MMORPG developers, GDC organizers speak out against US ‘Muslim ban’


You might want to keep politics out of gaming, but politics has a way of forcing itself in the door no matter what.

Multiple MMO developers and video game convention organizers have now spoken out against Friday’s so-called “Muslim ban” and ensuing national and international crisis promulgated by the current U.S. government. The long-running Game Developers Conference (GDC) denounced the executive order in a tweet promising refunds for developers now barred from attending the late February event in San Francisco due to their nation of origin.

GDC organizers are expected to make a more detailed statement later this week, according to Polygon.

Prominent MMORPG developers have also spoken out. Multi-decade MMO developer and consultant Raph Koster (Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies, Crowfall), already vocal on the topic, joined the chorus of protesters condemning what they argue is a de facto religious-based ban on immigrants, visitors, and refugees.

Trion Worlds CEO Scott Hartsman has been particularly vocal (and sarcastic — he’s a fun follow for snark) on social media as well, though this tweeted photo says it all.

A spokesperson for Bethesda Softworks — you might recall Bethsoft as the parent company of Elder Scrolls Online’s ZeniMax — was quoted in VentureBeat last night as saying, “We are a global company with employees of every race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. As such, we will always support diversity and acceptance over division and exclusion.”

The Entertainment Software Association has also issued a statement:

“The Entertainment Software Association urges the White House to exercise caution with regard to vital immigration and foreign worker programs. As a leading force in technology and exporter of entertainment, the U.S. video game industry thrives on the contributions of innovators and storytellers from around the world. While recognizing that enhancing national security and protecting our country’s citizens are critical goals, our companies rely on the skilled talent of U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, and immigrants alike. Our nation’s actions and words should support their participation in the American economy.”

The government policy has already induced multiple game developers to cancel travel to the U.S., and no matter where you stand politically, I’d like to think we can agree our games and gaming communities are poorer for it.

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