In the wake of the tragic shooting at a Madden NFL 19 video game tournament In Jacksonville, Fla., in which a gunman killed two competitors and injured several others before fatally shooting himself, the game's publisher, Electronic Arts, has canceled the remaining events in their "Madden Classic" tournament series. Those events were scheduled for Virginia, California and Texas, the latter of which was due to take place at the Java Gaming Cafe in Carrollton.
The events have been canceled so Electronic Arts can re-examine security at these and similar events. EA CEO Andrew Wilson posted a statement online saying, "We have made a decision to cancel our three remaining Madden Classic qualifier events while we run a comprehensive review of safety protocols for competitors and spectators. We will work with our partners and our internal teams to establish a consistent level of security at all of our competitive gaming events."
Wilson's note also mentioned the company's commitment to supporting the families of the victims. It ended with a message to the gaming community as a whole: "Please take time to support each other through this challenging time."
Java Gaming Cafe posted a statement on Facebook that reads "Java is saddened by the tragic event that happen [sic] this past Sunday. Our thoughts and Prayers are with the victims and their families. The Madden 19 Classic tournament is not important at this time. ... The esports community is grieving, but we will become closer and stronger because of this event. Please keep all the vistims and their families in your prayers as they are in ours."
In response to the tragedy, other tournaments and events are also discussing security concerns. Video game fan event Retropalooza, happening Sept. 29-30 at the Arlington Convention Center, took to Facebook on Monday to say, "We have been getting questions about our security measures. ALL bags, purses, backpacks, etc will be searched by security personal. On top of that, pockets must be emptied and a metal detecting wand will be used. We have always had non uniformed armed security, and that will not change. The addition of uniformed armed security will most likely be put into play. We want to provide a fun but safe event for everyone attending."
While the Jacksonville shooting was the first example of such violence at a video game event, it is unfortunately not the first time violence has been threatened. Back in December, the Call of Duty World League Championship tournament in Dallas was put on hold while the Dallas Police Department investigated a bomb threat that was called in on the convention center.