The Public Opinion Trial of Alex Hutchinson

A creative director at Google Stadia makes surprising comments about the relationship between streamers, studios, and publishers. The community points out it’s not the first time he’s gained controversial attention. Jason Schreier emerges from the Fortress of Condescension to dunk on…everyone. We look for the dividing line separating fact from fiction about Alex Hutchinson.

Alex Hutchinson

  • Active in game industry since early 2000s.
  • Credits at EA, Ubisoft, Stadia, and others
    • The Sims, Spore, Assassin’s Creed III, Far Cry 4
    • Typhoon Studios was acquired by Stadia in December

Japanese developers incident

  • quoting Hutchison to Computer and Video Games (defunct)
    • “I think there’s a subtle racism in the business, especially on the journalists’ side, where Japanese developers are forgiven for doing what they do. I think it’s condescending to do this.”
    • “Just think about how many Japanese games are released where their stories are literally gibberish. Literally gibberish. There’s no way you could write it with a straight face, and the journalists say ‘oh it is brilliant.”

Women are too hard to animate?

  • Playable women didn’t make it into Assassin’s Creed 3 or Far Cry 4
  • Everyone’s linking to two articles and quoting either Alex Hutchinson or Alex Amancio as saying “Women are too hard to animate,” either in the articles or on Twitter
  • No actual evidence seems to exist of either person ever saying or tweeting this. Deleting publicized tweets never results in no remaining evidence. Where’s the proof?
  • This matters because representation is important, and if studios are having a dialogue about it, they need support–not backlash.

Twitch takedowns

  • Twitch streamers are experiencing DMCA takedowns over unauthorized use of copyrighted music
  • This is simple: You can’t use other people’s music. The end. We all learned this a decade ago on YouTube.
  • There are many places to get great free music to use in your content.

Alex Hutchinson weighs in

Twitter responds

  • Three camps
    • People pointing out “This is objectively wrong.”
    • People pointing to previous incidents (including the one that didn’t happen) and saying “This man is bad.”
    • Jason Schreier emerging from the Fortress of Condescension to dunk on everyone and returning to hibernation.

Management responds

  • 9to5Google – “A [Google] spokesperson”
    • “The recent tweets by Alex Hutchinson, creative director at the Montreal Studio of Stadia Games and Entertainment, do not reflect those of Stadia, YouTube or Google.”

Alex Hutchinson has since added “ALL OPINIONS MY OWN” to his bio on Twitter.

In conclusion

  • Hutchinson is only mostly wrong
    • Some folks are saying using games in streams is “transformative creation” making it fair use and theoretically safe from DMCA
    • If that’s true, then it was strictly malicious and wrong when Campo Santo DMCAed PewDiePie to prevent him from streaming Firewatch.
    • Nintendo actively collects either some or all profits from footage of its games on YouTube.
  • Still, he’s bringing this up because he enjoys controversy and attention
  • Everyone recognizes things are not going well at Stadia, and he probably never set out to work for them. He probably feels trapped
  • Everyone recognizes that streaming isn’t going anywhere, and even the DMCA trouble is a minor setback. Losing previous content isn’t going to be a huge deal for most active streamers.
  • Devs: Now is the time to remind streamers you love and support them, and that you understand them. Welcome them to play your games. Make them a part of your social presence and your marketing strategy.

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