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Xbro Interview—IGDA #GamerGate Blacklist Edition

xbox one controller 12-1-14-1

[Editor’s note: Xbro requested that the paragraph beginning with “Just to clarify” be added to the interview so as to avoid misunderstandings. We’ve updated the article appropriately.]

Despite people getting burned out and some prominent figures of #GamerGate leaving, you could say that what many label either a consumer revolt or a misogynist hate movement is still going strong.

Recently, the IGDA adopted the use of a block list. This was unacceptable and very worrying for many pro-, neutral, and even anti-#GamerGate folks.

I decided to reach out to the wonderful Xbro in the hopes that he could reassure people and clear some things up.


Niche Gamer: So this is an interview I was hoping could be focused on the repercussions for the writers and developers who are opposed to GamerGate, in relation to the blocklist. What are your thoughts on the usage of the blocklist by the IGDA?

Xbro: To be fair, if I go now around the office and ask my colleagues about IGDA, I will get various opinions about it as an entity. Some of them have been/are members of it, while others aren’t that interested in what they are and do. However, almost all of us do not like at all what it has become (especially in recent years). They say that they are “serving all individuals who create games”, while endorsing industry blacklisting. At this point a lot of people don’t want to have anything to do with them anymore, myself included (2 year member as of last year when I stopped renewing).

Make no mistake, anyone that touches that list in an official manner is screwed pretty badly. If a prospective employee applies at a job for, let’s say, Raspberry Pi, and they get turned down, it would seem that they just didn’t make the cut. However, if that person is on Raspberry Pi’s “blocklist”, while not even tweeting anything about GG, then the company is essentially screwed. That’s why I advise absolutely every person from Gamergate to check the companies they apply at. If they get rejected and there’s evidence that the company uses that blocklist, they have a strong case against it for industry blacklisting and should seek a lawyer ASAP.

NG: You previously mentioned that you had emails that were being exchanged with other developers, publishers, and so on. Could you elaborate, if at all, on their reactions to the IGDA/blocklist ordeal?

Xbro: I don’t want to reveal anything from our conversations without their approval, but suffice to say they didn’t really appreciate it (some are actually on that blocklist).

NG: Do you think the more vocal anti-Gamergate folks that are either developers or writers at major websites could have foreseeable, real actions taken against them, post-Gamergate? During Gamergate?

Xbro: They are slowly but steadily becoming the undesirables of our industry, as their names and handles echo as a constant reminder of how messed up the internet can be some times. What that means for their future? Don’t know, but they are playing a very dangerous game here. Some of them are publicly displaying absurd reasoning, undeserved hostility and harassment, all 24/7 as if their jobs were actually tweeting and posting nonsense over the internet. They will never be anything more than a joke in the industry at this point, so they are maxing out on their ‘crying harassment’ strategy to beef up those patreons and donations while they’re on the front stage of this whole circus.

NG: Were there any individuals who specifically stood out to you in terms of how vocal they were being, against Gamergate?

Xbro: We all know them, and I really don’t want to waste my time typing about them. They don’t need the attention, it’s what feeds their delusions and stupidity.

NG: What about some writers and/or industry folks being extremely careless with how they maintain their professional relationships? Consider Nathan Grayson and the entire Zoe Quinn debacle, and now, him copy+pasting a translated work and not giving the original author credit (source here).

Xbro: As mentioned in the previous interview, that publication is merely a running joke that sometimes spits out a quality piece or two. But too little, too far apart from each other, and they mostly get lost in the sea of clickbaits and nonsensical crap that has nothing to do with games.

NG: How do you feel about Double Fine recently laying off a dozen people, but only after throwing a party with quite a number of people, like Phil Fish (who they hired as a DJ)? Are they being disingenuous to their fans/staff? Do scenarios like this happen often (i.e. having the money to throw parties, but not pay staff)?

Xbro: It’s definitely poor taste. While the money they spent on the party were probably not enough to keep one of those devs hired for another year or two anyway, it really came out bad for them. Not to mention inviting Phil to “DJ”. All in all, bad publicity in my opinion.

