Sexual Orientation Can Now be Included in Gamertag

March 5, 2010 -

Microsoft has updated its Xbox Live Code of Conduct with terminology that now allows gamers to include their sexual orientation in their Gamertag.

Gamers are now free to label themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender or Straight, in a move GayGamer called “fantastic.”

In a letter announcing the change, Microsoft’s Mark Whitten wrote:

Under our previous policy, some of these expressions of self-identification were not allowed in Gamertags or profiles to prevent the use of these terms as insults or slurs. However we have since heard feedback from our customers that while the spirit of this approach was genuine, it inadvertently excluded a part of our Xbox LIVE community. This update also comes hand-in-hand with increased stringency and enforcement to prevent the misuse of these terms.

More from GayGamer on the change:

This is something we have been fighting for here on GayGamer for a long time and it's gives us a wonderful feeling to finally see it come to fruition.

Congratulations to Microsoft and Xbox Live for stepping up to the plate and listening to the concerns of an important and oft overlooked section of the gaming community. Bravo!


Thanks Andrew!

66 comments

Are Gay Themes Expanding in Video Games?

August 27, 2009 -

Are gay characters and themes more acceptable in video games these days?

Gay publication The Advocate examines the issue in Are Games Getting Gayer? For the article, author Bryan Ochalla spoke to, among others, game designer Brenda Brathwaite, author of Sex in Video Games. Braithwaite said:

We still haven’t seen the kind of normalization [of LGBT characters and story lines] that we’ve seen in movies and on TV for some time. We still haven’t had our Brokeback Mountain moment.


It took them a while, but developers... [are] getting hip to the fact that there are LGBT gamers out there who want to control LGBT characters... The almighty dollar talks as much in this industry as it does in any other, and we all know the gay market is nothing to sneeze at in that regard...

 

We also have to stop putting things into games that turn off gay players How many games have you played that put you in control of a male character and then asked you to save a princess?

Openly gay Maxis game designer Jeb Havens (no word as to whether he was impacted by yesterday's layoff) commented:

[Game developers are] moving away from the stereotype of the angry, homophobic teen boy ... toward a broader picture of who is buying and playing games... We’re starting to see a willingness to experiment with stories and characters that would appeal to more diverse audiences.

383 comments

Gamer Imagery Used in Campaign to Discourage "Gay" as an Insult

August 12, 2009 -

The sorry history of homophobia in gaming is pretty well documented, so it's probably not a coincidence that a campaign to discourage anti-gay remarks includes a gaming piece among its poster ads.

ThinkB4YouSPeak, which hopes to raise awareness about anti-gay bias in America's schools by reducing the use of homophobic language, explains its mission at its website:

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens experience homophobic remarks and harassment throughout the school day, creating an atmosphere where they feel disrespected, unwanted and unsafe. Homophobic remarks such as “that’s so gay” are the most commonly heard; these slurs are often unintentional and a common part of teens’ vernacular. Most do not recognize the consequences, but the casual use of this language often carries over into more overt harassment.

The poster at left substitutes the commonly heard "That's so gay" with "That's so gamer guy who has more video games than friends." Stereotypical? Of course. But that would seem to be the point. Other posters include jock and cheerleader themes.

289 comments

Old Gay Bashing Game Resurfaces, Sparks Eastern Euro Controversy

July 20, 2009 -

A Flash game in which players must shoot naked men in order to avoid being sexually assaulted has sparked controversy in Eastern Europe.

As reported by The Observers, Watch Out Behind You, Hunter! was originally released in 2002 on the French Uzinagaz portal, but subsequently banned following protests by gay rights advocates. More recently, the game has surfaced on a site hosted in Georgia.

Gay Armenia writes:

This is totally disgusting. The website has to be shut down unless they take this game out of their server... I wonder, where are the voices of those religious-minded people in Tbilisi, Georgia, who swear in the name of Georgian patriarch and constantly cite Bible to ‘justify’ their homophobia and hatred. Is this their (un-)‘orthodox’ way of bringing up children by creating an image of enemy (=gays) and teaching how to deal with it (=kill them)?

Jean Christophe Calvet, who operates Uzinagaz, defended the game:

We launched this game [in 2002] and it worked very well. It was only a few years after it came out that a gay rights association took legal action against us. So we withdrew the game. It's no longer available on French sites, but it's impossible to wipe it from all foreign sites too.

I have to say that at the beginning, we really didn't understand why the association was attacking us. The guy who came up with the game... wanted to mock hunters and red-necks, not gay men.

Our games are not politically correct. They're aimed at teenagers (12-18) and it's true that they're of a juvenile humour. I realise now that this one in particularly could be found shocking, but I believe that you should be able to make this kind of joke in the name of freedom of speech...

