Tag Archives: censorship

WTF Wednesdays: “NAZI is not a valid word” – ??? – Words With Friends 2

Video game companies all over the world are subject to government regulations against free speech – some for good reason, others just for an unidentified purpose. While playing the mobile title Words With Friends 2 Online the other day it was discovered that “NAZI is not a valid word” according to the title which has players putting words like “Hod” or “Hi” and “Ta” in order to stack up points with words they really didn’t even know before playing the game.

On top of the title being a simple exercise in trial and error rather than actually testing the vocabulary of its players, now real words are not valid entries simply due to their controversial role in reality.

For this week’s WTF Wednesday stop and take a look at the country you live in, and name 3 games that have censored their content. In Germany, many students are not even taught about the existence of Adolf Hitler and the NAZI era of World War 2. Some say this is to prevent a low self-esteem issue while others claim it is to prevent repeating the past. In any event, most countries will not allow the Nazi Swastika symbol to appear in their video games despite the historical accuracy demanding such.

Illuminati In Gaming Episode #2: Freedom Under Attack Through Censorship

Illuminati In Gaming - RealGamerNetwork - Logo 1p0

Today’s Episode Includes Topics Such As: Hate speech being used in games and why the media makes it worse, censorship of the game industry and how it will be spread, developers trying to silence journalists they don’t agree with, and more.

20,000 People Sign Petition in Spain to Ban Bull Fighting Video Game

Toro Censorship Spain SJW GamerGate RealGamerNewz

A game about bull fighting has a 20,000 signature petition against it in Spain and now censorship threatens to close the game development studio behind the title if it is not allowed to release. Financially, video games take years to make, most development studios have their entire future riding on each release.

Toro is being accused of promoting animal violence, however it is actually part of a long standing heritage and provides the virtual alternative to viewing these historical sports which the modern world now views as wrong and cruel against animals (which I totally agree with).

It’s a game, it’s not real and actually spares real bulls: who want a bullfight can go play instead of giving audience in the arena. Showing our future generations how barbaric man has been in the past allows them to learn how we have evolved and become a more civilized planet, while at the same time warning them of the dangerous of turning backwards on the road to evolution.

Updated: RGN Community Response

One reader Mixelon wrote the following in response to this article:

“Wtf. In a country where bull fighting is legal, bullfighting videogames risk censorship? That’s some bizarre inconsistency.

I’m ALl for banning ACTUAL bull fighting, it’s stupidly barbaric and has absolutely no place in the modern world.. All animal blood sports should be banned..

Games about it though? I think a bullfighting videogames sounds potentially interesting if a bit limited.. If anything if it shows how freaking horrible the whole thing is it could be beneficial.”

Spread the word about this, the original story is below:

Toro Spain

Porn Actresses Speak On Net Neutrality and Comcast / Time Warner Respond [Warning: Not Safe 4 Work]

net neutrality realgamernewz obama comcast porn

Porn Actresses Speak On Net Neutrality

 

and Comcast / Time Warner Respond

[Warning: Not Safe 4 Work]

Long Life Free Speech, And Fast Internet

Love, RealGamerNewz + President Obama !!!

 

net neutrality realgamernewz obama comcast

“Hatred” Revealed – New Game Inspired by Retro PC Classic “Postal” Series

Hatred - Reveal Gameplay

What if I told you that Postal is coming back just with even more chaos, better graphics, and kill-shot execution scenes more gruesome than most homicidal action films from the 90s (most, but not all).

Even more enraged at life than ever, some dude is taking out his grievances with society and the world the only way he knows how – by killing everything in sight. Take a look at the trailer below which even shows gameplay and the clear inspiration / tribute to Postal (a game series from one of the golden eras of PC Gaming).

More to come as we follow the anticipated release of this creative title from development house Destructive Creations.

Is GamerGate A Hate Group?

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If you’re a gamer you have probably heard the term GamerGate at least once over the last couple of months. At the time of this writing, the #gamergate hashtag on Twitter has well over two million total tweets! The debate between GamerGate and so-called “Social Justice Warriors” has become so convoluted at this point that it is difficult to separate fact from fiction.

A psychological technique called gaslighting has made GamerGate into quite a big mess. On Wikipedia, gaslighting is defined as “a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.” In relation to GamerGate, opponents have used gaslighting tactics to make it nearly impossible for your average person to determine what is actually going on through the dissemination of literally books worth of misinformation.

I have been following GamerGate since it erupted so I hope this article will help provide a relatively concise summary of events to better inform you, the reader, on what GamerGate is.

A quick disclaimer: this is not an exhaustive history of GamerGate. One article cannot cover the entirety of two months of events without inadvertently leaving something out. This article is merely meant as a means to get you acquainted with some of the facts of what’s happened that thus far the mainstream media has refused to properly report on. I encourage you to take to Twitter, search up the hashtags, and do more research into the matter for yourself.

Background 

keighley

Actor Adam Baldwin, known to many for his role as Jayne Cobb on Firefly, created the #GamerGate hashtag on August 27th but that is not actually when the problems began. GamerGate says they are fighting for journalistic integrity and to keep video games about gaming and not about pushing political agendas on unsuspecting gamers.

Adhering to journalistic ethics has been a problem that has plagued the gaming industry for years. Everybody remembers that picture of Geoff Keighley sitting glassy-eyed next to Doritos and Mountain Dew (it’s worth noting the fact Geoff is a man didn’t immunize him from being strongly chastised as a shill by gamers). For years it has become apparent that video game journalists have gotten far too close with those in the industry such as public relations, developers, and publishers.

It is important to realize that GamerGate isn’t a new problem, it is just the name given to the somewhat more organized movement fighting against this type of corruption.

The straw that broke the camel’s back involved indie gaming developer Zoe Quinn. Quinn allegedly had sexual affairs with video game journalists in exchange for positive reviews of her game Depression Quest. This served as a striking example that journalists and developers were too close and fired people up. It has since been realized that these “positive reviews” actually do not exist but Depression Quest did receive some questionably earned awards.

