Video on social media appears to show Call of Duty: Modern Warfare players gathering in person during an amateur tournament, American Gaming Network’s Indianapolis Open, despite the event officially being moved online due to concerns over covid-19.
According to Dotesports, AGN Indy was to be the first American LAN tournament hosted during the coronavirus pandemic. Players were to be required to wear face masks, organizers said the event would conduct temperature checks, and sign-up included a “COVID-19 Liability Release Waiver.” Last night, AGN moved the event online, with COO of AGN events Gage Cash writing a statement that read, “After discussions with representatives from Activision, we are deciding to change the Indianapolis Open to be online only, for health and safety concerns.”
Later, video circulated on Reddit purporting to show players hosting a LAN for the tournament in their AirBnb. On Twitter, esports consultant Rod Breslau shared video of what appears to be players gathering together in a venue to play. Dexerto reports that this video was of “a match being played” and “was posted with the result of the game, but was deleted when it started to be shared around.” Some members of the CoD community claim players went to the still-open venue despite AGN’s decision, while others, as Dexerto reports, expressed suspicion that the event was really moved online at all.
AGN tweeted, “AGN has nothing to do with the players congregated at ANY LAN center. We DO NOT condone them being there. We have asked everyone to play from home or their BnB.” Kotaku reached out to AGN’s Gage Cash for comment but did not receive a reply in time for publication.
While the last-minute move to online likely meant many players were already in Indianapolis for the event, playing together in person isn’t the smartest move right now, since gathering in indoor spaces is widely considered risky due to covid-19. Some traditional sports might be holding in-person games again, but that doesn’t mean esports have to.
Update, 10:55pm—AGN has moved the second day of the tournament to August 9th, citing “the competitive integrity of the online tournament” and “an overwhelming amount of players away from home with the inability to play in a safe environment.”