Game companies started speaking out against racism and injustice during the worst civil unrest in the United States for decades.
Protests broke out and turned into violence after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, after white policeman Derek Chauvin held Floyd with his knee on Floyd’s neck, watched by three other policemen. The protests turned into violence, arson and looting in dozens of American cities in the days that followed, from Santa Monica, California to New York. The gaming industry has joined others, such as the former President Barack Obama expressing their concerns on how to make this moment an opportunity to change society.
Sony and Electronic Arts have canceled major events this week, and others may follow suit if things get worse.
As with the shock of the COVID-19 crisis, the gaming industry seems to recognize that it is not just one more event that can be overlooked while the marketing of the game continues. In fact, if the worst violence in decades in the United States continues, then game companies would be wise to prepare for a second shock that could change the world, affect demand, and distract people from playing games. games or lead a normal life.
In March, as the pandemic lockdown struck, events such as the Game Developers Conference were postponed due to the pandemic. And now many companies are preparing to break the rules of the on-site shelter in the U.S. These next few weeks were supposed to be the time when announcements that would have been made at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) were to take place. run as digital events only.
Electronic Arts on Sunday canceled his Madden NFL 21 announcement, and he said in a tweet, “We stand in solidarity with our African American / black community of friends, players, colleagues and partners. Our immediate attention is on the steps we can take to drive change against the unfair treatment and systemic biases that plague the nation and our world. “
Late in the morning Monday, Sony also postponed its unveiling on June 4 for the PlayStation 5.
– PlayStation (@PlayStation) June 1, 2020
This came after a tweet earlier in the morning when Sony said, “We denounce systemic racism and violence against the black community. We will continue to work towards a future marked by empathy and inclusion and we will stand by our creators, players, employees, families and black friends. It ended with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
Daniel Ahmad, an analyst at Niko Partners, responded, “I hope the game companies can follow (what they have started to do) by targeting racist and toxic players who are making the gaming experience worse for them. others online. See the comments (on the Sony post) for examples of what I’m talking about. “
Microsoft said in a tweet on Monday that “Xbox stands alongside our fans, creators, colleagues, friends and the entire African American and black community against systemic racism and injustice.”
Andrea Renee, co-founder of the What are good games podcast said his team canceled its normal session on Monday. She wrote:
What’s Good Games has always been a community of support and kindness, and members of our community are suffering. To our black friends, to our fans and to our family: we are there as we can be. If you would like to contact us, you can send us an email here and we will be happy to hear from you.
In our cheesy corner of the Internet, we encourage you to step outside your normal sphere of influence to listen, watch and support black creators. Remember, it’s not their job to educate you, give you a list of things to do to improve it, or explain this pain to you.
If your reaction to any part of this is to become defensive or upset – or that we should “stick with video games” – we encourage you to take some time to process and understand where these feelings are coming from. We ask you to be respectful and, instead of reacting, to focus on listening.
Xbox stands in solidarity with our fans, creators, colleagues, friends and the entire African-American and black community against systemic racism and injustice.
– Xbox (@Xbox) June 1, 2020
Zynga, who today announced the acquisition of Peak Games for $ 1.8 billionsaid in a statement, “We stand in solidarity with our black colleagues, employees, players, developers and the wider community of people affected by racism and senseless violence.”
But companies seem ready to do more than just post tweets. They can also promote targeted causes to improve equity in the United States, as suggested in my interview with Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau.
“We are examining it and talking about it internally right now. We have clearly expressed our support for our employees, our players, our developers and those concerned. We are obviously against injustice and racism, and against horrible things and horrible things that are happening right now. As things evolve, we want to make sure that what we do has an impact. And so we want to make sure that the programs or the donations or the things we do, are really well placed . And so we’re obviously looking at it and discussing it internally right now. “
Zynga announced its acquisition today, but others are postponing their news for a time when people are more focused on happier games and events.
Fortunately, delaying digital events is not as expensive as physical events, and it seems like preparing to postpone an event is part of our new normal in the future.