Our Responsibility in the Games Industry During This Time

We as developers should be extremely proud to be in the position we have to inspire and influence others. Let’s do some good.

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Now, as we come to terms with our values and interests that shape who we are as human beings, and how these values may differ between our friends, let’s not react with anger and hate but instead with a dedication towards making the games we create better everyday. Our audience, our millions of gamers around the world, often turn to our games as a means to escape in times of hate and fear such as we are in now. We have a responsibility to provide a safe space and to maintain worlds in which people from different backgrounds and opinions can unite together under a single state of play.

If you have come here hoping for a rant about the election, you have come to the wrong page. I don’t care about who is fit to run a country, or who is corrupt, or how a party has rigged what. I care about the safety and happiness and treatment of human beings – our players and our developers. The issues we are seeing now which threaten this have been ingrained long before the election came along, long before it lit the spark to turn it into the violence and stark division of a country. And just as so, once the hype of the election passes, and even after a new election changes politics once again, this problem will still remain, and the games industry has its role to play along with every other industry. Consider how you can do your part as an individual in your everyday work, in the daily tasks of your profession. Inspire yourself to see the value of your career to make a difference in the world.

Regardless of who’s side you’re on, or lack thereof, this time will pass, and when the dust settles, games will live on. Here we have an immense opportunity to push through the ideas of peace, love, and respect for each other. Let’s create new interactive experiences that are inclusive, explore themes of morality, challenge ideals with characters and stories that are thought provoking, and address some of the issues we are seeing now. Let’s move the games we create from simply entertainment to entertainment which makes a statement, which makes change. Let’s continue to push against the toxicity of gamers with hateful culture and look for ways in which to prevent the comments and behavior on online multiplayer games that target other individuals. Let us transcend the concept of the player’s own race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or minority status, for none of these exist in the virtual world. I could play a man if I wanted. I could follow any religion if I wanted. Hell, in World of Warcraft, my race is blood elf. This is such a special, precious gift that we as developers can offer to our players, that we must not let the conflict in the real world spill into these virtual worlds. We owe that to our players and we must foster their freedom and individuality in play.

Let us also be better in the workplace and reach out to our fellow game developers to reinforce that we will not stand for inequality. In this industry, we do not tolerate racism. In this industry, we do not tolerate religious discrimination. And while this industry has a long way to go before women in development are properly represented, you better believe that a vast majority of this industry does not tolerate gender discrimination. I cannot emphasize more that everyone knows everyone here, and news of any discrimination spreads oh so quickly. You will not get away with it and neither will your career. If you aim to put others down while you work because it makes you feel better, you are not welcome here. Similarly, for those so hurt by the current state of society surrounding the election, do not fight it by putting others down that differ from your views. Instead of spreading rage against your opposing friends, place your efforts towards hiring underrepresented groups in your studios, dedicate your time towards removing bias and discrimination in your work team, and make more inclusive games. These are your weapons. Go for the small victories. Take these little steps in your own group, and society will follow.

We have made some big wins in games with transgender characters and strong female characters. There are other times when we will lose. Whatever is happening now is a setback, to be sure, but do not stop pushing forward.

 

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