Twitch has removed the ‘blind playthrough’ tag in an attempt to use more inclusive language and create a more accessible and welcoming environment. The decision comes after feedback from viewers suggested that the term was ableist, and could make blind and partially-sighted gamers uncomfortable.
The term was often used to denote a playthrough that the streamer had no prior knowledge of – they hadn’t seen any gameplay or played the game before. However, Twitch now suggests streamers use the “first playthrough” tag instead, which can be combined with the “no spoilers” tag to denote that this is their first time playing the game.
Twitch’s director of community and creator marketing Erin ‘Aureylian’ Wayne says that the change has been made after community feedback in order to “encourage more inclusive language for our community.” The simple change of language aims to make blind and visually-impaired players feel more comfortable in spaces such as Twitch.
Steven Spohn, COO of Able Gamers, a charity that promotes equality for people with disabilities and advocates for their fair and equal treatment within the gaming industry, explains exactly why the term ‘blind playthrough’ is ableist in a tweet earlier this year.
"Blind play through" or "going in blind"
Can easily be replaced by saying "No spoilers play through" or "Undiscovered" or "first" (if it is your first)
A blind playthrough would be to turn your monitor off, and that's not what most meanhttps://t.co/Y7uwOygWfG
— Steven Spohn (Spawn) (@stevenspohn) June 15, 2020
He points out that “using disability terms as an alternate word for a negative situation or feeling is common in today’s language,” but changes like this could improve streaming spaces for blind and visually impaired players.