Why #Gamergate Isn’t Going To Go Away
They’re just getting started.
We’re around the 7th week of the industrial and consumer shake-up that has become known as #Gamergate. A consumer revolt of this magnitude has never really occurred in the video games industry before. Sure, there have been consumer outrages in the past (the Mass Effect ending controversy comes to mind), but nothing of this scale and certainly nothing that could be called a revolt like this.
Noticeable progress has been made on their pro-consumer front. Smaller victories have been had, with some sites like The Escapist and others reviewing as well as updating their ethics policies. And then there are the larger triumphs, such as the friendly mailing campaign to Intel concluding with the company opting to remove their advertising on the developer focused site Gamasutra. Just when you think that #Gamergate might be losing steam, they manage to secure significant gains in their movement that make them bounce back twice as hard as before.
Gamers have been rather loud and clear. They’re tired of the abuse that they’ve received from the sites that are supposed to be serving them. Tucking your head in the sand isn’t going to just make this problem vanish; they have no intention of going away. Unfortunately for those who are opposing them, they seem to be in it for the long haul and they’ve been trained to do it.
I’ll repeat that again. They’ve been trained to do it.
Why would you be surprised by this, really? Many of the people involved in #gamergate are either long time or life long gamers, some of which have decades of game experience under their belt in various genres. Video games have taught them to stand up to foes. Video games have taught them to take losses, but come back and try again. Video games have taught them to be highly adaptable to new situations. Video games have taught them to be creative in their attempts to overcome obstacles. Video games have taught them to be persistent when encountering difficulty. Video games have helped them develop resilience and endurance. Video games have taught them that there is a known, quantifiable safety in numbers. Every task completed and achievement gained turns into experience for all of them as individuals and the collective. They’re smart enough to not have leaders or figureheads, because there is no one to target and destroy that would end up scattering the group. They’re using game strategy out in the real world, and it’s actually working in an effective way that I don’t think anyone thought to be possible.
In what might be described as the most significant instance in recent history, gamers realized that they have a great deal of influence in their hobby and passion. For certain, they now know they had more power than they ever realized they had as a collective group. Every victory they gain and every triumph that they can tuck under their belts, they will grow stronger. The people in #Gamergate are beginning to understand one of the grandest of truths: As individuals they are not particularly effective. Together? They can move mountains.
Their desire has been rather clear: They want some serious reform in the industry. The longer it takes for that to happen, the more walls they’re going to tear down until it does. They are absolutely, positively prepared to do it. There is nothing that can be taken from Gamergaters that they haven’t already lost, comparatively. They have EVERYTHING to gain and nothing to lose in regard to the matter, as both individuals and as a unified group.
#Gamergate could have been over weeks ago. Is it really worth it at this point to continue not listening to them? I would say no. The long term consequences could be and will be grave for the industry at large.
And they are more than willing to go the distance.
Disclosure Update: This piece was published October 3rd 2014. As of August 25th 2015, I am now a contributing writer at The Escapist.