A tragic shooting during a Madden video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida left three dead, including the shooter David Katz, according to Florida Today. Now, tournament organizer Level Up is planning to beef up security tremendously in hopes of avoiding any similar incidents in the future. They’re not the only ones either, as other tournament organizers are planning similar moves. However, not all gamers are on board with all of the planned measures, especially one that would require people to take apart their arcade sticks for inspection.
The new planned security measures include metal detectors, more law enforcement, and potentially even an X-ray machine, detailed Engadget. But the thing that’s upsetting gamers the most is Level Up’s plan to ask people to take their arcade sticks apart for inspection. This is what Street Fighter V player Brian Foster had to say.
“The request to have players open their arcade sticks, even sticks with no easy way to be opened besides removing several screws to take apart the paneling, is way over the top.”
Not only would unscrewing the arcade stick potentially harm the integrity of the stick, it could void warranties. Plus, it’s quite an invasive and potentially time-consuming task that would take away from the experience.
“The first thing that I thought of was situations like this have to be preventable at some level.” An Arkansas professional gamer is advocating for tighter security following the recent shooting at a video game tournament in Florida. https://t.co/XMFoblXqNg #arnews pic.twitter.com/WigGYTnyDe— KATV News (@KATVNews) August 30, 2018
After the backlash from the gaming community, Level Up said that only easily opened joysticks would be inspected. The COO Jimmy Nguyen defended their decisions to change security practices.
“We run community events and listen to their feedback. The looming conversation around SoCal Regionals is currently mainly about safety. If we did nothing about it, we aren’t serving the community.”
Meanwhile, in early September, 500 gamers gathered at the NETWAR 35.0 event in Baxter Arena in Nebraska. Event Director Travis Kreikemeier stressed the importance of security but didn’t actually add any new layers after the Florida incident, detailed 3 News Now. However, gamers spotted cop cars on-site, while another believed there was a greater security presence than ever before.
Gaming tournament shooting highlights security or lack of it: JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A champion gamer's decision to open fire Sunday afternoon during a video competition — killing two people and wounding nine others before killing himself — has… https://t.co/vrX5VDNoqK pic.twitter.com/85YAxIYWXz— Patrick (@cahulaan) August 28, 2018
The controversy is likely to continue, as the gaming community’s apparent lack of security at their events was exposed during the Florida shooting. However, event organizer PAX West revealed later that they do have security measures in place, but that they’re rarely publicly discussed, and spokesman Kyle MacGregor Burleson commented on that.
“We have in place extensive proactive measures; some that are visible during PAX events and many that are not. We are always working to improve our security plans and, if need be, adjust them, to ensure that we are doing all that we can to make PAX West, and all PAX events, a safe and secure environment for the community.
Regardless, if other organizers like Level Up begin installing high-level security measures, others may follow suit, whether the gamers like it or not.