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New Developer Update video addresses the rise of toxicity - Overwatch

Kaplan outlines developer plans while inviting community to contribute to positivity.

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About John Bedford

John is a freelance writer based in West Sussex.

A new Overwatch Developer Update video has gone live, outlining the development team's commitment to combating abusive chat and disruptive gameplay, commonly known as “toxicity”.

In the video, game director Kaplan re-asserts the team's commitment to providing game systems to combat negativity and reinforce positive behaviour, while also imploring the game's community to look inwardly at themselves and question what they can do to improve the experience.

Here's the full video, with a recap of the highlights just beneath it:

  • The reporting system, now also on consoles as well as PC, will undergo a lot of revisions and improvements.
  • The team will start providing more feedback on reports that resulted in disciplinary action. An email notification pilot is being tested right now, but it's hoped this functionality can be moved in-game in a future update.
  • To date, disciplinary action has been taken against 480,000 accounts, of which 340,000 were the result of players using the reporting system. The vast majority of action is taken against reported players, so the system is worth engaging with.
  • The Overwatch developers are continuing to adjust punishment thresholds and gravity for negative behaviour.
  • Blizzard's high-level philosophy is that if you are a bad person doing bad things in Overwatch, they don't want you there. They won't make a space for bad people to play together, they want to reinforce an inclusive, aspirational game universe for all.
  • While we all say mean things on the internet, and the developers will do everything they can with game systems, the community needs to take a deep inward look at itself and consider why we're all playing the game.
  • Time the developers spend on reporting systems and punishing players is time taken away from developing cool new features such as battle reports and replay systems. The same people work on both kinds of content, and game development progress is slower as a result.

Kaplan concluded the video by acknowledging the work the Overwatch team must continue to improve the situation, while again asking the community to do its part to make a difference and spread positivity in-game.

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