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Open Letter to Game Developers & Players

We need to do more as game developers and players of games to make the industry more welcoming, and we need to start by changing ourselves.

This isn’t the first draft of this text. I’ve sat down and started to write this several times and stopped, changed my mind, edited it, decided it wasn’t worded right or strongly enough, forgotten about it, came back, tried again, so I’ve decided I’m just going to get the words out and see if it works out because it’s something I’ve wanted to say for a very long time and if I keep floundering over how it’s worded I’ll never get it out.

I’ve probably won the lottery in terms of privilege. I’m a white, cis, het male who lives in a country that has free healthcare with a family that supports my ambitions to make and release video games. I don’t *need* to write anything if I don’t want to, and most people choose the easier option of opting out. So why am I sitting here writing this weird little article instead of playing Destiny 2 and thinking up another cool game concept?

I’m writing this because I know it’s the truth, and that it needs to be said by people who can’t be accused of bias. Minorities NEED us to speak out for them because there is an automatic assumption of bias in their argument because they belong to that minority. They are asking for change because *they themselves* are being personally affected. This makes it easy for people to deny that their claim is important or even valid, because it’s serving in their own interest. It’s just another person claiming about their specific situation in life, why pay attention?

That’s why I want to say something. When I say that there is a racism problem in the UK I say it because I know it is the truth. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived in it, grown up in it and have said either nothing or not enough. I want to validate the people who are saying these things happen, and as a white cis het person we have the power to do that in a way that we know other white cis het people will take seriously.

I can say that transgendered people are attacked both online and physically because I know that they are. I can say that women are catcalled on the street and discriminated against in tech because I know that they are. I know that minorities are being accused of simultaneously stealing jobs and being lazy benefit scroungers. I’ve seen people have their disability benefit taken away because it’s claimed that their disability doesn’t exist.

Even if you don’t consider the plight of the minority an important issue just please, try as hard as you can to pursue the truth honestly and intellectually. Intellectual honesty is so important right now in a world where so many people are working hard to purposefully deceive that we need to expose every crevice of deception wherever we find it. If you believe in science, you believe in truth. We must be relentless in our pursuit of the truth. Speak out!

Benn Powell

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