Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Giant Bomb

Disclaimer: I don't read Giant Bomb. I've got an account, but their aggressively American approach and labyrinthine forums have always combined to produce a community that I find difficult to immerse myself in*.

They recently hired a new writer, and there's been some disappointment expressed on Twitter that it's another white guy. The Giant Bomb community has rallied to the site's defence, and their general argument appears to be, under a lot of bile, that New White Man is a good fit with the site's established editorial style and humour.

I also understand that these places hire people they know, and it's a fact that white guys are higher-profile in the games industry and enthusiast press, as a rule, than any other combination of race and gender. So it makes statistical sense that a bunch of white guys running a videogames website would know and hire another white guy.

But I have difficulty accepting either of these arguments as good enough.

If you care about the quality of opinions and writing, then a different voice than the ones you're already getting can only be a good thing. I already know how white guys feel about Call of Duty. Give me a new perspective.

The statistics are harder to argue with, bit the weakness in that argument is the assumption that Giant Bomb couldn't have possibly found any women or non-white men to hire at all. It would have been harder to find that voice, maybe, but if we really want a more diverse, inclusive industry - and if you don't, I'm afraid we can never be friends - then the established networks like Giant Bomb have to be prepared to put your legwork in.

That they didn't think this effort was worth it - I'm not sure if that's better or worse than the thought never occurring at all - speaks volumes about their (lack of) commitment to improving the industry they're part of as well as the one they cover.

*And I'm a straight white guy, their target audience. I am only imagine how daunting an experience that place must be for women or non-white users.