Call of Duty big. Now Call of Duty ban number big, too.
Today as part of an anti-toxicity progress report, “Call of Duty staff”—which could include a large portion of the human population, given how many studios work on the series at this point—announced that they’ve banned over 350,000 accounts in the past year for “racist names or toxic behavior.” It’s an impressively large number, but keep in mind that these bans span several very large games in Call of Duty: Warzone, Black Ops Cold War, Modern Warfare, and Call of Duty: Mobile. As with any large-scale ban effort, it’s all relative.
The Call of Duty devs went on to acknowledge that this particular war is far from won.
“There’s much more to be done, including increasing player reporting capabilities and moderation, as well as addressing voice chat to help combat toxicity,” they wrote. “Our goal is to give players the tools needed to manage their own gameplay experience, combined with an enforcement approach that addresses hate speech, racism, sexism and harassment.”
The various teams that comprise the Call of Duty Voltron plan to do this by devoting more sources to detection and enforcement, creating additional tech for monitoring, cleaning up databases, reviewing policies in a “consistent and fair” way, and communicating better with the community.
Competitive shooters are as prone to toxicity as any genre out there, and as ever, once developers allow it to become widespread, it’s much harder to root out than when it’s met with a comprehensive prevention effort upfront. Toxicity, racism, and harassment can easily become cultural norms, which increases the likelihood that players will mute and move on rather than reporting or otherwise pushing back against the problem. Call of Duty’s developers, at least, seem to be aware that they’ve got an uphill battle ahead of them.
“We know we have a long way to go to reach our goals,” they wrote. “This is just the start. Addressing this is an ongoing commitment that we will not [waver] from.”