A recent study was held by Preply, an online tutoring service. Believing that online games are a great way to learn a foreign language through immersion-style language learning, they wanted to look deeper into how online game interactions can affect players. They surveyed 1,400 gamers and the results were disheartening. Here were the key takeaways.
- Over 90% have experienced or witnessed emotional abuse or bullying while playing video games, and nearly 7 in 10 have considered quitting because of what theyve witnessed.
- More than 2 in 5 have experienced racism, and more than 1 in 3 have experienced hate speech on gaming platforms.
- Xbox and PlayStation see the highest rates of bullying.
According to the survey, about 9 out of 10 gamers claimed to have experienced some form of emotional abuse or bullying in online games. The most common forms were offensive name-calling (53%) and racism (44%), with things like stalking (37%), hate speech (36%), insults (35%), doxxing (20%), and physical threats (22%) following suit. When targeted for abuse, the most common topic of focus was gender (44% of the time), with race, appearance, age, and mental abilities being pretty much tieing for second (34% to 32%).
This doesnt occur evenly over all game types, however. Certain genres were more likely to incur harassment than others. In 52% of instances, Shooter games were the most likely, with Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBAs) following behind at 45%. The remaining genres of note were further behind, with RTS, RPG, and Sports games at 27%, 23%, and 21% respectively.
This can be refined even further by console. The study also states that consoles are a more likely place to be harassed, with Xbox and PlayStation being the highest, followed by PC, Nintendo Switch, and then mobile platforms.
The problem is severe enough that a majority of participants (About 67%) stated that the behavior has made them quit, or consider quitting, because of it. We cant help but be concerned about this data point in particular. When a groups' behavior becomes alienating, then the good folks will leave, and only an echo chamber of toxic behavior remains, cultivating poor behavior in those that are still there.
The study goes on to expand on data like who admits to being an abuser online (55% said yes), their admitted focus topics. How people have reacted to abuse, whether they think enough it being done to combat it, etc. You can read more data points, as well as examine their survey methodology, here.
This whole study basically reinforces something that we already knew. All of their discoveries were unsurprising and dare we say even predictable. And thats not great. Video games should be something that everyone can enjoy in peace. Instead, its becoming a cesspool of toxic trolls. And its common enough knowledge that there are jokes about gamers being generally awful people. Theres a reason people call it a heated gamer moment.