Leigh Alexander has a partial list, from their use as military recruiting tools to Apple's censorship of games critical of the electronics industry's manufacturing ethics to actual paid-review sites to the naked pay-for-play of popular Youtube game-reviewers.
Also notable, what's not on the list: the sex lives of women, Patreons of indie game devs, and the fact that people in the industry actually know one another.
YouTubers have and continue to accept money to put games before their fervent consumer audiences and are not meaningfully obligated to disclose those relationships. They can then occupy leading curation spaces on a major storefront like Steam, Currently Steam curation’s discoverability algorithms mean the most powerful forces — many of whom, again, earn money from some game developers and not from others — only become more powerful.
The labor practices of the traditional game industry are exploitive and abhorrent. The industry’s historical production model involves staffing up, demanding extreme work weeks, and then letting go of the ‘excess’ talent after a product ships. Speaking out against these conditions is socially sanctioned, and developers who speak to the press at any time other than when marketing wants them to risk being fired.
An entire product and studio network — and by extension, a regional economy around games — can tank because of political posturing, and there is no accountability nor information provided to ameliorate the human collateral damage.
One of the U.S.’ most long-running and successful print game publications is owned by one of the world’s best-known game retailers, and few of the magazine’s consumers seem aware of what, if any impact that relationship might have.
(via Dan Hon)
(Image: the Red Ring of Death, Blake Patterson, CC-BY)