A study on harassment in online gaming has been released and the results are exactly what one would expect.
Well over half of those who have played popular multiplayer titles have experienced some form of harassment while playing, per the Anti-Defamation League. In a study of 15 games, Dota 2 was found to have possibly the most toxic gaming community of all, with 79% of players responding that they had been harassed. 38% went a step further and responded that they were harassed frequently.
The MOBA is closely followed by Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, League of Legends, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds which all had 75% rates of harassment. Also included in the study were Fortnite, Apex Legends, Rocket League, Madden NFL, Grand Theft Auto, and Minecraft. All reported in at higher than 50%.
The most toxic games are all team-based, putting players into a position where they need to actively communicate with others in order to succeed. This forces players to weigh their options between enduring potentially abusive language from teammates or decreasing their chances of winning.
Players mostly experience identity-based harassment. According to the study over 30% of the female and LGBTQ+ player base say they were specifically targeted due to their gender or sexual orientation. Different races and religions are targeted too, with many African-Americans, Latinx, Muslim, and Jewish people reporting harassment. 23% of players stated that they have faced with discussions on “superiority of whites and inferiority of non-whites”
and “white identity/a home for the white race.”
The study also goes into other negative interactions including sexual harassment, threats of violence, and stalking.
The study also discussed positive interactions between players. About half of the online player base has made new friends by playing, while a smaller percentage even found their current romantic partners.
World of Warcraft and Minecraft seem to be the games with the most positive environments.