There’s a lot more to this part of the story but it really doesn’t have anything to do with GamerGate at large other than the fact it served as the impetus of gamers’ outrage into corruption. If you want to read a history of events pertaining to Zoe Quinn, sometimes called “Quinnspiracy,” check it out here.

Zoe further drew criticism, however, after she undermined a Game Jam project by The Fine Young Capitalists which aimed to get more female game developers into the industry by potentially funding a game pitch. The project allowed only female contestants. It seemed strange, then, why Zoe would have attacked it as oppressive. You can learn more about that here.

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With gamers now starting to worry about ethics in the video game industry more than ever before, Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos published several pieces in September further highlighting the extreme lack of journalistic integrity in the gaming press including “Exposed: The Secret Mailing List of the Gaming Journalism Elite” and “The E-mails That Prove Video Games Journalism Must be Reformed.”

These articles exposed leaked information he received about a secret mailing list called GameJournoPros in which journalists from various top gaming sites including Kotaku, Polygon, Ars Technica, and WIRED to name a few would collude with one another about what they should be reporting and what they should not be reporting.

Milo points out that this is especially troubling in the messages where they discuss the Zoe Quinn incident. Quinn had started getting a lot of accusations about using her sex life to further her career and the messages show various gaming journalists talking about how to best defend her and even a plan to send her a signed card to show support. Milo states how this indicates there is pretty much no boundary line between the reporter and the subject being reported on in their eyes.

“…I don’t think we, as games press, should support furthering the story by commenting, editorializing or even allowing others to ruminate on it,” said one journalist.

The GameJournoPros mailing list isn’t a conspiracy theory. Those involved in the list have admitted what Milo exposed was real but that they simply see no problem in what they did. The list’s founder, Kyle Orlund, who is also the Senior Gaming Editor from Ars Technica, tweeted out “I regret nothing” immediately after the list was exposed by Milo. He later apologized for the tweet.

Some gamers unfortunately bought their excuses, claiming it’s perfectly normal for people with the same interests to talk to one another. But the problem is they weren’t just talking to one another about innocuous things. I previously wrote an article explaining exactly why GameJournoPros mailing list is important here.

These revealed messages and emails proved that game journalists were not only too close to people inside of the industry but also colluding with one another in order to push their political agendas to readers as well.

Gamers began to suspect more and more that there was feminist agenda being pushed into video games. That’s how feminist speaker and game critic Anita Sarkeesian was also dragged into GamerGate because of her “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” series on YouTube. In these videos she tries to show why video games are sexist against women and need to be changed. For example, she claims the new Hitman game is sexist because in one mission players are able to murder a bikini-clad stripper, then drag her body around the room and hide her corpse in a box. Anita claims that this is meant to give gamers a perverse sexual thrill of power and control over a woman’s dead, sexualized body.

What critics of her video quickly pointed out is that she ignored the fact 99% of every other character you kill in the game is a male and that dragging and hiding corpses to avoid detection is a major game mechanic. Also, you are actually penalized in-game by killing the stripper because she is considered an innocent – not your target. Therefore the game doesn’t want you to do it so how does this prove the game is sexist?

So Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian began drawing a ton of criticism from gamers angry that Quinn and her journalist friends would violate the perceived integrity of the gaming media (or what little was left of it) and angry that Anita would misrepresent gaming to push an agenda. As you might imagine, some of this criticism was more acerbic than others. Both women allegedly started receiving death threats which they went to the police about.

YouTubers Jordan Owen and Davis Aurini, who are working on a documentary about the situation entitled “The Sarkeesian Effect” then released that during their research for the film they contacted Anita’s local police department and found out she had never filed a police report. Anita started getting called out for lying on Twitter. She countered this by soon revealing she instead went to the FBI and the FBI has supposedly confirmed they are investigating the threats. There has been no update about the findings of the investigation as of this writing.

Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) and “Third Wave Feminists” defended both Zoe and Anita by claiming gamers were only attacking them because they are women. SJWs began to call gamers misogynists, sexists, and sometimes even racist despite the fact Zoe and Anita are both white. Around that time the #NotYourShield hashtag was created by another Twitter user to state that he does not want to be used as the shield for Social Justice Warriors to hide behind while they push their agenda.

 shield

Leigh Alexander, a writer for Gamasutra, made things worse when she published an article at the end of August titled “Gamers don’t have to be your audience. Gamers are over.” Her article declared hardcore gamers were dead and developers should stop pandering to them. This sentiment, that gamers were “dead,” was echoed on numerous other game media sites at the same time.

The strange fact so many sites published such similar opinion articles at the same time seemed to imply they had colluded a push specific narrative – which got exposed a few weeks later by Milo Yiannopoulos on Breitbart as mentioned above.

dead

It turns out gamers don’t like to be told they are dead so GamerGate started accusing Leigh Alexander of hating gamers. Intel even ended up pulling advertising on Gamasutra after they were flooded with complaints from gamers over Leigh’s article. SJWs then began calling Intel a bunch of misogynists seemingly oblivious to the fact Intel’s current president is a woman named Renée James.

Leigh, who is a woman, began to fall back on the standard strategy that had thus far been utilized by SJWs to defend Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian, which is to say that gamers were only attacking her because she was a woman and they are misogynists. We’ll get into whether or not GamerGate is full of misogynist men more in the next section. The actual reality is that gamers went after Leigh because of the absurd things she wrote both in her articles and on Twitter. Take for example some of her tweets where she threatens people, promotes doxxing, makes racist statements, and brags about her power to ruin careers:

leigh

As GamerGate began to gain more and more momentum, Social Justice Warriors began turning to less ethical means to stop them. GamerGate supporters started to get “doxxed” where their real life information such as name, address, phone number, and work are made public and then they are harassed.

