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Overwatch dev update talks toxicity, but Blizzard admits the ‘problem is not solved’

The latest Overwatch developer update from game director,  Jeff Kaplan, lifted the lid on the developer’s future plans for the online gaming juggernaut.

Back in July, Blizzard had detailed how it had hoped to improve the online community for new and veteran players alike, with a reporting system on console and more prominent in-game management system, feeding more power to the community to stamp out toxicity.

A report and penalty system had been in place on PC for a while, allowing players to report naughty opponents and teammates directly through the game.

On console, however, the issue was a little more complicated, with Xbox players reliant upon the console reporting system, which goes directly to Microsoft via Xbox Live and not Blizzard. The report was seen as an Xbox Live indiscretion, as opposed to a specific Overwatch one.

With the introduction of a new console reporting system, however, it appears Blizzard is a step closer towards reaching its ultimate goal.

Speaking the in the latest developer update, which you can watch below, Kaplan details how reporting and abusive live chat are up and down, respectively, but he admitted that there was still a ways to goal to meet the team’s ultimate benchmark.

“We know those numbers are not as great as they could be, we know that the problem is not solved, and things aren’t perfect, but it’s getting a lot better,” Kaplan said. “A lot of the initiatives that we’re doing here at Blizzard are starting to make a difference.”

Minimising toxicity, Kaplan explained, was a major initiative for Blizzard and the Overwatch team.

Recent updates have gone to great lengths to ensure that players have more resources available to them to report it, and recent efforts have seen reporting increase by 20 percent, and an overall decrease in the number of abusive chat in competitive by 17 percent.

Interestingly, Kaplan also discussed how Blizzard is working alongside other social media sites, namely YouTube, to help round up and move on streamers and content creators that may be amplifying toxic behaviour.

This raises interesting questions about the relationship between developer, publisher and content creator, as it would allow Blizzard to ban a player without there having been an actual report in-game.

What are your thoughts on Blizzard’s attempts to stamp out toxicity? Is it doing the trick? Is it too much? What else can be done to help create a more open and welcoming community? Sound off in the comments below!



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