Game Informer’s Matt Helgeson has decided to make the gaming behemoth into a top producer of anti-GamerGate propaganda. The Minneapolis-based publication is the biggest game magazine in the world and is also owned by the biggest chain of game stores in the world (GameStop). Helgeson’s first foray into anti-GamerGate agitprop started with the November 2014 issue with an Anita Sarkeesian interview. His most recent propaganda piece was an Ashly Burch interview in the June 2015 issue, the first half focusing on her and the rest on GamerGate. Reaxxion has delved into Helgeson’s and Game Informer’s role in the debacle.
Understanding Game Informer
Game Informer is not an ordinary game magazine by any stretch. As mentioned above, the publication is the mouthpiece of the game retailer GameStop. Everybody who pays $15 annually for the GameStop Pro Rewards Card is automatically given a Game Informer subscription. This has led to the magazine’s boasting 7 million subscriptions and proclaiming itself as the most subscribed-to magazine in the world. According to the Alliance of Audited Media, Game Informer manages to sell around 20,000 magazines monthly outside of the subscriptions.
Even as Game Informer is riding the success of GameStop’s rewards program, they still have a lot of power among video game companies, and they do lord it over them. The prospect of 7 million eyeballs who are interested in gaming is what these companies advertising departments dream about. Game Informer knows this and charges an unbelievable premium to advertise with them. Let’s just say that video game companies are transferring massive amounts of money to advertise on Game Informer.
You might be wondering the reason why I started this article with that preface. It’s for a simple reason: Game Informer wields massive power thanks to it’s parent company GameStop. The writers for Game Informer have more push with the public than a Sarkeesian video ever will. There are plenty of sad souls who read Game Informer like the Bible and don’t have the ability or interest in finding better sources of gaming news. This also means that when Game Informer denigrates GamerGate, they’re doing it fueled by game publishers’ ad fees and the backing of the biggest game retail chain on the planet. This is bigger than getting libeled by some pissant blog like The Mary Sue.
Matt Helgeson Is Not A Fan Of GamerGate
Game Informer didn’t get involved with GamerGate until last October, with an interview by Matt Helgeson with Anita Sarkeesian. The startling fact that an game industry sponsored magazine would feature a known malcontent indicates that this was Helgeson’s idea. The interview is rife with postmodernist leanings and Sarkeesian saying that game developers need to “destroy oppressive social norms.”
Subscribers of Game Informer were justifiably irritated that Anita Sarkeesian was getting editorial space and wrote numerous letters to Game Informer’s editor. The editor’s response was a casual dismissal of anti-Sarkeesian beliefs and that gamers shouldn’t get irritated by her. The editor of Game Informer even implied that Sarkeesian was right, because she faced death threats. I hope the Game Informer editor extends that same ideological approval privilege to Reaxxion’s own Roosh V and Matt Forney, as they too have dealt with numerous death threats.
Game Informer’s latest plunge into the GamerGate waters was their recent interview with Ashly Burch in the June 2015 issue. Matt Helgeson’s interview of Ashly Burch featured the feminist gamer spewing nonsense about GamerGate. The real problem with this was her insistence of pushing it on Helgeson as a question, hinting at an ulterior motive. This wasn’t a spontaneous off-the-cuff type question that was inspired from the previous answer: Helgeson purposely let Ashly Burch get on her soapbox about the mean “misogynist” GamerGaters who hold women “down.”
Helgeson pushing politics inside his interviews with prominent people in the games industry seems weird. Game Informer is intended to be a vehicle to advertise products at GameStop and getting embroiled in GamerGate could seriously damage the bottom line. I have a rising suspicion that it was a petty goodbye to a group of people he despises (GamerGate and it’s sympathizers). He talked about his resignation in April here.
If Game Informer can solicit advertising that explicitly asks for other retailers not to be featured in ads, they can definitely clean up the editorial content their editors are stuffing in each issue. These interviews weren’t put under the op/ed section, but legitimized through the Game Informer brand. Companies like Game Informer (and by proxy, GameStop) have the power to not denigrate their customers. If game publications keep wanting to insult us for our beliefs, maybe it’s time to put our dollars somewhere else.