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Over 1300 developers sign open letter against 'hateful, harassing speech'

Development community calls on games community to stamp out discrimination

More than 1300 game developers have signed an open letter calling on the games community to crack down on "hateful, harassing" commenters.

The open letter, originally posted by Andreas Zecher of Berlin-based indie studio Spaces of Play, was posted on Monday and has since continued to grow in popularity with more developers adding their name to the ever-growing list of signatories.

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The list, which at the time of writing consists of 1382 names, includes developers from Ubisoft, EA, BioWare, Epic Games, Infinity Ward, Crystal Dynamics, Insomniac, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Microsoft and DICE.

"We believe that everyone, no matter what gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion has the right to play games, criticize games and make games without getting harassed or threatened," the letter reads.

"It is the diversity of our community that allows games to flourish. If you see threats of violence or harm in comments on Steam, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Facebook or reddit, please take a minute to report them on the respective sites.

"If you see hateful, harassing speech, take a public stand against it and make the gaming community a more enjoyable space to be in. Thank you".

The letter follows an incident involving prominent games essayist Anita Sarkeesian, who vacated her home last week following a spate of increasingly severe threats from anonymous critics of her work.

The threats and hateful comments sent to Sarkeesian are often in response to her collection of essays, called Tropes Versus Women, which examines why women are often represented as powerless, sexualised and enfeebled characters in games.

Though a vocal, and often abusive, minority of games enthusiasts condemn her work, Sarkeesian's analysis is widely praised by others, as well as prominent games industry figures including Tim Schafer and Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckman.

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