NetEase and Blizzard banned 34,433 Overwatch accounts in China during the first half of 2020, according to industry insider Daniel Ahmad. The bans were reportedly mainly due to “using cheat software” or “for other in-game violations,” like toxic behavior.
Overwatch has also sold over 10 million copies in China, according to the NetEase Games Strategy 2019 report, making it one of the most successful games in the country.
Overwatch gained more than 50 million players worldwide across all platforms last year, which means China reportedly represents 20 percent of the game’s players. The number of banned players from this year, though, doesn’t even equal one percent of the total of Chinese players.
Blizzard suspends or bans accounts for violations of its Code of Conduct, which covers behavior, communication, and cheating. Players who are caught using cheating software or having toxic behavior in-game or in-chat can be suspended. And if the behavior is recurring, the account will be permanently banned.
As for the banned accounts, there isn’t any possible way for players to recover them except for buying a new one and starting over.
Blizzard has tried to combat toxic behavior with an endorsement system since 2018. It features numbered levels for players according to endorsements received from other players. Instead of directly combating the toxicity, the company has chosen to praise good behavior.
Loot boxes and the ability to form positive groups, where players could match with others who have an equal endorsement level, were granted as rewards for positive behavior. Those positive groups could even form around specific languages.