Easy Mode Gets Easier in Upcoming XCOM: Enemy Unknown Update

November 2, 2012 -

Apparently some XCOM: Enemy Unknown players have declared to 2K Games' Firaxis that easy mode isn't all that easy and that they wouldn't mind something done about it. Firaxis has listened to the community (as detailed in this forum thread) and plans to tone things down a bit with a second patch - release date to be determined.

Besides making the game a lot easier in easy mode across all platforms, the patch will deal with a number of other issues that have cropped up:

7 comments | Read more

Take-Two: Quarterly Sales Doubled, Still Posted a Loss

October 31, 2012 -

Take-Two Interactive today released its earnings report for the three months ended September 30, posting booming revenues for the quarter, but warning that it would fall drastically short of its full year projections. It posted net revenues of $273.1 million, up from $107 million from the same period a year ago. During that same period a year ago Civilization V: Game of the Year Edition helped drive the company's revenues.

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Take-Two Postpones Q2 Results, Reveals GTA V Release Window

October 30, 2012 -

Today publisher Take-Two announced that it would delay releasing its second quarter earnings report for the fiscal year 2013 and conference call due to the "catastrophic weather conditions in the regions of its corporate headquarters." New York City is currently suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which caused widespread flooding, power outages, and a closure of most means of transportation in and out of town.

4 comments | Read more

Curt Schilling Says Copernicus 'Wasn't Fun' and Details an Alleged Take-Two Publishing Deal

July 24, 2012 -

A nine-page article in Boston Magazine takes an in-depth look at why former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's company 38 Studios failed and offers the first glimpse inside that company's studio structure, the dysfunction of management, Schilling's opinion on the Kingdoms of Amalur MMO Copernicus, and details on a publishing deal that Schilling claims was almost finalized.

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Take-Two Stock Declines on BioShock Infinite Delay News

May 9, 2012 -

Take-Two Interactive revealed that BioShock Infinite would not be released until early 2013. The game was scheduled for release in October of this year. Irrational Games' Ken Levine said that the extra time would be used to "make Infinite into something even more extraordinary." While fans of the series were disappointed by the news, Take-Two investors took it particularly hard; Take-Two's stock fell 5.7 percent to $12.64 by 12:30 pm after falling to $12.51 earlier in the day. The drop was the lowest intraday price for the stock since Oct. 5 of 2011.

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Take-Two CEO: THQ Won't be Around in Six Months

April 10, 2012 -

Update: Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick has issued a short statement to Game Informer apologizing for his comments about THQ:

"While discussing our strategy I spoke out of turn about someone else’s. It was inappropriate and I regret it."

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2K Marin Australia Layoffs Rumored

October 20, 2011 -

Another day, another story about game developer layoffs in Australia. This time it's at the 2K Marin studio in New South Wales. According to a Kotaku report, citing asource who wished to remain anonymous, 15 employees have been laid off from the studio formerly known as 2K Canberra. 2K Marin co-developed BioShock 2, and is reportedly involved in developing a new X-Com project.

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Red Dead DLC Was Released to Slow Used Game Sales

September 15, 2011 -

Here's something you don't want to hear from developers: we didn't make DLC to give fans new content, we did it to combat used game sales. I'm paraphrasing, but that's sort of what a top Take-Two Interactive executive told a gathering at ThinkEquity's 8th Annual Growth Conference in New York City earlier this week. Concerning the first batch of downloadable content released for its hit game Red Dead Redemption, he said:

18 comments | Read more

Layoffs Hit Two 2K Czech Studios

September 1, 2011 -

2K Czech has laid off more than 40 staff, according to a Develop report. The layoffs occurred at two studios operating under the 2K Czech brand. One group, based in Brno, has lost up to 40 developers, sources inside the company have told Develop. The other studio in Prague has laid off around 10 employees, according to insiders. Both studios employ around 200.

2K Games tells Develop that the layoffs do not mean that the company is changing the focus of the 2K Czech studio.

