Epic Games postponed the launch of Season 3 of its wildly popular Fortnite battle royale game, which has more than 350 million registered players, due to the protests related to the killing of a black man by a white police officer.
In some ways, Epic Games is a little late in doing the postponement, following other announcements by Electronic Arts and Sony. On the other hand, it’s a signal that the unrest in the U.S. related to Black Lives Matter and the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis is having an impact beyond nine days of protests. More companies are calling for attention to the issue and looking for a way to permanently address the race problem in the U.S.
Do we have a long way to go? Yes, judging by the comments that gamers are leaving on the tweets for each of these announcements.
Meanwhile, the Call of Duty League, which is the global esports league for the popular video game, said it would reschedule this weekend’s Call of Duty League Minnesota Røkkr Home Series to June 12 through 14.
Activision said that the Call of Duty League family plans to pay tribute to Floyd (a black man who was suffocated on video by a white Minneapolis police officer, igniting more than a week of unrest) and dedicate the Home Series to supporting the fight for social justice and the rights of black and minority communities, as well as organizations assisting with rebuilding efforts, both in Minneapolis and nationwide.
And Infinity Ward, maker of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Warzone, said in a tweet that it is investing more resources in banning racist players in its games. It already bans thousands of players a day.
— Infinity Ward (@InfinityWard) June 3, 2020
CD Projekt Red similarly postponed its own Cyberpunk 2077 event until June 25.
Nintendo also said in a statement that it was committed to fostering diversity, inclusion, and equity in everything that it does.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) June 3, 2020
Here’s what Epic Games said.
Hey Fortnite community,
Recent events are a heavy reminder of ongoing injustices in society, from the denial of basic human rights to the impact of racism both overt and subtle against people of color. We’re acutely aware of the pain our friends, families, team members, players, and communities are experiencing.
We believe in equality and justice, diversity and inclusion, and that these fundamentals are above politics.
The team is eager to move Fortnite forward, but we need to balance the Season 3 launch with time for the team to focus on themselves, their families, and their communities.
The live event The Device will be delayed to Monday, June 15, and the Season 3 launch delayed to Wednesday, June 17. We know this delay comes on the heels of another one, and we appreciate your patience and understanding during these difficult times.
— Epic Games