There are well-known titles in the FPS, RTS or MMORPG genres that have been more prone to it in the past. But our recent survey which examined the prevalence of toxicity on US gamers – Playing games online in 2021 – found that inappropriate or abusive behaviours were equally present in most genres.
The Anti-Defamation League’s latest annual report found the most toxic game to be Esports giant Valorant was the most toxic community. But in our view, toxicity has become such a widespread issue throughout the industry, it seems unfair to pick out specific games and communities.
Of course, some platforms and games are worse than others, but many in the industry are taking steps to try and stem the flow of abusive behaviour – with varying degrees of success. Industry leaders have begun acquiring their own content moderation specialists in a bid to meet their players’ demand for safer gaming. Unity acquired Oto, Discord acquired Sentropy, and more recently Microsoft acquired TwoHat. So calls for change are being heard.
That being said, toxicity is becoming a problem in Esports, though it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why. Research suggests it’s simply the high-pressure environments combined with the possible advantage gained from distracting other players. Whatever the root cause, there has been a lot of investment by brands into Esports who won’t want to be associated with negative media stories, so we’ll no doubt continue to see platforms and games taking a more proactive steps to mitigate toxicity in future.