2021 has spotlighted harassment on Twitch, particularly for women. Now a new clip from streamer Grenade Queen is drawing industry attention, with Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley saying the harassment it depicts "wasn't the future for [Xbox Live] we envisioned."
The video shows Grenade Queen being harassed as she is playing Halo Infinite, on which she comments, "No woman should have to deal with this if they're having 1 rough game against decent people… this was only part of it."
Her comments drew numerous responses women who say they've suffered the same behavior. "My Xbox name is my irl name," one user wrote. "They see it and they immediately attack me. Just bc I'm a girl. I can never enjoy pvp. Even bot matches. My team mates would kill me, run me over, punch me. Like what the hell??? It's so bad that I am willing to pay money to change my name on Xbox."
This wasn’t the future for @xbox live we envisioned. As a community and with the help of @Microsoft this needs to be highlighted and stopped. It will take teamwork between players, devs, and console manufacturers to change this and it’s time. It’s past time. https://t.co/hVPHDvESVP
— Seamus Blackley (@SeamusBlackley) December 20, 2021
Blackley was among those take notice, writing in response, "This wasn't the future for [Xbox Live] we envisioned. As a community and with the help of [Microsoft] this needs to be highlighted and stopped. It will take teamwork between players, devs, and console manufacturers to change this and it’s time. It's past time."
Grenade Queen later shared a screencap of an apology from the players who harassed her, but harassment remains a major issue, with hate raids becoming more and more prevalent throughout 2021. In September, numerous streamers organized a boycott to draw attention to the harassment suffered by marginalized creators.
In a separate interview with Axios, Blackley said "not enough attention was paid to the problem" of harassment while the team was working on Xbox Live.
"It's gone from bad to pure evil over the last two decade," Blackey said.
Blackley urged Microsoft and Steam to "simply pop the bubble" and "clearly state that there is a problem." He said it hasn't happened yet because publishers are afraid that it "alienates the 'core' audience," which he called "ludicrous." He also argued that marginalized people need to be in positions of power at studios.
"It's clear that people behave a lot better when their online reputation is tied to their real lives, and it’s also clear that the consequences of enforcement are far more effective if players can't simply scamper to a new random account," Blackley said.
Twitch has responded by cracking down on toxic streamers and introducing new guidelines, but there is a little sign of harassment abating as 2022 approaches.
Blogroll image credit: Getty Images / David McNew
Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN