With the Bully Project being released in theaters this Friday, it seems ironic that we would be reporting on people mocking another player who is "suicidal" and encouraging other people to do the same in the hope that the individual would "do it." This is the same kind of behavior highlighted in the aforementioned documentary. But instead of happening in a game it happened at school to an 11-year-old boy. He ended up listening to his school mates.
The game in question is EVE Online, and the comments came to light during an Eve Online panel at its FanFest convention over the weekend. According to a user named "Kestrel" who contacted both Eurogamer and EVE Online maker CCP Games, during Thursday's Alliance Panel presentation (moderated by a CCP employee and delivered by two CSM council members) panelists mocked a suicidal player and encouraged other players to join in in-game. The presentation featured an in-game communication between two Eve Online players where one of the players said he had suicidal thoughts and "showed obvious signs" of severe depression, according to Kestrel.
"When this communication was shown to the audience the presenter, along with part of the audience of players and CCP representatives present all had a good laugh," Kestrel told Eurogamer. "The presenter went on to encourage other players of Eve Online to harass this player in the hope that he would eventually be compelled to act on his suicidal thoughts.
Kestrel went on to say that the player's in-game contact information was provided to the audience. The presentation was also streamed online during the FanFest event.
When CCP Games was made aware of this, the company issued a statement expressing its disgust for such behavior and promised that an investigation would take place.
In response, CCP issued a statement criticizing the "abhorrent behavior" that occurred.
"I want to reassure you that CCP in no way condones the harassment of players, especially those who suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts, as we understand the possible consequences of such abhorrent behaviour," CCP public relations and social media specialist Ned Coker told Eurogamer. "Our Terms of Service (TOS), which can be found here, mirror our company's stance on this matter."
"While the content of online interactions between players cannot realistically be gated within our game worlds, we do take very seriously accusations of such behaviour between our players."
"Furthermore, we have a suicide hotline protocol which has, in specific cases, made a difference for several unfortunately troubled players. We appreciate you voicing your concerns on this level, and CCP will be very vigilant in monitoring any behaviour directed towards the individual named in the presentation."
"We are undertaking a full internal review of this panel as well as the process used for vetting the panel's materials. Even though this panel was billed as unfiltered by CCP, we expect public presentations to be courteous and professional towards others."
While online game operators often do not have the ability to control all players behavior 24 hours a day and seven days a week, a panel broadcast over the internet and moderated by a CCP Games employee should have a higher standard of conduct and behavior. Mocking a player who is having mental health issues to thousands of people and encouraging that person to commit suicide is wrong and should not be tolerated.
Source: Eurogamer by way of Andrew Eisen.