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Official Statement by the YetiZen CEO on the YetiZen IGDA GDC party
by Sana Choudary on 03/30/13 11:52:00 am   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutraís community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

At this point you have probably seen the press and highly critical social media coverage regarding alleged dancers at the YetiZen party. As the CEO of YetiZen, I wish to make the following statements.

The facts

Fact 1: The YetiZen party was held on Tuesday March 26 at Ruby Skye, a San Francisco nightclub. The next night Wednesday at the same club, a party was hosted by Wargaming. Wargaming is not affiliated or associated with YetiZen in any way. Please see erroneous post below.


Fact 2: The Press has published photos and statements of the two parties together making the YetiZen party appear sexually scandalous by association. Example Gamefront posts Wargaming party pictures on the same page as the YetiZen logo

Fact 3: Darius Kazemi stated that YetiZen was the IGDA sponsor second year in a row, despite that YetiZen has had no IGDA involvement prior to 2013. His statement was false and misleading. Darius also did not attend the YetiZen party this year.

Fact 4: All entertainment and related promotion was approved by the IGDA prior to the party. The approval email from the IGDA explicitly highlighted their approval on the matter of the models’ attire, and is attached below.


Fact 5: YetiZen did not hire dancers. We hired avid gamers, who happened to be models, to discuss gaming with the invited guests. The YetiZen team (myself, my co-founder, and our resident artist) were invited by the rappers, along with our gamer-models, to dance for a few minutes on stage.

Fact 6: After our party last year Brenda Romero personally called us and threatened to Personally call all of YetiZen’s mentors, advisors, and investors and tell them to quit their support of YetiZen. She did not attend the party last year or this year.

We are therefore understandably disappointed that a relaxed social occasion has been so misrepresented and misinterpreted.

I include below context on myself as well as YetiZen. I hope that understanding my journey to this point may demonstrate my commitment to making great games and providing equal opportunity to game creators of all genders.

So where am I coming from?
I am the founder and CEO of YetiZen. I’m also an immigrant from Kuwait and Pakistan, a female games industry executive, and an avid supporter of female success in all areas of business and life. I’m familiar with fighting for my voice to be heard.

I believe in freedom and equality, whether that’s gender, sexuality, age, culture, education, class, color, or creed.

I was born in Kuwait in 1984, a country rich in natural resources, but also racism and gender inequality. My family and I were on vacation in Pakistan when the Gulf War literally exploded, and within hours we became homeless and penniless. We had little choice but to stay in Pakistan for our safety. I do however use the word "safety" gingerly.

Pakistan is not famous for the liberation of its women, and my mother and I endured misogynist social attitudes and female censorship. Laws such as the 1979 Hudood Ordinances Law prevented many women from freely expressing themselves and left them unprotected.

As the Gulf War simmered down, my family decided to take their chances and move back to Kuwait in order to re-establish a better quality of life. However the inequality we had experienced all those years before had amplified, and my future prospects as an independant woman were bleak at best. Had I remained in Kuwait, I could never have written, expressed, or achieved all that I have today.

When I turned 17, my family decided to move once again, this time to the United States - the land of the free; the land of opportunity. My parents favored, encouraged, and fostered my hunger to learn and understand. They saw me not just as a young woman, but also as a capable human being who deserved an equal opportunity.

After learning about entrepreneurship from friends in California, I moved to San Francisco and quickly turned a series of consulting engagements into a thriving business that helped traditional game companies transition into social games.

Three years ago, my friend Japheth Dillman and I started our own movement - YetiZen. A movement built to help independent game developers remove the shackles of publishers and acqui-hires, learn the tools for commercial success, and actually make enough money to build a life for themselves and their families. YetiZen is based on the core belief that the people who make great games should not just survive but thrive.

So what is it that we do?

  • By day the YetiZen Innovation Lab provides free and open coplay to the game industry.
  • By evening YetiZen hosts over 150 major events a year.
  • The YetiZen accelerator program has personally supported thirty gaming startups go from post-product and traction companies to scalable game studios and platform businesses.
  • A hundred and fifty mentors work with YetiZen companies. They put in their blood, sweat and tears to guide our startups on distribution, monetization, business development, fundraising and operations.

While building a successful commercial brand, we have striven to remain true to our beliefs and our values as business people and human beings. We have a large community of positive and highly engaged game developers who validate, support, and endorse what we do, and how we do it.

