Valve have taken a major step towards battling toxicity and poor behaviour within the esports community with their latest CSGO update, which includes a text filter that will block a number of words the software developer deems as being profane or abusive.
The move comes in the middle of the global Black Lives Matter protests that have been high profile news across the world over the last couple of weeks. Protesters have taken to the streets across major cities across the United States, Europe and beyond to voice their anger at the killing of American George Floyd and of both explicit and implicit racism experienced by the black community across the world.
What started out initially as a protest movement in the United States has become a global movement and it seems that Valve have realised that similar behaviours, which have been reported in esports tournaments and chat rooms for some time now, need to be eradicated. Which is why the latest CSGO update has been released.
One of the most disappointing aspects of the esports community ever since the industry began in earnest, has been the behaviour of a small minority of players, notably in chat services. While it would be unfair to tarnish the vast majority of esports players under the same banner, there is no doubt there are a small but significant minority of individuals who have created a toxic atmosphere at times.
While the latest CSGO update targets profanity, which is one of the more common issues people complain about in esports chat rooms, issues can run far deeper than simply using curse words. A Washington Post article reveals that issues such as racism, misogyny and even death threats are all prevalent at times.
No doubt the latest CSGO update from Valve will also target any words along those racist, homophobic, misogynistic lines, but the question to ask here is not whether those words should be filtered out but should there be greater punishments for people that are caught out in this way.
Not A New Phenomenon
The battle against all forms of toxicity is not a new phenomenon. In the past we have looked at some of the issues female esports competitors face in articles, while in May 2019, Denmark set up an Esports Panel specifically to deal with toxic issues in the gaming community, including racism and misogyny.
While it is clear that developments such as the latest CSGO update can go some way towards reducing toxic behaviour, there is an argument that any player found guilty of toxic comments and racism, should face stiffer penalties.
Eradicating the words a person may type is one thing, but it does not change the toxic nature of their behaviour and there are many who feel that this latest update, while a start, does not go far enough and companies like Valve, Blizzard and other major Esports influencers should be banning, permanently in many cases, people that engage in this form of behaviour.
Esports is a reflection of society in many ways and it is somewhat sad that Valve’s latest CSGO update even has to address this issue. While that is positive, it is perhaps an indictment of how many in society feel and behave and until this issue is addressed in society in general, measures such as Valve’s are the equivalent of a band-aid on a gaping wound.