A brief chat with xQc

Last week, the streamer Félix “xQcOW” Lengyel was temporarily banned from Twitch for cheating at a GlitchCon Twitch Rivals event. It was the third time this year he’s been suspended from Twitch, and his teammates Rabia “Nightblue3” Yazbek and Lucas “Mendo” Håkansson were banned alongside him. I got in touch with Lengyel to chat about what happened, and what he’s learned from the experience.

According to him, the stream sniping incident — when he and his teammates queued into a competitor’s lobby with the intent to derail their game — was a bit of banter that went too far, though Lengyel is careful to note that he’s not trying to justify what happened. “The atmosphere was really like funny, banter-y — we went to their Discord, they went to our Discord, you know, we’re talking shit, whatever,” he says. “And now that I’ve computed it, it’s like, holy, this is just… this is like so stupid.” After the event, Lengyel says he messaged the people involved to apologize. Even so, he says he didn’t think anything would happen on Twitch.

“If I can be an example of wrongdoing, I can be an example of redemption.”

Lengyel’s Twitch partner manager broke the news of his ban. He’s not mad, though; competitive rulings are competitive rulings, and through his career as an esports competitor he understands why these decisions are made. “I don’t want to do wrong stuff. I want to always be better. It’s why I’m rarely upset at competitive rulings and bans and whatnot,” he says. “And I think it’s sort of healthy, for people that have my platform to know for sure that I got punished for something, they know why it happened.” Lengyel’s interested, he says, in modeling growth. That said, he’s not without controversy. Lengyel’s been temporarily banned from Twitch on multiple occasions for streaming explicit content, and he was previously suspended from esports teams for using disparaging language.

“If I can be an example of wrongdoing, I can be an example of redemption,” he says. “And I think that matters, maybe even more.” He also says you shouldn’t stream snipe in games.

Lengyel says he wants his audience to know that he’s trying to be better — to move forward. “Even though sometimes we take like, 10 steps back, as long as we create a pattern of gaining steps forward again, and getting through it again, I think that matters a lot.” (The overarching message, though, he says, is: “don’t fuck with competitive integrity.”)

To that end, Lengyel is starting something he’s calling a streamer showcase: a show of some kind that features smaller Twitch creators. It’s an idea that grew out of his Among Us games with smaller streamers earlier this summer, where he started a Discord server and invited people who replied to a tweet. “It’s been really crazy to see all these smaller streamers grow, like, out of the blue — and all of them getting partnered and getting sponsorships.” It’s an example, he says, of using his platform for good. He’s a little light on details. Personally, though, I think it’s interesting because to me it seems like he’s starting to grapple with the dynamics of online influence — with what it means to be famous on the internet.

And Lengyel’s organizational partners are behind him as well. He’s part of Luminosity Gaming, a professional esports outfit. “Being partners is more than just celebrating the good times. Felix knows he made a mistake and we’re encouraged to see how seriously he is taking his return,” wrote Corey Mandell, executive vice president of Enthusiast Gaming, Luminosity Gaming’s parent company, in an emailed statement. “We remain committed to supporting his personal journey and help realize his ambitious plans.” Lengyel is set to return to Twitch on Wednesday.

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