Extra Lives: Why GamerGate will probably fail

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The first thing for me to say here is that in spite of the title, I do support the ideas behind the GamerGate movement. Really. There’s a serious problem in the gaming press with nepotism and journalistic integrity that needs to be fixed; I even talked about this in my original blog on the topic in September.

That being said, GamerGate isn’t going to change anything. The problem with the movement is that it just can’t survive the way doing things the way it has been.

The biggest problem here is the whole hashtag. Anyone with a Twitter account can use the #GamerGate hashtag and appear to be a supporter of the movement. This causes people against it to point to a few outliers as representative of the entire group of people dedicated to more accountability in the gaming press. Because anyone can appear to be an active part in GamerGate, any single person can give everyone involved a bad name.

GamerGate also suffers from a severe lack of direction and control. It’s been going on for several months now and the most it’s accomplished has been to get a few companies to pull ads from certain websites. GamerGate has no specific goals, again, because it’s really just a hashtag. The goal of GamerGate seems to be to just generally stop corruption in games journalism. That’s all well and fine, but I don’t see anything coming of it. Something like this needs a specific set of end goals and actions in order to achieve those goals.

The best analogy I can come up with here is the Occupy Wall Street protests. Sure, the ideas behind it are good, but a lack of leadership and a clear, specific purpose will ultimately be GamerGate’s demise, just like it was Occupy’s.

GamerGate is really great in its response to the problems we see in the industry today, but it really feels like it’s just all for nothing. Because anyone can join and it has no clear goals, it can be spun to look like either a saint-like group of people trying to make video games a better industry to be in or as a bunch of misogynistic nerds living in their parents’ basement harassing any female who dares try to make a game. I want the movement to succeed, but it just doesn’t look like it’s going to.

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