The world of Playerunknown's Battlegrounds saw a spot of drama recently when a streamer who goes by the name of Dr. DisRespect, described by Waypoint as "one of the game's most popular streamers," found himself banned after intentionally killing a teammate. It was played for laughs—the whole thing happened because there wasn't enough room to pile four players onto a motorcycle—but PUBG has a strict no-teamkilling policy, and so when it was reported, and verified by the doctor's own video, he was given the boot.
Dr. DisRespect and Brendan Greene, the titular Playerunknown, went back and forth about it a bit on Twitter, Dr. D saying he'll "break the rules anytime, anywhere," and Greene responding with "you follow the rules, or you GTFO!" But it all seemed to be in good fun (the ban is not permanent, and Greene ended his message with a "<3"), until Dr. D came back with, "If I could do the splits I'd roundhouse kick you in the next. But since I can't, I'll just front kick you in the chest instead."
That prompted a very different, and much less light-hearted response.
Suggesting violence is the best way to solve a disagreement is just wrong, even if you are playing a character... https://t.co/ziQtkyyg8EJuly 18, 2017
And that was the end of it, until this morning, when Greene took to Twitlonger to explain the abrupt change in tone. "Before I begin, I have to say that I do enjoy the character Guy has created with DrDisrespect. Hell, I am even part of the Slick Daddy Club! I understand that he likes to talk shit, and I was right there with him until that one tweet," he wrote. "I was told that I should have taken The Docs threat of violence as a joke. So now I will try explaining why I took this tweet seriously and tweeted out the response I did.
"When I was in college, many years ago, I had a disagreement with my flat mate. Instead of talking it out like men, he decided to get aggressive and while I was backing away from him, he kicked me in the chest and put my head through a plate glass door. Thankfully, I don’t suffer from any ill effects due to this experience."
The point, he explained, is that threats of violence in the real world aren't a joke. "Given my experience in college, and the fact that The Doc’s threat, even as a joke, synced up closely to a bad experience I endured, it could have brought up bad memories, triggered a panic attack or had other consequences The Doc might not have intended when composing the tweet," he wrote. "All I ask from anyone that reads this is to consider that your words, however flippant they may be, could have unintended effects on those reading them."
That's good advice, that should be applied equally to all videogames: Kill the hell out of people as much as you want (although ideally not teammates) in games, but keep it in that milieu. Perhaps coming from an influential figure like Playerunknown, it'll actually carry some weight.