Aug 28 (Reuters) – Video game maker Electronic Arts canceled three tournaments of its Madden NFL 19 football game to review safety protocols after a competitor who lost a tournament attacked with a gun, killing two gamers and wounding 11 others.
David Katz, 24, who lost a Madden football video game tournament at the GLHF Game Bar in downtown Jacksonville, Florida, opened fire on other competitors, killing Elijah Clayton, 22, and Taylor Robertson, 27.
“They were respected, positive and skilled competitors, the epitome of the players and personalities at the heart of our community,” Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts (EA), said of the two victims in a statement released early on Tuesday.
Wilson said in the aftermath of the shooting the company had canceled the three remaining qualifying events for the Madden NFL 19 Classic, the first of four major competitions of the season for the video game.
The cancellations are in order to “run a comprehensive review of safety protocols for competitors and spectators,” he said.
The incident was the latest in a series of high-profile shootings in Florida. A gunman killed 17 students and educators at a high school in February and another killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in 2016. “We’ve all been deeply affected by what took place in Jacksonville,” Wilson said. “This is the first time we’ve had to confront something like this as an organization, and I believe this first time our gaming community has dealt with a tragedy of this nature.”
The killings rocked the world of professional video game tournaments, also known as esports, which boasts an estimated 250 million players worldwide in a growing market worth about a billion dollars a year.
The EA Sports division of Electronic Arts makes Madden NFL 19, a video game that depicts National Football League competition. Gamers compete against one another by controlling all facets of team during a contest.