two players killed in esports tournament on Madden NFL 19

The United States has just experienced another shooting in Jacksonville, Florida. This took place during a video game tournament on Madden NFL 19.

The tragedy is repeating itself in the United States. Constantly bereaved by mass shootings, the country has just experienced a new tragedy this Sunday, August 26: while a video game tournament was taking place in Jacksonville, the largest city in Florida, a man started shooting the competitors, killing two, before ending his life by turning his gun on him.

One more catastrophe in the long list of daily killings or almost that America knows, because of a very permissive legislation which allows easy access to firearms. According to the count made by an initiative seeking to document armed violence, there have been 234 mass killings in the United States, 31 of which in August alone.

To our knowledge, this is the first time that such a shooting has taken place in a video game tournament – so far there have been massacres in schools, churches, shopping malls, cinemas, campuses, hotels, or even nightclubs, to name but a few examples. Some events, like Columbine or Sandy Hook, have even entered the collective memory.

Video games are often put on the dock whenever there is a mass killing caused by a teenager or young adult, on the grounds that certain violent titles would have a detrimental impact on individual behavior – which many dispute of scientific studies – it is expected that this accusation will resurface in the media in the days to come.

An esports tournament on Madden NFL 19

This accusation should be brushed aside, however, since the esports tournament in question did not involve any shooter: the competitors were competing on Madden NFL 19, an American football simulation game published by Electronic Arts which features the teams of the National Football League (NFL). There is no question here of Call of Duty, Battlefield, GTA or Carmageddon.

The fact remains that the shooter who ended his life after leading to death two other people (and injuring eleven other individuals) participated in the tournament as a player. The 24-year-old native of Baltimore had just been beaten in a game. The investigation will have to determine how the killer introduced his weaponry and take into account the security loopholes of the event.

Madden NFL 19 partie
Part of Madden NFL 19.

This was obviously insufficient and incapable: it must be said that it was not a competition taking place in a special enclosure, whose entrances can be checked and filtered by security agents (as at the entrance to a stadium or concert hall), but in a bar-restaurant in the city. Here again, the investigations will shed light on the conditions for hosting the tournament.

It remains to be seen what effects this slaughter will have in the United States. On the improvement of gun control, it is certain that it will not have any – much more spectacular tragedies have not made it possible to move the political lines on this file. What is to be feared, on the other hand, is the emergence of an act in video game tournaments by mimicry.

The competition of Madden NFL 19 was indeed retransmitted on the net, and this even if it was only a eliminatory phase. Viewers attending the matches were also able to capture some sequences, only audio, of the shooting, without seeing the scene directly (the video showed a game in progress), before the broadcast was interrupted.

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