I find it difficult to begin this particular blog post due to the negative reaction it will surely create. I've never let the opinions of others stop me from expressing my own, but the current state of gaming is anything from friendly right now. Regardless, I've felt the need to speak up for some time but wasn't exactly sure how I wanted to approach this topic. If you hadn't guessed already, I'm talking about GamerGate. Please keep in mind, I'm not looking to dissect the controversy. Instead, I'd like to offer a call to action to some major industry stakeholders that have remained shamefully silent in the last few weeks.
|Brianna Wu was one of the developers |
most recently driven out of her home
With the situation escalating and GamerGate clearly not going away, I can't help but wonder - where have the major players been all this time? I'm talking about game developers, publishers and studios. You know, the big names like EA, Activision, Ubisoft etc. The radio silence has been disappointing to say the least; most notably because these companies have the highest stake in whether gamers tear each other apart. In light of this, the Entertainment Software Association, a trade organization that represents many of the previously mentioned companies, released a statement this week addressing GamerGate:
"Threats of violence and harassment are wrong. They have to stop. There is no place in the video game community - or our society - for personal attacks and threats."
While it's certainly a nice sentiment, I just don't think it's enough. The problem here is that it's very hard to motivate game companies to enter such a controversial debate unless it offers some return on investment. That's where corporate social responsibility (CSR) comes in. CSR involves the integration of social and environmental concerns into a business operation. To save you from any more fancy jargon, it basically means that an organization makes a conscious effort to "do good" in the context of the community it serves. Let me give you a couple of examples. One of my favorites would have to be the It Can Wait movement from AT&T, which encourages individuals to use cellular products in a "safe and responsible manner." While it might seem strange that a phone carrier would ask customers not to use its cellular services, it actually makes a lot of sense. Through this campaign, AT&T ensures that the community understands the dangers associated with texting and driving. As a result, the company enhances its brand image and hopefully spots a nice little increase in profit margins (remember how I mentfioned return on investment?).
|Image via EdTechTimes|
Until next time,