemn the nature that some people have warped what is otherwise a worthwhile movement (and for the record, the movement started in the wake of someone saying that the term "gamer" was dead; it was TheQuinnspieracy tag that formed in the wake of the Zoe Quinn/Eron Gjoni infidelity angle. Can we put that myth to rest, already?). I had considered it for a while.
And then came an article that a site did about an upcoming, ultra violent game Hatred. I'm not going to defend the game's violent nature, but I'll defend a person's right to make any game they want. If people don't like a game, they'll vote with their wallets. It's a free world, after all. But what sparked my interest is one site's depiction of it, and I won't mention the site to not give it any publicity. It's because the author of this article mentioned that he believed that the game could've been made by those that supported #GamerGate. A very broad stroke, is it? Why are all of these people so eager to persecute all of a movement by "guilty by association"? If we did that, then wouldn't we be blaming the Muslim world for the actions of ISIS or 9/11? Some people did try, and were called out on that.
But that got me to click a separate article from that very site about their feelings on GamerGate. And though I didn't think anything about it at first, I probably should have.
Because whoever wrote it unintentionally made it clear just what exactly the REAL battle is. Forget Quinn, forget anything about feminism.
The real battle here is actually the print media versus the viral age.
Because this site went on to try to persecute some YouTube personalities for taking advertising deals for games. I condemned the XB1M13 tag earlier this year, and even when the FTC cracked down on this act, some bigger YouTube stars have been making sure they disclose anything that they got paid to do, in clear terms so everyone knows what is or what isn't authentic to their opinions. But the article never actually said the names of those bigger stars. I'm talking about people like Total Biscuit, Jessie Cox, Dodger, The Game Grumps. All of them never got mention.
Now, think about who has came out against GamerGate recently. All of them have one thing in common: they are all in the written form. They are all writers. That would be the old guard. Even though it was first in magazines like Gamepro and EGM, they have held to the traditional standard of getting the invite to do the review, get a review copy by whatever means, have little time to play the game, write the review, and struggle to be the very first ones with the review to get the ad clicks, or the magazine sales in those old days before the internets. Then the features that got people to click or read up on things that might stir the pot. Those were the "click bait" stories that did little else but to get you to want to "hit that jump" or whatever phrase they got you to click. I've been invited to become part of that written group by some smaller sites. After my written review on N4G.com on Final Fantasy X-2, which is one of the most technically sound Final Fantasy games I've played in a long time, I was PMed on the site by someone telling me that they wanted me for their site. I probably should've answered. But I wanted to do more with my channel that was starting to take off a bit (and it has moreso after I started doing Sailor Moon Crystal reviews, which has become my most watched series on the channel..BRAG BRAG)!
Now, what do you see in common about some of the more major stars that have came out in support of GamerGate? They all seem to have YouTube channels that have a wide reach. Mine is gaining steam now that I've started posting my thoughts. Mundane Matt has a sizable following, and many, including me, suspect it was Zoe Quinn's takedown of his video about the subject that gave the issue legs. Internet Aristocrat, who did the main video on Zoe Quinn, has gotten a good following. Jessie Cox and Dodger have a good following with their play throughs of games. Angry Joe does very lengthy reviews of games, and holds nothing back in what he thinks about some games.
But one I haven't mentioned yet is THE guy. Total Biscuit. Guess who came out for GamerGate recently? Total Biscuit. This is because of what he saw happen to a Reddit thread on his TwitLonger post on the Quinnspieracy, and the subsequent events that happened after that.
Let's talk about the popularity that TB has for a moment. While some of the other people I mentioned have a sizable following and do it as a side job, TB does it as a FULL time job. He goes to the E3's and the PAXs, he has a PR guy that helps him with getting review codes and handles legal issues. And his videos are among the most watched out of anyone that does PC gaming. His word is usually also very trusted. If he says a game sucks, then you can bet that he wasn't paid to say that. He said it did because he genuinely thought it did. He also has made some very opinionated comments about things in gaming, such as poor PC ports, lack of FOV sliders, the 60fps stuff, etc. He has over a million subscribers, and every video he makes can get to over a 100k views within a day. The only one that I've seen get that good is PewDiePie, a person who I've yet to see the words Zoe Quinn, GamerGate, or anything related leave his lips.
So what is so different? Well, unlike the print media, most in the YouTube side don't have a hierarchy. There is no middle man outside of the MCNs that they belong to, and that is only to police things like copyright claims. They don't have to hold back on what they say. They can give their opinions to the public without much of a filter. It's also a place where many have suspected to be more than honest. If a deal with a publisher was had, it's common practice anyway to disclose that. YouTube personalities have also been critical at times of the print media. Total Biscuit, especially, who, just recently, slammed those that cheered for the recent announcement that the new Tomb Raider game would be a timed XB1 exclusive. He doesn't have much love for the print media, though he's respected some, one of which was Jeff Gertsmann and, surprisingly, Leigh Alexander, the latter is one of the people at the center of what many saw made GamerGate necessary (I think she was one of the people that made the "Gamer is Dead" claim).
