Reviews for a usually-popular online game turned negative this week as thousands of Chinese-speaking players left harshly critical messages in response to two professional gamers’ racist remarks.
By Friday, the customer reviews section for “Dota 2” on the Steam game marketplace included a notice reading “High Volume of Negative Reviews Detected 7 Nov - 9 Nov,” with over 3,900 critical messages posted since Wednesday. Many include a copied-and-pasted warning to Valve Corporation, the game’s developer and parent company of Steam, written in Chinese along with a rough English translation: “I promise that I will not add any funds to the Valve’s games(for example dota 2 and csgo), until the Valve gives appropriate punishments or announcements about the insulting speech given by two professional players(ID: Kuku; Skem).”
The pro players referenced in the reviews — Carlo “Kuku” Palad and Andrei “Skem” Ong, both from the Philippines — have been under fire over the past week for racist remarks made against Chinese “Dota 2” competitors. Neither is employed by or affiliated with Valve, apart from taking part in tournaments for its game. During an esports tournament hosted in Sweden last week, Ong typed “Gl chingchong” — with “Gl” meaning “good luck” — in the game’s chat during a match against a professional Chinese team. Later, while playing in a so-called public game unrelated to the tournament, Palad also typed “ching chong” to competitors in a chat. Screenshots of the messages were later widely circulated online, and both players have since issued apologies on their social media accounts.
Over the past week, news of the incidents has spread through the Chinese gaming community. On microblogging site Weibo, a post on Thursday by a Chinese gamer who goes by the handle Zard garnered thousands of comments and likes. “If foreigners find ‘chingchong’ to be acceptable in a professional game, then ‘chingchong’ will become a meme in the international community,” Zard wrote, adding: “This is really shameful and depressing, isn’t it?” Other well-known “Dota 2” players from China also took to Weibo to criticize the racist remarks.
As the backlash against the players continues to swell, gamers in China are threatening to stop spending money on Valve games unless the company addresses the racist comments from Palad and Ong. In one of the most upvoted reviews from the past two days, a Chinese-speaking user wrote in English that the company “tolerated repeated, and muted, racist comments in public,” adding that its “previously public image of openness, inclusiveness and equality is just a joke.”
“If Vavle [sic] continues to be silent about recent racial discrimination against players, I will not make any purchases on steam,” the review concluded.
Valve had not responded to Sixth Tone’s request for comment by time of publication.
Editor: David Paulk.
(Header image: Members of a Chinese gaming team compete during the grand finals of the 2018 International Dota 2 Championship at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington, Aug. 8, 2015. Jason Redmond/VCG)