While it might seem that the forces of corruption and cronyism are insurmountable, #GamerGate has won some important victories. Here are three major gaming websites that paid attention to #GamerGate and finally decided to say “no” to business as usual.
Founded in the wake of #GamerGate, GoodGamers.us promises to remain free of corporate sponsorship, censorship, clickbaiting and shoving ideology down the readers’ throats. GoodGamers.us is staffed by volunteers, meaning there’s no incentive to alter the site’s content for financial reasons.
Right after #GamerGate began, Alexander Macris, the co-founder of The Escapist, released a 2,700 word editorial titled “Publisher’s Note: The State of Gaming.” Attached to the editorial was a 1,300 word code of ethics. This formidable code bars any collusion of writers with video game publishers and acceptance of any material benefits whatsoever. All conflicts of interest must be disclosed, even those that involve the writer’s “spouse, family member or companion.”
Though tiptoeing around the topic of #GamerGate, EuroGamer.net released a new ethics policy this month that addresses all issues raised by it. Subjects of EuroGamer.net articles are guaranteed the right of reply. Interestingly enough, EuroGamer.net also no longer scores games on a 10-point scale, but may give them one of the following badges: “Recommended,” “Essential” or “Avoid.”
#GamerGate has brought us more than just a very special episode of Law & Order: SVU or the hilariously biased news segment by ABC. Video game news sites have slowly begun to overall their ethics policies. Some did it with more subtlety, while others, such as the Escapist, rewrote their entire ethics code from scratch. In all cases, though, the U-turn was rarely advertised as a consequence of #GamerGate to avoid an outright admission of defeat.
It’s unfortunate that it took so long and required a mass revolt to force the gaming press to accept standard journalistic practices. Though every change in ethics policies can only be for the better, one can only wonder if this is too little, too late.