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Take-Two Wants to Use Social Gaming to 'Build Bridges' to AAA Franchises

July 22, 2011 -

Is the Grand Theft Auto franchise heading to Facebook and other social networks? Probably at some point, along with Take-Two's other high profile franchises, but at this point the company is dipping its toes into the waters. Speaking to IndustryGamers, Take-Two COO Karl Slatoff says that the recent launch of Civilization World on Facebook is the beginning of a larger strategy that will ultimately see social and traditional game spaces converging ever so slightly.

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2K Games President Inserts Foot In Mouth

July 13, 2011 -

A new interview with 2K President Christoph Hartmann over on MCV makes the top executive at the Take-Two label look a little foolish - not that it's MCV's fault. In that interview Hartmann degrades strategy games and Ray Charles among other things. His comments come about as part of a discussion on X-Com, the popular strategy games series that the company is reimagining as a strategy-themed shooter. Here's the first quote, about 90's strategy games:

"The ‘90s generation of gamers all love Xcom and we own the IP, so we thought OK, what do we do with it? Every studio we had wanted to do it and each one had its own spin on it. But the problem was that turn-based strategy games were no longer the hottest thing on planet Earth. But this is not just a commercial thing – strategy games are just not contemporary."

6 comments | Read more

No Shortage of Opinions on Brown v. EMA Decision

June 30, 2011 -

Hey GPers!  Up for some opinions on the recent Supreme Court decision that gave Leland Yee’s violent video game law the Kuribo Boot?

17 comments | Read more

L.A. Noire Banned in UAE

May 21, 2011 -

United Arab Emirates retail chain Geekay Games updated its Facebook page today with sad, if unsurprising news:

Unfortunate news, L.A. Noire has been banned. Sorry guys :(

Bummer.  The UAE’s National Media Council (NMC) did not reveal why it banned the game and so far, Rockstar has not commented on the situation.

Speculation has it that The Witcher 2 and Duke Nukem Forever will be the next titles to receive a wallop from the NMC banhammer.

Source: Middle East Gamers via Cheater87

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

2 comments

Cypress Hill Singer Sues Rockstar/Take-Two Over 6-Year-Old Game

December 15, 2010 -

Would you believe yet another musician is suing a game developer/publisher?

Joining the ranks of No Doubt, Courtney Love and most recently, Axl Rose, Michael “Shagg” Washington, backup singer of rap group Cypress Hill, has filed suit against Rockstar Games and Take-Two.  He alleges that the main character of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was created using his image and life story.

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Take-Two Chairman Talks Digital Distribution, MLB License

December 2, 2010 -

Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick does not see a future where digital distribution surpasses big box retail. Speaking to Reuters the chairman and soon-to-be-CEO of the company said that the biggest opportunities for his company would continue to be at traditional retail. He also argued that the transition to digital distribution based on share would be gradual - growing from the current 10 percent share of the market to 25 - 30 "over time."

"I still think in five years the packaged goods business will dominate. It's kind of irrelevant to us, Zelnick told Reuters. "..basically the same gross margin, basically the same risk."

"We don't have any structural impediment to being profitable in a given year," he said.

He also told Reuters that his company is no longer so dependant on the Grand Theft Auto series as its only source of income.

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Take-Two Shuffles Upper Management

November 2, 2010 -

While we wait with bated breath for Pete’s Supreme Court coverage, let’s hop in the wayback machine and revisit the good times of GP’s early days.

Remember, years ago, when GamePolitics was all over any news concerning GTA series publisher Take-Two’s upper management.  Yes, if Paul Eibeler or Strauss Zelnick so much as blew their noses, boy howdy, we were there to report it.

Well, some of you may be interested to know that Take-Two Executive Chairman Strauss Zelnick will be adding the role of Chief Executive Officer to his resume as current CEO Ben Feder will be stepping down on January 1, 2011.  Said Feder:

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Mafia 2 Producer Apologies for Gay Space Marine Comment

September 23, 2010 -

While being interviewed by MTV’s Multiplayer blog last week, Mafia 2 Senior Producer Denby Grace was asked what he felt was the biggest problem current games suffer from. His answer was, “An obsession with gay space marines.”

