Amateur tournament organizer American Game Network (AGN) announced that COVID-19 had forced last weekend’s Indianapolis Open, the company’s in-person Call of Duty LAN tournament, online. Activision, the game’s publisher, has banned all in-person tournaments, leading AGN to announce that “players are advised to participate in the tournament from their home location, alone.”
However, images from social media indicate that tournament participants met covertly in person to play. One user posted a video purporting to show players crammed into a room. No one wore masks and few exercised social distancing.
AGN founder Gage took to Twitter to deny any company involvement in organizing the in-person meetup. Across several tweets, Gage claimed the tournament was still running online. Another AGN co-founder wrote on his Twitter: “Just want to remind everyone this is a [sic] ONLINE event! Please be safe and play from home! DO NOT get in big groups! WEAR YOUR MASK! Do NOT share the same setup play from your own!”
AGN again denied any responsibility on its official Twitter account, claiming that it did not have any communication with players that gathered to play in-person. “We DO NOT condone them being there,” organizers wrote.
The poster who uploaded photos of the in-person tournament denied AGN’s narrative, alleging that several tournament organizers were present at the LAN gathering.
In response to the controversy, AGN moved the second day of its Call of Duty tournament to August 9.
“Due to an overwhelming amount of players away from home with the inability to play in a safe environment, we feel that this is the best way to ensure that everyone is competing safely and fairly the remainder of the tournament,” AGN wrote in its statement.
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