Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

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Video games are rife with racist and sexist comments, bullying and bad behavior, the company says.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

Ian Scher (he/she) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he was always in touch with the world of technology. He currently writes about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and Internet issues. In addition to writing, he does home appliances, is a longtime swordsman, and has been woodworking during the pandemic.

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When Amira Virgil plays the world-famous game The Sims, she likes to create different characters, build them houses and tell stories about their lives.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

He is well known in the Electronic Arts gaming community for creating mods that give characters racially different skin tones and hair. He also started a website called The Black Simmer where people share their mods and other creations.

He often plays games online, sharing his Sims exploits with hundreds of fans under the username Xmiramira. But people come to his stream every time they cause trouble.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

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The Sims world building game is one of the most popular video games with over 200 million copies sold. Electronic art

One way to do this is to change his username to include racially charged language when he posts comments while streaming. They include words like “ghetto, the N-word and profanity,” he said.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

That’s why EA held its first large-scale gathering, called the Building a Healthy Community Summit, where 230 game influencers, known as Game Changers, flew in to discuss the issue.

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Sitting in a conference room at the Loews Hollywood Hotel ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles, EA’s head of public relations, Adam Tanielian, asked a room full of influencers if they had seen or been targeted by any of them. bullying or online harassment. Almost all hands are up.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

Within the next three hours, EA announced how it plans to deal with the problem. It will begin publishing regular reports on the health of its online communities. It offers players new tools to reduce toxicity. It elects a player council to regularly discuss issues and what the company can do about it.

EA also said it wants to inspire its players to help make a difference. This includes hearing positive behavior from influencers. “Guys, you have a lot of power to solve some of these problems, or at least offer solutions,” Tanielian said.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

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The company’s efforts come at a time when the video game industry is bigger and more influential than ever. Its worldwide sales topped $137.9 billion last year, more than music and movies combined, according to industry watchdog Newzoo. Online communities are growing with millions of players, such as the more than 250 million people who have signed up to play the hit online fighting game Fortnite.

Bringing a large network of players together has forced many companies to rethink how they approach life in human-made worlds.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

In the past, companies often kept players to themselves. But now, with the multiplayer aspects of games like EA’s Battlefield war simulation franchise gaining popularity alongside gaming social networks like Microsoft’s Xbox Live, companies say they have to start better tapping into gamer culture in their games.

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“It’s about time the game was accepted,” said Chris Bruzzo, EA’s chief marketing officer, who also helped launch the Healthy Community Summit. “We’re starting to hear more and more from players that this is something they no longer want to put up with.”

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

Of course, harassment and bullying are common on social media. EA isn’t the only game company trying to solve these problems.

In May, Microsoft released community standards and dedicated more moderation tools to help people avoid toxic players. Ahead of Monday’s E3 press conference, Ubisoft talked about how rapper and actor Ice-T’s videos can be controlled by online games.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

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“Video games are for everyone and we need to maintain a safe environment for everyone to enjoy, but not everyone is great,” he said.

According to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, the company has been more active in discussing these issues because it sees it as part of the company’s responsibility to create online games that connect players.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

“As our games become more and more social, we want those games to be safer.” “We want people to come and feel good,” he said. “Our job is to make sure it’s as safe as possible.”

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There are also organizations like the Fair Play Alliance, a group of companies working to support healthy communities. There are also anti-bullying non-profits like Ditch The Label, which EA financially supports, promotes equality and researches the impact of toxic behavior.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

“Violence is real and it has real and devastating consequences,” said Liam Hackett, CEO of Ditch, speaking at the event. He said data from Ditch The Label showed that one in 10 victims of bullying considered suicide and one in five quit the game because of how other players treated them.

Brittney Brombacher, founder of the Making Good Games podcast, said at the EA event that bad behavior can be self-reinforcing and affect society. “Toxic begets toxicity,” he said.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

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The number of companies is increasing. Last week, YouTube said it would remove ads from conservative figure Stephen Crowder for making homophobic slurs at Vox writer and video host journalist Carlos Maza. Several advertisers have said they will no longer advertise on at least two YouTube gaming channels, where “strict” ad placement guidelines affect criticism and personal attacks.

Last year, when EA began promoting its World War II-inspired shooter Battlefield V, gamers immediately latched onto the woman on the cover of the promotional materials. Critics say it’s historically wrong to put a woman in the front row. The backlash grew even stronger when the company countered that if you don’t like it, you don’t buy it. Ultimately, despite positive reception from some critics, sales of the game fell short of expectations.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

EA has come under fire for putting a woman on the cover of Battlefield V, a World War II-inspired game. e

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In reaction to all of this, it would be easy to dismiss EA’s advice on building healthy communities. At the end of the day, EA game sales and usage are all about customer satisfaction. Trying to help everyone be better for each other can’t be considered selfish.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

But Bruzzo said it’s more than that. A competitive event player for EA’s Madden NFL football series shot and killed one of his competitors last year. Bruzzo realized that the company not only needed to make sure the events were safe, but also support the mental health of the players.

There are no clear answers yet. In a big debate about EA’s research into the consequences of disruptive player behavior, attendees grappled with how involved any company should be in these issues and where to draw the line between prank, trash, and malicious behavior.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

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Some participants said they were frustrated by the constant harassment from other players. Some people try to break them in the game, for example, accuse them of cheating. Some participants reported being targeted by disruptive players to make them look bad during live streams.

“Disruptive behavior doesn’t just ruin a game, it ruins people’s real lives,” says Andy Castell, a 25-year-old UK-based gaming YouTuber who is part of EA’s Game Changers Game Influencer program. He frequently makes videos on his  AJ3 channel about playing EA’s soccer game FIFA, which has nearly 1.5 million subscribers. “Obviously it’s very important to create as positive an environment as possible in the game.

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

Castell said he doesn’t struggle too much with disruptive behavior, but he understands why it’s a problem. He said civilized community discussion, not paternalism, is needed to solve the problem.

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“It’s hard to do social media these days because you look like someone on a high horse who wants to tell everyone they’re wrong, and people get upset about that,” Castel said. “I feel like the world is fighting for this beast that’s spiraling out of control.”

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

For now, EA is focused on starting the conversation. He hosted a summit with Game Changers influencers on building healthy communities for E3 and committed to publishing research and building tools to combat toxicity. It also plans to meet with other companies to exchange ideas and work with the players themselves to develop features and rules to help mitigate problems.

“It will go

Electronic Arts Won’t Be A Multiplayer M&a Game

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