August 28, 2018 | 10:57
Electronic Arts has announced that it is cancelling its planned Madden Classic esports qualifier events, following a fatal shooting at the company's qualifier in Jacksonville, Florida over the weekend.
Part of the Madden Classic esports event, a subsection of the Madden EA Major competition, the event at the GLHF Game Bar, Jacksonville saw players of the American football title Madden competing head-to-head for a spot in the later events. Tragically, one competitor took failure to qualify personally and returned to the venue with a firearm before opening fire on the crowd. Two competitors were killed, plus the gunman himself, and ten attendees were wounded.
Unsurprisingly, the attacker's actions have shocked the community, and game developer, publisher, and overall event organiser - though the qualifying rounds take place under licence and are operated by third-party companies - Electronic Arts has made the only choice it could under the circumstances: to cancel the remainder of the planned events while it can analyse how the tragedy took place and how it could be prevented in the future.
'I wanted to share some thoughts about the horrific and senseless act of violence that occurred in Jacksonville at the Madden competitive gaming event. I know many of us, myself included, are filled with shock and grief. Our teams have been working non-stop to do what we can to respond to this terrible situation,' writes Andrew Wilson, Electronic Arts chief executive, in a message to the community. 'First and foremost, it is an unthinkable tragedy that Taylor Robertson and Elijah Clayton, two of our top Madden competitors, lost their lives in this way. They were respected, positive and skilled competitors, the epitome of the players and personalities at the heart of our community. Their love of competition was evident through their participation in our events over the past few years. We are committed to supporting Taylor and Elijah’s families through this difficult time, and we send our deepest sympathies to their loved ones, to those injured yesterday, and everyone affected.
'The event was a qualifying tournament for the Madden Classic, our first Madden EA Major competition of this season. While these qualifying events are operated independently by partners, we work with them to ensure competitive integrity and to gather feedback from players. We have made a decision to cancel our three remaining Madden Classic qualifier events while we run a comprehensive review of safety protocols for competitors and spectators. We will work with our partners and our internal teams to establish a consistent level of security at all of our competitive gaming events. We've all been deeply affected by what took place in Jacksonville. This is the first time we’ve had to confront something like this as an organisation, and I believe the first time our gaming community has dealt with a tragedy of this nature. Please take time to support each other through this challenging time.'
October 16 2019 | 13:00