NG: Do you think there’s a severe lack of “professional collegiality” with many of the folks in the industry? Why does it seem that difficult for games press to keep a professional distance to the developers/publishers?

Xbro: To be fair, the industry is the mistress here. The PR reps come bearing gifts, promotions and special endorsement contracts to the game “press”, so it can’t come as a shock when you find the two parties in bed together. However, it still is a serious issue that needs to be tackled from both sides (both from the game press side, as well as the game companies’ side). What they are doing is wrong, and both the press and the publishers are happy with it. This needs to stop.

NG: Are individuals within the industry actually planning lawsuits against anyone on the blocklist, from your knowledge? Is there any real movement or chatter for such things to happen?

Xbro: I know for certain that several game companies are at this very moment spending money and time to pursue legal action against over 10000 twitter accounts made up by a badly written 3rd party script that adds people to a list mostly made up of Firefly fans and feminists.

Ah, now that I actually say it out loud, it does sound a bit crazy, doesn’t it?

Just to clarify, the first paragraph was sarcasm, but I recognize it was a rather poor choice or words and didn’t make it specifically clear it was sarcasm. Yes, the industry suing people on the list is a crazy notion.

NG: There are rumors that at least 50% of developers are pro-GamerGate, possibly even higher. Naturally, I’m sure you don’t know every pro-Gamergate dev, but would you think that’s an accurate number?

Xbro: As mentioned in our older talks, and here I am sure that I’m talking in the name of the entire Xbox division or any other 1st party game studio within MS, (that seems to anger some people, but it will not stop it from being true nevertheless), we all support the concept of integrity, multiculturalism and vehemently oppose harassment and violence. It’s the company policy, deal with it.

Now the actual debate is whether every dev aligns him/herself with the GamerGate movement. From that perspective I can say that yes, most of us do understand that Gamegate is, at its core, at least a bit concerned about the above mentioned things. There is a lot of shit being flung around from both sides, and that makes some devs just want to see how it all plays out. They don’t want to be associated with the “loud voices” on either side of the debate, but all of us believe the game media needs to change (except for the PR guys, they are happy with the current status quo).

NG: Do you think it just makes sense to be pro-Gamergate, and by proxy, pro-consumer? Do game developers owe their livelihood to the consumers, the gamers?

Xbro: We are all pro-consumers here, and I re-iterate that we’re all able to come at work in the morning in this fancy office and get our salary paid every month simply because gamers exist and they demand entertainment.

I wouldn’t say that gamergate is entirely pro-consumers, however most of the issues its core following addresses are. Corruption in the game press is a serious thing that needs to be addressed and rectified, but personally I feel that there are bigger fish to fry, and here I am talking about the unethical, immoral relationship between some game industry PR reps and the press. I really like it when I see stuff like that uncovered by gamergate, and simply because of that I can’t be anything but supportive of the movement.


I wanted to thank Xbro again for working with me on this interview. Despite this interview being a wee bit shorter than our previous one, I am still looking for more game developers to reach out to me, to speak out on the main concerns of #GamerGate. I can protect your identity if need be – please consider speaking out, for your fellow gamers.

, ,
Brandon Orselli

About

Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive.



40 comments
  1. Brit Bong
    Brit Bong
    December 1, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Thanks for the interview.
    Both xbro and writer.

  2. ZURATAMA1324
    ZURATAMA1324
    December 1, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Everybody, give a Tiger Woods golf clap for XBro he deserves it.

  3. yves
    yves
    December 1, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    We appreciate you Xbro and all the game developers who support us #Rebuildinitiative

  4. Nebbyn
    Nebbyn
    December 1, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks, Brandon, for the article, and thank you, Xbro, for once again laying the smack down. You’re my boy, Blue!

  5. Kage Shinma
    Kage Shinma
    December 1, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    Wait… Did you say that there were game devs spending considerable money on lawsuits against the people on the blocklist? Did I read that right?

