Esports Players Call for Increased Security Following Jacksonville Shooting

Esports Players Call for Increased Security Following Jacksonville Shooting

The esports industry calls for increased security following the death of two esports players at a tournament.

Thousands of people were talking about the Jacksonville, Fla. shooting at an esports tournament on Sunday, including the players and team owners in the video game arena. The players called for increased security at smaller events such as the one at The Landing where two players died and nine others suffered gunshot wounds by another player.

While many details about the motive of the shooting and the gunman remain unclear, many witnesses at the event told local reporters and police that they were not aware of any security at the smaller tournament on Sunday afternoon.

"Sad day and a WAKE UP CALL for organizers large and small," Jason Lake, CEO of the esports team complexity Gaming, tweeted. "It's time esports events (large and small) double down on security for everyone in general and players specifically."

Other esports executives noted that players, managers and owners were entering gaming arenas in the same fashion as fans and attendees, no security was usually seen at entrances and attendees rarely have their bags checked.

A journalist that covers esports tournaments told NBC News that security fluctuates with the size of the event. The "Dota 2" championship in Vancouver's Rogers Arena that ended the day before the shooting had a prize pool of $25 million and had "great security," according to Rod Breslau, the longtime esports journalist.

"The smaller the game, the less security there is," Breslau said. "You can very well get into many of these events without any type of checking, and you could very easily sneak things into a lot of these places."

One would think that the gaming community is surprised by the violence on one of their tournaments, but players have been weary of this type of incident for years. In December, the Call of Duty World League tournament in Dallas was evacutated - twice - due to bomb threats. In  2015, two men drove to the Pokémon World Championship in Boston with a shotgun, an AR-15 and 300 rounds of ammunition - and posted threatening messages about plans to carry out "another Boston massacre" there.

"I've been saying events NEED better security," Seth Abner, XGames Gold Medalist and Call of Duty Champion, tweeted. "Such a...shame that now event coordinators will respond after a tragedy happens."

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