Late in the day on May 17, Destiny publisher Bungie released a statement on the terrorist attack in Buffalo, NY on May 14. The statement addressed the attack, in which a white man killed 10 people and wounded three at a supermarket, as “an act of terror aimed at Black Americans.” The shooting, which was live-streamed on Twitch, has led to a renewed emphasis on how online communities can encourage and promote racism and extremist violence. Bungie’s statement engages with this concern specifically, pledging to foster “ongoing efforts to maintain safe and anti-racist spaces in which our players and fans can come together.”
Bungie is best known as the developer of the Destiny franchise, a free-to-play first-person shooter series. Destiny 2’s regular expansions and emphasis on PvP combat and co-op play have made it one of the most consistently popular online multiplayer games, with a robust community that extends to forums and fan sites outside the game. Bungie’s statement explicitly mentions the danger of extremism fostered in online spaces, and its connection to terrorist violence. “Far too often, these racist attacks begin within online communities that are used to recruit and radicalize individuals. It is time we begin to examine our practices and see what part we can play in preventing these tragedies.”
These efforts include a renewed focus on the company’s Black at Bungie initiative, which was established in 2020, and donating all profits from their “Be Heard” pin to the Southern Poverty Law Center for the next year. The developer also called on their colleagues in the games industry to consider their role in managing bigotry and hate speech within online communities, and to “examine their own platforms and invest in practices to combat bigotry in all its manifestations.”
Bungie concluded their statement with a link to the GoFundMe page for the Buffalo Mass Shooting Fundraiser.