The Frightening Depth of this Rabbit Hole
There are a few of us who have decided to dig deeper into not just what and who but WHY all of this has happened. We decided there was value in researching those topics which we have been told to stay away from on a constant and consistent basis. What we’ve been uncovering is, in all honesty, a bit frightening.
Please bear with me, this rabbit hole is far deeper than we thought.
In the beginning, GamerGate started in response to evidence of corruption in games journalism. This was far from a surprise to most of us but we latched onto it because we finally had proof thanks to a certain jilted ex-boyfriend.
What we found, however, was only the tip of the iceberg. Our efforts to correct the problems for which we had evidence has led to a massive consumer revolt that gains greater traction and power with every passing week.
None of this should be news to you. It’s also safe to say that almost none of us thought this would turn into such a major issue.
The question some of us have been trying to answer is this: Why did this turn into something so big?
Why did multiple successful companies and individuals rush to defend a nobody? Why were they willing to place their professional well-being and the financial well-being of their businesses on the table in defense of some bloggers and “indie game devs”?
The following is what we’ve started to uncover.
Before we dive any deeper into details, it’s important to develop some context for GamerGate. This is not an isolated situation, it is not a recent occurrence. It began with the push to consider video games as art. “Art” in this case is not an objective appreciation for the beauty of games like Bioshock Infinite or Skyrim.
“Art”, in this case, refers more to modern art. The difference is that modern art focuses on a SUBJECTIVE interpretation of what constitutes “Art” and what doesn’t. With this definition, nearly anything can be considered art because it is left to the viewer to decide whether or not the work has artistic value.
This opened the door for a variety of “hipster games” such as Depression Quest, Gone Home, and a variety of other “games” which many of us do not really consider games. The focus is not on fun, excitement, entertainment, or enjoyment but the focus is instead placed on the merit of these “games” as a form of subjectively defined art.
This push for “Games as Art” was an effort to redefine what a video game is. It was also quite successful.
What really sparked the GamerGate revolution was not simply the fact that an indie developer was trading favors in exchange for positive coverage. The real ignition came from the “Gamers are Dead” articles which popped up across a number of different sites within the span of a few days. They carried roughly the same wording and all promoted the same message.
That message was that “Gamers” as a consumer market which should be targeted by developers is no longer relevant. “Gamers”, as we understand them, are dead.
This begs the question: Why were they so adamant in declaring our consumer market, a billion dollar market, “dead”?
To answer this question, we’re going to need to go a bit deeper down this rabbit hole.
If you are unfamiliar with the Common Core initiative then you absolutely must dedicate some time to educating yourself. The space available in this article is far too small to explain it completely. The basic concept, however, is that Common Core is an effort to reform the educational system. The goal is to create a common and universal set of standards by which every student from K-12 and even college will be educated.
Many people have already pointed out the problems with Common Core but we don’t need to focus on that just yet. There are also many people who have been trying to convince us that Common Core is not an issue related to GamerGate and the consumer revolt as a whole.
Here is why those people are wrong:
Part of what Common Core education will consist of is greater emphasis on computers, information technology, new media and, most importantly, using video games as an educational tool. There have, of course, always been educational games but the difference here is that gaming technology will be a significant part of the in-school curriculum for Common Core students. They will, essentially, be as important to the classroom as textbooks and chalkboards.
Here is just one article discussing the links between Common Core and video games: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/games-common-core-need-each-other-milton-chen
Here is another: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/09/the-surprising-benefits-of-common-core-standards/380100/
The Next Gold Rush
To understand the next piece of this puzzle, you’ll need to understand how tech start-ups work. Tech start-ups are usually founded not in an effort to fill a demand from an existing market but to appeal to a predicted future market. Facebook, for example, was so successful not because it appealed to the demands of the online market at the time of its original inception but because it filled the demands of the emerging social media market.
