GamersGate is a digital distribution service. It came out around 2004 and was originally an arm of Paradox Interactive to help gamers get a hold of their games in a more convenient fashion, as reported by Gamasutra. Following confusion and a hate campaign against GamersGate from a group of people out to send hatemail and threats to anyone using #GamerGate on Twitter, a report is claiming that the irrecoverable overlap between the two names helped with the decision for key business managers to take leave of the company.
Swedish website Kit published an article on May 27th, 2015 explaining that in late 2014 GamersGate came under fire from organized groups standing against #GamerGate. They sent hatemail and death threats to the employees at GamersGate. The Kit report states that Theodore Bergquist, the CEO at the time of GamersGate, came under digital assault from people thinking his digital distribution outlet was affiliated with #GamerGate…
“[…] suddenly it began to emerge mails and messages of a kind he had never seen before. Not from Gamer’s Gate movement, but from their [counter-movement]. Those who hate the haters.”
Former football player Chris Kluwe mentioned on the David Pakman Show that there was no “anti-GamerGate” just the “rest of the world”. So does that make the rest of the world a bunch of harassers, death-threat senders and trolls?
Regardless, the barrage from the people opposed to #GamerGate and apparently opposed to better ethics in journalism really wanted to drive the point home that they hated GamersGate. According to the Kit article, Bergquist stated…
“Sure, the occasional angry customers we have had over the years, but then it has been about a product they bought has not worked. But now it was “I will kill your fucking asses” and stuff”
The company released a press statement shortly after employees started receiving death threats from the people opposed to #GamerGate, a cultural movement and consumer revolt standing against artistic censorship and corruption in media. On October 23rd, 2014 GamersGate announced boldly…
“Announcement: GAMERSGATE.COM is NOT Gamergate!”
Gamers feeling bad for GamersGate coming under fire from the anti-GamerGate side decided to show some love by purchasing games from the digital shop. This was also fueled by people like TotalBiscuit stepping up and explaining to his followers the actions of those who are supposed to be stopping an alleged “hate movement” by sending hateful threats.
According to Bergquist, there was a surge in sales, up to fivefold following the incident. Bergquist stated…
“It turned almost immediately, from the time we got [hatemail] we got now instead of love mail. People wrote that they were sorry for what happened, they obviously would support us by purchasing the game from us now.”
It’s funny that Bergquist was originally going to sue the owner of #GamerGate for having a name so close to GamersGate, but there was no one to sue since the hashtag has no leaders.
Instead, it became obvious that the hashtag wasn’t going away, so he sold GamersGate to Nikolay Trusov and he and some other partners at GamersGate departed the gaming industry.
According to Bergquist…
Gamer Gate has become a symbol, an event and a concept that I believe will remain. It does not matter [that] GamersGate has been [around] ten years longer, that is enough, unfortunately, only to give up the fight for the name.
Bergquist completely left gaming altogether. He’s not an advisor or wants to have any part to do with the business. He did mention that he didn’t really care about gaming from the start and he was just a businessman.
However, the whole thing seemed too bizarre to be true. I tried reaching out to Bergquist but only managed to get a runaround. I tried Gustav Nisser, the former business director at GamersGate, attempting to see if he would corroborate what was in the Kit article regarding Bergquist leaving after the #GamerGate fallout. But according to Nisser…
“I’m leaving GamersGate. I’ll still be around in the background as a shareholder but will no longer be working actively for the company.”
I tried reaching out to Bergquist again as well as someone in charge, like Daniel Hjelmtorp, the partner manager of GamersGate. However, Hjelmtorp had already made a post on Twitter making it known that he too had departed from the company just recently.
Today is my last day at GamersGate! Been here now for about 6,5 years and its time for new adventures! 🙂 pic.twitter.com/UsTa4iEekT
— Daniel Hjelmtorp (@helmehytte) April 15, 2015
In case you can’t read or see the Tweet, Hjelmtorp states…
“Today is my last day at GamersGate! Been here now for about 6,5 years and its time for new adventures! :)”
Hjelmtorp moved on to another Swedish company called Exertis Ztorm as an account manager. He joined Gustav Nisser who also works at Exertis Ztorm.
I was then directed to another business partner of GamersGate, Serguei An. When asked about the conditions of the founder and business partners leaving GamersGate following the #GamerGate controversy, An decided to offer a neutral and diplomatic response, stating…
“To be honest, I am not the best person to ask as to why Theo left the company. I am sure there are many reasons why he would leave the company he founded and loved very much.
“I, myself, obviously believe in GamersGate. We actively working on improving website and hope to offer better performance and better selection of titles to our users.”
There was no comment about Gustav Nisser or Daniel Hjelmtorp. For now we’re left to believe that Bergquist and Hjelmtorp made bank on one final sales boost following the anti-#GamerGate hate campaign and decided enough was enough.
While #GamerGate has failed as a harassment campaign to drive women out of the tech industry (and statistical reports back this up), I wonder how #GamerGate’s opposition feels about wielding the power to be able to drive straight, white men out of the tech industry?