This comment did nothing to endear Grace or 2K Games to a GayGamer columnist, operating under the moniker Wootini, who wrote about the comment:

I wasn't planning on buying Mafia 2, mostly because I'm over that whole sandbox crime drama genre, and also because I was more than underwhelmed when I demoed it at Pax East back in March. But now I wouldn't play it if you gave me a free copy. Why do people think talking like this is okay? What is wrong with people?

31 comments | Read more

No Mafia II for UAE

September 7, 2010 -

The United Arab Emirates’ National Media Council has banned the release of Take-Two Interactive’s Mafia II videogame in that country.

Nitin Mathew, of the Dubai-based distribution firm Red Entertainment Distribution, told Arabian Business that the game was banned because of its “excessive violence and nudity.”

Mafia II was going to be released at the end of August, but now it will share the same fate as its predecessor Mafia, which was also banished from the UAE. Other recent games outlawed in the UAE include Heavy Rain, Dante’s Inferno (which wasn’t even submitted to censors), Darksiders, God of War and Grand Theft Auto IV.

3 comments | Read more

Take-Two Loses BioShock Domain Name Fight

August 25, 2010 -

Take-Two Interactive fought the good fight but failed to prevail in a lawsuit against a company that specializes in domain squatting - the practice of buying up and sitting on domains for potentially popular products. A company called NA Media grabbed the domain name in early 2004 after word slipped out that BioShock was in the works at Irrational Games. Unfortunately for Take-Two, the company hadn't trademarked "BioShock" before NA Media registered "www.bioshock.com."

That had a profound impact on Take-Two's court case, according to Gamer/Law, which reported today that the company had lost in court. The simple fact that Take-Two hadn't managed to register the trademarks at the time of the URL's registration really weakened the publisher's case, but Name Administration also argued in court that Bioshock had other meanings separate from Take-Two's business - even citing interest from Johnson & Johnson to use it for some odd line of skincare products.

3 comments | Read more

Italian American Group Slams Mafia II

August 18, 2010 -

Italian American organization UNICO National is not happy with Take-Two Interactive (or rather, Illusion Softworks') portrayal of Italians in Mafia II, according to Gamasutra. Although UNICO president Andre DiMino hasn't actually played the game (it comes out August 24) he still finds the game's portrayal of Italian Americans reprehensible, calling it a "pile of racist nonsense."

DiMino apparently wrote a strongly worded letter to Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick asking for a meeting and informing him that he found offensive the way Mafia II delivers a "denigrating stereotype of organized crime being the exclusive domain of Italians and Italian-Americans." Of course, as I mentioned earlier, he hasn't actually played the game.

Here's a bit more from DiMino:

27 comments | Read more

Take-Two, Apogee Settle Duke Suit

June 15, 2010 -

Take-Two Interactive and Apogee Software have dismissed lawsuits against each other over the long in development Duke Nukem Forever.

Attorneys for Apogee signed the document on May 18 of this year (thanks ShackNews), while Take-Two’s law firm affixed its signature on May 28. The document stipulates that plaintiff Take-Two, counterclaim-defendant 2K Games and counterclaim plaintiff Apogee agreed to dismiss with prejudice all claims within per a May 14, 2010 agreement. Each party will pay for its own costs of the litigation.

The lawsuits erupted following developer 3D Realms letting go its staff in May of 2009, which Take-Two took as indicating that the game they had partially funded since 1998 was no longer in development. The 3D Realms and Apogee countersuit claimed that, despite a full roster of employees, the game was still in the works.

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Judge: Lawsuit Against ex-Take2 Execs Can Move Forward

April 1, 2010 -

A lawsuit that alleges ex-executives of Take-Two Interactive Software illegally backdated stock options has been given the go-ahead to continue by a Manhattan federal judge.

Originally brought by Take-Two shareholders, Reuters reports that the suit targets former CEOs Ryan Brant and Kelly Sumner, along with ex-CFOs Larry Muller and James David with securities fraud based on options awarded after July 12, 2001. While U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain did dismiss an undetermined amount of claims because of their age, she ruled that it was inappropriate to dismiss the post-July 2001 claims because it was “far from clear” if they were brought too late.

