‘Thank you for your compliance’: Overwatch as a Disciplinary System

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Toxicity in online multiplayer games has long been an issue, and game developers implement various strategies such as reputation systems to curb such behaviour. Although Foucault’s notion of discipline seems an ideal lens through which to analyse such reputation systems, as of yet there has been little work on the subject. This article addresses the reputation system implemented in 2018 by Blizzard, who created an endorsement system in the team-based multiplayer shooter Overwatch. This successfully encouraged positive player behaviour by implementing rewards, rather than only punishments. In this article, we examine the endorsement system as an example of Foucault’s discipline, one that is particularly relevant to game design because it uses incentives as well as deterrents. We argue that the endorsement system is particularly effective as a form of discipline because it includes players as part of the process, by actively constructing subjects (gamers) to fit a pre-defined mould.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGames and Culture: a journal of interactive media
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2021


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