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Have we gone too far? A Diretide diatribe

Posted by Julian "hattfatt" Koch at 03 November 2013 15:55

A lot has happened in the past few days, as the expectations for Diretide ramped up to an extreme. With the realization that the annual event, as it was promised, would not take place this year, frustration was at an all-time high. We look back at the fallout and try to make sense of what happened, and most importantly, what went wrong as the pleas for Diretide got louder and louder. 


Now it's actually about cars and the economy

One of the earliest mainstream outlets to pick up on eSports as an actual industry certainly was Forbes. So it came as no surprise to see them cover the ordeal around Diretide in an accurate and analytic manner. The magazine, most prominently known for releasing their list of the richest people in the world, makes us hope for them to have more eSports related lists, such as "The Top 10 most passive-aggressive things gamers have done." Diretide would be sure to make that list. Another non-gaming outlet that took notice of the situation was GTspirit, making the movement transgress into the world of automobile journalism as well. Whether or not this was a sign of compassion or just a symptom of a slow news day is for you to decide.
 

Metacritic score drops harder than Roshan this Halloween

Metacritic has recently been in the crosshair within the gaming community for being used and abused by its users during failed launches as well as being the reason for game developers firing their employees based on said Metacritic scores. In a weird attempt at self-mutilation, the oh-so-famous vocal minority has taken to the Dota 2 page, dropping the user score in rarely seen amounts within just one day. Who would have thought the usually so eloquent, rational, knowledgeable and fair Metacritic user base could turn sour so quickly? What a surprise.
 

Let's get the government involvo'd

As the leader of a nation that has previously been giving honors to its eSports athletes, Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, was one of the first politicians to fall victim to the Diretide treatment. While the Facebook pages of a numerous others, such as Russian president Vladimir Putin, had to suffer, the one of Barack Obama has probably gained the most traction, even going so far as to create a petition asking to "Give DIRETIDE." At the point of writing, the petition has been signed by roughly 4000 people, only 996,000 short of the set goal.
 

Volvo responds

It all started with a short, humorous trip to the Volvo subreddit, /r/volvo, during which the influx of Dota 2 fans quickly created the most successful post in its history. The subreddit, however, was soon swarmed by copycats, trying to emulate the success of the inital post. After that followed prank calls to a Seattle Volvo retailer, asking for a Halloween themed "Doto." The highlight of Volvo's participation, though, happened during a raid of the car maker's official Facebook page, during which a quick-witted employee remarked that "[...] hats are great, but people want Diretide!" Last but not least, the Wikipedia entry of Carl-Henric Svanberg, Chairman of Volvo, was slightly altered, some would say vandalized, to read the same repeated plea: "Give DIRETIDE!"
 

D.T. Phone Home

One of the, if not the most distasteful consequence of the Diretide movement certainly were the calls to Matthew 'CyborgMatt' Bailey's home, including threats to visit him. While all the previous actions, warranted or unwarranted as they may be, took place on public forums, calling and releasing someone's phone number is petty and uncalled for at best. Especially when you consider that CyborgMatt is not actively involved in or responsible for the lack of Diretide. 
 

What now?

As juvenile as this outburst may be, the underlying reason can and should not be ignored. Valve's complete lack of communication during all of this leaves a mark on the company's once pristine image. Maybe it is time for them to reconsider their stance on hiring PR staff, instead of leaving it to personalities within the scene to trickle down information. Even if they release the most impressive content update in the next week, damage is already done that could have easily been avoided or at least diminished by a short statement. That said, it is sad to see valid criticism for a company to be this misguided and go this awry, even though it was blanketed in humor at first. The flash mob mentality displayed in this instance eventually suffered from its lack of a clear cut agenda, as the whole "Give DIRETIDE!" movement got out of hand quickly and found itself on a slippery slope that ultimately ended at CyborgMatt's phone. 

For better or for worse, I do feel that the collective attention span of the community will allow for this to blow over way too quickly. Whatever good may have come of this, such as the exposure of the game, it should always be attached with the awareness that boundaries were crossed and that certain actions are simply not permissible. I see the humor in some of what was done, and I understand that the community is often plagued and often inspired by its immaturity, so let's take this entire ordeal as a lesson to be learned and try to be more constructive with our outrage the next time.

 

The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not represent those of GosuGamers.net

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