Tabletop emulator developer Berserk Games has announced that it will permanently shut down the game’s global chat channels after a controversy over transgender chat moderation led to a competitive comment bomb campaign on Steam.The studio also donated $10,000 to National Center for Transgender Equality, an advocacy group dedicated to “increasing understanding and acceptance of trans people.”
The problems started when a desktop emulator user named Xoe was repeatedly kicked out of global chat for sharing the fact that she was gay, and was eventually temporarily banned. Similar heterosexual declarations have not sparked controversy, and efforts to clarify the matter have failed. When the situation became public, user reviews, both negative and positive (many containing actual homophobia and transgender sentiment) skyrocketed on Steam. Berserk Games ended up disabling global chat in an effort to improve its moderation policy, but has now decided to eliminate it entirely.
“We apologize for hurting the tabletop emulator community, especially those from the LGBTQ+ community,” Berserk Games said in a message posted to Twitter. “With Global Chat, we only set out to create an open platform to discuss hobbies we all love, however, we clearly fell short of that, so we’ve decided to officially cancel Global Chat.
“Over the past week, we have spent a lot of time evaluating our company-wide approach. We understand that our silence may be seen as inaction, however, we are aware of the seriousness of this situation and believe it needs to be discussed and Resolved after careful and conscious consideration.”
In addition to donating to the National Center for Transgender Equality, Berserk Games is dedicated to presenting a range of TTS content created by members of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s also continuing to overhaul its moderation policies “to ensure that everyone has an inclusive place to enjoy our huge love of tabletop gaming.”
“We commit that these actions are just the first step in our renewed commitment to creating a culture that values board games and an inclusive world,” Berserk wrote. “We appreciate all the feedback and suggestions from the excellent TTS community, and hope to work hard to regain the trust and respect of the desktop emulator family.”
some on twitter and Reddit The response was praised, while others felt it was either insincere or pandering; some called on Berserk to show their remorse by letting owners return the game (presumably without a limit). Xoe’s experience sparked an uproar, he says Twitter If true, Berserk’s statement is “undoubtedly good,” but she needs to “see the receipts to believe them.”
“I’ve given up on TTS completely, and I don’t know when I’ll be able to use it emotionally safely, even to test other people’s prototypes. Sorry it feels selfish, but the climax of this event has me going Unable to interact with design thinking or entertaining spirit,” she wrote. “I can’t decide for you whether you can use TTS again. I’m just asking you to think about, ‘Do I want to shut down so I know the community is getting the respect and respect it deserves, or so I don’t have to struggle to adopt it without this harmful A new infrastructure for the model?
LGBTQ+ desktop emulator creators hoping to appear in Berserk’s upcoming showcase can submit their work here.