The extent of the toxicity within the gaming world was brought to light with ‘Gamergate’ back in 2014, when a number of female gamers came forward about how they were being subjected to a prolonged campaign of harassment, bullying, and even death threats from other online users. A world of misogyny, anger and prejudice became clear for all to see.
It’s now some eight years later and toxic behavior still hasn’t been eradicated online, with data from Statista’s Global Consumer Survey (GCS) showing that nearly one in five U.S. gamers say toxic behavior and sexism are issues within the gaming community today.
But it’s not all bad news. In many ways, Gamergate was a turning point for the gaming world, kickstarting game companies into action to try and make online spaces safer and more inclusive for its users ever since. Afterall, as the pandemic showed us, virtual connections can be a force for good too, especially when they work to encourage and enhance community building.
This is something reflected in the latest GCS data, which shows that nearly half of all U.S. gamers would consider themselves part of an online community, whether that comes in the way of a forum, server, clan, fan or game group. The survey also found that 18 percent of respondents said they agree with the statement “For me, gaming is all about communities”, while 12 percent like to connect with members of their community at events.
In order to protect and maintain the helpful and supportive culture of the vast majority of clans and servers, game companies and chat platforms such as Discord, now encourage practices such as clear guidelines, active community management, and a zero tolerance policy for unkind behavior.