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GamerGate pressure prompts Intel to shelve ads early, will controversy ever subside?

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Forced to choose a side, Intel has chosen to end an ad campaign on Gamasutra early and reveal support for the Operation Disrespectful Nod movement, which is part of the GamerGate controversy raging within the gaming world.

An opinion piece on Gamasutra initially fueled GamerGate, which now has video game enthusiasts pitted against each other.

On one side, there are gamers calling for more diversity in all things related to video games. They seek an end to some of the misogynistic tropes that appear in video games and the marketing to white male gamers.

The uproar and angst to dismiss those assertions birthed GamerGate, the other side of the line where rival voices have gathered to combat corruption in video game journalism.

Gamasutra has been accused of delivering poor, biased journalism after the gaming news site published an opinion piece by freelance writer and editor Leigh Alexander. Intel has been running an ad campaign on the gaming news site, but recently announced that it was pulling the ads early.

"We take feedback from customers very seriously, especially as it relates to relevant content and ad placements," Bill Calder, an Intel spokesman, said on Oct. 2.

Intel's decision to pull the ad series early, rather than letting it run its course and staying neutral, aligns the chipmaker with Operation Disrespectful Nod.

GamerGate was well under way before Alexander published her opinion piece, but her dissection of the current state of the games industry put her and Gamasutra in the crosshair of the movement raging against the ideas she expressed on the gaming site.

"Traditional 'gaming' is sloughing off, culturally and economically, like the carapace of a bug," Alexander stated in the incendiary post. "This is hard for people who've drank the Kool-Aid about how their identity depends on the aging cultural signposts of a rapidly evolving, increasingly broad and complex medium. It's hard for them to hear they don't own anything, anymore, that they aren't the world's most special-est consumer demographic, that they have to share."

Alexander says the opinion piece was inspired by the harassment a female video game developer suffered at the hands of an ex-boyfriend. The boyfriend accused the developer of having sex with video game journalists to gain favorable game reviews, though those claims are said to be devoid of solid evidence.

Whether it is a true account or a collection of malicious lies, the accusations levied by the developer's ex-boyfriend have been used against the voices calling for more diversity in games and the extermination of sexist tropes. Beyond being used to undermine voices like Alexander, the claims were used as a call to arms for what's now known as Operation Disrespectful Nod. On Oct. 3, Intel chose a side.

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