More Than 1,800 Developers Ask the ‘Gaming Community’ to Help Stop Abuse

Over 1,800 developers at the time of writing have signed an open letter to the "gaming community", asking for their assistence in ending "hateful, harassing" commentators. 

The open letter was originally posted by Andreas Zecher of Berlin-based indie studio Spaces of Play and has since been signed by Gears of War creator and Bosskey Studio founder Cliff Bleszinski, BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn, ID @ Xbox head Chris Carla, and Naughty Dog animator Jonathan Cooper as well as key develoepers at studios including EA, DICE, Sony Computer Entertainment, Microsoft Game Studios, Epic Games, Infinity Ward, Insomniac, TellTale, PopCap, 343 Industries, Crystal Dyanmics. and many more.

The letter in full reads: 

"We believe that everyone, no matter what gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion has the right to play games, criticize games and make games without getting harassed or threatened. It is the diversity of our community that allows games to flourish.

"If you see threats of violence or harm in comments on Steam, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Facebook or reddit, please take a minute to report them on the respective sites.

"If you see hateful, harassing speech, take a public stand against it and make the gaming community a more enjoyable space to be in."

This initiative follows severe threats made against prominent game analyst Anita Sarkeesian who was forced to leave her home last week as the intensity of the anonymous harrassment of her and her family intensified following the release of the latest Tropes Versus Women video. Sarkeesian explores the way in which women are depicted in game and has drawn support from Saints Row creative director Steve Jaros, one of the franchise's she specifically criticised for its portrayal of women, DoubleFine's Tim Schafer, and Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann. 

Sarkeesian has also garnered support from prominent figures outside the games industry including director Joss Whedon. 

Video games are a serious business and deserve serious consideration and commentary like any artistic medium but we should never forget that they are games and the people who make, or criticise them, are real people. There is feminist criticism of movies and books, there's more than enough room for feminist criticism of games too. 

An open letter will not sweep the internet clean of vile comments and hateful remarks nor those who make them, but perhaps we can all make a stand. Games are for everyone and while you may not agree with Sarkeesian or Zoe Quinn or anyone else, they don't deserve the abuse they receive, nobody does. 

There have been mistakes and harsh words issued on both sides of the #GamerGate saga and both sides have valid points but there is a way to discuss the issues at stake and death threats are not it.