The latest developer update pins the blame for the rate of Overwatch content updates on toxic player behaviour.
Anger, abuse, and aggro mar the online video game experience, wherever you look. From the very top – see also: Felix Kjellberg – to the very bottom, people in online gaming are not especially pleasant to one another.
From serious things like sexism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia, to stupid things like screaming, swearing, and nine year olds claiming they’ve had intercourse with each other’s mothers, online abuse is rampant. Is it any wonder we can’t have nice things? Why do you think family-friendly, E-rated Nintendo didn’t include voice chat in the first Splatoon, and is making it such a palaver in the sequel?
It’s a really difficult issue to resolve, frankly. It’s a many-headed Hydra made up of largely anonymous internet trolls, and we sure as shit can’t rely on common decency to prevail, so Blizzard are taking a new tack: hit ’em in the content.
Specifically, Overwatch content.
Now, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan hasn’t come out and made any overt threats, but he’s been rather clever about the way he has framed it.
He says they’d love to offer more Overwatch content, like new maps, features, and those beloved animated shorts, but the team is spending so much time developing systems to combat online abuse, they don’t have time for the cool stuff.
“We’ve been put in this weird position where we’re spending a tremendous amount of time and resources punishing people and trying to make people behave better. I wish we could take the time we put into putting reporting on console and have put them towards a match history system or a replay system instead. It was the exact same people who had to work on both who got re-routed to work on the other.”
That seems fairly unequivocal to us. They’re not working on new features for the game, because they’re so busy trying to make Overwatch a remotely pleasant place to be which, sadly, it isn’t most of the time.
However if you are still in any doubt, he also says, “The bad behaviour is making the game progress, in terms of development, on a much slower rate.”
So in short: Stop being jerks, or you’ll get less Overwatch content, because the development team will be too busy trying to combat your abhorrent behaviour to implement cool new things.
But if you can’t stop being jerks? Maybe just fuck off elsewhere, then.
“We don’t want to create areas for you where just the bad people are in Overwatch, we just don’t want those people in Overwatch,” says Kaplan. And quite right, too.