Both Eurogamer and PC Gamer recently published very similar articles, complaining about the gaming communities on Steam. Both game journalists beseech Valve to censor those communities, labeling them as “toxic” “hate groups”.
The Eurogamer article is a long-winded, whiny piece about some e-sports players and Team Fortress 2 gamers using some politically incorrect language online, and toward female gamers. It also takes umbrage with gamers on a Reddit thread who are tired of Social Justice Warriors policing gaming communities like Team Fortress 2 and constantly calling for censorship.
So what does the Eurogamer piece do? It calls for censorship, with the author writing…
“Only last month, Ubisoft implemented a system in Rainbow Six Siege which automatically gives players a temporary ban for using racist and homophobic slurs. Blizzard, meanwhile, recently introduced an “endorsements” system for Overwatch where players can reward other players for sportsmanlike conduct. Apparently this has been successful – developer Jeff Kaplan posted stats showing abusive chat has reduced by 26.4 per cent in the Americas, and by 16.4 per cent in Korea.
“And there’s no reason why Valve can’t implement these sorts of systems in TF2. Earlier this year, Valve did introduce a system to deal with toxic behaviour in CS:GO. The “trust factor” system evaluates player behaviour over a number of games on Steam, and matches well-behaved players together. Perhaps this latest online discussion about toxicity will prompt Valve to consider announcing the system for TF2. (Valve has yet to respond to Eurogamer’s request for comment for this article.)”
The citations of draconian, authoritarian, Orwellian procedures being employed by Ubisoft and Blizzard are perfect examples of game journalists valuing censorship above all else.
As some of you may know, Blizzard not only bans people for being “toxic” in Overwatch, but you can also be banned from the game for comments, videos, and content you post on YouTube, as well as what you share or say on social media, even for only playing as a straight, white male.
Blizzard’s off-site monitoring is also employed by companies like Twitch, which also bans users for off-site “hateful” content.
The Eurogamer article rounds out by stating…
“Frankly, it’s unlikely Valve will do anything to improve problems with toxicity on Steam and in the TF2 community. It has recently displayed a laissez-faire attitude by washing its hands of responsibility for the games it sells. But with the amount of money it’s making from the platform, and Team Fortress 2 alone – the game’s army of loyal fans believe it should.”
The comment section on that Eurogamer article is disgusting, with a lot of white knights jumping in to defend the need to further censor gaming communities to accommodate overly sensitive individuals.
PC Gamer also jumped into the censorship boat, which should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the politically correct nature of the site. In fact, the outlet is no stranger to calling for censorship, and was one of the first outlets to encourage Blizzard to hire people to censor Overwatch even more than it already is.
In an article titled “Steam has a hate group problem because Valve fails to enforce its own rules”, PC Gamer’s Wes Fenlon takes aim at groups and communities on Steam that have troll names or designed to troll politically correct members of the Intersectional Inquisition or the S.S.JWs.
Fenlon doesn’t even like the idea that people can troll in their own little communities tucked away in the far corners of the web, writing…
“Most of the offensive groups that remain on Steam seem designed to be jokes, but their trolly memes still contain hate speech, and a quick search will reveal plenty of these groups are still around, untouched by moderation.”
Fenlon complains that while Valve has a code of conduct for Steam, it’s not clear enough what the punishments are for breaking the code of conduct. Fenlon also compares it to Microsoft’s Xbox Live code of conduct, which has content deletion, restriction to access to Xbox Live services, and permanent bans handed out as punitive deterrents for breaking the code of conduct.
Fenlon also points to Sony’s nonsensical rules, which includes suspending or banning players for breaking the code of conduct, including banning someone from accessing their library for a PSN name that they created more than half a decade ago, just because in [current year] certain names are now “offensive”.
However, even with Sony siding more with SJWs in recent years, Fenlon expressed his shock and disdain that there were some groups within the confines of the PlayStation community that followed InfoWars. He suggested in the piece that if enough of a ruckus was made to Sony about the groups, the company might move to ban them.
Fenlon even laments that what bans Valve does hand out aren’t enough, writing…
“The most disappointing thing about Steam is that it allows users to run rampant with memes co-opted by white supremacists and turned into hate symbols, and the repercussions for creating offensive Steam groups seem to be laughably light: getting that group closed, and nothing more. The creators of some now-shut groups I’ve traced are still on Steam, having created new groups to replace their old ones. They’re not banned, despite violating the code of conduct. Merely closing a group could barely be described as a slap on the wrist—it takes less than a minute to create a new Steam group.”
Fenlon then goes a step further, advocating that Valve should do what just recently happened to an EA Origin user, who had their account deleted and thousands of dollars worth of content evaporated into the digital ether.
“Valve may not be willing to ban the accounts of the customers who buy games from Steam for posting racist memes and other hateful material in discussion groups. […]
“That’s not good enough: Valve should at least be banning the creators of racist, sexist Steam groups from the social side of Steam. Without real consequences, Steam’s code of conduct remains selectively enforced. “
Unlike the Eurogamer article, the people on PC Gamer recognized that the article calling for censorship was trash and responded accordingly.
So far, Valve has opted not to listen to the perpetually offended members of the Progressive Police, but it would be a frightening day in the world of digital entertainment the moment Valve pulls an EA and starts banning people from accessing their digital libraries because game journalists got offended by a group name.
(Main image courtesy of Coverop)