How are gaming brands representing LGBT+ gamers?
A quick recap of our panel at MCM London Comic Con
Last week we headed back to MCM London for our third panel covering LGBT+ issues within gaming spaces. Our first panel just over a year ago focused on representation and LGBT game characters throughout history, the second in May this year was on what it’s like to be an LGBT+ person working in the gaming industry.
This time we decided to touch on what it’s like to be a LGBT+ person in gaming spaces, focusing on what brands are doing, particularly in social media and the reactions to these. We also threw open to the audience to get a picture of what their experiences were.
Inspired by the rise of Pride themed logos on social media over the summer we took a look at some of the best and worst campaigns and discuss some of the comments and common themes they gave rise to.
Justin Harbottle focused on some of the more mainstream gaming brands that have an predominantly straight, male audience and discussed the importance of this small but important gesture. Justin touched on this in a post published earlier this year, which is well worth a read! We also poked a little fun at the trend of RGBifying of PC components, with a side-by-side comparison of gaming PCs and the rainbow-lit Legends, a gay night club in Brighton!
Matt H focused on some of the specific themes within the reactions to these campaigns. Unsurprisingly, the comments were often quite negative — asking when there would be Straight Pride a common response, questioning the fidelity of one’s body and bodily functions, and sometimes just downright open hate. One thing that is clear however, is that brands are often not prepared to deal with these comments. That is, with the exception of Eurogamer, who were undeniably on fire with their responses.
Throwing back to Justin, the panel focused on the brilliant and at times hilarious responses the Eurogamer social team provided when they changed their profile image. Eurogamer aren’t the only ones; Blizzard go further than anyone and are now reaching out to gaymer communities to throw specifically LGBT+/Blizzard themed events, for example our Pride viewing party for an Overwatch League match earlier this year. You can read about that here.
It’s not all sweetness and rainbows though; one company that stand out as being quite problematic, especially when it comes to trans* issues is CD Project Red (CDPR) who are also owners of GoG a digital games storefront. Lucy Eastwood spoke about how poor excuses for apologies have quickly demonstrated that there seems to be a fundamental issue at CDPR, including what appears to be a clear targeting of users who might find the content unsavoury. If you’re unfamiliar with the controversy, we urge you to check out the very excellent Kotaku article on the subject which we reference in the panel.
The full panel is now available to watch on YouTube (or below) and is around 30 minutes long with an additional 10 minutes of a quick show of hands survey and some audience questions at the end.