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EA cancels remaining Madden Classic qualifiers in wake of Jacksonville shooting

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EA will ‘run a comprehensive review of safety protocols for competitors and spectators’

Three Fatalities Reported At Mass Shooting At Jacksonville Gaming Tournament Joe Raedle/Getty Images

EA has cancelled the three remaining Madden Classic qualifier events in wake of the recent Jacksonville mass shooting as the company reevaluates safety protocols around its live events.

EA CEO Andrew Wilson made the announcement in a statement released earlier tonight on EA’s website.

“While these qualifying events are operated independently by partners, we work with them to ensure competitive integrity and to gather feedback from players,” Wilson wrote. “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.”

Questions about security at gaming events and esports tournaments have sprung up in the aftermath of the shooting. Pax West organizers offered this statement about increased security measures to Polygon ahead of the convention this upcoming weekend.

The safety of our attendees, exhibitors, and staff is paramount to ReedPOP and Penny Arcade. As PAX has grown in popularity, we have responded with the addition of increased private security, law enforcement, and other personnel, each of whom are on-site at all times during our events.

As a rule, we do not publicly announce or discuss the details of our security program in order to maintain its effectiveness, however, we work closely with the Washington State Convention Center, private security, the Seattle Police Department and federal law enforcement authorities to identify risks, assess them and develop our comprehensive security protocols for PAX West. We have in place extensive proactive measures; some that are visible during PAX events and many that are not. We are always working to improve our security plans and, if need be, adjust them, to ensure that we are doing all that we can to make PAX West, and all PAX events, a safe and secure environment for the community.

Across the fifteen years of PAX events we have provided a safe and welcoming environment for more than a million attendees to come together for their love of gaming and we are ensuring that we adhere to that tradition at PAX West 2018.

Wilson did not suggest if the three remaining Madden Classic qualifier events would take place at a later date, but reiterated the focus is on investigating safety precautions, and working closely with the families of Elijah Clayton and Taylor Robertson, two competitors who were killed in the shooting. Multiple other people were injured in the shooting.

“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,” Wilson wrote, echoing an earlier statement from the company.

Wilson’s full statement can be read on EA’s site.

Update (Aug. 29): Madden’s competitive gaming division commissioner, Matt Marcou, issued a statement today regarding the Jacksonville mass shooting, and addressed the Madden Championship series going forward.

“I also want to reiterate Andrew’s statement that we are cancelling the Madden Classic qualifiers,” Marcou wrote. “We need the time to review with our partners, internal teams, and the Madden community our best paths forward ... Regarding what’s next, we will be sharing those updates in the coming days. The following is certain: the Madden NFL Championship Series will return. We love this game and this community. We are confident we will return stronger as we move forward in building competitive Madden together.”

Marcou also offered his condolences to Clayton and Robertson’s families, and spoke a little about their presence in the competitive scene. His full statement can be read on EA’s site.