This year achieved a high in gaming so far as prize money for professional gaming went. Prize money for The International, hosted by Valve, was in excess of 10 million dollars, with the top teams earning substantial pay checks, but this attracted a different kind of media to the traditional gaming media currently shitting all over gamers: the mainstream media in the form of Disney-owned ESPN.
ESPN broadcast the Dota2 world champs on ESPN 3. (Besides family of the competitors, I am no sure if anyone suffered enough boredom to actually watch this broadcast.) As gamers we have to realise companies like Disney are merely jumping on the gaming bandwagon and will never offer us anything vaguely original as far as producing video games go. They will use gaming to milk their franchises. ESPN, on the other hand, are true media devils.
Throughout the whole #gamergate saga, ESPN has remained pretty quiet until an October 24th column by veteran sports journalist Jane McManus. McManus, in a few short words, manages to shit all over #gamergate without much fact checking, comparing the ordeal of women in sports to that of women in the gaming industry. She quotes a girl journalist in the sports field, one Sarah Sprague of Yardbarker, who said, “Sports already went through this a long time ago. Leagues cater to female fans because they want to sell them things.”
How exactly a broadcaster the likes of ESPN or any other mainstream media company will be able to market any games appealing to girls remains to be seen. I guess it could be done, but I doubt there will be any profit in it. Gamer girls seem to like the same games as gamer guys and for a company like ESPN/Disney, the bottom line is all that really matters.
She goes on to quote Sprague as saying:
Games are different, they’ve always been geared more toward men. So if women says, ‘We’d like to see fewer women in bikinis shooting things,’ that’s going at the core.
Maybe Jane and Sarah should take a look at how women are portrayed in mainstream sports before she picks sides in #gamergate. I’m thinking about cheerleaders in the NFL, bikini clad floozies in the boxing rings, and so on. Surely this real life fleshfest is more of an issue to feminists than a bit of virtual tits and ass? Does anyone in the sports industry give a fuck that the girls on display at sports events are appreciated only for how fuckable they are rather than for their capabilities outside the realm of eye candy? Does anyone without a commercial agenda even give a shit? Do we want people as hypocritical as this involved with gaming?
As a none Dota2 fan, I am unsure of how many people even viewed the ESPN broadcast and it will be interesting to see if they do it again in 2015, but the mainstream media needs to be watched closely. They have highly experienced slimy journos that make the SJW’s and white knights in gaming journalism look like Mickey Mouse in comparison, especially since they have a far larger soap box to stand on.
This mainstream media encroachment on my hobby is something I view with the utmost suspicion. If the media co-opts gaming then the gambling people are sure to follow with their attendant corruption and match fixing that team sports are vulnerable to. Maybe this is the line where ethics in mainstream journalism and #gamergate will meet?