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'Overwatch' endorsements reduced toxic behavior by 40 percent

These and group finding helped reward positive gameplay.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
March 23, 2019
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Activision Blizzard

Blizzard has been waging a war against toxic players for a while, but how is it faring, exactly? Quite well, it seems. The company's Natasha Miller has revealed that the number of matches with "negative behavior" has dropped 40 percent since the addition of endorsements, the "looking for group" feature and penalties for prematurely quitting matches. Players were not only encouraged to play as a team and stick through the entirety of matches, but could find teammates who were more likely to complement their skills and gameplay styles.

The company even set up a server that helped it find out if players saw the endorsement system as responsible for the drop in hostile behavior, and the perception was "close" to reality, Miller said.

This isn't to say that Blizzard's achievement is flawless. It's not clear how many instances of toxic behavior there are, and a 40 percent dip still leaves a lot of players causing grief. Still, it's a start -- and it might show other game developers how they can create a welcoming environment by changing attitudes, not just by banning offenders.

Catch up on all the latest news from GDC 2019 here!

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