Tech start-ups are, in other words, speculative in the same way an investor might buy shares of a company they feel will explode in popularity at a certain time in the near future.
We have seen this gold rush effect in online advertising, social media marketing, and even mobile apps. With those markets currently saturated with companies trying to make a fortune, many new start-ups are looking towards the future. For many of them, that future is Common Core and its reliance on gaming and new media as an educational tool.
It doesn’t take much research to find a variety of different companies that are already producing educational tools and material that will appeal to Common Core, should it be accepted by society as a whole. These companies are well funded and there are a number of influential people involved in many of them.
Here is one of them: http://www.studysync.com/our-product/product-features/synctv/
Here is yet another: http://www.amplify.com/viewpoints/joel-klein-welcome-amplify
Amplify, the company in the second link above, is notable because the CEO is a man named Joel Klein. You may not recognize this name but Joel Klein was the Chancellor of the New York City Board of Education where he was responsible for 1.1 million students and 1,600 separate schools.
The point here is that these companies that are staking their futures on the acceptance of Common Core are not small, struggling companies but are well funded and well connected.
The key, however, is that Common Core must first be accepted. More importantly, companies that will be developing gaming based educational tools are depending on the acceptance of video games as a valid way to educate young people.
This brings us to our next puzzle piece.
The Destruction of Stereotypes
Now that you understand there is a significant amount of money and influence behind the need to view video games as a valid educational tool, it should be easier to understand why “Gamers” had to die.
What those articles were attacking is not a consumer market but the stereotypical view of the consumers within that market. While most video game enthusiasts can attest to the fact that the common “Gamer” stereotype is not true, there is still a large majority of people within education, government, and business that don’t know any better.
“Gamers” are still seen as nerds. Worse yet, they are often seen as “basement dwelling, virgin, neckbearded, white men.”
Remember that one of the key points within the “Gamers are Dead” articles was that companies should no longer worry about appealing to the stereotypical “Gamer” and should stop worrying about what has traditionally been considered a video game. This goes back to the need to redefine video games as a form of subjective art.
What these articles really represent is a clear example of this need to push for a greater level of social acceptance in regards to gaming. These articles were an effort to attack the idea that gaming is for nerds and children because a destruction of that stereotype would help validate gaming as an educational resource.
They attacked gamers personally because the backlash they expected from us would, in their theory, prove to companies and other organizations that what gamers want, as a consumer market, should no longer be a concern.
This rabbit hole, however, does not stop here.
Required Sources and Studies
Before we can go any further down this path, it’s important to take a step back and understand what these “Gamers are Dead” articles really are. They were not designed to convince us, the self-identified gamers, nor was it an effort to convince companies like Rockstar that “Gamers” are, in fact, dead as a consumer market.
Remember these articles were published by some of the biggest names in online gaming journalism. What these articles represent is not found in their content as much as it is found in their location. Being published on well-known websites gives them a certain credibility and authority. Having them posted on multiple sites further increases this power of perceived authority.
As we all know from the Milgram experiment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment ) the perception of authority is often just as powerful as actual authority.
This leads us to the next stop on our journey down this rabbit hole.
Don’t Look at DiGRA
The Digital Games Research Association, known as DiGRA, is yet another topic which we have been told to ignore and forget about. We have been told to give up research into things such as where they get their funding and who is involved with it. Fortunately for us, we don’t need to know these details to understand how DiGRA comes into play, we only need to understand its purpose in the situation.
DiGRA promotes the academic study and analysis of gaming. It came under fire by GamerGate after claims that it was being co-opted by radical extremists. This, however, is not exactly true and the fact that this isn’t true was used to discredit any research into this organization.
The problem is that DiGRA does not need to be co-opted. It is fulfilling its purpose on a daily basis. That purpose is to create academic and scholarly papers regarding videos games, the people who play them, and the entire social impact surrounding them.
Once again, our question is: Why are they doing this?
To answer that, we need to go back to Common Core. In order to push Common Core into acceptance as the new standard for education, lobbyists are needed to convince different governmental organizations and key political figures into accepting the validity of Common Core’s theories as well as the proposed implementation of those theories.
Part of that is, of course, the need to convince society that video games can be used as educational tools. The problem is that someone can’t simply walk into Congress and try to convince politicians with a strong argument. They need studies, papers, and proof to reinforce and buttress the arguments they’re making.
This is where DiGRA comes into play. They are the source of these papers and studies used to help promote the validity of Common Core in general and its use of video games specifically.
With this in mind, we have found the first split in our trail. DiGRA produces material that can be used to validate the Common Core arguments on the political side while things like the “Gamers are Dead” articles can be used to validate these same arguments on the corporate and financial side.
What we have here is a two pronged strategy where policy and law makers can be persuaded with academic research while business and finance can be persuaded with market based arguments.
Now that the puzzle is starting to come together, we can travel a bit deeper.
Stay with me because this is about to get a little frightening.
Lifting the Veil
At this point, we have a far better perspective on what is actually going on. There is, however, a certain undeniable problem that remains. We all know that these bloggers, “indie game developers”, and online celebrities are essentially not very important. They are pawns on the board and while they may have connections within the gaming and online journalism industries, their connections do not seem to go very high up outside of possible personal and familial connections.
So if we lift the veil and peer up to the higher levels of the pyramid, who do we find?
Here’s where it starts to get scary.
Common Core is being promoted by a very specific set of people and organizations. As of today, it has a number of different influential and wealthy supporters. The first MAJOR supporter, however, is a name we all know well. This article, in fact, is being written on one of their programs.
If you’re thinking Bill Gates then you are exactly right.
More specifically, it is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This is, on the surface, a philanthropic organization that is arguably doing good for a lot of impoverished and suffering people. This true philanthropic work is not a problem. What we are concerned with is their focus on education.
As Wikipedia itself states:
“A key aspect of the Gates Foundation's U.S. efforts involves an overhaul of the country's education policies at both the K-12 and college levels….The foundation was the biggest early backer of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.”
It goes on to say:
“As part of its education-related initiatives, the foundation has funded journalists, think tanks, lobbying organizations and governments— including controversial groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council. Millions of dollars of grants to news organizations have funded reporting on education and higher education, including more than $1.4 million to the Education Writers Association to fund training for journalists who cover education.”
Stop for a second and read that last quote over again.
A major part of what this foundation does is fund journalists, think tanks, lobbying organizations and even governments. They have spent millions in grants to news organizations and journalistic outlets. All of this has been done in an effort to promote their belief in Common Core.
If you need to understand the power of influence this foundation has, particularly when it comes to funding whatever it likes, consider this:
The foundation has an endowment of $42.3 BILLION as of the 24th of November, 2014
If you have been following the GamerGate controversy, this information should be ringing a lot of bells for you.
As frightening as this may be, the rabbit hole goes deeper still.
Bill Gates, as we all know, is a very wealthy and successful man. That wealth and success has given him a tremendous amount of influence not just in the U.S.A but in the entire world. One perplexing issue, however, is the Christ-like power Bill and Melinda Gates seem to have.
Recently there were a number of stories about billionaires who are pledging to give a significant portion, often a majority, of their wealth away once they die. The common thread running through all of these stories is that they have decided to do this after meeting with Bill and Melinda Gates.
Keep in mind that we are not talking about a “generous donation”. We are talking about billionaires who have pledged to give away 50%, 75%, or more of their own fortune to help support “the greater good”.
Here is a quote from just one article discussing this phenomenon:
“Billionaire Vedanta Resources founder Anil Agarwal has decided to donate the majority of his fortune to charity after meeting fellow billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
The 62-year-old Agarwal owns 70 percent of the London-based mining and energy company on the London exchange, according to Bloomberg, and plans to give away 75 percent of his $3.3 billion personal fortune “for the greater good of society.”
