We Did It, We Solved Racism
For once, an act of violence in the real world is having everyone’s attention fixed on the real world cause; systemic racism and police brutality. For once, it’s not video games that are being blamed. Unfortunately, some of the video game industry’s biggest developers, who make some of the most notoriously violent games are inadvertently reeling that attention back toward them. Many developers and publishers have made statements of solidarity with the Black community and have blacked out their social media accounts temporarily. Rockstar Games may be taking an unnecessary step further, perhaps even a counter-productive step.
Earlier today, Rockstar Games announced via Twitter that they will be shutting down online services to GTA Online and Red Dead Online between 2:00 and 4:00 ET. They said they are doing this “to honor the legacy of George Floyd”. Let’s break down what that actually means. Because an unarmed Black man was murdered by police in the custody of police, Rockstar Games will be pausing access to their online games where players are free to shoot each other, civilians, and law enforcement… for two hours. I’d say that it’s something, but it’s not even something.
Black Lives Matter. To honor the legacy of George Floyd, today, 6/4/20, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET, we will be shutting down access to our online games, Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online.
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) June 4, 2020
A better use of those two hours would be for Rockstar to donate all the money made by microtransactions during that time to the Floyd family, Black Lives Matter, or Black business owners whose businesses have been damaged and destroyed by looters. If you like that idea, why not extend it beyond two hours? For the whole day? Until the protests have halted? Until racism is over? What’s the video game version of white silence? Digital silence?
Do you think Rockstar could be doing more than this two hour pause on their online games? Let us know in the comments below.