Many GamerGate supporters reported that SJWs had called their place of work and tried to get them fired by telling their employer they were sexist, misogynist, racist, etc. A few well known GamerGate supporters that were doxxed include Boogie2988, the lovely Shoe0nhead, Adam Baldwin, and even Milo Yiannopoulos.

In a more recent incident, game developer Brianna Wu attempted to create a new meme called “Oppressed GamerGater” which depicted GamerGate advocates in a negative fashion using the image of an autistic child. For obvious reasons she started getting a ton of backlash from GamerGate and others who instead flooded her with insults and memes mocking her.

Brianna, much like Anita Sarkeesian, said she started getting death threats which forced her to flee her home and contact the police. She connected these threats to GamerGate and used it as “evidence” that GamerGate was full of misogynist, vile, woman-hating gamers who wanted her dead simply because she was a woman speaking out on sexism in video games. Gamers have countered this assertion by pointing out she wasn’t speaking out about anything, but mocking people with a highly offensive meme.

brianna

At 2:24 PM on October 14th, Brianna apparently tweeted out to someone to “leave me out of your mentions, you gross fucking aspie” (aspie being a slang term for someone with asperger’s syndrome – a form of high-functioning autism). She quickly deleted this tweet then claimed her Twitter account had been hacked and it wasn’t her who really said that.

The claim her account was hacked didn’t add up with the fact she legitimately retweeted other tweets at 2:24 PM and 2:26 PM. She didn’t delete those, which indicates she was indeed in control of her account at the exact time the insulting message was tweeted.

brianna2

Update 10/30/14: Since this article was published, it was learned that the “aspie” tweet seen above was actually made from a spoof account that used an uppercase i instead of a lowercase l at the end which on twitter looks identical. This exonerates Brianna of responsibility for that hateful tweet but also shows that she lied when she claimed her actual account had been hacked.

Is GamerGate Misogynist?

Let’s perform a thought experiment. If you were being personally exposed by GamerGate and you wanted to kill the movement, what would be the best way to go about doing that? The answer is you would want to make GamerGate into the villain rather than yourself. Perhaps the best method of accomplishing this these days is to make GamerGate seem like a hate group.

Nobody wants to seem like they are racist or sexist so if they think GamerGate is a bunch of racists or sexists, they would be less likely to support that movement even if their goals of fighting corruption in games journalism are seemingly agreeable.

One of the best methods of actively turning people against GamerGate would be to stage a false flag and blame it on GamerGate. For those unfamiliar with the term, a false flag is when an attack is carried out and made to look as if a certain group is responsible for it when they are actually not.

The purpose of a false flag varies from being used as a pretext for a military attack to a tactic to undermine a certain political group. There is a long history of real life false flags which you can read about on Wikipedia. It is not simply a “conspiracy theory.” False flags are real and are even considered war crimes prohibited from being used in wars today by the Geneva Convention.

As we have already discussed in the previous section, many of the Social Justice Warriors such as Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, and recently Brianna Wu have reportedly received numerous death threats which they then blamed on GamerGate. Anita even canceled a talk she was scheduled to give at Utah State University because of threatening messages claiming they were going to go on a shooting massacre if they let her talk. Because of Utah State’s gun laws, police apparently couldn’t prohibit guns from entering the venue so out of fear for her safety she canceled the talk.

This seems horrible. Obviously nobody should be in fear for their life and safety no matter how disagreeable their ideas are. Freedom of Speech is a fundamental right in America to be cherished and protected. But it is important to note that there is absolutely no publicly available evidence any of these threats have been made by legitimate “GamerGaters.”

In fact, Utah State University officials along with several law enforcement agencies including USU police and both state and federal law enforcement experts investigated the threat made against Anita Sarkeesian and found it to not be credible and made a statement the day before Anita’s scheduled talk that there was no risk to students, staff, or the speaker (Anita).

Many of the violent threats allegedly being made have never been proven to have happened at all and those that have been shown publicly were made from what looked like sock puppet accounts created specifically to threaten that person. For example, Brianna was threatened by someone whose name was “Death to Brianna.”

Even if the pathetic criminals making these threats were to expressly claim they were GamerGate supporters, that doesn’t necessarily make it true. For a threat to legitimately be traced back to GamerGate, it would have to come from someone who was well-known within the movement and had a lengthy history of supporting GamerGate. This has not yet happened. In fact, many GamerGate supporters are actually among the first who condemn and report these threats to Twitter when they see them.

To be sure, one doesn’t need to look far to find examples of people threatening themselves online in false flag attacks. A recent video by Thunderf00t details the case of how in 2013 a University of Wyoming student named Meg Lanker-Simons posted comment under a different name on a Facebook page that threatened performing violent sexual acts on her. She then condemned the comments as “disgusting” and “misogynistic.” After an investigation she was later forced to admit that she herself had posted the original comment and was issued a police citation for interference (source). She ended up pleading no contest to the charge.

It’s worth mentioning that Thunderf00t got suspended from Twitter for several weeks after mysteriously being mass-reported for for “harassment” when he tweeted out a video that was critical of Anita Sarkeesian.

It is conceivable, then, that someone trying to paint GamerGate as a hate group would stage a similar false flag by threatening someone like Anita and claiming to be with GamerGate when they are not. This could be anybody against GamerGate, a supporter of Anita, or possibly even Anita herself as in the example detailed above.

shoe

To answer the assertion that GamerGate is just a bunch of woman-hating misogynist nerds, you need only look at the diverse group of people that support GamerGate. Many of them are actually themselves women! GamerGate supporter and man with awesome sounding accent Sargon of Akkad recently made a YouTube video titled The Lie Heard Around the World #GamerGate #NotYourShield showing dozens of women and girls that support GamerGate.

Noted feminist Christina Hoff Sommers is even a supporter of GamerGate. In her Factual Feminist video “Are Video Games Sexist?” she talked about the controversy and concluded the evidence shows that video games are not sexist and the industry is actually more inclusive than ever before!

