Today SXSW Interactive canceled two sessions for the 2016 event, “SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community” and “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games.”
They had hoped that “hosting these two discussions in March 2016 in Austin would lead to a valuable exchange of ideas on this very important topic.”
Yet since SXSW announced the panels they have received a number of threats of on-site violence in retaliation to the programming.
In the official response from SXSW Interactive Director, Hugh Forrest, he made note that “preserving the sanctity of the big tent at SXSW Interactive necessitates that we keep the dialogue civil and respectful. If people can not agree, disagree and embrace new ways of thinking in a safe and secure place that is free of online and offline harassment, then this marketplace of ideas is inevitably compromised.”
They went on to say that “over the years, we are proud of the healthy community of digital innovators that has formed around SXSW. On occasions such as this one, this community necessitates strong management to survive. Maintaining civil and respectful dialogue within the big tent is more important than any particular session.”
This sort of response from the a negative element does nothing to promote an inclusive atmosphere within gaming. The gaming scene needs to be open if it is to move forward as a medium. Gaming can evolve with the times, but these sort of elements need to step down from this sort of violent action to allow the open acceptance of all people that love gaming no matter the gender, sexual preference or point of view.