Have you ever wondered how the mainstream gaming media became so hostile to gamers? You can point the finger at the London-based conglomerate United Business Media (UBM), the umbrella corporation to GamerGate’s Jill Valentine. For the past several years, UBM has been clandestinely operating or funding SJW gaming organizations such as Gamasutra, the IGDA and the Games Developer Conference, giving them enormous influence in the industry. Reaxxion is the first publication to expose UBM and the ways they’ve been manipulating the video game industry.
A Brief History Of Corporate Corruption
The UBM corporation itself predates the advent of video games, while several of its progenitor companies stretch back to the 19th century. UBM as it exists today was founded in 1918 as United Newspapers by David Lloyd George, then the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the leader of the Liberal Party. George founded the corporation so he could purchase the Daily Chronicle and Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, giving him news outlets through which he could directly manipulate the public.
In the nearly hundred years since, UBM has shifted from being a newspaper publisher to an events and public relations company, one of the largest in the world. The company most notably acquired PR Newswire, one of the world’s largest distributors of press releases, in 1982. Their website also brags about how they have business locations in 30 countries and 5,500 staff experts. According to their website, UBM defines their business output as Events (59%), PR Newswire (25%) and Other Marketing Services (16%).
Why Did Intel Resume Advertising On Gamasutra?
Gamasutra, the SJW gaming website formerly edited by Leigh Alexander, is owned by UBM and falls under their “Other Marketing Services” category. Alexander is a vocal opponent of GamerGate and a shameless corporate shill: she actually ranked Kim Kardashian’s cash-grab mobile game as one of her favorite releases of 2014. Alexander also helped kick off the wave of “Gamers Are Dead” articles last August, which inspired the rise of GamerGate.
GamerGate managed to score a victory against Gamasutra by convincing Intel to pull their ads from the site. GamerGate pulled this off by mass emailing Intel, informing them of Alexander’s Tweets endorsing racism, bullying and other social faux pas. Unfortunately, the victory was short-lived, as Intel resumed advertising on Gamasutra not long after.
Why would Intel reverse course so quickly? Some GamerGate supporters assumed it was because Leigh Alexander was blackmailing them. If Alexander had the resources to blackmail Intel, one of the largest corporations in the world, she could have blackmailed UBM into keeping her as Gamasutra’s editor. This FanFiction.net mythologization of Alexander discounts the very real power UBM has.
It’s far more likely that UBM directly pressured Intel to reinstate the ads. Gamasutra is a tiny slice of UBM’s empire; as noted above, 84 percent of the company’s business comes from PR Newswire and Events. Whatever revenue Gamasutra earns is dwarfed by PR Newswire, one of the divisions of UBM that enables them to grab other corporations by the balls.
How UBM Is Influencing The Gaming Industry
PR Newswire is one of the premier press release distributors on the planet. Companies big and small pay PR Newswire to cook up press releases and disseminate them to mainstream media outlets and websites, with price tags ranging from $400 to $1685. Press releases are a mandatory part of running many types of corporations; for example, in most countries, publicly traded corporations are required by law to announce products, mergers and other actions that can affect stock prices. Additionally, companies are also required to release this information to everybody at the same time.
Press release distribution agencies such as PR Newswire take the legwork out of this process by making sure press releases follow the regulations and protocols of their clients’ stock exchanges. They also distribute the press release to a wide range of media outlets. Since UBM owns numerous websites like Gamasutra, this further boosts the value of PR Newswire by giving their clients a captive audience for their press releases.
Even though Intel is represented by UBM’s competitor Business Wire, many of the company’s partners, suppliers and distributors use PR Newswire. As is typical in our incestuous corporate-run world, huge corporations such as UBM and Intel collude behind the scenes to increase their profits.
It’s possible that UBM convinced Intel that Gamasutra’s status as a vassal for PR Newswire was worth retaining their ads with the site despite editor Leigh Alexander’s belligerent, embarrassing behavior. Another theory could be that Intel didn’t want to rock the boat with UBM, since many of their partners use PR Newswire. Both theories could be true but at the end of the day, Intel and UBM make more money working together than splitting over a GamerGate email campaign.
My personal theory as to why Intel and Gamasutra kissed and made up points to the Events section for UBM. Intel didn’t resume advertising with Gamasutra because of PR Newswire, but because of some big investments they made in UBM. Specifically, I’m talking about the big events UBM prides itself for hosting. For example, Intel Security, a subsidary of Intel, spent $62,400 on the 2015 Las Vegas Black Hat convention by UBM.
But as big a figure as $62,400 is, it pales compared to how much money Intel gave UBM during the 2015 Games Developers Conference. Here’s a chart detailing the cash transactions:
|(9) 1 hour talks in Small Room||$63,000||Each 1 hour talk is $7,000.|
|GDC Vault Sponsorship||$18,000||Price source here.|
|Intel Booth at GDC||$169,000 (minimum)||Intel’s Booth is Huge.|
|Total Minimum Cost||$250,000 (minimum)||Not a definitive cost.|
While researching this article, I found out that Intel is a Diamond Partner. A Diamond Partner gets special perks and privileges at GDC conferences. The prerequisites for being a Diamond Partner include spending at least $250,000 dollars and being present at two conferences. If you don’t (or can’t) meet the latter requirement, you can instead donate to Gamasutra and participate in one GDC event. I found out through my research that Intel is not exhibiting at the other two GDC events in China and Europe.
The real reason why Intel resumed advertising on Gamasutra was to get preferential treatment at GDC. If they dropped the ads, they wouldn’t have gotten Diamond Partner privileges at the conference. Gamers should know that companies like UBM push social justice warrior ideology up front but make backroom deals that hurt gamers. UBM is raking in the big bucks while allowing its lapdog Gamasutra to insult gamers and mock the very concept of journalism.