Death Threats in Gaming – Rage In Real Life

By June 23, 2016Media, Technology

Written By: Tim Waller

Everyone loves getting a new video game. Whether it be picking up a used one or finally getting that one you preordered four months ago, getting a new game is a good feeling. Because of this, many people can get very irritated when that game they were anticipating for the last three months is delayed further by the developers. Delaying a release date has become a common occurrence among developers due to glitches, bugs, and other errors that need fixing before the game is playable. Other times, a developer may simply change an aspect of the game they promised (for better or worse) or perhaps they cancel it all together. Many (and I mean most) gamers can understand this, despite being disappointed; however, there are some that can’t accept that fact and become quite the… nuisance.

No Man’s Sky is a very popular space exploration simulator that is expected to release later this year, with many fans eagerly waiting its debut. The game was originally supposed to release June 21st, but Hello Games (the main developers) decided to push it back until August 9th for an undisclosed reason. This delay had many people irked and disappointed, but there were a few disgruntled fans that went perhaps a bit too far. Sean Murray, developer and Hello Games founder, has actually received death threats over this delay; via Twitter, Sean said “I’ve received loads of death threats this week, but don’t worry, Hello Games now looks like the house from Home Alone”. This is just one instance of game designers and developers receiving death threats, a trend that’s growing ever popular.

Female game designer Brianna Wu actually fled her home in 2014 due to viable threats against her made on Twitter. The person responsible for these threats was extremely opposed to Wu’s open feminist views of women in tech and gaming, labeling her with vulgar terms and making even worse threats simply because she was a feminist. The man behind these attacks not only threatened Wu, but her family as well. He went on to say “if you have any kids, they’re going to die too… they’ll grow up to be feminists anyway.” His attacks became viable and viewed as a legitimate threat when he tweeted Wu’s address, saying he’d kill her and her husband in horrible ways.

Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen received many death threats and harassing messages after he removed the game from app stores because of the criticism the game was receiving. Fans and critics of the game alike told him he should “kill himself” or they would do it for him. Many comments and tweets attacked his character due to his decision to remove the game and told him that he should die because of it. These attacks and threats came in by the hundreds, with many people “jumping in”.

“Video games make you violent.” If you’ve been gaming for a while, odds are you’ve probably heard that before. Although gamers nowadays simply brush it off, that argument is becoming understandable. I’m not saying it is true, but that is what people who aren’t in the gaming culture are beginning to think again. With actual threats against people’s lives being made simply because they support women in gaming or a game was delayed, a very bad light is being shed over gamers and gaming as a whole. Really? Threatening to kill someone over a video game? Is this really what we want gaming is going to be known for? Of course not, so next time you’re think about raging against something in a video game or against a developer, think twice.

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