The Social Justice Warriors’ response to this? These women just have internalized misogyny and are so oppressed by the patriarchy they don’t even know it. SJWs even tried to smear Christina H. Sommers by falsely calling her a right wing extremist nut job and discredited “fake” feminist. In other words, Social Justice Warriors simply dismiss any women’s opinions who don’t agree with them as not mattering. Now isn’t that a bit sexist?

TL:DR Summary

  • The evidence shows that GamerGate’s main concern from the beginning has been about corruption in the gaming media, not keeping women out of gaming. Geoff Keighley is a man and yet he was heavily criticized anyway.
  • There is no publicly available evidence the violent threats directed at Social Justice Warriors such as Anita Sarkeesian can be traced back to GamerGate supporters.
  • GamerGate supporters have been doxxed and had their careers threatened by Social Justice Warriors. These claims actually have been proven by showing chat logs and forum threads of noted SJWs discussing doxxing them before it happened.
  • The claim that GamerGate is a misogynist movement propagated by woman-hating men is unfounded and doesn’t hold up to the fact that so many women and even feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers support it.
  • The currently available evidence seems to support many Social Justice Warriors hate gamers, hate men, have resorted to highly unethical activities (for example, doxxing), and have intentionally misrepresented facts in an attempt to kill the GamerGate movement and push their unwanted/unneeded feminist agenda within the gaming industry.

samantha

Polygon contributor Samantha Allen proudly hates men. Shouldn’t this sexism be frowned upon by progressives?

Conclusion

GamerGate is not misogynist and is not a hate group. The mainstream media has only recently started reporting on the mess that has become GamerGate. They unfortunately haven’t been very thorough in their investigation and have so far only reported that women are being forced from their homes due to threats against their lives because they “stood up against sexism” in the video game industry. As we have seen, that isn’t anywhere even close to the full story.

If you don’t know anything about the history of GamerGate, you’ll likely see such a report and think that GamerGate supporters are some of the worst people in existence. This might explain why Dell employee George Reese compared GamerGate to ISIS, a comment YouTuber “Syrian Girl” found to be extremely offensive.

isis

GamerGate is a prime example of why one should not jump to conclusions without knowing the full story. Do your own research into the subject and never listen to just one side of a debate no matter how obvious things might look at first glance.

As with any group of people there are always those who take things to the extreme. There’s no doubt a few GamerGate supporters probably take things way too far but this is natural and to be expected of any group as large and as diverse as GamerGate is. The entirety of GamerGate or even just gamers in general shouldn’t be judged by the actions of a few random trolls.

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this article are that of the author and may / may not represent views of the rest of RGN Staff / our audience. This article will not be removed and all takedown requests will be ignored.

Trolls, #gamergate style.

GamerGate The Stream

Image Credit: The Stream

Trolls, trolls everywhere! And they are getting fed plenty right now.

The way I see it a troll is someone who takes the opposite stance to pretty much anyone just to get the reaction they desire, usually it’s just for a rise but I see a new troll kind of troll has arisen. It’s dangerous, insidious and has sharp pointy teeth (said in a Monty Python voice)!

GamerGate SJW Troll

Ladies and gentlemen, I refer to the professional troll.

Lately in the game journalism world (and by lately I mean for some years now) has been full of these trolls and they have manipulated our passion to make themselves buckets of money. Lately this has all been brought to the forefront by the #gamergate movement and I feel that instead of labeling those under suspicion as journalists or SJW’S it’s more important to call them what they are, manipulative money hungry cave trolls.

Let me explain this a little better, when a person spends a lot of money it is more than a financial investment it is lo an investment of time and effort (since most people work for money) and as such people get very defensive and passionate about said investments.

What did the profit trolls do when they realized this? They created click bait articles about consoles and specs and which is better to make money off the advertisers willing to fork over money to websites with a lot of traffic. They created this hotpot know as the console wars, let us stew in it to boiling point and then laughed all the way to the bank!

Then others got wise to this ploy and decided there were more markets than just the gamers to get money from in this way but they needed to use gamers as a launching pad first…

Que the SJW’S! Feminism is defined as a movement to bring equality to the sexes, it first started out as a women’s movement because women were the most discriminated against group as far as rights and social standing went but since women are now considered equal to men the stance shifted to maintaining this balance between both.

Some Info Sourced: http://i.word.com/idictionary/feminism

This means that modern feminists, according to feminist theory should approach any topic with the idea that they are trying to bring equality to both men and to women. In regard to media such as gaming and television men and women have the same rights and social perception in regard to being able to consume this media. So no feminist problem there yet.

Next we move on to how women are overly sexualized and misrepresented in said media and I agree that is a bad thing but it can also be stated that men are also over sexualized and misrepresented in media (just look at dad’s on tv shows… always idiots it’s insulting and men in games, always physically perfect and over masculine). Both of these are insulting to many but since both genders are both represented poorly in the same way, according to feminist theory it is not a feminist issue.

internet trolling

Why do I bring this up? I’m glad you asked!

It’s because not everyone has a good understanding of what feminism really is. Many people think it’s all about getting justice for the downtrodden females and smiting evil misogynists and they feel pretty passionate about it too.

Knowing that, the profit trolls decided to point out why faux feminists would have a problem with media such as games and made their own click-bait articles and YouTube videos to make their money and get their fame, and it worked until gamers became offended that their passion was being attacked and so they jumped to the defense.

And so #gamergate was born!!! Fellow gamers we have been trolled and I urge everyone to help get the trolls out of video game journalism… trolling for fun is one thing, but trolling for profit? That’s a special kind of dirty.

Editor’s Note: This User Blog was submitted by kingdip90 who has granted permission for this post to exist as a mirror to his views. These views may / may not represent the views of RealGamerNewz.com staff and our audience.

Why the GameJournoPros Secret Mailing List is Important

video games

Earlier this week journalist Milo Yiannopoulos exposed a secret mailing list between top gaming journalists called “GameJournoPros” in an article published on Breitbart titled Exposed: The Secret Mailing List of the Gaming Journalism Elite. The article exposes leaked messages as well as emails that showed beyond any doubt there was collusion between various game journalists on major publications in which they determine what should and should not be reported on.

