10 Big Ethical Issues In Video Games That #GamerGate Won’t Touch
Michael Schnier
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A Random Gamergate Supporter’s Views on the Issues Raised by Some Random Gamergate-Hater.

>App stores discouraging developers who want to make games that deal with politics or sexuality.

My initial thought on this, honestly, was ‘who gives a fuck about app stores?’

I’ll be frank. I don’t own an iphone. I don’t own a google phone. I don’t own a samsung galaxy, an iPad, or anything else like that. I don’t even own a cell phone.

Yeah, that’s right. In 2014, soon to be 2015, I voluntarily choose to live in 1985 and I cut myself off from one of the seemingly most ubiquitous electronic devices on the planet.

I can even go one further; I don’t own a phone, period. I own a desktop PC and Skype phone number.

Phone companies are shit and the less I have to deal with them, the better. And mobile gaming? Mobile gaming? Well, there’s a reason I don’t care about that, it comes before we even start about how much I hate walled garden app stores designed from the ground up to lock you into a single marketplace for all your software for a given device.

Mobile games suck.

They suck to the point that I think some of them — those with predatory business models and in-app purchases, shouldn’t even be legal.

That’s why I don’t care about app stores. They can go fuck themselves. Whoever wants to play shitty mobile games from a shitty app store can play all the garbage they like. I have zero, no negative interest in that market.

If they want to stifle creativity in the name of creating a squeaky clean, gentrified corporate mall to market to middle class gated-community-dwelling dummies, they’re welcome to it. I won’t be there.

“While GamerGate was berating Steam for temporarily pulling Hatred, Apple has been restricting (far less inflamatory) speech in the App Store for years.”

Yes, about that. Numerous gamergate supporters criticized apple for their rejection of Papers, Please. I saw several threads on the subject on /r/KotakuInAction about this very subject. If you paid any attention to what your opposition actually says instead of blocking them all, you might actually be aware of it.

>Nothing tells women, “we’re not here to speak to you,” like hosting a networking event at a strip club.

If that’s what a company wants to do, that’s their perogative. If they want to cut themselves off from talent and let their more professional competitors take it instead, let them. You should be glad that it’s so easy to identify a shitty company.

>There is often no legal recourse for a small developer if a large studio clones a game’s design wholesale.

Nor should there be, and the suggestion that their should is absurd, with terrifying logical consequences. You have framed it as an issue where the little guy gets shit on by the big wealthy corporation, but there are countless indie games that are straight clones of 16 bit era games.

Secondly, the logical consequence of what you’re suggesting is a world in which what we currently call genres of games are essentially intellectual property, which, you can rest assured, will be bought by rich publishing corporations the second it shows promise.

For as many as 5 years following Doom, all first person shooters were called ‘Doom clones’. You’re suggesting a world the developers of Duke Nukem would have faced the threat of litigation for cloning the design of Doom.

I don’t want to live in that world, and neither should you.

>Publications hungry for content, eager to pass off promotional material as news, presenting touched up renders as in-game screenshots.

I don’t know what you’re talking about. We have been complaining about this for years. We complain about it every year when titles consistently fail to live up to the visuals of their E3 presentations. Did you miss the furor over WatchUnderscoreDogs?

>‘Crunch time’ and other exploitative labor practices.

When the funding runs out, the game is done. Developers don’t have infinite resources to make their games with. If the day the run out of cash to pay their team is approaching, they’ve got no option but to call ‘Crunch time’.

What’s the alternative? Keep going as they are, release an unfinished piece of shit, suffer poor sales as a result and then go bankrupt? That’s the story of many a studio gone bust. I could sit here for an hour typing the names of studios that have done just that.

Welcome to the real world, where work doesn’t do itself and money is a finite resource.

>The use of conflict minerals and other ethical violations in the supply chain.

I’ve never even heard of ‘raise hope for congo’, or Nintendo’s use of minerals from questionable sources in their hardware until now. I probably would have done, though, if the gaming press cared to actually report on things consumers might care about instead of just reporting on what publishers will pay them for and regurgitating press releases.

You could probably get a sizable chunk of gamergate supporters to take issue with this.

>Publications that brazenly accept payment for advertorial ‘sponsored reviews.’

You are either lying or you are completely oblivious to everything gamergate has been doing. Did you miss the point where the FTC issued new guidelines as a direct result of pressure from gamergate supporters? Guidelines that forced Gawker media and its subsidiaries (and everyone else for that matter) to disclose their sponsored content on their sites?

Gamergate won’t touch this issue? Bullshit! We have hit this issue with a goddamned sledgehammer!

Again, maybe your awareness of Gamergate’s activities is hampered by the anti-GG love of censorship, blocking and generally sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting ‘lalala, I can’t hear you!’

>Hiring practices that treat developers as disposable.

This is a logical consequence of the game development cycle. It’s shitty, but I honestly don’t see a way around it. It’s exactly the same for movies.

We are not talking about offices with daily flows of paperwork to process, or factories with constant output. We are talking about an industry that pours all of its energy into one thing, then sits back to analyze its performance before they start on something new.

These are projects that require huge teams of talented and by extension quite expensive people, and when that project is done, there is essentially nothing for 90% of that huge team to be doing.

What do you want companies to do? Just pay these people to show up to work and sit around twiddling their thumbs for months at a time? It can’t happen.

>The troubling relationship between video game developers and arms manufacturers.

The troubling relationship that honestly does not trouble me in the slightest.

If a game wants to depict realism, it is going to need to depict real firearms. If they don’t acquire a license to show a company’s products, they run the risk of being sued. If they don’t use real guns, they run the risk of their attempt to come off as ‘realistic’ falling flat and affecting sales.

This viewpoint honestly reeks of ‘Guns r bad, they shud go’.

Guns aren’t bad and neither are their manufacturers. It’s easy to live in an American city or peaceful suburb and see your nightly news bulletin about someone getting shot, but that is not guns killing people — that is people killing people. You should take a look at the Nordic countries — some of the most liberal and most crime-free nations on earth, which also have some of the most liberal gun laws. America’s cultural and socio-economic issues are to blame for gun violence, not guns.

“To say nothing of the US Military using video games as a recruitment tool.”

Oh my. Next they’ll be using movies and TV! Welcome to the world of media.

>When you buy games, you don’t necessarily own them — and may not be able to play them in the future.

In the case of online games, as mentioned in the example cited, this should be obvious to anyone. What exactly do you propose companies do? Bankrupt themselves paying for servers that aren’t profitable? And then what? What happens when the company is out of money? Who hosts the servers then?

Do you want them to be forced to release all the necessary the server applications? They might not even be legally able to do so without violating someone else’s license agreements. Hell, their server code might not even run on anything but a specific hardware and network setup.

Most games won’t run properly (or often, at all) on current hardware and OS’s within a decade of their release. Anyone who thinks they are buying something ‘lasting’ is a fool. Software has never been something you own, *ever*.

You own a *license* to run that software. This is nothing to do with gaming, this is the reality of computing. This is how things have been done since the 60's. Yes, the 60's.

If you’re just now waking up to what you are actually buying when you buy software, god fucking help you.

“You would think this would be the first issue a so-called consumer revolt would address.”

No. No you wouldn’t.

You would think this would be first issue for someone with absolutely zero understanding of the software industry.

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