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Overwatch’s toxic players are holding back development of new features

Overwatch bans toxicity

Another week, another video of Jeff ‘Jeff’ Kaplan explaining the latest happenings in the world of Overwatch. This go round it’s focusing on the problem of toxicity, something that has got steadily worse as the game has grown and doesn’t show any sign of abating. He gives facts and figures on just what they’re doing to assist, as well as explaining how it’s a problem the community has to help fix.

For the next changes to the game, check our roundup of Overwatch patch 1.15.

Straight off the bat, Kaplan says they’ve taken more than 480,000 account actions since the game launched. With the latest player figures at 30 million, that’s around 1.5% – a fairly significant number to punish. 340,000 of those were directly from player reports, which Kaplan hopes dissuade the common perception that reporting doesn’t do anything.

He also announced that 20,000 players have received emails explaining that their reports lead to account actions. One of those players posted on Reddit with a full transcript of the email. It doesn’t say who was punished, how, or why, but it’s better than the void it used to feel like reports fell into.

Kaplan also explains how he hopes the community can help to improve this situation. There will never be a single patch that vastly improves toxicity in Overwatch, and he hopes that the community will embrace the hopeful, inclusive nature of the game’s universe in their daily playing.

He also points out that having to tackle toxicity is slowing down actual game development. The team that was responsible for getting console reporting working were the same folks who were meant to get replays online. That was delayed to keep the community in check, an example of the real costs of being an asshole online. Y’know, if the psychological distress caused to strangers wasn’t enough.

And yes, Blizzard are hiring more people to help, but it takes time.