Sexual harassment in the video game industry is a hot topic in the video game community. It has recently been in the news due to the case of Zoe Quinn, an independent game developer who was accused of trading sexual favors with members of the gaming press for good reviews, thus generating massive amounts of negative publicity.
This issue has gained enough traction that even Anita Sarkeesian, host of the YouTube channel Feminist Frequency, has felt it necessary to make several videos about video game sexism.
The one thing these incidents have in common is they are not isolated events. They are part of a growing problem that is only getting worse before it gets better if it ever does get better.
The huge problem with sexual harassment in the video game community is that nobody wants to do anything about it. But nothing will ever change unless people are willing to take a stand against this abuse. Nothing will ever improve until there are consequences for harassing someone. And maybe things can’t get better without first getting worse. Maybe the only way to start making progress is to shine a light on the issue and make it something that people are unwilling to tolerate any longer.
An Industry Problem
No other video game firm has faced so widespread scrutiny and backlash for sexual misbehavior, as has been the case with Activision Blizzard throughout the last five months. In 2018, Riot Games was sued for sexual harassment and discrimination based on gender. There was a #MeToo movement in gaming last summer as well, with a lot of it centered on Twitch broadcasters and their experiences at gaming events.
Then there were headlines about Ubisoft, a prominent French gaming business that develops games like Assassin’s Creed. Complaints have continued to abound. This year we heard from Ubisoft workers who demonstrated in sympathy with the employees of Activision Blizzard. They claim that Ubisoft hasn’t changed, in fact, it’s stayed the same.
Over 1700 workers at Activision Blizzard have signed a petition calling for the CEO’s resignation, using their real identities. Because they believed there were so many of them, these workers felt safe using their true names. Retaliation against that many employees would be difficult to pull off.
Sexual harassment in the video game industry is a real problem that we need to address. It is time to stand up against this abuse and demand better from our community.