“Agarwal said he made the decision after speaking with Gates and his wife Melinda”
This, however, is only one isolated example. To further understand the impact of this seemingly Christ-like power to convert the richest people in the world, we need to take a look at a short list of people who have also been converted to this cause. This list is some of the wealthiest, most prominent, and most recognizable figures in the world of business and finance.
Here are just 10 of them:
Diane Von Furstenberg
From this short list alone, we can see we are dealing with the true elite. These people are literally “The 1%”. These are some of the richest and most powerful people that have ever lived. The frightening part is that they are pledging billions upon billions of dollars to support what they view as the “common good of society.”
One of the changes they want to make “for the greater good” is the educational reform known as Common Core.
Controlling the Future
With all of this information in mind, let’s take a look back at everything we’ve covered and develop a fresh perspective on GamerGate and why it has exploded into such a major controversy. We are now able to answer our original question: “Why?”
In the beginning of the GamerGate controversy, we thought we had uncovered a simple case of a violation of basic journalistic ethics. Our initial efforts focused simply on correcting what we thought was a fairly simple problem. The entire controversy, in fact, could have been stopped within the first two weeks if the offending publications had simply taken steps to correct what was an obvious problem.
The response we got, however, was an organized and seemingly planned attack. Even to this day, the opposition to GamerGate has focused on smear tactics, name calling, false equivalencies and a variety of other dirty tricks.
Every time we tried to move one step up the ladder to correct what was, it seems, a very small issue, we have been met with greater and greater resistance. Websites and businesses have lost thousands, possibly millions of dollars in their effort to silence us. They have lost traffic, sponsors, and the credibility of their very own brand.
As time went on, we began to run into corruption and resistance from influential and, honestly, surprising sources. Wikipedia, for example, has come out in opposition to GamerGate which goes against its own stated mission of disseminating factual information through a crowd-sourced means.
All of this was quite surprising but, after reading through this article, it all makes a lot more sense.
The Answer to “Why?”
The GamerGate opposition was not protecting one unknown “indie dev” but was trying to hide its ties to a multi-billion dollar agenda to take control of the entire educational system of the United States.
The opposition did not attack “Gamers” as a personal vendetta against us, the very consumer market that created the game industry, it was attacking the preconceived notion of “gamers” in an effort to help promote gaming as a major educational tool in the Common Core initiative.
GamerGate is not up against a few websites, bloggers, and developers who seem to be close friends. We have found ourselves fighting a well-organized and highly funded effort by the richest and most powerful people in the world to gain control over the future.
Common Core is about more than simply changing the way we educate children. Common Core is about more than simply creating universal standards for education and a nation-wide curriculum. It is an effort to place the entirety of the U.S educational system in the hands of the global elite.
No longer will states be allowed to decide what should be taught and by what standards this education is judged.
No longer will we have the ability to decide what our children are taught or how they are taught.
Common Core will create two sets of educational systems. There will be one set, The Common Core, which is taught to the majority of the young population. There will also be another set, consisting of private schools and expensive private tutoring, that will be available to those who can afford it.
What we are facing with GamerGate is the entire web being used to promote this new binary form of education where the rich can afford to give their children one type of education while the rest of us are forced to submit our children to education that is created and approved by certain groups that are both funded and run by the rich and powerful.
The few pieces of this that GamerGate has uncovered is only a small portion of what is actually going on. This is something that extends all the way from gaming journalism, through government, all the way to top of the world’s elite.
This is not an issue of journalistic ethics. It is not solely an issue of corruption in the gaming industry.
GamerGate is a fight for our freedom and for the future freedom of the entire planet.
I feel I may have put myself in danger by writing and publishing this but I feel it needs to be said. People must be made aware of what is happening all around us.
If GamerGate is ever defeated, I fear we will have also lost our future as free humans.
Please do not stop fighting.