The process of backdating stock options was described as involving “retroactive grants of stock options as of dates when stock prices are low, making the options more valuable.”

4 comments | Read more

One Solution for DRM-Free Games: Wait

March 16, 2010 -

As DRM technology becomes more invasive, an article on CNET takes a look at the methods used and offers some possible suggestions for DRM-free gaming.

The reaction to Ubisoft’s DRM, which requires a constant Internet connection, has been well documented, with a reverse boycott organized and hackers taking down the publisher’s authentication servers twice. The new Electronic Arts release Command & Conquer 4, despite employee claims that the game “has NO DRM. Zip, zero, zilch, none,” also requires an Internet connection to play, which has already resulted in a thread full of complaints on the C&C forums.

36 comments | Read more

BioShock 2 to Feature SecuROM DRM

January 22, 2010 -

2K Games announced this week that BioShock 2 will be available for pre-order on Steam, and that the game would be protected by SecuROM DRM software, much to the dismay of gamers who had negative SecuROM experiences with the first BioShock (which launched with an activation limit). 

In response to the uproar, 2K Community Manager Elizabeth Tobey responded on the 2K Forums with the following clarification:

BioShock 2 is using a standard Games for Windows Live activation system, much like other games you have played in the past. That doesn't mean you always have to be online to play or save the game - you can create an offline profile for the Single Player portion of the game (you just won't earn achievements and you can't play Multiplayer, of course.)

We are using SecuROM only as a disc check method for the retail copy of BioShock 2. That is it's only use.

Tobey later confirmed that SecuROM will only be used as a disc check but that activation will be done through Games for Windows Live—a revelation that may have PC gamers groaning given GFWL's less than stellar reputation.  Furthermore, GFWL will place restrictions on your ability to save without creating a profile, and will require online activation even for single-player mode.

While the BioShock 2 DRM scheme appears to be less restrictive than the DRM included with the launch version of the original BioShock, players will still have to contend with Games for Windows Live which has had a checkered history in games like Dawn of War 2, Fallout 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV.

In September 2008, EA was slapped with a class-action lawsuit over their use of SecuROM in Spore, but such a lawsuit is unlikely for 2K Games given the limited role they claim that SecuROM will have.


Dan Rosenthal is a legal analyst for the games industry.

42 comments

Take-Two Board Shake Up at Behest of Icahn

January 21, 2010 -

Investor Carl Icahn, who now owns over 11.0 percent of Take-Two, has triggered a shakeup of the publisher’s board.

Directors Ben Feder, Grover Brown and John Levy will not stand for re-election to the board, though Feder will retain his position as CEO reports GamesIndustry.biz. Icahn has nominated a trio of new personnel to ascend to the board—SungHwan Cho, Brett Icahn (Carl’s son) and James Nelson.

Icahn has agreed to back Take-Two’s five nominees for the board. Additionally, if his three nominees are elected and his ownership in the publisher drops below 5.0 percent, the” Icahn three” will resign their positions.

Analyst Michael Pachter called the board reshuffling a good move:

It is healthy to have an all-outside board of directors. Replacing the others with three selected by Icahn should provide a level of healthy scepticism about business as usual, and should serve to help the company make better decisions.

2 comments

Icahn Grabs Bigger Stake in Take-Two

December 21, 2009 -

Billionaire financier Carl Icahn has increased his stake in Take-Two Interactive to 11.3 percent, up from 2.5 percent, according to a filing with the SEC.

Icahn, known for his shrewd business moves, has always had an interest in videogame companies, and this latest purchase has analysts specualting on the future of Take-Two and why Icahn purchased his stake at this particular time. His purchase of 5.9 million shares and more than 783,000 options makes him the company's second largest shareholder.

Earlier this year, Take-Two spurned a $25.74-a-share acquisition offer from Electronic Arts. Now, with Icahn more involved, analysts think something is imminent with Icahn looking to cash in on undervalued shares. With the announcement of Icahn's purchase, Take-Two shares jumped more than 9 percent on Friday to close at $9.01.

