Following a controversy over transphobic chat moderation that led to competitive review bomb campaigns on Steam, tabletop simulator developer Berserk Games has announced that it is shutting down the game’s global chat channel for good. The studio has also donated $10,000 to National Center for Transgender Equality, an advocacy group that works “to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people.”
The problem began when a tabletop simulator user named Xoe was repeatedly removed from global chat, and eventually temporarily banned, for sharing the fact that he was gay. Similar declarations of straight sexuality did not kick off, and efforts to clarify the matter failed. When the situation became public knowledge, both negative to positive user reviews—many of which contained genuine homophobic and transphobic sentiments—spiked up on Steam. Berserk Games eventually disabled global chat while it worked to improve its moderation policies, but has now decided to eliminate it altogether.
“We apologize for hurting the tabletop simulator community, especially the LGBTQ+ community,” Berserk Games said in a message posted to Twitter. “With Global Chat, we only intended to create an open forum to discuss the hobby we all love, however, we have clearly fallen short of that standard and so we have officially Have decided to take down global chat.
“Over the past week, we have spent a great deal of time evaluating our company-wide practices. We understand that our silence may be construed as inaction, however, we understand the gravity of this situation and believe that This needs to be discussed and addressed with careful and deliberate consideration.”
pic.twitter.com/xONGP3Ld6814 January 2022
Along with donations to the National Center for Transgender Equality, Berserk Games is also committed to showcasing a range of TTS content created by members of the LGBTQ+ community. It is also continuing to change its moderation policies “to ensure that everyone has an inclusive place to enjoy our great hobby of tabletop gaming.”
“We promise that these actions are the first step in our renewed commitment to building a culture that values board gaming and inclusivity in the world,” Berser wrote. “We appreciate all the feedback and suggestions from the wonderful TTS community and hope, along with hard work, to regain the trust and respect of the Tabletop Simulator family.”
some on twitter reddit have praised the response, while others consider it either insidious or misleading; Some have called on the fearless to allow owners to return the game (presumably without sanctions) to demonstrate their remorse. Xoe, whose experiences caused an uproar, said Twitter Berserk’s statement is “undoubtedly good” if this is true, but he needs to “see the receipts to believe them”.
“I’ve completely detached myself from TTS, and I don’t know if I’ll feel emotionally safe to use it, even to test others’ prototypes. I’m sorry ‘It sounds selfish, but this culmination of events leaves me unable to connect the mind to the design, or the emotion to the fun,’ she wrote. “I can’t decide for you whether you can use TTS again. I just ask that you consider, ‘Do I want to shut down so I know the community is properly respected and respected’ Is it going, or is it because I am not painstakingly adopting new infrastructure without such harmful patterns?'”
LGBTQ+ Tabletop Simulator Makers Who Want to Be Featured in Berserk’s Upcoming Showcase Can submit your work here,