A new study from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Technology and Society shows online gaming isn’t just fun and games. Globally, online gaming is a $152 billion industry and 53% of the total population in the US plays video games.
The survey, that focused on users who play online multiplayer games in the US, reported that more than 70% of them experience some form of harassment while online. Sixty-five percent of players experience some form of severe harassment, including physical threats, stalking, and sustained harassment.
From those online gamers that reported experiencing harassment, 53% of them said they were being targeted based on their race, religion, ability, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity, according to the ADL. Also, 30% report being doxed, which means having their contact or other personal information published online. The five games where players reported the most harassment were: DOTA 2 (79%), Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (75%), PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds (75%), Overwatch (75%) and League of Legends (75%).
As ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt states “Online hate causes real harm. Every time someone in an online multiplayer game physically threatens or harasses another player repeatedly because of who they are or what they believe, that experience doesn’t just end for that individual when the game is over.”
Harassment and bullying in the online gaming world have been a pressing issue for a while now. Companies in the business are trying to combat this phenomenon but there is still a long way to go. EA held its first Building Healthy Communities Summit in June, where over 230 gaming influencers were brought to discuss ways to combat harassment. Also, in May Microsoft posted its community standards, and committed to more moderation tools to help people avoid toxic players.
However, the same ADL survey tells us 88% of gamers said they’ve experienced some form of positive social interaction, like making friends and helping other players, while playing online multiplayer games.
The ADL worked with data analytics firm Newzoo to survey 1,045 US adults ages 18 to 45 who play games across PC, console and mobile platforms. The surveys were conducted from April 19 to May 1.