Over 600 games developers and publishers have offered their signature to an open letter aimed to end hateful speech and harassment within the games community.
The letter, written and published by indie game designer Andreas Zecher — best known for his work in indie outfit Spaces of Play — 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."
Those interested in signing the letter are asked to send a tweet to Zecher with their first and last name, and specify their company, indie studio or university name. The open letter now includes signatures from BioWare's Aaryn Flynn, Riot Games' Alex Lehmann, Epic Games' Anders Howard, Electronic Arts' Andrea Benavides, Infinity Ward's Brian McDonald, Insomniac Games' Joel Bartley, Crystal Dynamics' Andrew Dovichi, among others.
Zecher's letter follows the release of a new episode of Feminist Frequency's Tropes vs. Women in Games, looking at the Women as Background Decoration trope, which creator Anita Sarkeesian described as "largely insignificant non-playable female characters whose sexuality or victimhood is exploited as a way to infuse edgy, gritty or racy flavoring into game worlds. These sexually objectified female bodies are designed to function as environmental texture while titillating presumed straight male players."
Sarkeesian recently revealed that online abusers had driven her out of her home, stating on her Twitter account: "Some very scary threats have just been made against me and my family. Contacting authorities now," she wrote on Twitter last night.
She later tweeted, "I'm safe. Authorities have been notified. Staying with friends tonight. I'm not giving up. But this harassment of women in tech must stop!"
Update: Since publication, over 2,000 game developers and publishers have offered their signature to the open letter.
Check out our recently published opinion piece An Awful Week to Care About Video Games for more details on these recent events.