This article is going to explain why this revelation is important and not about the specific details of the messages/emails so I’m not going to re-publish a bunch of them here. You can already read them on Breitbart and Milo’s site. But there are a few quotes that stand out as especially ridiculous and if you don’t read any of the other messages, you need to at least see these two:

Who here hasn’t slept with a PR person or game developer? #AMIRITE -William O’Neal, U.S. Editor-in-Chief of TechRadar.

and

This is barely a game-industry story, no matter how some people want to frame it. This is a story about a person who happens to be in the game industry and their personal relationships (no matter how it may weave back into “the industry” and however poor the person’s judgments may have been) and public expose of private materials by that person’s partner as revenge, so I don’t think we, as games press, should support furthering the story by commenting, editorializing or even allowing others to ruminate on it. – Andy Eddy.

The last few words of the second quote are almost heinously shocking. Andy does not even want to “allow others to ruminate” on this story. Andy literally wants the power to control what gamers can and can’t think about! Talk about thought police. What’s this guy think he’s living in George Orwell’s 1984?

Milo has since dumped the entirety of the leaked emails which you can sift through on his website here: http://yiannopoulos.net/2014/09/19/gamejournopros-zoe-quinn-email-dump. Milo has also pointed out some of the other shocking quotes in another article on Breitbart titled The E-mails That Prove Video Games Journalism Must be Reformed.

So why is this important? First of all you should keep in mind this isn’t just some conspiracy theory. Several of the journalists exposed as part of the mailing list have already confessed and simply hold to the position they don’t think it is wrong. “I regret nothing,” Tweeted Kyle Orland, the founder of GameJournoPros. He then tried to innocently pass it off as just a place they go to chat. It’s natural for people of the same profession and with the same passion to just chat about things they have in common right? Right?!

Well as a game journalist myself for over five years now, I can tell you that game journalists already have a place to “just chat.” There is a website called GamesPress that you need to be a verified member of the media or PR to join. The site has a very active forum including two sub-forums named Games Industry and Journalism where members of the gaming industry and media go to OPENLY discuss the video game industry in general, details about upcoming video games releases and events, and to get in touch with specific PR people for review requests or game details among other things. The difference between the GamesPress forums and the GameJournoPros mailing list is that one is out in the open and transparent while the other is secret. People weren’t supposed to know about the latter. The fact GameJournoPros operates like some sort of secret society in of itself makes you wonder about its legitimacy. What is more likely? That Kyle Orland completely forgot that game journalists already have a well-known place to chat about stuff called the GamesPress forums which has 26,000 registered members and 98,000 total posts or that his excuse is a load of bull? Orland is either completely inept at his job or is completely lacking in journalist integrity and ethics. Either way you slice it, he probably shouldn’t be the Senior Gaming Editor of such a large website.

Unfortunately, some gamers have accepted the excuse and believe this isn’t important. One user on Twitter using the #gamergate hashtag wrote, “…many companies have internal mailing lists among their employees why is this a big deal? It’s not.”

That’s just the thing. The people on this mailing list don’t work for the same company. Therefore, this by definition isn’t an internal mailing list. The people on this list are supposed to work for COMPETING websites. See in the real world, journalists compete with one another for scoops. They want to be the ones to break something faster than their rival news site. Sure it’s okay to be friendly with your competition. You don’t need to be an asshole to people. But on the same token that doesn’t mean you invite them over for sexy parties either. This secret mailing list exposes that is not how gaming journalism works.

The messages on the mailing list and subsequently leaked emails prove that gaming journalists aren’t actually working for separate entities. They are colluding with one another to determine what is newsworthy and what is not. Which games get coverage and which don’t.  They want to manipulate how people perceive events in the industry and control what their readers are even allowed to think about. In short, this means that the various websites involved in this scandal are all actually operating under one entity – GameJournoPros. Kotaku isn’t actually different from Ars Technica which isn’t actually different from WIRED which isn’t actually different from…etc. etc. They could all just be re-branded a site called GameJournoPros.

No wonder most of the major sites almost always either universally hate a game or love it.

Another reason this mailing list is important is because not only do journalists collude with one another, but the line between reporter and subject being reported on is virtually nonexistent. The problematically close relationship between game journalists and publishers, developers, and public relations people is already pretty well known. Most gamers have seen that picture of Geoff Keighley surrounded by Doritos and Mountain Dew. Gamers had an inkling that some review scores probably can’t be trusted because journalists love getting free games. But most people expected this was an issue with journalists on an individual basis. They didn’t realize just how deep it goes.

In one of the emails Milo exposed Andrew Groen, a contributor to WIRED, writes “There is an ocean of distance between ‘hi we’re strangers and we’re aware of your dirty laundry’ and ‘Hi, we’re your colleagues, and we appreciate the work you do for our community. Illegitimi non carborundum.”

Milo points out that Groen is “seemingly unaware that Quinn is not a ‘colleague,’ but the subject of reporting. Describing Quinn as a colleague shows how paper-thin the barrier between reporter and reported has become.”

So the corruption is actually several levels deep. Game journalists see themselves as part of the game industry, which they are supposed to be objectively reporting on. They view developers, publishers, and PR people as their personal friends which further discourages objective reporting. This would be bad enough if it were done on an individual basis as gamers used to suspect but the fact that game journalists themselves then get together to spread the corruption makes it that much worse.

