Entitlement and death threats

A look at the problems of the “gamer” community

Credit: Jason Schreier, Twitter

Credit: Jason Schreier, Twitter

A few games have been delayed this year; prominent among them are Total War: Warhammer, which saw a month long delay, and No Man’s Sky, which had a two month delay announced recently. Both developers stated that their reason for the delay was to improve the end product, polish it sufficiently so that things didn’t end up going wrong on release day. Apparently, to a small minority of gamers, this was utterly unacceptable.

To these few, an appropriate response was (apparently) to send death threats to the developers. This seems more than a little heavy handed as a response; we get that you’re upset guys, but if you want to play the game, then telling the people who have just said they won’t release it for a little longer that you’re going to kill them probably isn’t the best way to persuade them to revert back to the old release schedule. Not that they would ever do such a thing, because they probably didn’t want to delay the game either, and are likely even more frustrated than you.

What this does tell us, though, is about how entitled a significant part of the gaming community are. It’s no secret that the gaming community has a few problems, be that with insulting and threatening women (and failing to recognise other genders), racism and whitewashing, or just generally having a poor image, particularly in the wider world of media. Much of this behaviour is propagated by the same groups within the community. At the same time, however, the majority of gamers are not the problem.

Gamers often seem to express themselves on the internet rather poorly, resorting to crude language or threats the second their every whim is not being catered for. We saw this recently with the release of the Call of Duty: Infinity Warfare trailer, which, due to grumpy gamers feeling that their needs were not being catered for perfectly (thus ignoring the creative vision of the developers), saw it swiftly elevated to the heights of one of the most disliked videos on YouTube. This campaign was sparked however by a tiny minority of highly vocal individuals, who served as the catalyst for a wider movement which led to the video gathering swathes of dislikes.

Worryingly, we’ve seen it before, during the spat between Jimmy Kimmel and the gamer community. A series of jokes about gamers (some perhaps in poor taste) sparked off a war of comments on YouTube videos. He later joked that he was at war with a bunch of 12 year olds, throwing another punch, though one with perhaps a few barbs. Even if these individuals were not 12 in reality, the way they were conducting themselves was certainly giving a telling impression.

The nightmare that was #Gamergate also dragged the image of gamers through the mud, all because of the actions of the minority of gamers who are sexist, or outright misogynistic. But that this whole issue has been seen to occur time and again, over often trivial things or in outright ignorance of fact, shows that the gaming community has a serious problem. Kotaku, in an interview with Robert Bowling, a former face of the Call of Duty series were told that the first death threat he received in relation to his job were on Modern Warfare 2. That game was released in 2009.

I’d be willing to bet, that even before then, the gaming community has had a problem. A small minority have mired the image of an entire community. When even those reporting a delay are receiving death threats, it’s high time this issue was solved.

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