While the professional gaming scene in Canada isn’t as big as it is in the United States, pro gaming in the Great White North is nothing to be scoffed at.
At the 2017 Overwatch World Cup, Canadians took home the tournament’s silver medal, beating out countries such as Netherlands, Australia and Sweden, as well as achieving a higher place than even the U.S. Additionally, the MVP of the 2017 World Cup was Félix ‘xQc’ Lengyel, a Quebec-based player who unfortunately is more known for his toxicity than his skill.
Toxicity is an issue across the spectrum of online gaming, especially in the burgeoning streaming space. It often involves players insulting each other with racist, homophobic and inappropriate sexual remarks due to the anonymity present in online gaming and streaming, as well as a general lack of real-world consequences for abhorrent behaviour.
Twitch streamer Matt ‘Dethridge’ Scott says that online toxicity is something he battles on a daily basis.
I always knew I was a nerd. Now I have the proof! pic.twitter.com/Yozpyfho0E
— Dethridge ? (@MattDethridge) June 20, 2018
Scott, who is from Nova Scotia, is a professional content creator who streams on the Twitch, the industry’s most popular livestreaming platform. He primarily plays games like Little Nightmares, Until Dawn and the Uncharted series, though he says his favourite games “are the ones where I get the best experience with the community,” including battle royale titles like Fortnite, the medium’s most popular genre currently.
Scott says that one of the coolest experiences he’s had in his career so far was when a stylist coloured his hair while he played PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG) as part of a promotional stream to launch a new Taco Bell drink.
Apart from discussing his favourite games, I asked Scott about the toxicity present in the video game livestreaming community and and gaming culture in general, as well as what it’s like to be a Canadian streamer in an industry dominated by Americans.
Question: How do you feel about and deal with the toxicity on Twitch?
Scott: Toxicity on Twitch definitely exists.
At some point you will experience it, both as a viewer and a streamer. My philosophy on toxicity is to simply not allow it. If you’re a streamer and someone in your community is being toxic, you need to remove them. It’s an unfortunate but a needed step. For every single toxic community member, there are hundreds more that are positive. To prevent everyone from being brought down, you remove the bad egg.
As a viewer, it’s honestly more of an issue. I consider myself a viewer. From the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep, I am doing something on Twitch. I hang out in a lot of streams. To not experience the toxic side of Twitch as a viewer you really need to hang out in the places that motivate and inspire you the most. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to be in the places that you don’t find toxic.
Q: How are you building a positive community on Twitch?
Scott: As far as building the Twitch community, thinking about that is scary. I try not to; it’s too massive of an undertaking.
My focus is on building a positive footprint on my own channel, and hopefully that helps the overall Twitch community in some way.
When I partnered with Taco Bell for the launch of Baja [a new drink], I loved the idea of having my hair coloured while streaming because it created a cool experience for the entire community — not just me. Viewers got to see something creative and out of the ordinary. I think that’s always appreciated.
Q: What is it like to be a Canadian streamer? Fo you feel like you’re looked at any different?
Scott: Being a Canadian streamer is great! You essentially experience the world’s view of what they think it means to be Canadian. You’re assumed to be nice and polite, with a funny accent. It just so happens I am, and I do! I really don’t think that I am viewed any differently being Canadian.
In the past six plus years that I have been on Twitch, I would like to think I have the respect of not only the community, but from other creators as well.
We’re all in this together, we’re all one big family.
Q: What sort of advice would you give aspiring video game streamers?
Scott: If you’re reading this article and you’re an aspiring gamer, follow your dreams. However, give yourself realistic and achievable goals. This industry takes a lot of work, prepare yourself. If you’re young and in school, do better in school. Prove to yourself that you can ace that test.
Put in the work. I promise you it will build your confidence when you’re trying to be a full-time content creator. If you’re at a job you hate, be the best worker at the job. Prove to yourself you can. It takes an extraordinary amount of time to make it as a full-time broadcaster, especially in this day. Excel everywhere in your life and all the skills you’ll learn will transfer into being a better content creator.
Find me everywhere ?
— Dethridge ? (@MattDethridge) January 4, 2018
Scott says he plays a number of games, including Jurassic World: Evolution, The Crew 2, PUBG, State of Decay 2, HellBlade Senua’s Sacrifice and more.
The 33-year-old gamer streams for six to eight hours per session starting at 7:00am ET six days a week.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.