written by Fyren
Overwatch Contenders player quits amidst controversy
“Ellie” a player in Overwatch Contenders, the league just under the Overwatch League, has resigned citing harassment and doxxing before her first match was even played. This story is still developing and so far is a lot of back and forth and “he said, she said” type stuff. There are accusations that “Ellie” never existed in the first place and was just put forward as a very poorly thought out “social experiment” by other players, namely one by the name of “Punisher”. Several news outlets across the internet have jumped on this story claiming that it is representative of the struggles that female players face in competitive eSports scenes. I’ve never been a pro player or anywhere even close so I cannot speak firsthand as to what that atmosphere is truly like, nor can I speak from the female perspective. However, I can say that I have noticed that gaming in general is a much more hospitable place for people of all description than it was even just a few years ago. Especially within Reforged Gaming, there are plenty of women who feel at ease playing and excelling in game. Pro player “Geguri” for the season 1 OWL team Shanghai Dragons got a ton of love and support from her fans as one of the best Off Tank players in the world, along with a fair bit of hate as well. Though, that latter bit is to be expected with any sort of prominent position anywhere. As I said, the facts on this story are unclear and there is a lot of political posturing happening in an attempt to control narrative. I think what we can learn from this though, is that we all need to go back and learn the first rule we were taught as children: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”
Video games now fall under US accessibility laws
Laws the govern accessibility for disabled people have existed for a long time, and up until this week the video game industry has been exempt from all of them. Now that those exemptions have expired though, it is time to talk about these features. Of course, the language of the law is incredibly vague so as to be selectively applied and enforced wherever the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) sees fit. The general idea is that text and voice chat should be easily accessible to everyone, including those with hearing, vision, physical dexterity, cognitive and color blindness disabilities. This is a requirement for games now, and here’s the loophole, provided it does not take more than a “reasonable effort or expense”. What reasonable means I suppose will be left to the companies and the regulators to decide. Accessibility features are nothing new though as several games already offer things like subtitles and color blind UI modes. It remains to be seen how this regulatory change affects the industry, but it is likely we will see the language of this law brought into a sharper focus later this year through a lawsuit and the ensuring litigation that follows.
2 CFOs quit Activision/Blizzard in a week
Spencer Neumann, the former CFO of Activision Blizzard, left the company last week to take the same position over at Netflix. Following this departure, this week, Blizzard (just Blizzard, not Activision) announced that their CFO, Amrita Ahuja would also be leaving. Ahuja, just like Neumann went on to pursue other things as the new CFO of Square Inc., the company behind the small credit card readers you find powered by smartphones at all sorts of faires; craft, renaissance, food and other sorts. While this may not be big news on its own, when considered alongside other recent stories surrounding the company it presents a pretty dismal picture. Following the announcement of Diablo Immortal at Blizzcon, the company’s stock price tanked and has yet to fully recover. Then the dropping of support for all Heroes of The Storm eSports and the subsequent re-tasking of developers of that game to other projects. Now, we have key members of the leadership team appearing to jump ship and head for greener pastures. What does this mean for the future of Blizzard and their games? Probably not much, but investors may be worried.