Blizzard Claims Overwatch Has Seen A Huge Toxicity Decrease

Toxicity, ah the rod in the back of esports. Trolls, sore losers, and hateful gamers are just a small slice of the community but are often one of the most highlighted, raising a range of problems in individual titles and gaming/esports as a whole.

In every game, toxicity can be a major problem. Whether it is verbally, in text chats, or across social media platforms, players throwing their dummies out of the pram and becoming ‘toxic’ is a trait that most feel should be repelled from our games.

Activision Blizzard agrees too, and after implementing a “machine learning” technology that combats foul language, the developers have seen an “incredible decrease not only in toxic text chat but an overall decrease in re-offence rates” in games such as Overwatch and World of Warcraft.

Blizzard shared insights into the complicated software in April 2019 and began to install it within Overwatch in an attempt to combat abusive chat.

Speaking on a “Fireside Chat” on YouTube, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack stated “Part of having a good game experience is finding ways to ensure that all are welcome within the worlds, no matter their background or identity. Something we’ve spoken about publicly a little bit in the past is our machine learning system that helps us verify player reports around offensive behaviour and offensive language.”

Brack continues to state, “This system has been in place in Overwatch and in Heroes of the Storm. It allows us to issue appropriate penalties quicker, and we’ve seen an incredible decrease not only in toxic text chat but an overall decrease in re-offence rates. A few months ago, we expanded this system into World of Warcraft’s public channels, and we’ve already seen a decrease in the time disruptive players stick around by half, and we’re continuing to improve the speed and the accuracy of this system”.

As for Activision’s other main title in Call of Duty, the developers recently clamped down on a long-awaited toxicity problem surround in-game names and emblems by stepping up their profanity filter. There is still a way to go until toxicity can be eradicated though, if at all possible.

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