"We believe that everyone, no matter what gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or disability has the right to play games, criticize games and make games without getting harassed or threatened."
It may seem like an obvious statement, but it's one with particular relevance to the gaming industry at the moment. The past few weeks have been colored by vicious online harassment of notable women involved in gaming, including developer Zoe Quinn and critic Anita Sarkeesian. Sarkeesian, who launched a new video in her Tropes vs Women in Video Games
series last week, was forced out of her home
after receiving threats against her and her family. She also posted a sample of some of the scariest messages that get thrown her way (trigger warning
This week, Spaces of Play developer Andreas Zecher posted an open letter to the gaming community
, calling for an end to harassment and hate speech. It's now been signed by more than 2,000 developers and professionals in the industry, including people from BioWare, Nexon, Ubisoft, Riot, Epic Games, EA, King, Double Fine, Sony, Blizzard and Telltale.
"It is the diversity of our community that allows games to flourish," the letter reads. "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."
Zecher is adding more names as he gets requests, and he says he's having trouble keeping up with demand. And, of course, there's a bit of backlash to the petition – some people have attempted to sign with fake names in order to claim it's falsely padded, Zecher says
Read the letter and view the support of the industry on Zecher's page