At the recent E3 gaming expo, video game publisher Take-Two Interactive didn’t have an announcement about the latest installment of “Grand Theft Auto.” Instead, at “the premier consumer-facing videogames [sic] event…where consoles and blockbuster games are announced,” there was a 45-minute panel discussion on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
As you’d expect, the liberal media reacted with praise and adulation.
The Zoom panel was a “breath of fresh air,” CGMagazine said. “The game industry’s…been home to some of the internet’s most toxic problems, including harassment campaigns waged against women and minorities,” CNET wrote. “While the industry’s made efforts to confront these issues, companies say they still have a long way to go.”
Reasonable gamers are surely against racism and sexism. But those aren’t the worthy fights being waged here. Panelist Gordon Bellamy, CEO of Gay Gaming Professionals, said he wants diverse people in leadership roles, as “the batter, not the frosting.” While that may sound noble, it works out more to equality of outcome than equality of opportunity for all.
Al Jazeera wrote of “festering issues around the lack of diversity and inclusion in the industry, and a toxic culture of trolling.” It said any criticism of the panel was “vitriol,” the same “infamous toxic behavior that has blotted the industry.”
The media reaction to the panel wasn’t entirely positive. “You…make one of the most boring PR Speak filled Zoom Calls [sic] that wastes everyone’s time and fail to show any games whatsoever,” Moneycontrol wrote.
Take-Two mouthed the platitudes and buzzwords of corporate jargon. Its VP of corporate communications and public affairs said, “Diversity and inclusion make us a better industry. It allows us to make better entertainment experiences that are authentic, culturally relevant and reflective of the audiences that enjoy them.”
However true that may be, “Take-Two’s E3 Stream Felt Extremely Out Of Place,” another outlet’s headline read. It “felt like a bait and switch” because it was on the same schedule as game announcements.
TheGamer wrote, “there is a time and a place [for the panel], and E3 – especially this year’s E3, with all its extra struggles – is not the time nor the place.” White male gamers aren’t “deliberately hateful.” Rather, “[t]hey’re ignorant in the classic sense, with no idea of how hard it can be” to be black or a woman in the industry.