GAMA Cancels Origins Online
Today has been a rocky road for the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Earlier today, numerous participants announced they wouldn’t be participating with Origins Online or Origins TV due GAMA’s silence on current issues. There had been no statement that Black Lives Matter. This lead to an emergency meeting of the board where it was decided that Origins Online would be canceled.
In the statement the organization does declare that Black Lives Matter and condemns racism. They also admit they were late to make this statement and weren’t proactive enough or effective with their voices.
The organization also said they couldn’t responsibly hold the virtual convention “in this setting” which has been met with mixed reactions as some have taken it to blame the current protests.
The organization also announced that it would match donations from exhibitors, sponsors, advertisers, or vendors who donate the amount they are owed from the convention to a list of organizations. The organization board sees that as a step in the Association’s “journey.”
Reactions to the decision have been mixed online with some see the statement as blaming protests while others are concerned about lost revenue and opportunities for game publishers and creators. What’s clear is there’s no mention or acknowledgement of those who stood up for what’s right to hold the organization accountable and putting their careers, and themselves, in jeopardy. Others feel that this is a final stumble for the current organization with discussion on starting a new association or a clean slate for the board.
Overall, the lack of a timely statement is an example of systemic racism that’s ingrained in organizations and companies. An organization and people in a position of power kept silent instead of supporting a just cause and its members. This is a first step and somewhat of an acknowledgement of their failure. We’ll see where the Association goes from here to get to the root cause of its silence and find a better, more inclusive and representative, direction going forward.
You can read GAMA’s full statement below.
From the GAMA Board of Directors:
To Our Community:
The Game Manufacturers Association believes that Black Lives Matter. We unequivocally condemn racism and violence against people of color. We have been too late in making that statement with force, and we apologize. The injustices of today demand that every person of good conscience make clear where they stand and we wish we had been more proactive, more strident, and more effective with our voices. Innocent people of color are being killed in the streets of the communities where we live, and it is not acceptable.
We cannot responsibly hold our virtual convention, Origins Online, in this setting. Even if it were possible to hold it, it would not be appropriate to do so. So, we are announcing here that Origins Online is cancelled.
The Board must voice its loud thanks to those who worked enormously hard to assemble Origins Online in a completely inadequate window of time. GAMA’s staff worked miracles, publishers hurried to learn new tools, fans took a chance to buy tickets. We could not be more grateful for their efforts, which we see and will not forget.
Every exhibitor, sponsor, and advertiser will be offered a full refund, as will every gamer who purchased a badge.
GAMA will match, dollar for dollar, any exhibitor, sponsor, advertiser, or vendor who donates the amounts they are owed for Origins Online to one of the organizations listed below. It is difficult to predict how many will take this opportunity, but the potential exists for the matched amounts to exceed $100,000, which we wholeheartedly hope will happen. The Board sees this as the next step, but not the final step, in the Association’s journey.
* Black Lives Matter Global Network
* Black Trans Advocacy Coalition
* Columbus Freedom Fund
* The Community Justice Exchange
* The Innocence Project
Further details will be sent to these companies by email in the coming days.
The Board thanks every person whose voice reached us in recent hours and days. It is hard, we know, for those voices to speak when they have so much at stake. We are grateful for your persistence, eloquence, and will.
GAMA’s vision statement is “A game on every table, a table for every gamer.” We commit to working toward that day.
GAMA’s Board of Directors, and Retail Division Board
The Game Manufacturers Association is a non-profit trade organization focused on the hobby games industry. It’s open to more than manufacturers including media/communication, retailers, hobbyists, publishers, and distributors. And, in full disclosure, we’re a member.