July 25, the Center for Technology and Society at the Anti Defamation League published the results of a survey designed to investigate the prevalence of harassment in online games. The study finds harassment is most common in Dota 2, Valve’s biggest esports game. The other results will probably not come as a surprise to anyone who plays games.
The study distributed a survey questionnaire to over 1,000 people of various backgrounds and ethnicity who play games on PC and console. The study found that 74% of respondents reported being harassed and 65% reported severe harassment. The study defines harassment as things like being called offensive names, being targeted for griefing and trolling and being personally embarrassed by another player. Severe harassment means things like the behavior that makes up harassment but for a sustained period of time, threats of physical violence, stalking and doxing. Additionally, 38% of participants reported being harassed based on being a woman, 35% reported being harassed for being part of the LGBTQ community, 31% for being African American and 19% for being Muslim or Jewish.
So here’s the list of the worst offenders from this study and the percentage of reported harassment for each one:
- Dota 2 – 79%
- CS: GO – 75%
- Overwatch – 75%
- PUBG – 75%
- LoL – 72%
- Starcraft 2 – 72%
- WoW – 72%
- GTAV – 70%
- Fortnite – 70%
- Madden NFL – 67%
- Rocket League – 66%
- Apex Legends – 64%
- NBA 2K – 63%
- Hearthstone – 57%
- Minecraft – 51%
Some notable titles were not included in the study: Call of Duty, Battlefield, Destiny, Halo, and FIFA.
The study isn’t all bad news, the questionnaire included positive experiences as well as negative ones. 88% of respondents reported some kind of positive social experience in games, with 51% saying they made friends and 50% have helped other players. 32% of participants reported discovering new interests, 30% felt like they belonged to a community, 28% learned about interesting topics, 20% learned about themselves, 13% found a partner and 8% found a mentor.
The study recommends a rating system for in-game communities, better moderation tools for chat, stronger enforcement of terms of service, increased workplace diversity in the games industry, the establishment of an industry-wide anti-white supremacy program, and increased transparency about harassment in online gaming.
When was the last time you can remember making a friend in a game, or helping someone out or having a conversation not related to what was happening in the game?
Stephen Krusel, known as Sven Kroosl to some, has played video and tabletop games since 1987 and has written about the gaming industry since 2008. He has yet to be convinced that Final Fantasy Tactics is not the pinnacle of gaming.