Blizzard Addresses the Dreamhack Austin Incident

During Dreamhack Austin’s Hearthstone event, an incident took place where the Twitch chatroom was filled with blatant racism when Hearthstone pro gamer Terrence Miller was on stream during his match.  The chat was not moderated well at all and it sparked and ignited the Hearthstone community. Both Twitch and Blizzard CEO Michael Morhaime made official statements about the incident.

Here is what Twitch had to say:

We take harassment very seriously and understand how important this is for the entire Twitch community. We currently approach chat behavior by providing broadcasters tools, education, and autonomy to police their own channel. While in this instance the broadcaster was unable to fully prevent the described behavior, Twitch has a responsibility to broadcasters and players to provide a welcoming environment. As such, as Blizzard noted, we are exploring new tools and processes to increase awareness and mitigation of these issues, and will continue to take action against chatters who committed reported violations. We can’t comment on specifics at this time, but we do have a team dedicated to improving these aspects of the chat experience with a lot of internal progress already that we hope to share with the community soon.

Michael Morhaime from Blizzard Entertaintment soon followed with this statement:

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.

Let’s hope that both Twitch and Blizzard can find ways to curb this from happening again. 

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.