Mass shooting strikes Madden tournament in Florida | Industry
Breaking Tech Industry news from the top sources
A gunman killed multiple people at a Madden esports competition in Jacksonville, Florida today. Sheriff Mike Williams briefly addressed the public at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time to confirm that law enforcement had cleared out The Landing event complex where the tournament took place. Williams said that a white male suspect was also dead, but the sheriff’s office did not confirm details of the alleged assailant’s identity.
The Madden tournament was a qualifying round for the Madden NFL Championship Series, and it aired live on Twitch. During the broadcast, viewers could hear multiple gunshots shortly before the feed came to an end.
Reports from local ABC news affiliate in Jacksonville claim that four people are dead and 11 are injured. The Associated Press claims that the suspect kill himself. But details on identity and motive of the killer are still unknown or in the early speculation phase.
Electronic Arts, the publisher of the Madden games and the company who oversees the esports events, has posted a brief statement to Twitter.
“We are aware of an incident at a sanctioned Madden Championship Series competition in Jacksonville,” reads the EA account’s tweet. “We are working with authorities to gather facts at this stage.”
The publisher followed that up at 3:19 p.m. Eastern with the following.
“This is a horrible situation,” reads EA’s statement. “And our deepest sympathies go out to all involved.”
This is a horrible situation, and our deepest sympathies go out to all involved.
— Electronic Arts (@EA) August 26, 2018
Players from the tournament are also sharing their experience from the event. One player claims a bullet hit his thumb.
I am literally so lucky. The bullet hit my thumb
— Drini Gjoka (@YoungDrini) August 26, 2018
Another says that police escorted him out.
I got out. Police escorted me. I’m done going to any Madden events not EA Majors with security.
— Noble SteveyJ (@ImSteveyJ) August 26, 2018
I’ve reached out to EA for more information, and I’ll update this post if it provides any new details.
This is a scenario that the gaming industry has always known was possible. The Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show in Los Angeles in June had notoriously lengthy lines for many of its events because of meticulous security. Publishers like Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and others knew the risk and used metal detectors and other tools to avoid a tragedy like the one in Jacksonville today.
Gaming is an event-heavy business. Nearly 100,000 people will come together in Seattle for the PAX West fan gathering next weekend. Thousands more were just in Austin for Rooster Teeth’s RTX expo at the beginning of August. Sony holds an annual fan celebration in December each year. And then there are dozens of esports tournaments of varying sizes.
Publishers, esports organizers, and fan-event companies will all have to look to Jacksonville and be able to explain what they are doing to prevent something like that in the future.