There’s absolutely no place in the modern world for discrimination, especially when it comes to racism, the lowest form of bullying. Unfortunately it hasn’t been completely eradicated and when it comes to the Internet, there’s little that can be done in terms of moderation. Such was the case at the recent DreamHack Austin event, which saw Hearthstone pro Terrence “TerrenceM” Miller the subject of a number of distasteful comments made by fans watching the event unfold on Twitch.
Without meaning to go too much into our personal feelings on the matter, 4-One Gaming was partly forged on the belief that all people are equal and that rather than being divided by our ethnicity or characteristics, as gamers we should instead be united by our common interest. Which is probably why this story hit home for us.
And so onto the story, Terrence ultimately finished second at the event losing out to Keaton “Chakki” Gill, however his achievement was overshadowed by a barrage of abuse directed at him via shocking and horrific slurs on the online Twitch chat. Blizzard have now responded to those fans, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime released a statement yesterday calling out to gamers to do better while vowing that Blizzard themselves would also do more to ensure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen in the future:
“We’re extremely disappointed by the hateful, offensive language used by some of the online viewers during the DreamHack Austin event the weekend before last. One of our company values is ‘Play Nice; Play Fair’; we feel there’s no place for racism, sexism, harassment, or other discriminatory behavior, in or outside of the gaming community. This is obviously a larger, societal problem that affects us on many levels. We can only hope that when instances like this come to light it encourages people to be more thoughtful and positive, and to fully reject mean-spirited commentary, whether within themselves or from their fellow gamers.
“To help combat this type of behavior during live events, we’ve reached out to players, streamers, and moderators, along with partners like Twitch, DreamHack, and others, to get consensus and collaborate on what to do differently moving forward. To that end, we’re investigating a pilot program that Twitch has in the works to streamline moderation and combat ban evasion. We’re also updating our esports tournament partner policies with a stronger system of checks, balances, and repercussions to provide a better chat experience around our content.”
“We believe these are important steps to take to help address the related issues, but we acknowledge that they only address part of the problem. This is ultimately an industry-wide issue, and it will take all of us to make a real impact.”
It’s a pretty elaborate statement and credit where credit is due it does seem that Blizzard are taking the matter seriously enough to inspire some confidence in their actions, but the fact that this kind of intervention is required in a world where diversity is widely regarded AND accepted as a normality is disheartening in itself.
This type of behavior simply cannot be tolerated if the gaming industry is to continue advancing at the rate it has in recent years. The gaming community need to take this issue very seriously and help stamp out this kind of behavior in the future, it’s great to see Blizzard responding in such a manner but it’s really down to all of us to help ensure that this kind of behavior is well and truly consigned to the history of our industry and not the future.