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Tuesday, October 24 • 3:00pm - 3:50pm
So You've Been Called Out

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Let’s say you’ve built a game, released it, and are checking your Google Alerts. Suddenly you’re finding people on Facebook, Tumblr, and Reddit with a serious and unexpected axe to grind, never mind your Twitter mentions. Maybe a diverse character’s representation unintentionally ended up in a hurtful or unfortunate way. Maybe a line of dialogue has an unexpected interpretation you didn’t see in user testing that has players feeling attacked or upset. Or maybe you and/or your team, being human, made a mistake and something went into your release that has people agitated. This outcome -- especially with regards to issues of diversity and representation -- is basically inevitable. Even the most well-intentioned, careful individual can make a mistake that has unexpected repercussions. However, in the games industry and in games culture, there can be a marked tendency to mishandle these situations, making the situation far worse: angering already-upset players, drawing critical ire, and most importantly, potentially hurting people anew who were already wounded by what may have been a simple mistake. This talk aims to give developers and other public-facing game dev professionals some context for how players -- especially marginalized players -- react to situations they find problematic, the ways those reactions play out on social media, and most importantly, how you as a dev can and should respond to those situations. Part sociology and cultural studies, part simple practical advice and suggestions, this talk will provide some perspective on how to deal with people who have been hurt by something you were responsible for, regardless of if you intended that harm or not. With advice ranging from how to word your social media responses and apologies to knowing when and how to scale your reaction appropriately, devs will leave this talk with additional tools for connecting with their players when things go bad, and ideally, with a better understanding of how to avoid those mistakes in the future.

Speakers
avatar for Todd Harper

Todd Harper

University of Baltimore
Todd Harper is a professor in the Simulation and Game Design program at the University of Baltimore. His work centers on games as cultural communication, with a focus in issues of representation of gender, sexuality, and body type, as well as e-sports communities. In addition to... Read More →


Tuesday October 24, 2017 3:00pm - 3:50pm
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center