“With great power comes great responsability” Games, the best and worst of tomorrow’s online communities

David Pinto
Game Over Hate (Germany/Portugal)

A look into the currently most profitable branch of the entertainment industry (video games), the massive online communities that exist around it and how everything comes together in a world of hate speech, trolling and rape culture.

In this workshop we will discuss the role of the internet as both entertainment and as an alternative to offline socialization by looking at the impact, size and scope of the new online gaming communities. We’ll unmask some stereotypes about games and gamers to understand how mainstreamed and massified this reality has become. We will discuss how players interact online, what types of games they play and what happens when so many people cooperate and compete online.

GameOverHate looks at how exactly do players engage with each other. Who moderates these communities? Who makes sure that abuse and discrimination don’t run rampant on these environments? And what happens when they do?

In an effort to understand this, we’ll look into cases from different communities, such as Anita Sarkeesian (FeministFrequency), Phil Fish (FEZ), Carolyn Petit (GameSpot), Zoe Quinn (Depression Quest), and “Fat, Ugly or Slutty”. The examples showcase the toxicity of gaming communities, which can be extremely unwelcoming and aggressive particularly towards women, minority groups, new gamers and developers.

Finally, we’ll talk about how these issues can be addressed. How can a culture so well established reshape itself. Is change even possible? Is it desired? And who has the responsibility and means to drive this change? Can one person make a difference? Can these online communities become friendlier and more inclusive without abandoning what made them so popular in the first place?

For this we’ll look at some good practices from developers, journalists and players that shaped communities and left their mark on video game culture (Guild Wars 2, League of Legends, #onereasonwhy, Feedbackula); and discuss if this medium can become an example of how to reclaim safe spaces online and to push digital culture forward.

So, are gaming spaces so different from the rest of online communities?

Well… Yes and no. Come to the workshop and find out why.