I understand the challenges of being a woman in what has been a male dominated environment. I believe that most of us want to live in a world of equality. I also believe we are making progress towards that. The recent incident referred to above does nothing towards progressing this equality. The clarification of the purported issue could have been managed by a private phone call or email rather than the sensationalized media attack that it has become.

I’ve striven for years to get where I am, and for that I am truly proud. I strongly believe that we should do what we do best and commit ourselves to making the industry as a whole better for everyone.

We look forward to holding future networking events in which all game developers feel welcome.

To your success and peace.

Lots of love,
Sana Choudary
King of the Yetis


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Comments


Stephen Dinehart
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Well done Sana! It's nice to hear a Yetizen perspective. There was a similar storm of bad PR generated by the party at GDC last year. Knowing Yetizen, the stigma seems strange to me. The details listed here are insightful and I hope it serves to counter the negative spin many wish to put on the party and Yetizen.

So many seem eager to point the finger, I believe we developers could use a little introspection in this GDC inspired witch hunt.

Frank Cifaldi
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"We hired avid gamers, who happened to be models, to discuss gaming with the invited guests."

Yeah, I hate when this happens. You put out a Craig's List ad looking for people to talk to about video games, and a bunch of hot models show up at your door. Totally awkward.

Bret Dunham
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Or try this: Frank Cifaldi, Gamasutra News Director. Video game historian and archivist with gigantic pectoral muscles. <- Always awkward.

:P

Andy Wallace
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Yeah, that line makes the rest of the response pretty hard to take seriously.

Frank Cifaldi
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I hadn't realized it was even necessary to hire "avid gamers" to "discuss gaming with the invited guests" at a GDC party, especially an IGDA one. I guess if you put a bunch of game devs together in a room with a bar they don't talk about games enough, so you have to hire professionals to help.

Totally weird coincidence that they were models though. I mean, what are the odds??

Craig Stern
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Further coincidence: it just so happens that *all* of those video game-loving models were women! It's sad the way female models love video games so much more than male models do; a curse on the modeling industry, really. It makes one wonder: what can we do to get men to like video games more?

Andrew Vice
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You're right Frank, I'm glad someone in the industry is taking a stand against these fake geek girls, for a second there I thought people were gonna accept that anyone can be a gamer. Thank god we set the record straight. If you're a gamer chick, you're fuck ugly and work at a mcdonalds. :D

Morgan Ramsay
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That happens to me all the time, too, Frank! Gosh!

Jed Hubic
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Great post! One thing from this is that YetiZen is now a company on my radar and something I'll be keeping an eye on. Keep doing what you're doing (actually contributing to the games development industry, which is what I assumed GDC to be about).

nicholas ralabate
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Definitely! GDC seems a little trapped in the past with their quixotic "games as experiences" nonsense. While the IGF selections pursue their evolutionary dead-end of experiment in form and subject matter, at least we have people like Skillville actually contributing to the games development industry:

"The platform is a hybrid of a casual gaming portal and a casino website with social elements because players not only compete on individual casual games to win real cash and prizes but also get emotional rewards from the gamified meta layer on top of the portal."

http://yetizen.com/alumni/

Alejandro Rodriguez
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The likelihood of this getting the amount of circulation and consideration that the inciting incident did?

Sean Kiley
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So, this was a party with scantily clad women... planned by two women? Trying to attract male gamers I guess?

Jeff Rosenberg
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There sure was a lot of "discussing games" at that party. #stiltwalkersatonmyshoulder

lisette Titre
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I am impressed with Ms. Choudary's background, accomplishments, and position at Yetizen. It is obvious she is being thrown under the bus in some respects, however, I do feel she has missed the point. As a woman in game development, it is hard to have a good networking conversation when the gentlemen you are trying to network with is constantly distracted by the cocktail girls push up bra-ed tits on the drink tray, or the ass cheeks peaking out from under her boy shorts, or any matter of over displayed flesh. We are trying to be professionals here! Can we find other ways to entertain that don't reduce other women to game loving pieces of meat?

Frank Cifaldi
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Don't worry, it's ok! They're avid gamers!

Amanda Fitch
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Good summary, Lisette! Going to parties like these makes me uncomfortable, so I avoid them when possible. If I do get trapped at one, I put on a good face, joke about it, and try to get away as quickly as I can. I wouldn't feel as irritated if there was an attempt to have both male and female entertainment, but someone forgot to hire the men. (organizers, bring us some gladiators next year!)