To see just how damaging this kind of collusion in the media is, imagine if it were to happen in the real world with mainstream news outlets. Imagine if CNN, CBS, Fox News, MSNBC, and all the other mainstream media had a secret mailing list where their top journalists and reporters discussed what stories they should all report and what stories they should all ignore. Then imagine there was a scandal implicating President Barack Obama in some treasonous misdeeds that could result in him being impeached. Obama, however, is good personal friends with all the reporters from these major news outlets (as game developers, publishers, and PR people are often good personal friends with game journalists. William O’Neal wrote, “Who here hasn’t slept with a PR person or game developer? #AMIRITE”). So the mainstream media obviously doesn’t want their friend Obama to go down in flames. Using this mailing list which enables them to talk with one another in secret, all the major news outlets collude about how together they can spin this Obama story and make it into a non-issue. They could all decide to refuse to report on it (like the game journalists that refused to report on the Zoe Quinn story) and they might even decide to pledge their support for Obama in the form of a signed letter to let him know he’s not going through this alone. The mainstream media therefore never reports on the story or if they do, it’s in SUPPORT of Obama. The news of the scandal never accurately reaches the American public.

Imagine if that happened in real life. That is called a conspiracy. So why is it okay for gaming journalists to do it? The answer is, it’s not. Everybody involved on that mailing list needs to be fired immediately. These so-called “game journalists” have forgotten they are supposed to be working for gamers, not themselves and not the industry. Their job is simply to inform people. Not to push their friends’ games or protect them from public backlash. Gaming journalism is corrupt and needs to be cleansed.

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this article are that of the author and may / may not represent views of the rest of RGN Staff / our audience. This article will not be removed and all takedown requests will be ignored.

iRGN Episode #2 – The World Isn’t Ready For Oculus Rift, But Is Ready For The Indie Takeover

iRGN Podcast

Welcome back to the RealGamerNewz Podcast that will be the main series from here on out. As we reboot the iRGN series, we welcome back Gio (John Grunow) from past appearances as well as a special guest Dan from Vintage Games who will join us in tonight’s show. Deputy Editor Tristan Werbe of RGN Exclusive Brand Tristan’s Twisted World and Editor-In-Chief Jon Ireson also host this show which speaks about a lot of various topics, some of which are listed below.

1. Watch An Entire Game Developed In One Livestream On RGN Saturday
2. Sony And Valve Making Virtual Reality Headsets: But Do We Need Those?
2. Should People Who Don’t Play Games Be Allowed To Rally For Game Censorship?
3. Battlefield 4 Patches Still Incoming; EA & DICE Fail To Fix Anything
4. TitanFall 6v6; Is It Enough or Not? Early Thoughts
5. Indie TakeOver – Will AAA / AA Games Learn From Mistakes?

Will Apple’s New ‘Kids App Store’ Allow Less Censorship in Adult App Store?

iOS Kids App Store

Apple will soon be launching a new App Store aimed directly at being kid-friendly. Video games and other apps have seen censorship from services like Apple’s App Store as well as PlayStation 3’s PlayStation Network (or PSN) for example when Stealth Bastard had to be renamed to Stealth Inc. (our review here) for release on Sony’s network. Perhaps with Apple taking the effort to separate children from adults, a new Kids App Store could lead to slightly more artistic freedom for the adult app store.

RealGamerNewz Interviews Alex Hinkley: Are AAA Publishers Scared of Free Speech? Censorship Exposed

Censorship in the Game Industry

In the following article, myself (Editor-In-Chief of RealGamerNewz.com) took the time to interview with Alex Hinkley who you may all remember authored a huge piece on the AAA industry’s failure to budget games correctly leading to massive losses and the shut down of many companies in the past few years alone (consequently leading to the losses of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the video games industry). This article ended up getting him fired and exposed a massive amount of censorship that exists in the video games industry today as AAA publishers are scared of free speech and try to use pressure (and in some cases their bank) to get writers hushed up. Here at RealGamerNewz we are not subject to that, so here is an interview exposing some of the more deep thoughts of the author which you likely will not find anywhere else. Enjoy.

Jon: Did you have any idea that the article might get you in trouble when you were writing it?

Alex: Well obviously when one is writing an article criticizing overspending in an industry, you naturally expect that the people you’re criticizing aren’t going to take it very well. As for trouble from Examiner though, I never thought there would be a problem. I had been writing for Examiner for over four years at that point. I had published nearly two thousand articles across three separate columns and my work had received almost six million views. I would have expected that after dedicating so much time and effort to Examiner that they would have at least given me some forewarning if there was a problem with my work. What’s funny is that the week before getting fired, they had just “promoted” me to the A-list review team and praised me for what great work I had been doing.

Jon: How did you learn you had been fired?

Alex: At first I had no idea I had actually been fired. My access to the site dashboard simply went away on the night of June 28th without any notification from anybody. This was three days after I published the article mind you, so I didn’t suspect a connection. It is also worth mentioning that all of my numbers were cited from trusted, verifiable sources so nothing I wrote was factually inaccurate. I had no reason to suspect I had been fired for writing an article that was reporting on-record facts.

I emailed several content mangers to ask what was going on but nobody replied until the next morning. Then I got an email from the managing games editor named Steve Ruygrok that they had decided to let me go because of the article. He said he wasn’t going to debate the content of the article but that “major developers, publishers, and public relations people” had complained to them about it and they did not want my article to damage their already fragile relationships in the industry among other writers on the site. So basically it wasn’t the content that got me fired – it was solely due to the fact they thought it threatened their future ability to obtain free games.

What makes it even more baffling is that a majority of readers actually liked and agreed with the article. It had 9,000 Facebook likes on it by the time it was taken down. A “rebuttal” article that was written by a game developer had less than 1,000 likes. Have you ever heard of being fired for writing an article that 90% of people who read it agreed with? It was simply a very vocal minority, comprised almost exclusively of game developers and other industry professionals, that made it seem worse than it was by repeatedly insulting me in the comments and on Twitter.

Ruygrok wrote in his email that he wished there was some other way to handle this but that they were left with no choice. Really? How about instead of firing me, simply take the article down and explain why it had to be removed. Or better yet, why not simply task one of the other writers on the site with penning a counter article to mine? No other choice? C’mon there are two better choices right off the top of my head.

Jon: Do you feel like the video game industry rewards censorship and punishes freedom of speech?

