Launching a game under a service structure means having constant and close contact with all the players that make up the community that keeps the title alive and their experience alive.
Overwatch is one of the most successful examples in that sense, however, we are accustomed to establishing communication with the development team on official forums and it is difficult to know what they experience and think. Jeff Kaplan, the director of Overwatch, talked about his experience.
Last week, some users of the official forums of Blizzard expressed some doubts and nonconformities regarding the presence of members of development teams in the subjects, which, according to them, is not constant and sometimes you feel that they receive generic answers and very reserved.
Without anyone expecting it, Jeff Kaplan, the director of Overwatch, participated in the topic a few days later and explained that there is some negative element in this and the developers really want to participate more but the environment they face is intimidating.
In a statement on the official forum, Kaplan mentioned that “if you’ll allow me to speak openly for a moment — it’s scary. Overall, the community is awesome to us. But there are some pretty mean people out there. All of our developers are free to post on these forums. Very few of us actually do because it’s extremely intimidating and/or time consuming. It’s very easy to post the wrong thing and make a “promise” to the community that no one intended to make. Once we say we’re working on something, we’re not allowed to “take it back”. It’s set in stone.”
At the same time, Kaplan explained that unlike most users, they cannot use a pseudonym and cannot remain under the anonymity that the network offers, a situation that makes them an easy target for attacks and personal insults.
As far as his experience is concerned, the creator said that the Overwatch community often sends emails to Blizzard demanding that they dismiss team members when they do not like them. Finally, he said that many developers are overwhelmed and scared to interact with the public: “Most great developers I know just love being head’s down making or playing games. The “public speaking/posting” part of the job is downright scary and intimidating. It often feels like there is no winning.”
Just another example of how toxicity in the gaming community can affect people behind the development of video games.