Any gamer with even the slightest shred of self-awareness will know that the issue of casual, and not-so-casual, racism in the gaming community is perhaps its biggest unaddressed problem. It's an issue that manifests itself thousands of times daily in online gaming platforms across the world, with slurs and racist names normalised in a way that you simply wouldn't see in other areas of civilised culture. Even gaming's most famous figures aren't immune, with PewDiePie coming under fire in 2017 for using the N-word in an outburst while playing PUBG on his YouTube channel.
Clearly, then, there's more to be done. And with gaming companies across the world joining other brands in supporting the current Black Lives Matter movement that's sprung up across the world, the calls are becoming louder for developers to put their code where their mouths are.
Call of Duty is one such game, played online by millions of people around the world and having been constantly hit with the problem of online users adopting hate-based usernames or using racial slurs to abuse other players during matches. Now, the game's developers have revealed a raft of even harsher measures that they hope will help stamp out in-game racism throughout the game's playing community.
In a Twitter statement, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's developers Infinity Ward announced: "There is no place for racist content in our game. This is an effort we began with launch and we need to do a better job. We’re issuing thousands of daily bans of racist and hate-oriented names. But we know we have to do more – and we are:
Adding additional resources to monitor and ID racist content
Adding additional in-game reporting systems to increase the number of bans by hour
Adding filters and greater restrictions on name changes
Evaluating in-game improvements to make it easier to report offenses
Increasing permanent bans to root out repeat offenders
“We apologize to our players. This is our commitment to you, our fans, thank you.”
Call of Duty has also postponed the release of season 4 of its Warzone expansion in light of the recent debates dominating public conversation, saying "now is not the time."