Just when you thought #GamerGate went away, women in the video game industry can't seem to get above sexism in the industry. This was apparent in events that unfolded this weekend at a Microsoft party for video game developers attending the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco.
Shortly after hosting a "Women in Gaming" luncheon, many were shocked when they arrived at an after-hours party for Xbox to see scantily-clad go-go dancers in schoolgirl uniforms dancing on podiums. Most notably, Tin Man Games editor Kamina Vincent, led the charge against this event on Twitter. Click here to see her entire Twitter feed of the event.
They were dancing on podiums.
(Deleted originals to blur faces of the dancers) pic.twitter.com/pG1BxmtbnO
— Kamina Vincent (@spamoir) March 18, 2016
After the outrage on social media, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said the matter will be handled by him personally and issued a formal apology, saying:
"It has come to my attention that at Xbox-hosted events at GDC this past week, we represented Xbox and Microsoft in a way that was absolutely not consistent or aligned to our values. ... That was unequivocally wrong and will not be tolerated."
Spencer also sent an email to employees, which was obtained by The Verge:
How we show up as an organization is incredibly important to me. We want to build and reflect the culture of team Xbox - internally and externally - a culture that each one of us can represent with pride. An inclusive culture has a direct impact on the products and services we deliver and the perception consumers have of the Xbox brand and our company, as a whole.
It has come to my attention that at Xbox-hosted events at GDC this past week, we represented Xbox and Microsoft in a way that was absolutely not consistent or aligned to our values. That was unequivocally wrong and will not be tolerated. This matter is being handled internally, but let me be very clear - how we represent ourselves as individuals, who we hire and partner with and how we engage with others is a direct reflection of our brand and what we stand for. When we do the opposite, and create an environment that alienates or offends any group, we justly deserve the criticism.
It's unfortunate that such events could take place in a week where we worked so hard to engage the many different gaming communities in the exact opposite way. I am personally committed to ensuring that diversity and inclusion is central to our everyday business and our core values as a team – inside and outside the company. We need to hold ourselves to higher standards and we will do better in the future.
What do you think? Will Microsoft fix the problem or has the damage been done? How big of a setback is this for women in the gaming industry? Let us know your opinions by posting in the comments below.