Game developers Ubisoft and Electronic Arts (EA) have joined over 2,000 signatories on a petition requesting an end to gamers’ discrimination of others after an often-harassed female critic received death threats last week.
The open letter, published on Monday by Andreas Zecher from developer Space of Play, is now closed after receiving thousands of names in the space of two days.
The petition requested that the gaming community does all it can to stamp out abuse from forums, video sites and online lobbies.
This came after female games critic Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency last week informed police of the abuse she received on a regular basis.
Sarkeesian fled her home after receiving death and rape threats via social networks that she likened to a “form of terrorism”. On the site, she shared her disbelief at how powerless the police were in handling the incident.
“I’m not giving up. But this harassment of women in tech must stop,” she said.
Tweeting through her Feminist Frequency account – as she made private her personal Twitter account to free it from abuse and trolls – Sarkeesian said.
The local police departments I have talked to this week have little to no idea how to deal with credible threats made via online channels.
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) September 2, 2014
Police: If you keep getting these threats for your work why don’t you stop? – Me (incredulous): Um… because I believe it’s important. — Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) September 2, 2014
The open letter, created in response to the abuse, said: “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.”
On its success, Anreas Zecher, creator of the petition said: “The letter reached far more people then I could have ever imagined. People working in games, studying games, writing about games or just caring about games have shared and signed it. Thank you for that.
“I encourage you to continue reaching out to our community and talking about what else we can do to work towards a more diverse and inclusive industry that welcomes everyone.”
Zecher added: “Writing and signing a letter is easy. Making change happen is hard.”
Early on Wednesday, EA, which also signed the petition, created four Twitter accounts for members of the upcoming Sims 4 life management game. Here, the larger-than-life characters bickered as they would in-game, gathering large social engagement.