And there's another facet to this, too. YouTube people can get paid for their work. There is a feature in which you can monetize your videos, and ads can run on them. For every so-amount of people that watch your videos, you can get a cut of the profit that Google gets through running ads on the video. MCN's enhance that by not only getting you somewhat around the flawed Content ID system, but they can also help you get noticed at the cost of them getting some of the cut. In short, it's become a business.
A business that has not only cut into the profits of those at sites like Kotaku, Polygon, and Giant Bomb because people are trusting people like Total Biscuit more than they do anyone at those sites, but has also been highly critical of them far before Zoe Quinn even learned how to program a line of code or far before Anita Sarkeesian learned how to make a speech. It's a growing trend that developers and publishers alike have taken notice of, too, as several indie developers such as Devolver Studios (the guys behind Hotline Miami) have said that YouTube personalities playing the game and showing the footage of the game on their channel helped drive sales. Many developers have seen how such new forms of media have become much more helpful to them.
So it's no surprise that the print media feels threatened by this new surge. They've wanted to keep their status quo for quite some time, and they have been trying to find a way to do it. When the Quinnspieracy came into the limelight, it shined a light of a much bigger problem within a part of the industry that was already being threatened by the public finding new ways to get their gaming news and views. Not only do they not want you watching Angry Joe or Total Biscuit, but they also have some issues with them about the critical nature that they view the game media as being. The GameJournoPros unearthing didn't help anything. Of course it's going to be defunct now: everyone knows about it. They've probably made a new list that does the same thing, which is sort of like what you're seeing now when you think about it. It might not be defunct after all: it might've just been rebranded into something different.
They seemly got a gift from the death threats. They got their weapon. It's a weapon made of blood, though, since it's probably one of the most deplorable ways to try to kill your competition: to pit gamers against gamers, drive a wedge through friendships, make people have to pick sides and then harass them for their reasons why, misrepresent them to not let people aware of the true nature of the issue, and preying on uneducated people's feelings and emotions. Not to mention using mass hysteria before bragging about how good of a job THEY do instead of doing any job at all.
They've seemed to now resort to taking advantage of female gamers and feminists who do not know the truth behind those that they think they should let speak for them, and make this into a men vs. women issue. One of my best gamer friends is a female. I've met several female gamers in the games I've played. They should never feel threatened.
But you know why they feel threatened? Not because of GamerGate. No! It's because they've turned the actions of the few into the actions of the many. They have now used the actions of the crazies, and made them into all of us becoming in need of straight jackets. They've talked on MSNBC about people in GamerGate resorting to rape threats, which made a female supporter of GamerGate on YouTube have to be in tears on a vlog post while she admitted that she was raped.
How dare you, print media? After slandering the very people you are supposed to be protecting, after you've turned your war against a different form of media you know you cannot compete with unless you adapt, and after you shamelessly pit us against each other, and make us question friendships we've had for years, and prey on the weakest of souls and minds, and make them think the worst of the very people that they should trust with their lives, you then trigger reminders of this poor soul, just because you decided that you cannot adapt, so you shall kill your competition in any way possible?
Now, it is possible that they never intended to do this. After all, many probably do not know that woman's story, or the woman herself, but hearing it broke my heart. I wanted to hug her, and tell her that we're there for her, and we would fight for her. It's deplorable that those that prey on those that do not know any better cannot and will not relinquish this hold they now have on this debate. It's even more deplorable that those that think that they are fighting the good fight dismiss the notion that a clean up on aisle print media is needed. They know it's needed. If they do not, and they continue to go down this road, then no one should question why many have chosen the viral media over them, nor should they blame them.
And that's, of course, what this is all about, too. The fight to keep the status quo of print media's monopoly of not only the game journalism industry, but seemly now the facts of what GamerGate is. The facts outweigh the myths, and it's not what one person seemed to do in the name of whatever he thought he was doing it for. It's what that group looked to try to do about it, and from the response that the GamerGate community did in response to what they heard happened, they should be commended, not ridiculed. They should not be told who to donate money to, they shouldn't have their reputations be questioned, they should not be told that they are "weaponizing charity", and they sure as hell shouldn't be treated as neckbeard virgins with nothing better to do with their time than to threaten people.
So the next time someone posts what could be yet another letter saying how they are so against GamerGate, or how it's all for misogynistic purposes, or how they condone death threats or vitriol, think about that female who had to admit to the world she was raped while in tears, and then look the actual part of the gaming press is for and against this, and if they write or make videos, and the dialogue that the print media has said we should have but has yet to answer the call to join, and answer me this:
Why do those sites hate gamers?
Polygon? GB? GI? We are not misogynistic: YOU are! We haven't condoned the death threats: By your actions, YOU have! And we haven't waged this war for petty greed and self pity: YOU have!
May gamers, of all walks of life, forgive you!