A $300 tournament for Call of Duty: WW2 next month at a Sydney RSL has been cancelled, after a volley of complaints from concerned veterans and the NSW Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.
As reported by the ABC, the Castle Hill RSL was due to host a $300 Call of Duty tournament on May 8 run by the Video Gamers League. The tournament’s proximity to Anzac Day, however, resulted in veterans filing complaints to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, David Elliot.
Questioning the logic of Call of Duty being played at an RSL, Minister Elliot said the tournament was “distasteful”:
I’ve never played the game but I understand this is a game of skill and you go into the virtual reality and kill the enemy … I do think promoting war as entertainment a week after Anzac Day, in front of veterans and war widows is probably just stepping over the line.
The article also has a massive pull quote, which isn’t directly attributed, that reads: “In this case, Castle Hill RSL is offering up to $300 in prize money if you kill enough people.”
David O’Neil, the group CEO for Castle Hill RSL, said the venue had held other events previously “without incident”. That said, they conceded that “the WW2 focus of this promotion” was ill advised, presumably given its members and the proximity to Anzac Day (which takes place almost a fortnight prior).
The event organisers announced the cancellation on Facebook, but have yet to announce whether a new Call of Duty event will be held in its place. FIFA tournaments have since been held at Club Marconi and Smithfield RSL, however.
In a chat over Facebook, league owner Michal Morgan said that they would run COD events in the future, but not at RSL clubs. “We do weekly gaming tournaments at RSL clubs and have worked with many including Oatley RSL, Smithfield RSL and Castle Hill RSL,” Morgan told Kotaku.
“They have been very supportive and every event we run attracts a generation of patrons that don’t normally visit the clubs. The membership numbers increase greatly and it’s a way for RSL clubs to stay in touch with a younger generation that they are having trouble attracting.”
He said that they understood the reaction but never intended for the events to be distasteful. The Video Gamers League owner added that no complaints were made to the league directly, and that they choose games for events based on popularity.
For more about the cancellation, see the original ABC report here.