Brandon Sheffield
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I agree - especially considering how as a vegetarian, I don't even *like* pieces of meat.

Frank Cifaldi
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Alienating men and women equally is NOT the solution to this problem! I don't want to see hired eye candy of any gender at any of these things damn it.

The simple, obvious solution is to not sex up a party put on by what is supposed to be the representative voice of all video game developers around the world. This isn't a gender issue at all, I don't think, it's a professionalism issue. If you represent all video game developers, you shouldn't INTENTIONALLY do things to make any of them feel uncomfortable or excluded.

Let individual companies make the decision to hire sexy entertainment if they want to. Whatever. I don't have to go to those parties, and that's their call. But to have the frigging IGDA throw a party that has underdressed women being paid to be looked at suggests to me that the IGDA feels that this is what the entire game development community wants. Which is wrong. And it's wrong at a really bad time to be wrong, between #1reasonwhy and the 40 Hottest Women in Tech and all the other garbage we've gone through recently.

Frank Cifaldi
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This is an organization that charges dues to its members. Game developers pay money to have this association represent their interests, and at what is probably their most heavily-attended event of the year, they show how out of touch they are with their community by partnering with a company that threw a controversial party last year involving topless women with their breasts painted.

Elisabeth Beinke-Schwartz
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I've found it very difficult to explain to people why this is a problem :(

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutraís Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Sam Coster
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"As a woman in game development, it is hard to have a good networking conversation when the gentlemen you are trying to network with is constantly distracted by the cocktail girls push up bra-ed tits"

While I agree with your final point here the above statement is indicative of a skewed view on male game developers' focusing capabilities in the presence of females. We are not tireless sexual fiends and are indeed capable of having conversations when butts are present.

Most of us, anyway.

Also am I the only one befuddled by how a dark, loud club atmosphere is a "professional networking" event?

Emppu Nurminen
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@Maciej It's not about how guys are feeling about it, everyone know how numbed people are about these things. The problem is that this is what the organizers thought when approving this type of thing in the first place (because why not half-naked guys too?). Don't be mad at messenger, be mad at those who think you are caveman idiot to begin with.

Gustav Droperd
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Here's a marginally NSFW picture illustrating what Frank is talking about. It's from the 2012 GDC event thrown by Yetizen. http://d3j5vwomefv46c.cloudfront.net/photos/large/533159264.jpg

Amanda Fitch
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Okay, NOW I understand why Brenda has been upset with YetiZen for over a year. Holy cow, Batman! Another YetiZen party had topless girls with YetiZen logos on their boobs. http://twitpic.com/8tfgbk

My last suggestion to have male models running around won't cut it anymore, I'm afraid they'll need to be completely nude for this to be a win/win situation. Darn it!

Dave Long
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Haha - for sure! Although we could even go one step further and try and take the whole sexualisation (either way) out of it - it's possible to have fun with gawking at whatever one finds attractive!

Steven Christian
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This removes any final shreds of credibility that they may have had.

Brian Linville
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If people are upset by this, they need to grow up. I didn't go to GDC this year, but I was at the YetiZen party last year and I remember all the idiots complaining about it then too--mostly by people not even in the VIP room where the models were, let alone at the party itself.

If people want to have their fun in a private VIP room, let them, and mind your own damn business. There's several other parties people could have gone to that were far less interesting. If you're mad the party wasn't this or that, then throw your own party.

Brandon Sheffield
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Interesting perspective! I feel like people who are not upset by this need to grow up. Staring at boobs doesn't really have much of a place in a professional environment, in my opinion, but that is just an indication of how "immature" I am.

Brian Linville
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It was a party in a sleazy night club known for having go-go dancers and SnM shows. A professional environment? Really? Again, don't like parties in nightclubs, no one forced you to go. There were half a dozen other GDC after parties that night.

Elisabeth Beinke-Schwartz
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@Brian The point here isn't that there was a club-style party going on, it was that it was an IGDA sponsored event...

Brian Linville
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@Elizabeth So? How is that remotely relevant to anything? At the end of the day, this was a party in a nightclub that no one forced you to go to.

Sherman Luong
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Is this the Official GDC party, or a private company party?

Frank Cifaldi
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This was NOT an official GDC party, but it was an official IGDA party, which is a problem.