Alex: Yes I think the answer to that one is obvious since gaming industry professionals got me fired because they didn’t like my opinion. Trying to shut up a journalist because you don’t like what he said is not the proper response and the fact Examiner capitulated to their wishes goes to show the sorry state of affairs that game “journalism” is in today. The game industry has a history of this. Jeff Gerstmann being fired from GameSpot for a negative review and Rab Florence leaving Eurogamer after they edited an article he wrote about PR and journalists being too cozy are just a few examples.

Examiner, at least the gaming division, has become nothing more than a mouthpiece for the video game industry. How can the information you read on that site be trusted as the writer’s honest opinion when people like myself get fired if someone complains? Most of the top people in the gaming division at Examiner have next to no qualifications so they will do whatever it takes to further their career. Take the games editor, Steve Ruygrok, for example. According to his profile on linkedin, he went to college for a degree in sports management. I’m not one to judge education since I also have an off-topic degree (a Bachelor’s in Criminology to be exact) but he’s never worked in the gaming industry whatsoever. He’s never been a journalist. Prior to becoming a writer at Examiner, he worked as a sales intern. He had only been with Examiner for a little over a year before he became a content manager and the managing games editor.

As previously mentioned, I had been writing with Examiner for four years. I have been running the most successful play-by-post RPG online for thirteen years (it’s also free to play, mind you). I have also been published in the Software Developer’s Journal and have published a book on game design and RPG mechanics. Why wasn’t I the managing games director?

The answer to that is Ruygrok does what the industry wants him to. He’s a puppet. I am not. He writes to make industry professionals and the higher ups at Examiner happy, I write to inform gamers. The latter is frowned upon and the former is rewarded. Is that really how things should work?

Jon: Do you think video game publishers bribe big sites too much by allowing even authors who aren’t writing a review to receive free copies of games while other sites have to beg just to get 1 copy?

Alex: Yes review copies and exclusives are definitely a form of bribery. Examiner pretty much admitted as much when they fired me and said it was because they didn’t want to hurt relationships in the industry. That means they didn’t want to stop getting free stuff. Too many “journalists” today temper their opinions because they want to keep getting free things and feel like an “insider.” If you write a scathing review of Black Ops 2 and say it is the worst game you have ever played, Activision probably isn’t going to send you a free copy of Call of Duty: Ghosts regardless of whether or not your opinion was honest and backed up by valid reasons.

I encountered this earlier this year during an interview with the CEO of Sledgehammer Games. I was asking him about the upcoming Call of Duty game. He answered all of my questions because he is a great guy but then a public relations rep swooped in and told me I couldn’t publish anything he said because they had to control exactly which publications get that information first. Not cool.

And that is why game journalists aren’t honest. They just want to become that publication. The gaming industry is small and everybody knows each other. It’s like an exclusive clique of people who are all friends and you really want to be in that clique so you’ll do or say anything that will make them accept you as one of their own. I got that out of my system in high school.

Jon: Would the video game industry be selling as many AAA games if people were allowed to score them as they really feel rather than with the weight of publisher relationships in mind?

Alex: I think game reviews do affect sales because casuals often rely upon them to determine whether or not to buy a game. Unlike hardcore gamers that know about every game coming out and are up on the latest news and previews, casual gamers don’t dedicate as much time to the hobby so they simply see if a game scored well or not and base their decision off that. That’s why publishers and developers care so much about review scores. It’s not just to boost their own ego but because it really does affect sales. I’m sure that Call of Duty wouldn’t be selling so many copies each year if reviewers actually wrote honest opinions about it (Black Ops 2 sucks).

Jon: Do you really believe Examiner reads through every article before approving them, or do you think they just say that?

Alex: Yes there is a staff team that supposedly reviews every article after publication. For a while they even had a scoring system where all the articles got a certain number of points based on some editing criteria so I have no reason to think that Examiner is lying about this policy. In fact, I had an article taken down in the past because they thought the wording was too similar to the wording of a press release (it was a list of patch notes so I don’t know what they were expecting). That article got taken down within ten minutes of publication. If they were able to catch that one within ten minutes, I have a hard time believing that the staff team wouldn’t have taken down this article prior to the backlash if they personally had a problem with it. I published it on June 25th. There weren’t problems until late at night on June 28th. Obviously Examiner did not find the content objectionable.

Jon: Did you receive any unexpected support from employees or ex-employees of the AAA video games industry? What did these folks tell you about their experience in the biz?

Alex: I did get some support from indie developers who agreed with my conclusions. One funny thing to mention is that a prominent developer from Visceral tried to tell me that indie gaming was dying when it is in fact the complete opposite. A source at Sony confirmed that they have signed on more indie developers for the upcoming year than they ever have before. So either the guy at Visceral was horribly misinformed or was just flat out lying.

Jon: Ever since your article and subsequent interviews, RealGamerNewz has heard a lot of major publishers’ and developers’ employees expressing their belief that huge budgets lack creativity. This is even being reflected in public now by people like Jade from Ubisoft. Do you think they are just jumping on the bandwagon, or do you believe a change is coming to the industry next-gen focusing more on art and less on money?

Alex: Well I hope that it is indicative of a coming change to the industry since it is obvious the current model won’t work for much longer. Even game developers recognize that but they try to pin the blame on gamers saying we don’t spend enough money. Cliff Bleszinski made a tweet saying the “numbers just don’t work” when talking about used games. Guys like him think used games kill sales and thus kill the industry. Yet he drives a Lamborghini. That was the entire point of the article. Gamers are not the problem. Wasteful spending is. Deep down developers know what I wrote in my article is true which is why it got so much backlash. The industry is going to have to change.

Indie games are really where it’s at. Indie developers don’t make games because they think they are going to get rich off them like some people in the industry. They make games because they want to see that game in the hands of gamers. That’s why you see so much more creativity in indie games. You can also get tons of indie games for on the cheap. Why spend $60 on Final Fantasy when I can spend $5 on Doom & Destiny on Xbox LIVE Indie Arcade and have just as much fun, if not more?