According to a Reuters story, analyst Michael Pachter, who montiors the industry for Wedbush Morgan, said that Icahn may force a sale of Take-Two:

"I don't think as an activist he wants to run a company, I think it's much more logical that he would sell the company," Pachter said.

Pachter also said that Icahn has a history with Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick, whom Icahn nominated to the board of Blockbuster in 2005.

Another scenario, according to analyst Mike Hickey of Janco Partners, is to sell off parts of the company, such as 2K Sports:

"There's the opportunity to unlock some significant value, they could look at the pieces of the business," Hickey said.

It will be interesting to see what Icahn has planned for the company and how it impacts some of the company's most reconizable franchises, such as Grand Theft Auto and BioShock.

1 comment

AO-Rated Manhunt 2 Gunning for PCs

November 2, 2009 -

Rockstar Games’ controversial Manhunt 2 is being released for the PC this week in an uncensored version that carries an Adults Only (AO) rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).

Originally released in 2007 for the Wii and PlayStation 2 platforms, the title drew fire over its content and a perception that using the Wii’s motion controls to enact virtual violence could carry over to real-world violence, despite evidence that eventually emerged to the contrary.

The BigDownload notes that Manhunt 2 will be offered via the digital delivery system of Direct2Drive for $29.95. Purchases are limited to those who live in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  While Valve offers a full Rockstar Games collection through its Steam service, no mention of the pending availability of an AO-rated Manhunt 2 game can be found anywhere on their site or within Steam.

The ESRB content descriptor for the game states: “Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs.”

30 comments

Reheating Hot Coffee: Take-Two Reaches $20M Settlement with Investors

September 2, 2009 -

Take-Two Interactive announced yesterday that it has reached a $20 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed over the 2005 Hot Coffee scandal.

Although T2's press release is regrettably light on details, securities are mentioned, indicating that  this case is related to loss of equity value caused by Hot Coffee and its fallout.

Venture Beat has dug up a link to the complaint, Feninger vs. Take-Two. Kotaku offers an explanation of the details:

The nut of the allegations contained in the 34-page suit, is that Take-Two was spending more than it was bringing in and couldn't survive until the next Grand Theft Auto. So, the suit alleges, the company pushed Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas out the door knowing that there was pornographic material in the game because delays would have cost the company too much. If the material was known to be in the, the suit continues, major retailers wouldn't have sold it.

The outcome, according to the suit, was inflated stock prices based on bad or uninformed information from the company and a plunge in stock values when the truth came out.

The suit also alleges that Take-Two lied about the included sex scenes, nicknamed Hot Coffee, when they first came to light, with the company the scenes were "the work of a determined group of hackers who have gone to significant trouble to alter scenes.'"

GP: We should point out that, as the record shows, the notion that Take-Two lied about the origin of the Hot Coffee scenes is a fact, not merely an allegation. In one the sleaziest moves ever seen in the game biz, Take-Two tried to pin the rap for the hidden sex scenes on its biggest fans, the GTA mod community. To be fair, there was a different management team in place back then.

27 comments

PC Version of Manhunt 2 May Carry an AO Rating, But How Will It Get Sold?

August 26, 2009 -

As noted by Joystiq, the ESRB is currently listing the upcoming PC version of Manhunt 2 with an Adults Only (AO) rating.

GamePolitics readers will likely recall that the console versions of Manhunt 2 generated a major controversy in the summer of 2007 when the game was banned in Britain and tagged with an AO here in the States. Rockstar subsequently released a toned-down version that earned an M (17+) rating for the U.S. market.

That was a critical milestone, because the Big Three console makers won't license AO-rated games for their systems, which makes it tough for a publisher to earn a return on its investment. That's why you don't see any AO-rated console games. While the open architecture of the PC negates licensing concerns, an AO-rated Manhunt 2 would still get thumbs-down from major retailers like GameStop and Wal-Mart.

That means that Rockstar is either planning a digital distribution campaign for Manhunt 2 or that it will edit the PC version - as it did with the console editions - to earn an M from the ESRB. Of course, there is a third scenario: Rockstar could ship an M-rated version to retailers while distributing an AO-rated version online.

We wonder how Valve might react to handling an AO game if its Steam service, which currently distributes Rockstar's GTA IV online, is under consideration as a potential digital distribution source for Manhunt 2.

Take-Two's Zelnick Eyeing Business Week Purchase

August 21, 2009 -

BusinessWeek is up for grabs and Take-Two Interactive boss Strauss Zelnick (left) is reportedly among those interested in acquiring the venerable McGraw-Hill publication.

Describing Zelnick's company, ZelnickMedia as "a private equity firm that’s long sought out distressed media assets for turnaround," BusinessWeek itself reports that there are nine potential buyers for the 80-year old mag.

Along with Take-Two, Zelnick's firm also owns Columbia Music Entertainment and an infomercial company, Cannella Response Television.

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MechaTama31quik: But even if it did break, at worst it is only as bad as the powder. Even that is assuming that it is dangerous through skin contact, which is not a given if its delivery vehicle is a syringe.09/21/2014 - 4:30pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2014/09/20/isis-uses-gta-5-in-new-teen-recruitment-video/09/21/2014 - 4:25pm
quiknkoldSyringes can break. And in a transcontinental delivery, the glass could've broken when crushed. I work in a mail center. Shit like this is super serious09/21/2014 - 3:25pm
E. Zachary KnightIt doesn't matter what is inside the needle. As long as it requires him to take the step of purposefully injecting himself, the threat of the substance is as close to zero as you can get.09/21/2014 - 1:27pm
quiknkoldEzach: I'm not talking about the needle. I'm talking about what's inside. Geeze. Depending on what it is, the sender could be guilty of bioterrorism.09/21/2014 - 12:51pm
E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, No. That syringe is not worse than white powder or a bomb. The syringe requires the recipient to actually inject themselves. Not true for other mail threats.09/21/2014 - 12:49pm
Andrew EisenThe closest to a threat I ever received was a handwritten note slipped under my door that read "I KNOW it was you." Still no idea what that was about. I think the author must have got the wrong apartment.09/21/2014 - 12:28pm
InfophileThat's what they call it? I always called it hydroxic acid...09/21/2014 - 11:57am
MaskedPixelanteProbably dihydrogen monoxide, the most dangerous substance in the universe.09/21/2014 - 10:14am
james_fudgewell I hope he called the police so they can let us all know.09/21/2014 - 9:07am
quiknkoldIt's pretty gnarly. Depending on what it is, it could be worse than white powder or a fake bomb.09/21/2014 - 9:06am
james_fudgeI just looked it up on UPS.com09/21/2014 - 8:56am
james_fudgeand expensive for an American to ship to London.09/21/2014 - 8:55am
E. Zachary KnightThat is pretty scary. Would have been worse if it were a fake bomb or white powder.09/21/2014 - 8:49am
quiknkoldThere's some more tweets regarding it with more pictures09/21/2014 - 8:09am
quiknkoldMilo Yiannopoulos was mailed a syringe filled with clear liquid. He claims it's anti gamergate harassment. Mentioned on his twitter twitter.com/Nero/status/51366668391625523209/21/2014 - 8:07am
Andrew EisenNow, having said that, what sites are you reading that are claiming that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem" or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"? Or was that hyperbole too?09/21/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenFirst of all, ONE person in the Shout box suggested an obligation to call harassers out on their harassing but only after YOU brought it up. Plus, Techno said "when you see it happening." If you don't see it, you're not under any obligation.09/21/2014 - 1:02am
Sleaker@Craig R. - at this point I don't even know what the hashtags are suppsed to be in support of. what does GamerGate actually signify.09/21/2014 - 12:21am
Sleaker@AE - Hyperbole for the first 2, but it seems like some of the comments in the shout are attempting to place blame on fellow gamers because they aren't actively telling people to stop harassing even though they don't necessarily know anyone that has.09/21/2014 - 12:16am
 

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