Electronic Arts has recently come under fire after a whistleblower went to Kotaku in order to express misappropriation by the publisher regarding a forum hack that compromised more than 40,000 users. Originally, the whistleblower made the information known on a Reddit post called “Of Corruption in the Australian Games Industry” following the strong call for transparency and disclosure from the #GamerGate movement.
The Reddit thread, posted on September 9th, 2014, pointed out a number of allegedly corrupt practices within the games media industry over in Australia.
Wishing to remain anonymous, the former games journalist wrote that...
The forum board in question was Firemonkeys; the developers for Real Racing 3.
This information was later taken to Kotaku Australia, who then looked into the claims and found that the dates match-up with a known a Vbulletin exploit that occurred on September 8th, 2013 by an individual calling himself “Shadow Haxor”. This information was corroborated by Zone-H, with Kotaku writing...
This also ties into a September 9th tweet from Firemonkeys who stated that the forum had been taken offline on September 9th.
Kotaku then contacted Electronic Arts about the breach to confirm if the hack did indeed occur. Electronic Arts had a press representative issue the following response...
Tangentially, the whistleblower also pointed out that certain relationships within the industry prevented people from being objective or taking responsibility due to being in a “clique”. The individual stated that there are many ties within games media to companies like Electronic Arts, who do not disclose these kind of relationships that could work against the better interests of readers and potential consumers.
One website was explicitly named in the Reddit post, AusGamers, as having a very close-tie to EA that did not disclose the relationship to the public, stating that it works against the interests of the website. One of the members of the website came forward to make it known that they are not partaking in any kind of collusion with EA and that they are not involved in any kind of corrupt behavior, even though they are married to a representative of EA.
I reached out to AusGamers and received the following response [due to the volatile nature of the current climate, the names will not be disclosed for now], to which the writer stated...
The Reddit post names various other websites and alleges other forums of conduct that they feel should be disclosed to readers. Regarding the events surrounding #GamerGate and a call for more transparency and disclosure, sites like Destructoid and The Escapist, along with Kotaku and Polygon, have come forward to public address how disclosure and transparency works between writers and those they cover in the industry.
You can read the entire post relating to the Australian games media by visiting Reddit.
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