Playstation Europe recently announced that it would be sponsoring Pride in London. Now, normally corporate sponsorship of our events wouldn’t ping my radar, but in the games industry, it still feels relevant.
The replies to Playstation’s announcement tweet are full of blatant homophobia and endless complaints about the politicisation of gaming. The reddit thread on r/PS4 was locked my a moderator for “getting a bit out of hand.” I’ll leave the magnitude of that understatement to your imaginations (though it is worth noting that these comments were broadly downvoted).
These types of comments aren’t the story though. We know there are homophobic and bigoted gamers and that they love to yell. The point is that Sony knew that it was still a profitable move.
For ALL the Players
Playstation UK’s social media manager Eric Whelan promised that this was not “some kind of corporate step,” explaining that it was a project created by Playstation Europe’s LGBT group. And that is important! Letting LGBTQ+ people take the lead in planning and executing company support for people like them is the only way to prevent it from being a shallow PR gesture.
But ultimately it’s fair to say that Sony wouldn’t have given the go ahead if it wasn’t also a profitable thing to do. In the end, it demonstrates that for every tweeter promising that they’ll switch to Xbox, there are more people who are more likely to use Playstation because of their support of the LGBTQ+ community.
(Plus – prepare for schadenfreude – Xbox has also supported pride parades before, so switching won’t help homophobes. Whoops.)
Sony’s move pleased a lot of people. And it’s important for LGBTQ+ gamers to know that, though bigots are loud, they’re not the majority. Hell, it’s important for games companies to know that. Being welcoming and inclusive is not only meaningful to marginalised people – it’s flat out sensible.
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