  6. Misogynerd
    Misogynerd
    December 2, 2014 at 12:11 am

    No more:
    Double Fine
    Zoe Quinn
    Christine Love
    Anne Antrophy
    Phil Fish
    Adam Atomic
    Vlambeer
    Jon Blow (Maybe ?)
    Fullbright Company
    Brianna Wu

    Comcept

    Seems like we’re cleaning house of the toxic devs. I’d rather be a piggy bank for Ubisoft than be treated like trash and scum by Tim Schafer. The moment these people revealed how willing they’re to fight and throw shit in twitter their future careers took a dark path.

  7. Gray Dreams
    Gray Dreams
    December 2, 2014 at 12:35 am

    He did, yes.

    However, while I’m not exactly sure what tort-based cause of action those companies believe they can legally pursue, they will find out quickly enough that they’re wasting their money.

  8. Kage Shinma
    Kage Shinma
    December 2, 2014 at 12:46 am

    They would have to prove to a preponderance of the evidence that we were all involved in some sort of harassment or a conspiracy to harass specific people.

  9. David
    David
    December 2, 2014 at 12:59 am

    So let me get this straight. They are pursuing legal action against the 10k twitter accounts that are on the block list for following people Randi Harper deems harassers? That’s insane.

    What the hell is going on in our society?

  10. DynastyStar
    DynastyStar
    December 2, 2014 at 1:13 am

    I’m surprised you didn’t ask him on the fact that there are specific indie game developer(s) that are blacklisting customers of the game that they rightfully bot. Though thats only one shit indie developer that I’ve heard, but it is a worry I have.

  11. GDI
    GDI
    December 2, 2014 at 1:26 am

    The best part is that this takes away all the smuggest of Indie superstars. They’re rich bastards, all of them, or they wouldn’t be so dismissive of their customers.

    I’m so glad I mostly support humble Japanese devs who care more about their craft then being superstars.

  12. The Papist
    The Papist
    December 2, 2014 at 1:29 am

    Thank you x-bro, we still love you and all the other devs and staff.

  13. dsadsada
    dsadsada
    December 2, 2014 at 2:10 am

    Huh. That was fast. Glad to hear from Xbro again especially regarding the blocklist.

    I’m glad to see that developers like him recognize the pro-consumerism aspect of the movement. Sure, it sounds silly to say that shoddy reviews are one of the things the movement is against, but with the way things are now, the customers are the ones who lose out when we pay for crap that otherwise doesn’t deserve our money, at least on a by-person basis. And if that crap keeps making money thanks to undeserved good press, more crap will ultimately be what keeps getting produced. That’s not even to mention fixed competitions that rewards subpar games and discourages actually talented people.

  14. TheNaiveCynic
    TheNaiveCynic
    December 2, 2014 at 2:14 am

    Or membership of a hate group… With no membership criteria or legal organizational structure. Advocating hate speech? Without establishing legal grouping, I don’t think you can do that on any more then a case-by-case basis, and I think you’ll find a LOT more of that on anti-gg… At which point we could sue as a group, for defamation. At least the professionals that lost a job, and devs that lost sales.

  15. Katrina Black
    Katrina Black
    December 2, 2014 at 2:19 am

    It’s like a reverse class-action.

    I hope they try to pursue it. I do. I know of several lawyers that would pro-bono the defense just for the WTF factor.

  16. Gray Dreams
    Gray Dreams
    December 2, 2014 at 2:50 am

    It sounds like you’re talking about a defendant class action. I’m fairly skeptical it would be successful: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=4409a9b3-880a-4b91-871c-1e47fdae5151. And that’s putting it mildly. Subparts (b)(3) of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_23) is a huge stumbling block. And that’s assuming that a plaintiff-created blocklist even qualifies as a class for purposes of Rule 23.

    But that’s only half the problem. There still needs to be an articulable cause of action sounding in torts. There’s not one here as far as I can tell.

    Anyone have any actual links to show what exact legal theory is being proposed here? Because, so far–and this is being charitable–the case looks thin.

  17. Zanard Bell
    Zanard Bell
    December 2, 2014 at 3:07 am

    I hate that I’ll be losing Christine Love, but if it would mean that I’ll get someone more inclusive, then I’m good.

