I keep hoping that the GamerGate drama of last year will be replaced by a new scourge of the gaming industry. But instead, there’s now news that death threats have caused a company to withdraw from PAX East.
Brianna Wu ended up at the center of the GamerGate controversy last year, receiving multiple death threats as well as a ton of harassment. Her game studio, Giant Spacekat, was booked to have a stand at PAX East this year, as they’ve had for the past two years. However, the decision was made by the team to withdraw from the expo this year.
I’ve have very difficult conversations with my husband about standing up to Gamergate, despite the death threats. We don’t have children, and we feel strongly enough about this issue to accept this risk. Our lives are our own, this is our choice.
I cannot and will not make that choice for the people I work with… After talking to them, I made the decision to prioritize the safety of Giant Spacekat’s employees. Specifically, we have chosen to withdraw our presence from the Pax East 2015 Expo Hall, due to a concern that in a crowd of such a volume expected at PAX, the safety of our team can not be guaranteed.
While Wu will still be attending her panel discussions and other bookings, the company will not be represented on the show floor. Of course, as is usually the situation in these instances, some people may raise a variety of questions about this move. If you are wondering if it’s a PR stunt, or why she’s still attending her panels, or why she isn’t talking to the police, Wu has an answer for you here.
At most of these massive events, I didn’t even have time to visit the smaller stands. It’s such a whirlwind that unless there is a booking with a particular studio, it just doesn’t happen. Still, for many smaller companies it’s exposure at these enormous expos that really puts them on the map; that’s exposure that Giant Spacekat will miss out on due to death threats. Even if the studio is awful and makes lame games, they should be allowed to show their wares without fear of murder, just like all the other developers.
Last Updated: February 20, 2015