Game director Jeff Kaplan for Overwatch took time out to address the community about “toxicity” in the game, perpetuated by other gamers. He mentions that the team have now added a report feature to the console version, and that they wanted to make it where people who use the report function to tattletale on someone, there will be a notification indicating that your ratting out of a fellow gamer resulted in some form of disciplinary action. Kaplan also mentions that people saying “mean” things and having “bad” behavior has greatly slowed down development of new content for Overwatch, because they’re spending more time trying to fix people’s bad behavior and curb the use of mean words than make new content for the game.
In a seven and a half minute video Keplan explains the current state of the game, and that despite adding in the report function for Xbox One and PS4 users, there’s still a high level of “toxicity” plaguing Overwatch.
Kaplan recounts how 480,000 accounts have been on the receiving end of disciplinary action and 340,000 of those actions have been in response from players using the report function.
Kaplan goes on to say that anyone who isn’t down with their current agenda is someone they don’t want as part of their community. He states…
“Our highest level philosophy is: if you are a bad person doing bad things in Overwatch, we don’t want you in Overwatch. We don’t want to create areas for you where just the bad people are in Overwatch – we just don’t want those bad people in Overwatch.
“Overwatch should be an inclusive game space; it’s an inclusive, aspirational universe. And the gameplay experience should match what Overwatch is hoping to achieve.”
If the game is supposed to be achieving world peace, it’s a long ways from that goal.
Kaplan, nevertheless, continues on about how Blizzard is doing its part but that the community also needs to do its part in changing for the better, saying…
“In order to improve the situation, the community needs to take a deep look inward – at each of us – and really consider […] that we should try to make it a fun and engaging experience.”
“[…] There’s a way to spread positivity that I don’t think is prevalent right now. Sure we can try to build game systems to encourage that more, and we will, but we need the community to own up to their part in the accountability that they have for really creating a great game space.”
So in other words, Kaplan is telling gamers: don’t use profane language against other people, don’t say derogatory things against other people, don’t be mean toward other people, and only use language that would – at its hardest, and sharpest – still fail to crack a snowflake.
Kaplan then rounds out the video by saying that they could make more content if people just behaved more like Social Justice Warriors, constantly micromanaging micro-aggressions, then it would mean that Kaplan and the crew wouldn’t have to police the community or build tools to turn the community more SJW-friendly, saying…
“We want to make new maps, we want to make new heroes, we want to make animated shorts. That’s where our passion is, but we’ve been put into this weird position where we’re spending a tremendous amount of time and resources punishing people and trying to make people behave better.
“I wish we could take the time that we put into putting reporting on console and have put that towards a match history system, or a replay system instead. It was the exact same people that had to work on both [the replay system and match history system] who got rerouted to work on the other [report system].”
In Kaplan’s eyes, trying to completely re-engineer human behavior is taking its toll on the development team, and working hard to force people to behave the way Social Justice Warriors want them to behave is – in his own words – slowing down development of new content for Overwatch. He says…
“The bad behavior is actually making the game progress – in terms of development – at a much slower rate.”
There’s a lot of vagueness in terms of what constitutes “bad behavior” in the eyes of Blizzard, other than saying “mean things” to people, which could pretty much run a vast spectrum of how people communicate and what language or tone they use. For instance, is jovial but derogatory sarcasm “bad behavior”? Is jocular but profane language “bad behavior”? Is using epithets in a joking manner “bad behavior”? It seems like a rule based on a moral principle that’s as flimsy as a flag in the wind.
However, Kaplan and the rest of Blizzard apparently want their community to behave like Social Justice Warriors; only using language approved of by social authoritarians and only playing in ways that are considered “positive” by moral arbiters.
It’s strange because they don’t have to fight “bad” behavior at all. They could let the block/mute buttons do what they’re intended to do and focus on making new content for the game.
With Kaplan’s admission that anti-SJW behavior is literally holding back development, I could easily see trolls from 4chan using this as an opportunity to ramp up the so-called “bad” behavior in order to bring development to a full halt.