250,000 Overwatch players banned in new effort to eliminate cheating

250,000 Overwatch players banned in new effort to eliminate cheating
Images via Blizzard

Written by 

Megan Cooke


9th Sep 2023 18:09

Blizzard has banned 250,000 users as part of a new effort to eliminate toxicity and cheating from Overwatch 2.

As well as removing users who have been detected as cheating in the game, Blizzard is cracking down on several other types of cheating, disruptive chat, and griefing as part of the Defense Matrix initiative.

What is the Defense Matrix Initiative?

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Several popular titles have been cracking down on cheating and toxicity in their games in the last few weeks.

While the Defense Matrix initiative is the latest method of improving the gaming experience, Call of Duty recently announced that AI would be monitoring in-game chats, and Riot is reportedly planning to introduce a new feature which will lock toxic players out of the ranked queue.

When describing the Defense Matrix, an update post shared on 8 September said: "Defense Matrix is the name for our collection of efforts to quell the cheating, disruptive chat, and griefing issues that negatively impact many multiplayer video games, including Overwatch 2.

"These efforts are the product of a dedicated task force of developers, researchers, and community experts, all working to improve our existing systems while finding new ways to counter disruptive behaviors.

"Guided by two core principles, we strive to keep Overwatch 2 a positive player experience. The first is Fair is Fun, meaning all players should have the same level playing field when it comes to the game. The second is to foster a Safe and Inclusive Social Experience, working to prevent and discourage disruptive and unwanted behaviors from players."

Blizzard has cracked down on cheating,

In an update post, Blizzard announced that it is cracking down on cheating, disruptive chat and griefing in an effort called Defense Matrix.

Some of the actions that have been taken include removing the unfiltered text chat, introducing "machine-learning algorithms to help identify, transcribe, and verify reports of disruptive voice chat", removing inappropriate names, and banning 250,000 who have been detected cheating since the game's launch.

Blizzard are also cracking down on users caught conspiring to benefit from other players cheating, claiming that 1000s of players have already been banned for grouping with cheaters.

Finally, they encouraged players to report any suspicious or toxic behaviour they may come across.

While many players have reacted positively towards the crackdown, several are concerned about the role of AI and mass-reporting meaning that players may be unfairly banned.

One commenter said: "Great, cool, but please get back to us when people who abuse the system with false reports start getting punished too, and you stop banning the victims of said false reports."

Another said: "What do I do when a pre-made group starts FALSELY telling the entire match chat that I’m using slurs against them just because they are mad that I won’t play the exact hero they demand?"

As it stands there is no real answer as to how false reports are handled, however seeing the company working to reduce toxicity and cheating is a step in the right direction.

Megan is GGRecon's Evening & Weekend News Writer. She has an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing and is working towards finishing her masters in Journalism. When she isn’t writing about games she can be found reading romance novels or playing cosy games like Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, APICO, and Disney Dreamlight Valley.

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