Twitch, Riot and Blizzard unite to form Fair Play Alliance
A number of gaming industry behemoths have united in order to launch a new offensive on toxic players everywhere, creating a fascinating new organisation operating under the moniker of the Fair Play Alliance.
Riot Games, Blizzard Entertainment, and Epic Games are three of the most notable developers on the list of gaming companies represented, alongside famous streaming platform Twitch. Previously, game publishers have all been caught in their own individual battles against toxic players, but the Fair Play Alliance will bring them all together for an attempt to clean up the community. The full roster also features fellow industry giants such as Xbox, Unity Technologies, Discord, and Intel Corporation.
The Alliance describes itself as a “coalition” which will “provide an open forum for the games industry to collaborate on research and best practices that encourage fair play and healthy communities in online gaming”. Their website’s ‘Mission Statement’ also outlines their picture of a more peaceful online environment: “We envision a world where games are free of harassment, discrimination, and abuse, and where players can express themselves through play.”
Speaking at the Games Developers Conference (GDC), the FPA hosted their inaugural ‘Fair Play Alliance Summit’, where members gave a number of different talks on player behaviour. The keynote speech was hosted by Dr. Kimberly Voll, a Senior Technical Designer at Riot Games.
In a discussion with Kotaku, Voll described the tribulations of fighting virtual bullies as an independent developer. “As an industry and as a society online, we’re trying to find our way,” she said. “Having to be a company that steps out and says ‘We’re gonna be the ones to do this’ is kinda scary. This is an opportunity for all of us to say ‘What if we walked together as an industry?’”
Voll also mentioned the issues that stem from streamers (such as Tyler1) providing a bad behavioural example for the community. “On one hand, we’re very conscious of the slippery slope that is to step outside the game and try to impose values more broadly.
On the other hand, every frickin’ thing’s online,” she said. “There’s no IRL and online anymore. This is just all reality now. So streamers are ambassadors of culture bigger than just League of Legends or whichever game. They’re ambassadors of online life.”
The FPA is seemingly an initiative of honourable intent; it will be fascinating to see which developers and third parties are able to take advantage of the existence of an open platform and ensure the best experience for their communities.