November 25, 2021

Weekly Gaming Q&A Series – Week 4: How widespread is toxicity in gaming?

In this week’s edition of content moderation 101, we once again want to take a closer look at the moderation in gaming.

How widespread is toxicity in gaming?

We recently teamed up with consumer research specialists PickFu, to try and tackle this complex question. Our joint report – Playing games online in 2021: Toxicity, misogyny and missing Moderation – gave us an array of data, from how widespread toxicity is, to the demographics that are targeted the most, as well as personal stories from those affected. But most importantly, we found that gaming has a big problem with toxicity.

Our findings show 70% of US gamers have experienced toxicity in some form or another. When you consider there are a whopping 225 million gamers in the US, present in 74% of households – it equates to a lot of toxicity.

Our data also outlined areas toxic individuals players on when targeting others. Nearly half (49%) of the toxic behaviour experienced by respondents centred around their personal identity – such as their ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation – and 72% of women who’d experienced online abuse say it’s misogynistic in nature.

In the end, toxic players may only make up a small minority, but they’re still able to disproportionately affect whole communities. Research conducted on MMO World of Tanks, shows that toxicity is somewhat contagious, and players exposed to it are far more likely to engage in similar behaviours in the future.

While it’s easy to place blame solely on abusive individuals, there are other factors at play. Communities often have lacklustre safety policies, or are simply unable to effectively enforce the ones they have in place.

So, rather than having a problem with toxicity, it might be that gaming has a moderation problem.

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