I'm grossed out but not particularly angry if this happens at a company's personal party. If they want me to think of them that way, whatever. So be it. But to pull this at a party for what is supposed to be an inclusive nonprofit association representing all game developers is very, very wrong. This does not represent the interests of all game developers, and is therefore a statement saying that IGDA parties are only for certain kinds of developers.

Dave Long
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Well said Frank :).

Brian Linville
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It was a party at a club. You guys are seriously upset that a group of people have fun in a way that doesn't fit your vision of how people should enjoy themselves? Wow. Get a life. No seriously. Go get a life and stop worrying about what other people do.

Andrew Wallace
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No, it wasn't just a party at a club. It was an official event by the people who publicly represent the whole of the industry. Every thing they say and do reflects directly on every game developer worldwide- maybe you appreciate being depicted as someone who can't have a business meeting without there being strippers present, but I don't.

Joe Zachery
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Nothing to see or talk about here. I will care once the gaming industry start to care about having more minorities, and women involved at gaming companies. People with some money, and some fame had a party. With people who wouldn't be there if they didn't have those things. Seems about right to me.

Aaron San Filippo
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@Joe: the whole point of this thing is that if we are going to have more women involved at gaming companies, it's probably not a good idea for the organization whose stated purpose is to help further that goal to throw parties that are designed to exclude and objectify women.

Christopher J
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@Brian: Agreed!

@Joe: Super Agreed! Everyone keeps talking about women and gays and ignores the fact that its extremely difficult for African Americans to advance in this industry.

@Andy and Aaron: this is where the whole thing gets cloudy, group A sees this as an after party... Itís obvious to them what this was. Then we have group B who sees this as a Networking event.... and to them itís obvious what it was. Here lies the problem, 2 points a views coming from different cultural perspectives. Neither is right nor wrong... it simply "IS". A witch hunt inst necessary. Especially since nobody is perfect. We should all just learn from it and move on.

I also don't think anyone sat around and said "Letís throw a party that excludes and objectifies women"

Jonathan Lin
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@Christopher J: Sexism doesn't have to be a conscious decision to occur.

If the party was *meant* for everyone, but it ended up not being so, then there shouldn't be an issue with apologizing, learning and moving on. If the party wasn't meant to be for everyone, then it should be stated as such, and we move on.

Benjamin Quintero
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Models make a lot of money for standing there and looking pretty, more than most in the game industry. The good ones are flown in from around the world. They have the right to refuse the job if they dont like the outfit. Modeling or for-pay cosplay is a living. If you dont like the party leave and find one that suits you. If everyone did this then the host will take steps to make their party "cool" again. But if people are attending and staying then clearly there is an audience for it. Modeling is an honest business and frankly I think people are sharing some misguided anger over this. The solution is more simple than making an example of one event. Im sure we are bound to see a bunch of temp workers in long pants and turtlenecks next year as a result of this but you are simply trading one cliche for another, and they will still be as clueless as they are now about the product they are promoting. Nice job game industry. Way to fix the problem...

Frank Cifaldi
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Sorry Benjamin, where exactly did anyone say that modeling is wrong?

Elisabeth Beinke-Schwartz
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No one is slut-shaming the women who were hired for the event, just that they were hired in the first place...

R G
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@ Elizabeth and Frank

Though I've agreed with both of your comments in the above posts, you can't say that the underlying tone of this is "OFFICIAL IDGA SPONSORED PARTY WITH GAMER SLUTS". If the girls weren't being slut-shamed, then the "just that they were hired int he first place" wouldn't need to be said.

Also...

>2013
>throwing money at yet another company to represent YOUR interests
>not doing the things you want and progressing the industry in the way you can

Just saying.

Jacob Germany
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Yeah, there's definitely slut-shaming going on. Maybe not by every voice speaking out against something, but there's slut-shaming happening.

Kris Graft
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It's important to note that in a VentureBeat article I read earlier, Brenda made very clear that she was not out to "destroy" Yetizen, and her real beef (rightfully, IMO) was with the IGDA:

Romero said: "Note that in the year since, I have done nothing which would even suggest that statement ó about destroying YetiZen ó is true. In my statement noting my resignation from the IGDA, I said nothing about Yetizen. It is the IGDA who, in my mind, violated their code of conduct. My issue was with the IGDA and the IGDA alone." (http://venturebeat.com/2013/03/30/yetizen-explains-hiring-of-game
r-models-not-dancers-for-its-gdc-party/)

Point is, I really don't think Brenda is on some multi-GDC crusade against Yetizen, and I think that's an important fact to note!

jin choung
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wait what... ? why does the chick that worked on the playboy game want to destroy this chick?

