We can perform amazing feats of heroism in video games, but when it comes to acting like a decent person, game-players have a big problem. Too many popular online games are cesspools of racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic insults, and dealing with the issue is leaving developers less time to build up their games.
Yesterday, Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan talked about the impact of Overwatch's toxicity problem in a developer update video titled "Play Nice, Play Fair." He admits the team is spending a lot of time and resources punishing odious players – time that's obviously better spent on improving the game itself.
"The bad behaviour is not just ruining the experience for one another but the bad behaviour is actually making the game progress at a much slower rate," he says.
There's no rest for the weary in sight, either; The Overwatch team is introducing and fine-tuning more disciplinary tools soon. Players will get more feedback on submitted reports (currently, only cases that result in disciplinary action receive a response), and "a lot of improvements [to disciplinary tools]" are coming to Overwatch on consoles.
It's nice to hear Overwatch is taking steps to make the game more fun and inclusive for everyone, but it'd be even nicer – and more efficient – if people learned how to act like normal human beings while frolicking on the digital frontier. Maybe some day.