There’s no innovation in big budget games anymore. Developers just go with what has worked in the past in hopes they can continue to keep the cash flowing. Their goal isn’t to make a fun game, it’s to make a game that will milk the most money out of gamers. Remember when sequels to successful games were few and far between? Half-Life came out in 1998. Half-Life 2 came out in 2004. That’s a six year wait. So why does there need to be a new Call of Duty game every year? Why is there a new Assassin’s Creed every year? It was bad enough when franchises like Madden did it but at least their excuse was that sports games need up-to-date rosters.

***Editor’s NOTE: Alex’s views are his own and may or may not represent those of RealGamerNewz and the rest of their staff. This article will not be taken down for any reason(s) citing the 1st Amendment of the United States of America. Thanks, -RGN Staff

The problem with the gaming industry is that developers make too much

Feelings

The girlfriend of a fairly prominent game developer (who shall both remain nameless for the sake of privacy) recently tweeted that she was having a bad day because she ran over the curb while driving his $70,000 sports car around the city. The tweet has since been deleted but statements like this make one start to wonder if game developers and consequently publishers really should be making enough money to afford $70,000 sports cars to begin with.

Your first reaction might be something along the lines of “well if the game is really good, they deserve to be paid well for working on it,” and that is a valid line of thought until you consider that these costs are then unnecessarily passed onto the consumer. It has become commonplace to see publishers try to nickel-and-dime gamers through downloadable content that should have been included on the disc, micro-transactions, forcing us to pay extra for online passes just to access multiplayer, and even trying to abolish the entire used game market in the next generation because it is “hurting the industry.”

Former Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski (perhaps known best for working on Gears of War) even supported Microsoft’s previous Xbox One policy of restricting used games when he tweeted, “You cannot have game and marketing budgets this high while also having used and rental games existing.”

Perhaps not, but why are game budgets so high anyway? Publishers have routinely complained about the cost of creating blockbuster titles getting more and more expensive in recent years. In the past, a game selling just one million copies was considered to be a success but nowadays they are disappointed when games sell 3.4 million copies in just one month because the costs are so much higher now.

When you juxtapose the idea of publishers and developers complaining about the cost of making a game with the fact that they are driving around in $70,000 sports cars, it gets to be pretty absurd. Have publishers ever thought that perhaps games are getting too expensive to make is because they paying people such huge salaries? According to Game Developer magazine, the average salary for U.S. developers in 2011 was $81,192 a year. It’s probably gone up since then due to inflation. Compare that to the current average salary of a police officer which is $50,745 a year (www.salary.com) or a teacher which can be as low as $39,850 a year depending on the state (www.teacherportal.com). Being a game developer is apparently an even better paying job than working at the CIA which according to www.simplyhired.com comes with an average salary of $70,000 a year.

In addition to a high salary, the majority of game developers also receive a myriad of fringe benefits including stock options, annual bonuses, project bonuses, royalties for games they have worked on, medical benefits, dental coverage, and even pension plans. Those who received financial benefits made an average of $17,689 above and beyond their salary (source). In other words, the average yearly earnings of a video game developer is about six figures!

Why are developers making so much money? Their job isn’t life threatening like a police officer’s is and it’s not important to the future of the nation like a teacher’s job is. It might be tedious or even grueling at times and require long hours and lots of commitment, but working in the video game industry is generally fun. People should be working in the gaming industry because they want to create awesome games. Not because they want to become rich. When did the gaming industry become so corporate?

The developer whose girlfriend made the tweet mentioned at the top of this article is non-essential to his particular game’s success as well. He works on the player behavior team helping to discipline players on a free-to-play game which utilizes micro-transactions to earn revenue. Considering it is free-to-play, you might think that having an exorbitant salary doesn’t hurt gamers since the game is free after all, but that’s not exactly the case.

Unless you want to log literally hundreds upon hundreds of hours to unlock new characters and in-game items, you do still have to pay for them. Using micro-transactions can be a very profitable model. Valve recently announced they have sold over $10 million worth of hats on Team Fortress 2. The game this guy works on is much, much larger than TF2 (it sees a daily player base 71 times larger than Team Fortress 2 does) and also earns money from many more things than purely cosmetic enhancements – but stuff that actually gives people an edge in the game. One can only imagine how many sales they make daily. Revenues must surely eclipse numbers in the hundreds of millions each year!

And yet, the publisher has been raising the prices on their in-game items lately. Why? So people working there can afford more $70,000 sports cars?

When gamers buy something, they expect that money to go into maintaining the game or making it better. They don’t expect their money to be put towards people living in luxury. Surely the prices of the in-game items could be a lot lower than they are now if the salaries of employees working there weren’t so hefty.

If developers weren’t making as much, perhaps games wouldn’t need to sell as many copies to be successful either. Keep in mind that many game studios employ literally thousands of people. If the average salary is $81,000, then a studio with 2,000 employees is paying out roughly $162 million in salaries alone. And that’s not even including any of the bonuses of benefits which if the average is $17,000 yearly would be another $34 million. No wonder games are so expensive to make! What if these numbers were cut in half? This would only benefit gamers. Maybe games could go back to being $50 each. Maybe DLC and in-game items would be free to download. Are we to believe there isn’t an equally qualified person out there willing to do this guy’s job for less pay?

It’s no wonder games like Call of Duty (which is not the franchise the dev highlighted in this article works on) can sell tens of millions of copies earning billions of dollars each year and yet the game still does not use dedicate servers and runs horribly online. Where does all this money go?! If Activision is anything like Riot Games, then according to the tweets of at least one very happy girlfriend, it goes towards buying sports cars, fine dining, and expensive jewelry.

***Editor’s NOTE: Alex’s views are his own and may or may not represent those of RealGamerNewz and the rest of their staff. This article will not be taken down for any reason(s) citing the 1st Amendment of the United States of America. Thanks, -RGN Staff