Damien Ivan
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Der! No one's mentioned the obvious fact that this all happened at Ruby Skye! Of course everything went to shit! That place sucks! lol

Matthew Calderaz
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While I can understand the sentiment that hired models at a professional mixer is uncomfortable for many folks; I think that argument is undermined heavily by the choice of venue to begin with.

We're talking about Ruby Skye here, this club is pretty much synonymous with Go Go dancers and scantily clad entertainers.
Just check the event photos: http://www.rubyskye.com/
http://www.facebook.com/GoGoProSf

While the paid models are regrettable, if IGDC had really wanted a 'professional' environment for networking they should have chosen one of the many 'less trendy' hotels downtown.

The choice of venue to me implies less professional and more party. Perhaps the expectations weren't set appropriately?

Rodolfo Camarena
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I threw an event once. Great turnout! However it did have its flaws. (Gaming Tournament) We were short on equipment (provided by another Organizer/Director we've partnered with before), the heater was busted at the venue, and poorly staffed.

Regardless of the outcome and what was said (positive/negative comments) I ACCEPTED ALL responsibility and faults because it was an event put together by me. Other following events usually gets associated with the one held, but that's life. It happens to everyone, but you got to learn to move on from it and plan better next time.

So... make sure to hire dudes from Chipendolls or Thunder from Downunder alongside 'female models'. If you want to have models, cool, but you can't make it a double standard. I'd rather see cosplayers than models at an event.

On another note, good read!

Brian Linville
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I'm amazed at how some people even get out of bed. It's like people live their whole lives in the pursuit of trying to be offended by something. Granted, all the backlash over last year's party was a lot more severe than this year. I think people aren't as shocked two years in a row.

But those of you that want to feel self righteous, keep one thing in mind, YetiZen throws parties like this to get people talking about them. Without you, there would be a lot less people that would even know who they were, what they do, or where to look to find out more. So those of you that want to rant on and on about this are doing exactly what YetiZen paid those models for.

Cordero W
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Does this mean we can go back to talking about video games now?

Jed Hubic
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That would require doing work.

Christopher J
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In all honesty this whole argument seems hypocritical. Someone threw a party at a hip hop night club and a whole bunch of people who donít normally go to events like this werenít really into it. The thing is some people get offended by certain things and others donít. Itís always been that way and will always be that way. This happens any time you have people from different cultures coming together.

If the game industry is to be all inclusive and diverse youíve got to understand that not every one making a decision is coming from the same cultural back ground as YOU. Not everyone gets offended by the same things nor do we all have the same tastes. For example, had this event been held in Brazil or the Caribbean, would it have even been an issue considering their cultural openness to sexuality? Who are we to say what they are doing is wrong. On top of that, there was no crime committed here. Everyone one from the women who were there ďdressed inappropriatelyĒ, to the game developer expecting a casual professional mixer, was there by choice with their own expectations.

Again this doesnít seem to be about cultural inclusion yet more about cultural exclusion, more about finger pointing and preaching and less about solutions going forward.

What I am saying is that, when preaching inclusiveness you canít pick and choose otherwise youíre being exclusive and a hypocrite.

I think this whole issue is a simple culture clash with bad timing that was sadly blown WAAAAAAAAAAAAY out of proportion.

Brian Linville
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I think you're smarter than most the people posting here.

Duong Nguyen
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Why would you threaten to "destroy" anyone over this? I don't understand.. What kind of crazyness going on over there.. some sort of weird power struggle in IGDA land and this is some convenient scapegoat?

Jen Hamilton
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I have a question for everyone. How do you think developers would react over "hired male gamers" that just happen to be models, and pranced around in provocative outfits? Feedback would be fantastic.

Frank Cifaldi
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I would react negatively to anyone being hired at a GDC party to talk to me about video games when there are plenty of people all around who are doing it for free, and I'd be doubly offended if they were there to be ogled at under the false pretense that they're there to, what, promote intelligent discourse?

Aaron San Filippo
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@Christian: I dare say, you're missing the point. There are plenty of parties held with all kinds of shenanigans going on, and nobody's said this is a problem, per se.

