Infinity Ward Commits to Do Better Combatting Racism in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone

Amid the global conversation regarding racism and discrimination against Black people following the police murder of George Floyd, Infinity Ward is stepping up its efforts to monitor and remove racist content in both Call of Duty: Warzone and Modern Warfare multiplayer. The developer currently monitors and issues bans for racism, slurs, and hate within usernames, but they issued a statement on Twitter saying they know they can do more to combat discrimination online.

The full statement reads:

There is no place for racist content in our game. This is an effort we began with launch and we need to do a better job. We’re issuing thousands of daily bans of racist and hate-oriented names. But we know we have to do more—and we are:

  • Adding additional resources to monitor and ID racist content
  • Adding additional in-game reporting systems to increase the number of bans by hour
  • Adding filters and greater restrictions on name changes
  • Evaluating in-game improvements to make it easier to report offenses
  • Increasing permanent bans to root out repeat offenders

We apologize to our players. This is our commitment to you, our fans, thank you.

Account names in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone are based on your Activision ID, which can be different from your PSN ID. Replies to the tweet from Infinity Ward have pointed out a number of racist and hateful names that get around filters and blocks by using leet speak or other symbols and characters as stand-ins for letters, as well as a number of blatantly hateful user IDs that have somehow managed to slip through the cracks.

Call of Duty has often been notoriously associated with online multiplayer toxicity, being used by gamers as the go-to example of “that’s just how it is” when attempting to defend toxic and discriminatory behavior and casual racism in online games. Infinity Ward’s commitment is a good first step, being vocal about the problem and acknowledging it has work to do, but the evidence will be in the action taken and how it translates to the in-game experience. Hopefully the developer takes some notes from its no-tolerance policy on cheaters and applies that to racist behavior and content in its games, including confirming to players when action has been taken against content they reported.

Earlier this week, Infinity Ward delayed Season Four of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone as protests regarding the murder of George Floyd at the hands knees of the police ignited civil unrest and global conversation about police brutality and the treatment of Black people in America. Season Four was originally set to launch today and has not been given a new release date yet.