  18. Gray Dreams
    Gray Dreams
    December 2, 2014 at 3:12 am

    That wouldn’t really work for them either, since being a member of a hate group is constitutionally protected. Even if one were to stipulate that GG is a hate group–which it is not by any logical standard–being a member of a hate group is not legally actionable. The other problem is that I’m not sure how GG would be certifiable as a class under Rule 23 of the FRCP. The class in this case is a plaintiff-created class (a blocklist), for which there would not be the requisite common questions of law and fact as per the requirements of Rule 23. And then there’s the question of what exactly this class is going to be sued for.

    I just don’t see a case here.

  19. Gray Dreams
    Gray Dreams
    December 2, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Regrettably, your general assessment of the state of things is correct.

    On the plus side, however, any legal action is likely to go nowhere fast.

  20. Mr0303
    Mr0303
    December 2, 2014 at 4:25 am

    There is no maybe about Blow. He is in the same egomaniacal crowd as Phish. His comments threatening people who want to work in the gaming industry and support GamerGate are enough indication. Not to mention that he was on the IGF committee that gave Phish the award even though he invested in Fez.

    How about the time when he was invited to the PlayStation 4 reveal event having a presentation of the Witness right after the showings for Killzone and Infamous Second Son and what does he do? Diminishes the thousands of hours of work put behind these games by saying something along the lines of “Oh, look at all those explosions! Well my game is all about thinking!”.

  21. Mr0303
    Mr0303
    December 2, 2014 at 4:27 am

    Well we shouldn’t buy their games anyways. I’ve blacklisted Blowfish and can deal with another 100 San Francisco hipsters.

  22. IAmTheTree
    IAmTheTree
    December 2, 2014 at 5:33 am

    Wasn’t Xbro being sarcastic about that part?

  23. Ebola-Chan
    Ebola-Chan
    December 2, 2014 at 6:02 am

    Even if I like Christine Love’s work, I can’t support her after Patricia Hernandez gave her unfair coverage. It would be unfair to the great developers that didn’t get coverage because they didn’t know any members of the press.

  24. Sarron
    Sarron
    December 2, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Keep being awesome xbro.
    You too nichegamer~

  25. An Honest Opinion
    An Honest Opinion
    December 2, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Thank you Brandon and Xbro Dev, always glad to read another interview. It’s good to have some insight into what developers think of everything that’s going on.

    To be completely honest, #GamerGate isn’t going away any time soon. There’s a lot to focus on and I hope we narrow our focus a bit soon. Tackle the gaming websites first, get developers and publishers to a level of confidence that will let them feel comfortable enough to publicly stand with #GamerGate against the crap they’ve been going through to placate these people for so long.

    That ties into the corruption we’ve been seeing, the collusion that has been exposed. Then we have the whole issue with “SJWs”. Before all this began I hadn’t heard of “Social Justice Warriors”, and now that I know about them I am honestly concerned. They are seriously trying to infiltrate gaming and make it into something less enjoyable. They’re not happy just making their own games, they want to thought police all developers and make them tone down or eliminate certain aspects of their games. It’s censorship, and if people don’t fight against this and weed it out NOW, we’re going to have a serious problem in the future.

    If we can’t defend gaming, what happens when they turn their focus to other areas?

    What’s sickening is that they throw out “harassment” as a shield. Every time that word is mentioned and you have to speak about it, you have to waste time making it clear that you acknowledge it happens, don’t like that it does, and don’t condone the behavior in general. It puts you in a spot where you’re sort of half apologizing for something you didn’t do. You’re already kowtowing to these people before you’ve even tried to discuss something with them, and we’ve all seen just how “well” those discussions go with extremists(SJWs).

    It amazes me that so many of our mainstream media outlets are complicit in this months long smear campaign against people who enjoy gaming and love the developers that make gaming possible.