The problem here is that the IGDA, an organization whose stated purpose is to represent the interests of all game developers, chose to host the biggest get together of the year for its members, at a venue which was offensive and exclusive to many of its members. This is an organization that many in the industry have looked to as a binding force and a representation of us as an industry to the outside world, and this is not what its members expect or deserve.

Frank Cifaldi
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I don't think there was an invitation from Joe Biden for IGDA to turn down...

Brian Linville
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I'm not into dudes. If I saw some prancing around, I just wouldn't look at them. My life would go on.

Jed Hubic
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If I were in a night club / social party mixer I wouldn't care. I would likely be to busy talking to other developers to really notice though. It wouldn't be worse than anything else that seems to cross my vision every day I leave my house and go out into the world. My feelings on this though, not trying to make a societal statement.

jin choung
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that's what i think created the furor... they SHOULD have had male strippers as well as female strippers.

then the issue would be completely de-fanged in terms of the "women in the industry" angle.

it would become a "puritanical prudery" issue but that's a better fight to fight anyway.

Brian Linville
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Just curious. How many people here are mad that a party happened where people were having fun "wrong"?

How many people here are mad because, if males in the gaming industry see a boob or two, that means they will somehow no longer value women in the industry or take them seriously?

How many people here are mad that this was an IGDA event and feel as though the IGDA should have a no boob policy for all their events?

How many people are mad because this was the first time you've seen a scantily clad woman in real life and it terrified you deeply?

How many people were mad because they thought the were going to a networking event and when they went inside and saw it wasn't really what they wanted, heard a rumor that the zombie apocalypse just started and they couldn't leave to go to another party until the military could clear the streets of zombies?

Emppu Nurminen
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The problem is that you consider it fun, while majority of people, who aren't attracted by women, can't find it fun. More of irritating for pandering certain people, feeling annoyed of their sexual desires being questioned by this action or just couldn't find it suitable to have sexual environment in professional setting. But they rarely do have anything against the half-naked women or wanting to bring down the industry of their industry. The problem is however, is that the same industry why IGDA exists? I doubt that.
If IGDA want to be equal, they could get some hunky guys in jockstraps prancing around, but then straight dudebros would come crying "Is no FUN!" despite trying to appear so secure about their sexuality.

Brian Linville
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That was pure nonsense.

Brian Linville
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I hit refresh 5 hours later, and it reposted what I last said. Hmm.

R G
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To all the people going "Why don't you just leave?"

To simplify the dilemna, here it is:

People pay the IGDA to represent them. The industry, or many developers at least, don't want to be seen as people needing go go dancers and strip clubs to have a professional conversation. It's not about going to the event. It's not about the T&A, because any male that complains about that is also lying. It's about how that kind of stuff doesn't belong in a professional setting.

Really not that hard.

Brian Linville
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Some of us in the IGDA are not prudes. Or do we not count?

Brian Linville
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One more reply here because I find your comments especially silly. You pay for the IGDA to represent you. Therefore, if they sponsor an event that doesn't represent you, then what? You feel cheated? If it represents other people because the IGDA has a lot of users world wide then screw them, because you, and the other members of the vocal minority are more important. After all, you care about all things proper and the rest of us deviants don't matter.

Now according to you, many developers don't want to be seen as people needing to go to strip clubs. I'm sure I'm not the only one that laughed when I read that. I mean, seriously? I can't tell you how many times I've told people I was a gamer and they responded with, "Oh, so you go to a lot of strip clubs, huh?" because that's totally the gamer stereotype.... rrrrriiight....

I'm far more concerned about the "lives in mom's basement, speaking Klingon fluently, and socially awkward around other people, especially of the opposite gender" stereotype.

YetiZen held the same type of party last year at the same sleazy nightclub. Referring to it as a "professional setting" is laughable.

I know I'm beating a dead horse here. But I have to admit that I'm transfixed by the idea that people are genuinely bothered by something so inane.

Jane Castle
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I would take the time to comment, but I am currently looking over concept art of women models with ridiculously proportioned figures for our next game....

Jess Groennebech
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I would just like to say that through the last 20 years as a male gamer, I have been forced to play/identify with men with ridiculously large muscular bodies and I cry at night knowing that I will never be the man that Duke, Masterchief or Marcus is. /Sarcasm off

I will not be the man featured in the old spice commercials either (I'm not black) but I can smell like him, the commercials with the goodlooking guy told me so.

