Online gaming isn’t all fun and games.
On the contrary, toxic behavior among gamers is widespread — almost to the point of being accepted as the norm — with 70 percent experiencing or witnessing some form of harassment and abuse while playing.
This is one of the revealing takeaways of a PickFu/Utopia Analytics report, Playing games online in 2021: Toxicity, misogyny, and missing moderation.
About the report
PickFu partnered with Utopia Analytics, an AI-based moderation specialist, to look at the state of gaming culture and understand players’ experiences with toxic behavior.
Between May and June 2021, we surveyed 1,000 U.S.-based adult gamers. We collected their firsthand accounts of racism, violent threats, and other abusive behavior, and the impact on their mental health.
What we heard was stark and sobering.
Toxicity in gaming: Key findings
Our survey details the types of harassment that gamers encounter and the experiences of specific groups within the player community.
Here’s some of what we found:
- Role-playing games are the most toxic game genre
- Roughly 1 in 3 women experience toxic behavior while gaming — the majority of it misogynistic in nature
- 49% of reported toxic behavior is related to identity-based factors such as ethnicity and gender
Our report also looks at factors contributing to toxicity in gaming and offers ways for gaming companies to effectively moderate player communities.
Online gaming is a $200 billion industry. As it grows, so does the need to create safer spaces for the millions of Americans who play games regularly.
“People turn to gaming to escape, assuming the virtual worlds they enter will be safe and fun,” said PickFu co-founder John Li. “The reality, in gamers’ own words, is that these negative interactions significantly impact their mental health and enjoyment of games. This should be a wake-up call for the industry to make gaming a safe space for everyone.”
Read the full report, Playing games online in 2021: Toxicity, misogyny, and missing moderation.