A recent editorial by PC Gamer published on October 26th, 2017 beseeches Blizzard Entertainment to curb the “toxic” community of Overwatch. How do they propose to do this? Bans, censorship, and more authoritative policing of the community.
They claim that Blizzard isn’t doing enough to squash out rude behavior; that they haven’t done enough to snuff out sexist, racist, and transphobic remarks aimed at “marginalized” groups.
The article cites the recent example of Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan pleading with the community to cut back on their toxicity because the “toxic” game community was preventing Blizzard from making new content for the game.
According to PC Gamer, Blizzard needs to hire in people to tone police the community, censor dissent, and extricate those deemed “toxic”. They write…
“Blizzard has made more than $1 billion from Overwatch alone. The company could, and should, spend money on a hiring a new set of employees for whom toxicity is a specific focus.”
PC Gamer cites an example of Riot Games hiring in teams specifically designed to combat toxicity in League of Legends. However, PC Gamer neglects to mention in their example that the head of the anti-toxicity division at Riot Games was fired for being toxic.
PC Gamer attempts to veer away from the topic of human fallibility, and instead also proposes a machine learning algorithm, not unlike the machine learning AI Google uses for YouTube to filter content and blacklist content creators from monetizing their content. The article states…
“When unveiling its Instant Feedback System, the company noted that “homophobia, racism, sexism, death threats, and excessive verbal abuse are both overwhelmingly rejected by the community and hard to mistake.” As such, League now uses an algorithm that is able to punish players who were reported for bad behavior within 15 minutes of a game’s end—delivered via an in-client reform card “delivering context on the punishment and displaying the chat log that triggered the punishment.”
So is there an example of this “toxic” behavior that PC Gamer wants banned so badly? Well, the article points to YouTuber nweatherservice, who made a compilation video to demonstrate how “toxic” the Overwatch community can be.
Nweatherservice claims that they play the game between four and five hours a day as a Twitch live-streamer. In the description of the video it states…
“This is just a collection of the toxic moments people from my stream remembered to clip over the past 4 months or so and I decided to put them into a video to show how awful this community can really be […]
“[…] I just hope that someday we can enjoy playing Overwatch while not having to deal with being personally attacked. Jeff daddy please fix your report system and do something about all the trolls and idiots like the ones in this video. Thanks.”
Blizzard has been temp-banning some players, while also moving to perma-ban others from the Competitive Mode if they’re reported too often over the course of multiple seasons. PC Gamer feels this isn’t enough. They write…
“The company recently implemented permanent Competitive mode bans that will lock the gametype entirely for players who have been suspended season after season. But, crucially, only Competitive mode is affected. Banned players can still access Quick Play and Arcade modes. Between this fact and the aforementioned one-week suspension for more than 2000 reports, it doesn’t seem that Blizzard has any intention of stopping its most toxic players from playing the game at all, “
What the article is advocating here is that people who paid $60 for Overwatch who are repeat offenders should be permanently banned – stopped entirely from playing the game at all.
Even telling someone “gg” for “Good Game” is now offensive to some of these people, prompting everyone to only either say positive things or say nothing at all in a game about killing people.
This kind of overt censorship of the community will likely bleed out the more hardcore gamers. Casuals usually only stick around until the next fad hits, so taking measures to permanently dwindle the community with more aggressive bans, machine learning suspensions, and aggressive means to prevent people from trash talking seems like it could quickly kill off what remains of the Overwatch community.
Then again this has been the modus operandi since the gaming industry has adopted Cultural Marxism as its standard agenda for operation since 2012. The only question is, how long will gamers continue to put up with these level of totalitarianism from Social Justice Warriors?
(Main image courtesy of MrShlapa)