  26. GamerActually
    GamerActually
    December 2, 2014 at 6:12 am

    tl;dr I support the evidence GG uncovers but can’t say I agree with it all the time

    This is a great neutral stance. Loud voices can make those undecided quite weary in siding, but to have the level-headedness to recognize problems exist and support efforts to uncover it, speaks volumes.

    Unlike “zomggamurgaitisharassingwimminzouttatech”.

  27. ChJees
    ChJees
    December 2, 2014 at 8:30 am

    I would want to watch them try performing legal action against Kentucky Fried Chicken.

  28. Gray Dreams
    Gray Dreams
    December 2, 2014 at 8:55 am

    “If we can’t defend gaming, what happens when they turn their focus on other things?”

    Looks like you’ve got a pretty firm grasp of the stakes here. Incidentally, they’ve already focused on other things. They’ve had a firm grasp on academia for a long time. To be sure, academia is where this current crop of PC fascists was molded. They also have a fairly firm grip on the media. To boot, they have infiltrated the legal field and our political bodies. Through the power they wield in our political bodies, they are targeting what we do in our bedrooms: http://dailycaller.com/2014/11/09/students-explain-affirmative-consent-with-cringeworthy-video/

  29. BlueLight
    BlueLight
    December 2, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Thank you Nichgamer staff and Xbro. This was a nice read and interesting.

  30. Vezill
    Vezill
    December 2, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Thank you once again for talking to us XBro, really appreciate being able to hear the devs side of all this, and would love to hear from more devs.

  31. Nonscpo
    Nonscpo
    December 2, 2014 at 11:59 am

    OMFG please let them go after KFC I want to see somebody accuse a corporation of supporting Mysogyny.

  32. Niwjere
    Niwjere
    December 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    They’ve already BEEN through other areas. Atheism. Comics. This is just history repeating itself. Comics have been under the SJW thumb for half a century, and the atheist community underwent a major schism before the SJWs were relegated to their private hugboxes.

    Mykeru’s Law: “As any progressive movement grows and achieves success, the probability of it being co-opted by women who want to make it all about their vagina approaches 1.″

    Zvan’s Law: “The chance of being called a privilege-blind misogynist has a direct correlation with the number of factual arguments you make.”

  33. DynastyStar
    DynastyStar
    December 2, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    yeah I know :) I can too.

  34. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    December 2, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I know it’s silly, but I respect the entire Xbox platform more just because of this guy. Glad to know that behind the curtain, in places we don’t get a chance to look into, people are on the consumer’s side. This is why I say that no matter what we do or don’t do, the fight is already won. Seeds are planted and the Anti’s are just digging deeper holes by the second.

  35. Fenrir007
    Fenrir007
    December 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Thanks again to Xbro and Brandon!

  36. Some Guy
    Some Guy
    December 2, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    These interviews are actually making me consider an Xbox one. Crazy times…

  37. Ben Read
    Ben Read
    December 2, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    We appreciate you Xbro and all the game developers who support us #GamerGate

  38. OverlordZetta
    OverlordZetta
    December 3, 2014 at 12:33 am

    >Comcept
    You can’t seriously hold a whole JAPANESE company responsible for one or two of their employees here in the West. It’s that kind of overreaction that hurts any credibility this issue may or may not have.

  39. Sevuz
    Sevuz
    December 3, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    The interview was great. Thanks Xbro and Brandon. I really enjoyed this
    read. I feel better knowing that many the people in the game industry know the
    good from the bad. I can fully understand that many of them have not spoken out
    about this yet. Since there is a lot of facts and info they need to get
    straight first.

    Right
    now (as far as I can tell) there is a lot of trolling and bashing on twitter.
    It is of no real use for anyone at the moment and very little can be done until we hear
    more from the rest of the industry.

  40. Hyena
    Hyena
    December 4, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Basically, GamerGate not only is a call to arms against shitty glorified bloggers, It’ll hopefully help cause a just as big wakeup call against over zealous politically correct hipsters.

    I feel silly for using the term hipster again after all these years, but frankly, it’s pretty damn fitting for those snobby shits at this point considering how many of their “megaphones” all seem to emit from within the same place.