Twitch has removed the tag 'blind playthrough' in response to feedback from gamers with disabilities, in a move that has been met with mixed reactions across various social media sites.
The tag was originally used to collect streams where players went into a game without prior knowledge of plot or mechanics, but now streamers are being encouraged by the platform to use more appropriate terms such as 'first playthrough' or 'no spoilers'.
As the tag has now been deleted, prominent individuals and organizations for disabled gamers have taken to social media to commend Twitch for taking steps towards being a more inclusive platform. More appropriate tag names have been suggested as a replacement by the likes of Erin Wayne, Twitch's director of Community and Creator Marketing.
Happy to see Twitch has listened to everyone who shared feedback and removed the “Blind Playthrough” tag to encourage more inclusive language for our community. You can still use “First Playthrough” or opt to use it in combination with "No Spoilers" for the same sentiment. 💜December 4, 2020
Steven Spohn, chief operating officer of the AbleGamers charity, has also weighed in on this decision. Steven has been a fierce advocate for inclusivity in games and streaming environments, and is regarded as a pillar of the gaming community.
He said: "Just as we used to say 'gay' when something was bad, using disability terms as an alternate word for a negative situation or feeling is common in today's language. But just as we stopped saying gay to mean bad, we can stop saying these words too. Think about the words you choose."
I'm happy to see Twitch following through on promises to address and resolving issues and concerns from the disability community. It's just the beginning.For those who will ask what's wrong with "blind playthrough" this the thread that started thishttps://t.co/c3uN9LtRQb https://t.co/1y7DGqcFZ0December 4, 2020
Predictably the decision has generated a backlash from some Twitter users, who have accused Twitch of virtue-signaling.
Steve Saylor from Can I Play That?, an online community for disabled gamers, who also runs the YouTube channel Blind Gamer, responded to critics, saying: "Changing the term 'blind playthrough' is not SJW's being super-sensitive. I've said this before – 'first playthrough' is a better description anyway. I personally am not offended by it, but I do think it's a term that can go away. Language changes over time, so let it."
Twitch's decision to remove the tag leaves open the possibility that it could be reinstated in the future, for use by members of the visually impaired gaming community. We'd love to see more content from the likes of Zoe Espinoza, the blind Mortal Kombat player who can defeat any opponent, and any access to find amazing streamers is a win in our books.
- How AbleGamers helped millions of gamers with disabilities through the Xbox Adaptive Controller and APX
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Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.