Via: GameCulture

30 comments

EA to Host Panel on Homophobia in Gaming

July 15, 2009 -

Anyone who games online knows that negative comments about gay people are all too common. Compounding the problem, even game companies who treat their GLBT employees well seem to be wrestling with the notion of how deal with the open expression of sexual orientation in games.

The good news is that the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) plans to hold a panel discussion in homophobia in videogame culture on Saturday. EA will host the event, which is open to the public, at its Redwood HQ. Other noteworthy organizations which will participate are Microsoft, Second Life publisher Linden Labs, GayGamer.net and the ESA.

Shacknews reports on the agenda:

Topics will include "how to provide safe spaces for LGBT people online, how to ensure the best policies are in place to prevent virtual attacks against LGBT people and how to educate the users of online communities about the effects of homophobia.

The GLAAD website reports that the panel will be composed of:

  • Flynn DeMarco (Alias: Fruite Brute), Founder of GayGamer.net
  • Dan Hewitt, Senior Director of Communications & Industry Affairs for the ESA
  • Caryl Shaw, Senior Producer in the Maxis Studio
  • Cyn Skyberg, VP of Customer Relations at Linden Lab
  • Stephen Toulouse (Gamertag: stepto), Program Manager for Policy and Enforcement on Microsoft's XBox LIVE
  • Moderator: Justin Cole, Director of Digital & Online Media, GLAAD
134 comments

BioWare Will Include Sex Scenes in Games If They Fit the Plot

July 9, 2009 -

Despite taking a bit of a thrashing in the mainstream media, BioWare remains unfazed by the 2008 controversy that Fox News ginned up over the well-known and tenderly played sex scene in best-selling RPG Mass Effect. The noted game developer's upcoming title Dragon Age: Origins is set to feature more of the same.
 
In an interview with CVG, co-founder of BioWare, Greg Zeschuk discusses the inclusion of sexual interactions in video games:

I don't think [games] need to have [sex scenes], I think that in certain types of games it makes sense to have them... That said, I think from our perspective we want to reflect real human relationships... And if that involves some sort of intimate scenes, we want to provide those for the player.
 
It's based on the fact that this is a sophisticated mature experience. The same way that a kid's anime or cartoon will have a different style of content in it than a really serious drama, this is like a serious drama. Really what we're going for in all cases is emotional engagement, some kind of impact.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen thinks Microsoft’s Project Natal could make for some interesting sexual interactions in video games...

26 comments

BioWare Locks Out Discussions of Gay Characters on SWTOR Forum

April 28, 2009 -

The video game industry continues to struggle with how it deals with issues surrounding the open discussion of homosexuality in its online venues.

In the latest flap, Eurogamer reports that a forum mod on BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic banned users from discussing potential gay character relationships in the upcoming game:

The threads have since been locked, and the words "homosexual", "lesbian" and "gay" are censored on the forum.

Even discussions of the ban are being locked. At the bottom of the thread "GLBT discrimination in forums?", community manager... wrote, "As I have stated before, these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars. Thread closed."

It appears, however, that a thread entitled GLBT Discrimination in Forums? has been re-opened. A user named Elikal (forum avatar at left) writes:

I am grateful Bioware has opened the thread again, and allowed the words gay and lesbian now. Though I can't hide that I am quite disappointed. Bioware games had always been about complex ethical questions, about vast, diverse realities, and as such I had never expect Bioware of all companies to be so... narrow in this question. I was a Bioware fan so long... it was really a shock to see the thread closed.

Thanks to all the supporters, and even those who in civilized words disagreed, since debating things is what makes a modern society work.

And, as GayGamer points out, there has been at least one gay character in the Star Wars gaming universe. That would be Juhani of Knights of the Old Republic:

If you choose to kill [Juhani], a female Jedi at the temple will lambaste you for murdering her beloved one—stating that she and Juhani spent many nights under the stars together. Later on Korriban, that female Jedi will confront you and attempt to murder you for the love of Juhani. If you choose to take the other approach and save Juhani... Later on, if your main character is female and you have opened up all coversation lines with Juhani through the game, Juhani will confes her love for your character...

57 comments

Games Under Fire Over Political Correctness, Warns Free Speech Lawyer

March 27, 2009 -

An experienced First Amendment lawyer warned that political correctness is a looming threat to the video game industry.

Lawrence Walters made his remarks at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco yesterday. GameSpot offers a report:

Just when the decency police and moral values groups have been all but defeated in the courts--both of law and public opinion--a new threat has emerged from our left flank: political correctness. The leftist thought police are now wanting to impose their view of propriety on modern cultural discourse...

 

Think about [a New York bill that would prevent minors from purchasing games containing racial stereotypes]... Would we ever in a million years tolerate the government passing a law that movies cannot have profanity, racial jokes, or derogatory language? That would eliminate practically every movie made.

