Streaming video games has been an institution of sorts for quite some time now. Gamers, YouTubers and casual players alike have taken to services such as YouTube and Twitch in order to showcase their talents for the world to see. Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, to cause a great deal of controversy.
In the last few years the culture of streaming has become more and more prominent, giving large amounts of people a chance to capture moments that they previously would’ve stopped and thought to themselves “damn, I wish more people could’ve seen that”.
It was a great idea in theory and, initially, in execution. YouTubers, in particular, were drawn to this concept as it served as yet another platform in which they could obtain more revenue, whilst simultaneously growing their audience, promoting their brand, and expanding their horizons. Whether one believes in that philosophy or not is irrelevant, because it’s been effective one way or another.
pewdiepie character development: "I-I don't say the n word. I-I'm above that😌😊🌷" pic.twitter.com/ZqHD1Foaw5
— denise (@jngukok) September 10, 2017
Developers have always been big fans of streaming, too, with independent games gaining more recognition in addition to classic titles being revived in the name of fun. Hell, remember when thousands of people completed a game of Pokemon purely by spamming the buttons 24/7? (All hail the mighty helix fossil).
Of course, there have been some controversies, as is always the case with entertainment of this nature, but one incident in particular occurred in the last few weeks that got plenty of people talking.. It wasn’t Syndicate, it wasn’t Riot Games – it was PewDiePie.
Yup, the same PewDiePie who leads the way on YouTube with a staggering 57 million subscribers also slipped up big time when uttering the N-word during a live stream.
Now, the Swede is by no means a stranger to controversy following the anti-Semitic claims that were thrown at him at the beginning of 2017, but he was entering uncharted territory with this one.
For the first time in a long time, many people weren’t able to defend him, as his actions spoke much louder than they usually do.
We're filing a DMCA takedown of PewDiePie's Firewatch content and any future Campo Santo games.
— Sean Vanaman (@vanaman) September 10, 2017
Since issuing an apology, PewDiePie has shown himself to be extremely sorrowful regarding this incident – and that’s hardly surprising.
There’s no way to advocate anything that this guy does when it comes to his mistakes, and at the end of the day mistakes do happen. He knows it was wrong, we know it was wrong, and he’ll forever be vilified for that throughout the remainder of his career – but the fact remains
There is truth that sometimes, we, the less successful folk, tend to brush through the content of these streamers with a fine comb in order to try and uncover something we don’t like. But in the instance of PewDiePie’s racist comments, there is room enough to dig into the debate that needs to be had.
Streaming used to be about connecting with your fans and showing yourself to be a regular guy or girl just like everyone else, and whilst PewDiePie hasn’t exactly helped matters we shouldn’t be zeroing in on this issue for months to come.
Rather, we should use the precedent that PewDiePie has set with his statements to have a rational discussion about the nature of streaming, and what we as members of the community deem to be toxic and malignant portions of the wide ecosystem that is streaming.