I will not be the emotionless jackass from the ->female oriented<- romance books either nor will I be the mindreader that can predict your thoughts 14 years ahead and say the right thing at the right time.

I, a male, is being stereotyped just as much as you, not less, not more but precisely the same amount as you in every sort of fiction that you can imagine since every time there is a strong women there is an equally weak male and more importantly VICE VERSA.

That being said, there may be less games on the market that appeals to women then men, that's called a business opportunity in my world which you and the rest of your gender is in a fantastic position to take advantage of since you know your target audience a hell of alot better then all us "discriminating" males.

Now do something constructive.

Jess Groennebech
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It's not about how _I_ fit in but how Jane is suggesting that the concepts for her fictive female character is changed to suit more real women based on the idea that it is somehow hard to differentiate from the visuals.

For some reason Jane is encouraging that we take special considerations for female characters yet dosen't mention the exact same problems with male characters. Why is that?

Your Reply says "Because women have their own culture" and that's cool, I allready replied to that by encouraging Jane to take up arms and focus on her newfound unexploited target audience. The world is literally completely open for that.

But my question still stand -> Why is Jane encouraging _special_ considerations for female characters? I know the answer to that question but I would like people to think about it.

Joshua Dallman
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This is total PR spin and it's sad to hear it coming from a woman and using her cultural background as a Kuwaiti to defend her actions. The game industry is very male. It's also very white. Imagine if the GDC/YetiZen party had scantily clad dancers of both genders, but all the dancers were black. That would be racist as fuck, and any black developer attending that party would, if they had a shred of dignity, leave and have nothing to do with such vile insult again. If the party had exploited people based on the physical attribute of race it would clearly be racism - but exploitation based on the physical attribute of gender is just "a relaxed social occasion that has been so misrepresented and misinterpreted." Fuck that double standard. Women will be welcomed into the industry when the biggest party our industry throws stops treating it like a boozing boys party and more like a serious industry exploration. I don't want human eye candy at GDC parties - I want industry contacts and intellectuals. Not the types attracted to parties that need scantily clad models to be an interesting place to congregate in the first place. GDC, YetiZen, event organizers: apologize and do it better, pride is a pain and all I see is pride in this post when it should be nothing but apologetic. Way off mark.

Brian Linville
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If I had to live my life looking at the world through the same prism as you do, I would be incredibly depressed all the time.

Timothy Barton
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While I don't think I share quite the same "enthusiasm" for the topic as you, your first sentence nails my thoughts exactly. Regardless of what I think of the part, this "response" is mostly irrelevant to what happened. Over half of it seems to be mostly unrelated sympathy gathering, followed by a bit of a sales pitch at the very end. Clever and probably effective (because it isn't 'correct' to criticize these kinds of things), but almost completely irrelevant to the topic.

Christopher J
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Itís not about what you want; itís not about what I want. Itís about options that reflect the diversity of the country and of the industry. And your right, if I had walked into a night club filled with cowboys playing country music and a whole bunch scantily clad black folks as hostesses there by choice, I would have been offended, asked for my money back and went to a different event. But if I would have walked into a night club playing Jay-Z with a bunch of hipsterís break dancing, people in VIP ďpopping bottlesĒ and a bunch of scantily clad black folks walking around. I would say that this reminds me of every other hip hop night club across the nation on any given weekend, I dig the music and Iíll try to make the best off it. And if I had gotten annoyed with the half naked people walking around, Iíd ask for a refund and go to a different event.

I can think of better more positive ways to spend my time and energy then getting all fired up for a pointless witch hunt caused by a simple culture clash. But I think thatís because of the culture influences that have shaped me.

Itís really all about expectations, choice and preference. As long as no laws are broken things are fine. As a game developer, I for one am glad that there were different types of after hours events to go to for GDC, even if I donít attend any of them. It s shows that the game industry really is becoming diverse.

BUT the fact that so many refuse to see that this as a simple case of culture clash, shows that the industry still has a long way to go in terms of being fully inclusive and diverse. And I get the issue with the IGDA, but I think learning and moving forward is more productive then prosecution and righteousness.

Jacek Wesolowski
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The signal to noise ratio in this discussion is terrible, and I have a feeling it's going to only antagonize lots of people on both "sides". For instance, in my social circle, this issue has managed to undo about a year's worth of my effort in raising awareness of gender-related issues.

