This week, allegations of sexual misconduct
have once again rocked the game industry. This has happened before – in 2014 and even last year. It’s far beyond time that the game industry responds and cuts out this rot of men using their power and privilege to abuse people (yes, some men have also accused their superiors, also male, of misconduct). Companies have begun issuing statements about how they’re taking the matter seriously and are investigating allegations (others have cut ties with those drawing the accusations).
We need to retool HR departments to go from protecting the company to protecting the workers. Managers must take accusations seriously – if an employee is showing a history of this behavior, they should confront it, not sweep it under the rug. And when someone speaks up and says they’re a victim, we should take them seriously. We need to hire more women into positions of authority and management. This includes publications such as my own.
Another step companies should take is to ban the booze. A culture of alcohol flows through the game industry. It’s at events – heck, the last preview I went to before the pandemic was at a bar, with beer and cocktails on offer. It’s at workplaces. And it’s no surprise that alcohol plays a role in a number of these allegations. We need to decouple networking events from alcohol and make them safe and welcoming for women and those who’d rather further their careers than drink and carouse. I’m no teetotaler – I enjoy several beers and stronger beverages a week – but we need to question alcohol’s place and role in professional settings.
Game companies and publications need to do this – and more – now. We need to see some action, now. And let’s hope that we’re not repeating this #MeToo moment again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. Let’s hope this changes now.
–Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor