Publisher “Virtue Signaling?”

By Daniel Portales

There is a very popular Youtuber by the name of Jon Jafari, aka “JonTron,” who did many very popular video game reviews and skits, gaining a large fan following over the course of 7 years.

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Some of his best known work revolved around one of his favorite game developers by the name of Rareware, that made many great games such as Donkey Kong Country or Banjo-Kazooie. Eventually the company would be bought out by Microsoft, which would then lead to many of the original development team to leave Rareware and start a new company by the name of Playtonic. Because of Jontron’s popularity and their awareness of his infatuation with the developer’s past games, they actually invited Jon to the development office, and Jon in turn he would often spread information to his audience to help support Playtonic and gain widespread recgonition to their new game, “Yooka-Laylee.”

This would be a rather friendly relationship from the two, with Jon hyping up their game quite often on Twitter. Eventually however, Jon would be more outspoken on his views and criticisms on identity politics as well as the mass immigration debate growing in popularity recently. He would then go onto a live stream debate where he clumsily tried to explain his views. Due to him being on the spot and being known to not articulate himself well sometimes, many things he said came across as anti-immigrant or even similar to white supremacist talking points. (To which he later clarified was absolutely not the case being a non-white child of immigrants himself, apologizing for being unprepared for the debate and coming across the way he did)

Before this however, in a strange turn of events, Playtonic actually came out and, understandably, said that they did not support Jon’s statements. They would also clarify that Jon orginally had a small voice role and cameo on their new game, and that he would eventually be taken out before release.

What was strange about this move was that not many people, if any, had actually known that Jon was even in the game at all. This made many people wonder if PLaytonic simply made this decision or announcement to “Virtue Signal,” or show that they, were in fact, “good people.” Other fans became infuriated with this, stating it was simply out of “different political views.”

When some fans complained on the Yooka-Laylee Steam page about removing one of their biggest reasons for supporting the games was “betrayed,” (in the sense that  Jon played a huge role in their advertising) many of them actually started asking for a refund. Strangely on Playtonic’s part, they instead actually started blocking fans on Steam when they complained about this.

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This caused a huge uproar on several social media sites, especially Twitter, with many fans who supported their kickstarter asking for more refunds, which Playtonic still ignores to this day. Whether Playtonic really is politically motivated or simply made a horrible attempt at avoiding controversy is a mystery.

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism