More Game Companies Take A Public Stand Against Anti-Asian Racism Following Atlanta Shootings

Flowers left outside the scene of the shooting that left four dead in Atlanta, Georgia.
Flowers left outside the scene of the shooting that left four dead in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo: Elijah Nouvelage (Getty Images)

A white man entered an Atlanta, Georgia spa yesterday and opened fire, killing four people and wounding another. He then drove across town and repeated this heinous act at two more locations, killing four more people. Six of the victims were Asian women, four of them of Korean descent.

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These shootings came hours after Bandai Namco publicly decried growing anti-Asian racism in the United States. Since then, other figures have come forward to stand alongside Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in defiance of the shooter’s vile actions.

“Hate has no home on Xbox,” Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, wrote on Twitter this morning. “Team Xbox is appalled by the violence and racism against Asian communities. For all Asian players and peers, I want you to know that we see you, we hear you, and we will and must do more together to #StopAsianHate.”

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“We stand in solidarity with our teams, community and players to #StopAsianHate #StopAAPIHate,” Ubisoft San Francisco added shortly afterward.

“We are troubled by a recent pattern of violence targeting the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities,” said Sony’s PlayStation account, pledging to donate to Stop AAPI Hate. “It’s time to take action.”

“Bungie stands with our Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities, and we have made a donation to provide support and advocacy to those in need,” Bungie wrote, linking followers to AAPI Women Lead.

“Violence and hatred against Asians has no place in the world,” Bethesda said. “Bethesda rejects racism in all forms and stands in solidarity with our Asian employees and the AAPI community. We will continue efforts within our organization and communities to help drive change. #StopAsianHate”

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Update (7:17 p.m. ET, 03/18/2021): Capcom and Devolver Digital also released their own supportive statements.

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According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, anti-Asian hate crimes rose dramatically in 2020, many resulting in serious medical emergencies and even deaths. Many have attributed this growth to the bile spewed by former United States president Donald Trump in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.

“What Trump did is that he weaponized it in a way,” Karthick Ramakrishnan, founder and director of demographic data and policy research nonprofit AAPI Data, told NBC. “Trump’s rhetoric helps set a certain narrative in place—and presidents have an outsized role in terms of shaping narrative. They don’t call it a bully pulpit for nothing, and especially Trump, the way he frequently used Twitter as well as press conferences and off-the-cuff remarks to campaign rallies to frame the narrative in a particular way, it likely played a role.”

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While important to fostering a welcoming space for minorities, the movement for social justice shouldn’t stop with these statements. I’m heartened to see PlayStation and Bungie put their money where their mouths are, but corporate activism (which, let’s be honest, is also another way for these companies to market to consumers) can only go so far. It’s up to each and every one of us, as individuals, to call out bigotry in all its forms and ensure video games can no longer be the breeding ground for hate, like the kind of hatred that resulted in eight deaths yesterday.

I won’t claim to have all the answers. I don’t know exactly where we’re supposed to go from here. But I do know that folks are hurting. In this time of mourning and confusion, maybe try reaching out to someone who has been affected by these events and simply making sure they don’t feel alone. And, if you can, also consider supporting organizations like Stop AAPI Hate and AAPI Women Lead.

Staff Writer, Kotaku

DISCUSSION

It’s super easy to condemn violence out one side of your mouth while fanning the flames of racism through fearmongering and conspiracy theorizing against China.

Yeah, okay America, you’re just concerned for the freedom of Chinese citizenry. That’s why everyone in America is regularly talking about Equitorial Guinea, right? And it’s really just concern for human rights abuses, which is why every news station is covering Rohingyan displacement and Yemeni genocide.

There’s a concerted effort to drum up aggression and confrontation towards America’s strongest economic and political rival, feeding directly into a loop of Sinophobia and racism. Some people never question why. You can look through the comment threads of any article on Kotaku in the last 3 years with Tencent or the like to see it yourself. This is the direct result of that.

Edit: The general you, not Kotaku staff.