E3, PAX and GDC among events responding to security concerns following Jacksonville shooting

E3, PAX and GDC among events responding to security concerns following Jacksonville shooting

A number of the largest event organisers in the industry have responded to security concerns following the shooting of two pro Madden players in Jacksonville this weekend.

This past weekend, two players were left dead and eleven attendees injured after a player opened fire at the Madden Classic Qualifier event in Jacksonville, Florida. Following the shooting, event organisers have responded to concerns over security at gaming shows and conventions.

“E3 attendee safety is a paramount concern for ESA,” read a statement to Polygon from the US games trade body Electronic Software Association, which runs E3.

“We regularly consult with leading security and law enforcement experts to implement protocols wherever necessary, including, among other measures, deploying metal detectors, uniformed personnel, and bag searches. We will continue to review these and other measures to help ensure the safety of all E3 exhibitors, staff, and fans.”

Katie Stern, conference manager for GDC, echoed these concerns. “The well-being of GDC attendees is our priority and we will continue to work closely with our event partners to coordinate safety and security protocols for all upcoming events.”

PAX West, meanwhile, issued a statement to reaffirm that it is “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.”

The tragedy in Jacksonville has moved EA to cancel all future qualifying events in the Madden Classic series. As the publisher reviews its security processes, other esports organisers have pledged a commitment to upping security at events.

An ESL spokesperson told the outlet: “ESL events are subject to tight security standards. Nevertheless, the team is currently in the process of reviewing security protocols.”

Meanwhile, head of fighting game tournament EVO Joey Cuellar tweeted out: “While Evo does not comment on security procedures (for obvious reasons), it's very clear that we need to be more proactive for 2019 and beyond. The amount of undercover law enforcement at Evo was unprecedented, and we will be installing metal detectors for ALL days next year.”

As EA CEO Andrew Wilson stated following the Jacksonville shooting, this may be the first time the games industry has had to deal with a mass shooting event. The coming months will be a test of how we in games cope with the possibility of future tragedies, particularly while America continues to ignore its out-of-control gun problem.

Staff Writer

Natalie Clayton is an Edinburgh-based freelance writer and game developer. Besides PCGamesInsider and, she's written across the games media landscape and was named in the 2018 100 Rising Star list.