‘Overwatch’ combats player toxicity by monitoring YouTube videos

A promotional image for Blizzard's "Overwatch." (Facebook/OverwatchSEA)

Blizzard’s crackdown on toxic players of “Overwatch” seems to be working, as the game reports that players are encountering less abuse during play. One tactic that the developer is implementing is finding toxic behavior in social media sites like YouTube in order to dish out punishment to responsible accounts.

The game publisher recently released a developer update video wherein Jeff Kaplan, the lead designer for “Overwatch” detailed some of the company’s efforts in combating player toxicity.

In the past, players had a hard time reporting toxic behavior in the game because of a confusing system for reporting players. However, the developer revised how the game handled reporting, which led to a more positive general experience across the title’s massive player base.

In the video report, Kaplan revealed that Blizzard is also proactively checking social media sites for videos that feature unwanted behavior. This way, the game can find accounts that perpetrate toxicity in the game outside of the reporting system.

“We now proactively seek out social media sites like YouTube, for example and look for incidents of very toxic behavior and track down the accounts that are participating and action them often times before anyone’s even reported them,” Kaplan said.

Blizzard’s crackdown on player toxicity started last year. Since then, the developer has implemented a number of changes to the game that encouraged players to report players with unwanted behavior. Players who report other players are also notified when those players get banned, and the game gives in-game warnings to players to have been reported.

Because of the company’s efforts, player reporting have increased by 20 percent, while instances of abuse in the game’s chat have been decreased by 17 percent.

According to Blizzard, the reports of bad behavior are validated before action are taken against the user accounts. “We take toxicity seriously and take appropriate steps to monitor and we validate claims regardless of how it is brought to our attention,” said Blizzard.