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Blizzard addresses growing ‘Overwatch’ player toxicity problem

Overwatch continues to be one of the best multiplayer shooters around, but since its launch last year, the game has seen a growing problem with player toxicity and abuse. Blizzard has now pledged to address this issue head on, outlining its plans in a new developer update video.

“As you guys know, we recently added the reporting feature [to the game], which existed before on PC only. It’s now finally on console, as well,” game director Jeff Kaplan said in the video. “We know that this reporting feature is not perfect. It doesn’t instantly end up in the action that you want to have taken, but there’s a lot of improvements coming in this regard.”

Thus far, more than 340,000 reported incidents have resulted in disciplinary action of some kind, and an additional 140,000 players have been disciplined for their actions in the game, as well.

“There’s not going to be a moment where we have a magic patch in Overwatch that makes bad behavior go away, but it is a continual process that we are very dedicated to fixing and improving,” Kaplan added.

But Blizzard can’t do it alone. Kaplan also stressed that the community needs to take it upon themselves to keep the game fun for all players, spreading positive messages to other players instead of being rude or abusive.

“I wish we could take the time that we put into reporting on console and have put that toward a match history system or a replay system instead,” Kaplan said. “It was the exact same people who had to work on both, who got rerouted to work on the other. The bad behavior is not just ruining the experience for one another, but the bad behavior is actually making the game progress, in terms of development, at a much slower rate.”

In terms of specifics, Blizzard is planning to permanently ban repeat offenders from playing in competitive matches again. Abusers will also be getting banned from competitive play much sooner than before, so there won’t be as much leeway for making a rude comment — follow the simple rule of not saying anything at all if what you’re going to say is mean.

Overwatch is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. If you don’t want other players yelling at you, we strongly suggest playing the console versions.

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