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Overwatch introduces new chat options to Contenders league

Blizzard introduces new integration between their platform and the Twitch chat in an attempt to reduce spectator toxicity and improve chat moderation.

The California-based maker of Overwatch has embarked on a seemingly endless crusade for positivity within the game’s community and especially in its esports environment. The live streaming of the Overwatch League, Contenders, and the World Cup – the three premiere Overwatch esports leagues – is the most common way for fans to experience the games by a long shot. The convenience of spectating from the comfort of your own home, combined with the relative anonymity of a Twitch profile, and a long-established chat culture of banter spanning from innocent jokes to verbal harassment and beyond, are all contributing factors to the toxicity Blizzard is so concerned about.

In a recent news update, they announced a brand-new chat moderation program. Starting December 28, Twitch spectators of Contenders will be required to link their (Overwatch) profiles to the chat. This will, in the words of the organizers, lead to “a more positive viewing experience”. It is not yet known how exactly this effect will come into place.

It is safe to speculate that once the two accounts are linked, a reward or punishment from one platform could easily transfer to the other. Simply put, an offensive chat emoji or an inappropriate choice of words could lead to a suspension from online competitive play in the game itself.

This is far from the first time the Twitch chat has been the cause of disciplinary actions towards Overwatch pros. Back in OWL Season 1, ex-Dallas Fuel and current Team Canada off-tank Félix “xQc” Lengyel was punished for typing the TriHard 7 emote in the chat while OWL host Malik Forté was on screen – a gesture perceived as derogatory towards people of color.

Looks like the new policy aims at instances such as this and introduces increasingly severe forms of punishment to the fans of Overwatch who don’t behave online.