The battle between two of the gaming industry's biggest and most successful personalities — a widely-followed colorful streamer on Twitch and the creator of the year's biggest surprise game hit — captivated the online gaming community Tuesday.
Dr. DisRespect, role-played by former Activision Blizzard employee Guy Beahm, is one of the most popular streamers in the world with 658,000 followers on his Twitch channel. His broadcasts are regularly viewed by more than 20,000 people on a daily basis. The streamer plays an over-the-top arrogant character, who regularly trash talks his opponents and boasts about his gaming prowess.
Twitch is a live streaming video platform primarily used to stream video game play. It was acquired by Amazon for $970 million in 2014. Many streamers, including Dr. DisRespect, make a full-time living playing games from paid channel subscriptions and viewer donations.
It all started when the streamer got temporarily banned by Brendan Greene, the creator of "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds," for killing his online teammate during a game, which is against the game's rules. The two playfully bantered on Twitter over the incident.
However, the interactions took a big tone shift after the streamer jokingly threatened he would physically attack the developer.
After a social media uproar Greene clarified why he responded in such a serious fashion in a longer post. Here's an excerpt:
"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 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 of that story is to attempt to explain why I think even the threat of violence is not something that should be joked about. 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."
Greene's response spurred YouTube gaming personality PewDiePie to point out the irony of the creator of an extremely violent video game responding in this way.
"PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" is the biggest PC gaming success story this year. The online multi-player game has sold more than 4 million copies since March and generated over $100 million sales for South Korean developer Bluehole.
The popularity of the "Battle Royale" type game, where 100 online players literally violently battle to the death until only one player survives, is worrying financial analysts about the prospects for large gaming companies. One analyst recently questioned the CEO of Ubisoft on how the company is going to compete against the up-and-coming game.
Brendan Greene declined to comment for this story. Guy Beahm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.