Online gaming has always been a fairly wretched hive of scum and villainy, with most of us having either been harassed in an online game at some point, or knowing some who has been.
It’s perhaps no surprise then, that an incredible 74 percent of adults have experienced harassment of some form while gaming online, according to a new report from nonprofit organization Anti-Defamation League (via Kotaku).
Realising their really wasn’t much data on the subject, the ADL surveyed over 1,000 people who play games and assessed how publishers deal with moderating such harassment, in an attempt to get a handle on just how bad trolling, hate speech, threats, and sexism is in the world of online gaming.
The report concluded that the majority of publishers aren’t really doing enough to combat the toxicity in their online communities which, once again, it’s perhaps not that much of a surprise to most of us.
Daniel Kelley, Associate Director of ADL’s center for Technology and Society told Kotaku:
Large-scale commercial games have these aspects of their platform that are totally unmoderated spaces. We know from places like 4chan or 8chan that unmoderated spaces become toxic.
Breaking down the numbers further, it seems a third of LGBTQ players believe they faced harassment based on their sexual orientation. Similarly, a third of black/African-American’s surveyed believed their harassment to based on their ethnicity, with a quarter of Latinx and Asian-Americans felt the same.
Meanwhile, nearly 40 percent of women reported harassment based on their gender, making them the most-harassed demographic.
Naturally, different games have different levels of toxicity. The games in which those who took part in the survey reported the most harassment include CS:GO, PUBG, League Of Legends, and Dota 2, which was the most reported title.
On the flip-side, Minecraft, World of Warcraft, and NBA 2K18 were games where around 80 percent reported positive interactions of some kind.
Sadly, the report also found that nearly a quarter (23 percent) of those surveyed had either heard others discussing ‘superiority of whites and inferiority of non-whites’ , or actually been invited to take part in those discussions.
The study reads:
While this result does not necessarily imply that players were being recruited to join a white supremacist organization in any online game, the prevalence of expressions of white supremacy in online games suggests that this hateful ideology may be normalized in some game subcultures.
While more on-the-ball moderation is one solution to combat these problems, Kelley also suggested to Kotaku that ratings boards such as the ESRB might need to re-assess how they rate games based on their online communities.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.