If you followed the GamerGate controversy since it's inception, you've probably heard numerous times that the people who comprise GamerGate are 'losing', that they 'have lost', and have been 'soundly defeated'.
This is not true. GamerGate has helped to change how many of the big gaming media sites report on the industry.
Gaming Media Sites That Have Changed Their Ethics/Disclosure/Transparency Policies Since GamerGate Began:
4. PC Gamer
If some want to call that a record of defeat, well OK then!
There are several separate issues involved in GamerGate:
1. The sometimes super-close relationships between gaming industry people and the gaming media journalists who cover them.
In the area of product reviews this close relationship could cause problems. On top of being super-chummy with some of the people who's games they write about, journalists could also be compromised through favors and gifts bestowed upon them in exchange for favorable treatment.
It's understandable to a point that people who make and sell games and people who loved games so much they decided to make their living writing about them would have a lot of common ground and friendships would develop. But as the games industry grew over the past two decades into a multi-billion dollar industry, it became paramount that the gaming media journalists demonstrate their ethical independence from the people they write about. It became necessary they demonstrate their coverage of the industry on behalf of the consumers was strictly impartial and not granting favors to any friends they have in the business.
"What do I get if I report that your game doesn't suck?"
Gaming journalists who function as little more than public relations flacks for their friends in the game publishing business are like political reporters who become too enamored of a certain politician & start slanting their stories in the politicians favor while missing no opportunity to criticize his competitors for office. Such a journalist is misrepresenting the political race to his or her readers because personal preferences and lack of objectivity have corrupted the coverage.
"Holy crap, we paid SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS for *this*?!"
Too many times over the years gamers who trusted what they thought was an impartial review of a new game spent their hard earned money on what turned out to be a bad product. Gamers discovered they had been suckered by what was in fact a press release for a favored game developer written by a fan boy who had lost all objectivity due to a wave of free games and other products showered upon him/her by a gaming company looking for positive press for their upcoming releases.
"Good decision. Your 2 star game just became a 4 star.
Nice doing business with you."
GamerGate is a consumer revolt where the people who buy the games are demanding disclosure of every favor, every free gift, every friendship or prior working relationship a gaming journalist has with the subject of their stories.
After all, a political reporter who wrote a glowing puff piece about a politician without disclosing they had once worked on that person's staff would be reprimanded for an ethical lapse. Yet as GamerGate exploded on the scene, the idea that gaming journalists needed to be transparent and disclose prior relationships, friendships, and gifts from the companies & people they reported on was met with derision, laughter and even mockery. It was claimed there was no need for any such transparency.
That response smacked of fear and desperation.
2. Social Justice activists who see video games as a missionary field in dire need of their 'help'.
"Once we're done transforming the video game culture into something we can actually stoop to liking, the rest of you can thank us!"
The last few years gamers noticed a marked change in tone in the way many gaming journalists covered the industry. Coverage of video games began to become overtly political, as media reporters often began focusing on perceived racism, sexism and other faults that video games were supposedly rife with.
While there's certainly nothing wrong with a discussion of political themes in video games every now and then, it was noticed the discussion of such themes, as they cropped up more and more frequently, was pretty one sided and sounded a lot like advocacy.
Nobody ever got around to asking gamers if they wanted to start having long, protracted discussions in the media about short skirts and lack of minority characters in the video games they played.
Gamers got the distinct impression that those in the gaming media were preaching down at them and the more they signaled they weren't interested in this overt politicization of their medium, the more strident the preaching got.
As the controversy grew, gamers discovered there were advocates of using the gaming media to advance 'social justice', and these advocates weren't shy about calling for censorship of anybody who disagreed with their agenda. Now that the curtain was rolled back, it had become clear gaming media was being used as a platform - or a soapbox, to be more accurate - for pushing for certain radical feminist & progressive views.
After getting a taste of how these activists treated those who disagreed with their views once they were dragged into the open, gamers derisively labeled them 'Social Justice Warriors' or SJW's for short.
"I'm the only one allowed up here. I get to talk, you don't. So shut up."
Gamergate opened up a second front at that point, calling for the gaming media to divest itself of the SJW's that had infiltrated it & were using media to push for particular political points of view.
As GamerGate moved onward, it became clearer why there was such resistance from the start to adopting open and ethical transparency guidelines in gaming media. It was increasingly apparent that the SJW's preferred doing their important work behind the scenes, out of sight, working on and influencing a small handful of people in the gaming industry to provide them with a top-down soapbox from which to preach to the unwashed masses.
Now that the lights had been turned on and the curtain rolled back, SJW's realized this placed them in the position of having to actually debate their agenda with the audience, instead of talking down to it from a pulpit.
Since many of the radical and extremist feminist & racial views held by SJW's are complete bullshit, it quickly became apparent why they weren't interested in honestly convincing others to adopt their views. They much preferred simply being handed a position of authority behind the curtain & presenting their views unchallenged and without honest debate to an unsuspecting audience.
The first six months of Gamergate can be summed up thusly: SJW's who had been using gaming media from behind the scenes to advocate for their political positions unchallenged howling 'Ignore the man behind the curtain!'
It didn't work.
Gamergate is winning because it is successfully encouraging gaming media into adopting open and transparent ethical rules that solves both problems listed above. Gaming journalists will have to disclose their relationships & interactions with the gaming companies who's products they cover and critique, while at the same time the social justice advocates will now be forced to openly discuss their agenda and argue for it on a level playing field.