When game developers wanted to bring connectivity among players worldwide the best way to make that happen was using the internet. While some of the greatest rivalries have born with online player dishing out their best techniques in these online environments, it has also brought the worst out of many of them. Being labeled a “toxic player” means that you probably are one of the many guys that go online and chews out other players with non-rational banter, insults, and homophobic remarks. While the game community never seems to run out of those, many developers are aiming at these gamers by taking them out of the picture.
Ethics over Earnings
That’s right. Some developers are willing to let go of paying customers just to make their games environments safer for the audiences who wish to enjoy the game, thus bringing the concept of “safe spaces” into video games for the first time. The first one to take such a drastic measure has been Blizzard Studios when their South Korea division announced a ban hammer on almost 18,000 accounts just a few days ago. The company released a statement making public the personal information of these accounts, something that adds a layer of shame to the act itself and treads lightly on a fine legal line. The reason for the ban? Toxic behavior that can be accounted for, such as chat logs and rage quits.
The Context of the Ban Outside of Asia
Further research revealed that this is not the first time this has happened with Blizzard in the Asian country, but it certainly is the most noticeable ban ever run on a game server anywhere. While the company has previously made public the misbehaviors of their players, it has never done so on such a scale. It’s currently unknown if we’ll ever get to see such a disciplinary tactic outside of South Korea, it seems the legal terms of service allows them to pull of this without much consequences in the Asian country. We certainly can’t imagine American servers undergoing such scrutiny since laws regarding privacy and exposure of personal information tend to be a lot different from this side of the world. There is also the fact that many Americans have the worst type of reaction to doxxing by shaming people into submission, while Asians usually handle the shame more discreetly.
A Lesson to Learn Here
This particular story is just an excellent example of how disrupting online games environments with toxic behavior s can have noticeable consequences. The punishment is severe, and it denies the service entirely to the user. Not even a different account can be used to access the game. This is just another piece of evidence that legislatures could be tackled different on our side of the world. In South Korea being an online harasser can land you a prison sentence or a very hefty fine. Such a real threat can certainly change the nature of online gaming for the better. Blizzard certainly has made a bold move that will be judged for a long time and set a precedent that could be easily followed around the world. They even have the numbers to show up how effective was their measure just a few weeks after the ban, with abusive behavior down to 21.6% in Korea and a little extension of that percentage to Americas 28.3%.
It certainly seems that some players on this side of the world took notice of this and started to change their ways.