This weekend, game developers from around the world will gather at the PAX East conference in Boston. Tens of thousands are expected at what has become one of the largest gaming events in North America.
But the Boston-based video game company, Giant Spacekat, won't be in attendance. That's because Brianna Wu, the company's co-founder and a leading game developer, pulled out after receiving death threats. Wu said she worried for her own safety and for the safety of her colleagues.
And Wu is not alone. Since last August, a vitriolic online campaign has targeted a number of women in the game industry. As a result, they've been forced to flee heir homes, they've had their bank accounts hijacked and have been repeatedly threatened with rape and murder.
All of this goes back to #gamergate, an online war over the future of the gaming world that has become — for some women in the industry — an extended campaign of threats and harassment at the hands of an anonymous, digital lynch mob.
Now, if you're not a gamer, it's tempting to dismiss this as some bizarre drama from a weird subculture. But as The Washington Post put it recently, "Gamergate is just a proxy war for a greater cultural battle over space and visibility and inclusion, a battle over who belongs to the mainstream — and as such, it’s a battle for our cultural soul."
- "In fact, in many respects, Gamergate is just a proxy war for a greater cultural battle over space and visibility and inclusion, a battle over who belongs to the mainstream — and as such, it’s a battle for our cultural soul. Just writ really small."
This segment aired on March 5, 2015.