I don't think having good-loking women in revealing costumes at a party is wrong. It's juvenile, but it's not wrong. In the same manner, a yaoi party would not be wrong. It would be a juvenile idea for a social meeting of professionals, but it wouldn't be wrong.

Frankly, I would like IGDA to not engage in these kinds of events mostly because I would like it to foster maturity.

All of us are occasionally "sexual objects", hopefully. It's an aspect of who we are. It's not wrong to be attracted or intentionally attractive, particularly in such a non-committal context as a late night party (unless this was a whole different kind of "party", which I'm sure it wasn't). The problem starts when we begin to see someone as nothing but a "sexual object"; however, a party is typically not an instance of such problem, because at a party people appear in a variety of predetermined social roles. The role of a host is different from that of a guest. Consider a (usually male) bouncer at the entrance - you may see him as nothing but someone's tool of enforcement, typically reduced to brute force, but that doesn't mean this is all that men are to you. This is just a role that this person has assumed in a given context. Also note whow social norms regulate and limit interactions between guests and non-guests at parties so that specialised roles of the latter cannot be exploited.

This is more or less why this entire discussion strikes me as superficial. I think the actual problem with sexism runs a little deeper, and I'm worried that we have trouble seeing it because we're too busy yelling at each other.

I did mention yaoi for a reason. Most people I know find it ridiculous and sort of eww. I know women who are fans, but they are often ashamed to admit it due to peer pressure, mostly from male colleagues. Apparently, eroticism for men if just fine, but eroticism for women isn't. Parties with booth babes as hosts come naturally to us, but no one in their right mind would even think of throwing a yaoi party as a GDC-accompanying event.

That's sexism.

There are typically two straightforward solutions to this. When a guest at your party is allergic to nuts, you either serve a variety of snacks as an alternative to nuts, or you don't serve nuts. We don't quite have the former option in our context; for instance, yaoi is a niche phenomenon. This is why I think we should try and make do without booth babes and entertain ourselves in ways that come naturally to both women and men. It's not impossible; I mean, we all drink and listen to music, right? We all watch movies. We all play games, for pity's sake. We can have fun in so many ways, so let's choose something we can enjoy together. Think of it as a bonding experience.

Alena Saunders
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We have been creating super sexy female characters in skimpy outfits for decades, many of us made/are making a living out of it. Miss Brenda built a big chunk of her career on the most sexiest brand of all. So I guess following her footsteps, YetiZen needs to write a book and call this party "a learning experience" and "collecting information process".
These models were nothing more than the characters. So we can create them, but too ashamed/uncomfortable to look at them? Yes, probably not everyone here are/were involved in creating such games, but how many have played them and pretty much ignored the visuals just coz we are so used to them? Would anyone complained if Mario would have showed up at the party? Except Mario has nothing to do with the night club theme. Models do. And yes, there are multiple games set in a night club.
So how is that being inside one of the games we've created over and over? Thank you, YetiZen for showing us that. Maybe now we will think harder when characters are created and there will be less "hotty blondes/brunettes/red heads/..."

Jacob Germany
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So, best I can gather, it seems the real problem isn't the "scantily-clad" or the "women" parts, but the party itself, right? Because most people seem to say that hired male models would be just as offensive, right? So it has less to do with the content, and more to do with a developer's association hosting parties, instead of networking events. (Except, I think these parties gather much less controversy when they're definitely not networking events but lack catalysts like dancers and models)

So this is all a contrast of perspectives between two groups who disagree on the nature of professional associations and the events they host, whether they should be all about business or whether they can host "fun" events, too. With that in mind, there's reasonable assumptions on both sides of the issue.

The only problem with this conclusion I'm reaching is that I'm guessing that these parties aren't new or infrequent, yet the controversies are. So, I'm having a bit of trouble reconciling that.

Zeb Ansari
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As someone who shares some of Ms. Choudary's background and trying to keep a sense of humour about it, I find this quite a bit of picking on her and YetiZen. Just the comparison to the Wargaming party and the fact that that party and many, many other "Booth Babe" incidences are not made so much about make me very, very uneasy. Where IS the coverage of that party? Why isn't there this kind of noise about Booth Babes, so increasingly seen at Tech Industry events generally?

I can understand someone in an industry so testosterone-heavy to finally snap and say enough is enough--but with a background that includes the Playboy Mansion game, I would have thought some compassion, some empathy, might have been in order.

And in closing, I do feel that dismissing someone's background is, well, problematic at the least.


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