Following a mass shooting event at a Madden 19 tournament last weekend, tournament and convention security has become a top priority in the video game industry. PAX West is kicking off on Aug. 31, and officials are looking to ensure attendees feel safe at the Seattle-based event.
A Madden 19 competitor opened fire at the Madden Championship Series qualifying event in Jacksonville, Florida on Sunday. The shooter killed two players before killing himself. Eleven others were injured during the shooting, 10 from gunshot wounds and one incurred elsewhere in the shooting. PAX organizers Reed Exhibitions released a statement last night to address the shooting.
Officials declined to publicly discuss details of the PAX West security program, as doing so would compromise actions they’ve already taken. “However, we work closely with the Washington State Convention Center, private security, the Seattle Police Department, and federal law enforcement authorities to identify risks, assess them, and develop our comprehensive security protocols for PAX West,” PAX officials said in the statement, reported by GamesIndustry.biz.
Event security came under scrutiny almost immediately following the Jacksonville shooting when compLexity Gaming CEO Jason Lake tweeted criticism of events both large and small. “It’s time esports events double down on security for everyone in general and players specifically,” he wrote.
Lake later confirmed that a compLexity player, Drini “Young Drini” Gjoka, was shot in the hand during the event.
Other esports executives have since come forward to discuss event security, including Evo CEO Joey Cuellar. “While Evo does not comment on security procedures for obvious reasons, it’s very clear that we need to be more proactive for 2019 and beyond,” Cuellar wrote on Twitter. “The amount of undercover law enforcement at Evo was unprecedented, and we will be installing metal detectors for all days next year.”
Madden 19 developer Electronic Arts has also canceled its remaining Madden Classic qualifying events following the shooting. The company will “run a comprehensive review of safety protocols” for future events.