Now we can debate all day long whether racist stereotypes or derogatory language is even appropriate in video games, but that's for us to debate, and not for the government to decide... [The video game industry] needs to reveal its enemies for who they are--radicals on the left and on the right--and marginalize them...
 

32 comments

Xbox 360 Graphics Designer Sues MS Over Alleged Homophobia

March 24, 2009 -

U.K. newspaper Telegraph reports that a veteran graphics designer employed by the Xbox side of Microsoft's house has sued the company for £45,000.

Jamie Durrant, 38, claims in the suit that he was harassed for an extended period by coworkers who indulged in name calling and nasty notes. Durrant worked with Lionhead for more than a decade until MS acquired the Peter Molyneux studio in 2006. His design credits include AAA titles Fable, Black & White and The Movies.

The Telegraph also notes that Xbox has seemingly had difficulty coming to grips with Xbox Live users who self-identify as gay.

Of his situation, Durrant told the newspaper:

I have never hidden my sexuality from the office and I felt this could be targeted at myself. This was not the first time there was homophobic content in the office. Previously, I had tried to deal with it myself. This time, I did not feel that I could.

I was very surprised that Microsoft did not have any policies relating to this sexual orientation harassment... I feel like they're making out that I'm the one with the problem and not the homophobic aspects of the company.

Durrant's situation notwithstanding, Microsoft earned a perfect score from U.S.-based gays rights group the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in 2008.

23 comments

Report: Lesbian Finds Herself Banned From Xbox Live

February 26, 2009 -

A woman who identified herself as a lesbian in her Xbox Live profile has reportedly been banned from Microsoft's online gaming venue.

The woman, known only as "Teresa," told The Consumerist:

My [Xbox Live] account was suspended because I had said in my profile that I was a lesbian. I was harassed by several players, 'chased' to different maps/games to get away from their harassment. They followed me into the games and told all the other players to turn me in because they didn't want to see that crap or their kids to see that crap.

As if xbox live is really appropriate for kids anyways! My account was suspended and xbox live did nothing to solve this, but instead said others found it offensive...

Microsoft does nothing to stop this or prevent it, but instead sides with the homophobes...

Microsoft, which in September received a perfect score from gay equality group Human Rights Campaign, has struggled with the gay identity issue on Xbox Live.

Most notably, in 2008 XBL banned the gamertag "Richard Gaywood," even though it was the user's actual name.

106 comments

Journalist Asks: Are Games Gay Enough?

January 9, 2009 -

Over at Kombo, journo Brad Hilderbrand surveys how gay and lesbian characters are depicted in games and finds those portrayals wanting:

Unfortunately games have fallen back into the rut of stereotype and hyperbole. While there are brief moments in games like Fable II or Metal Gear Solid that treat homosexuality with a careful, thoughtful approach, the game industry seems to be far more comfortable sticking with tired clichés and stereotypes for the sake of not offending, but also not progressing...

 

In a market where Marcus Phoenix stands as the definition of a man and Lara Croft is the essence of what it means to be a woman, there seems to be little inclination to tackle one of society's biggest taboos. While games have the potential to stand at the bleeding edge of social and political commentary, they prefer to play it safe and put sales above message, lagging far behind their contemporaries in television and cinema...

 

162 comments

 
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Is King right? Should all games adopt the free-to-play model?:

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Matthew Wilsonit is a game worth playing if you have a pc/360/ps304/20/2014 - 9:34pm
MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/IGLevine/status/457552538343325696 The Lutece Twins show up in some of the most unlikely of places.04/20/2014 - 2:44pm
Andrew EisenAs it happens, Chinatown Wars is the only GTA game I've played.04/19/2014 - 10:43am
Papa MidnightWith GTA5 (to date) failing to even provide indication of a PC release, I'm realising that this might be the first GTA game that I have not played (outside of Chinatown Wars) since the series inception.04/19/2014 - 8:14am
IanCSo im guessing a bunch of edutainment games, which a lot of people elsewhere are going gaga over, dot count as classics? Okay. If you don't mind me, i have a sudden urge to play Putt Putt....04/19/2014 - 6:15am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/18/playstation-99-cent-sale-discounts-tokyo-jungle-super-stardust/ Weekend long PSN flash sale. So much stuff is 99 cents for the rest of the weekend.04/18/2014 - 5:59pm
Adam802http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/18/5627928/newtown-video-game-addiction-forum04/18/2014 - 4:14pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a video talking about why certain games/products/consoles do well, and others do not. he back it up with solid research.04/18/2014 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenI'm not keen on blind links. What is it?04/18/2014 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonthis is worth a whatch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyXcr6sDRtw&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C904/18/2014 - 3:43pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
 

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