Gamergate, the online backlash targeting a female game developer and critics of sexism in games, has a surprising new friend: Intel, the world's largest chipmaker.
According to game news publication Gamasutra, the company pulled ads from the site after being "flooded" by complaints from gamers upset at its criticism of the protest.
"Intel has pulled its advertising from website Gamasutra," Intel spokesperson Bill Calder told ReCode. "We take feedback from our customers very seriously especially as it relates to contextually relevant content and placements."
A sprawling and rancorous knot of hashtagged rage, Gamergate is ostensibly a campaign against journalistic corruption, but comprises mostly of foot-stamping misogynist anger directed at developer Zoe Quinn, critic Anita Sarkeesian, and game journalists seen to be in cahoots with a feminist conspiracy to censor manly videogames. Quinn, author of interactive roman à clef Depression Quest, was targeted after an angry ex-boyfriend published a lengthy manifesto about her that falsely insinuated sexual quid pro quos with game journalists. Sarkeesian ran a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised $158,922 for a series of feminist video critiques, a popular installment of which was released last month. Each woman has since been subjected to an endless hum of menace online and off, with Quinn receiving abusive phone calls, having her websites hacked, and enduring her personal information being published online. Sarkeesian received a death threat that convinced her to flee her home.
The email complaint campaign, however (dubbed Operation Disrespectful Nod), was one of the crusade's more civilized tangents. Hoping to convince advertisers to drop major game sites Kotaku, Polygon, Rock Paper Shotgun, and Gamasutra, it targeted journalists who were critical of the Gamergate cause—including Leigh Alexander, who is also a Boing Boing contributor.
Though it also attracted everyday gamers drawn to the anti-corruption messaging, Gamergate's broad appeal–if not its volume–began to shrink when the involvement of well-organized online trolls was exposed and conservative culture warriors pushed a more explicitly anti-feminist agenda. The move by Intel–a key player in the computer game industry–represents a coup for a cause that seemed to be on the verge of shriveling.
Speculation: Gamergate's implicit goal is to scorch the earth for game advertising in general. Even if making the market toxic harms their hobby and the industry that supports it, it's worth it to get the feminists out the clubhouse, to hurt websites that won't supplicate to them, and to own whatever smoking husk of culture is left afterward. It's only a "consumer revolt" in as much as adherents have a perverse sense of identification with a consumer product and hate anything critical of it.