Online gaming as a whole certainly seems to be hitting its stride as it moves through its prime with the biggest services in the world continuing to grow, the centre of the growth has certainly been within the many different interactive multiplayer games that have become most well known across streaming platforms and their representation in esports too. A key feature for these games has always been within anonymity online however, but this does become somewhat of a breeding ground for conflict to rise too, and there have always been concerns around toxicity online.
(Image from svg.com)
It is becoming much more visible too – growing communities like LiveStreamFail on reddit are dedicated to highlighting events that happen online particularly through gaming streams that either show an incredible stream highlight, or more likely the efforts of toxicity on stream and the community itself. There have been plenty of efforts put forward in order to reduce this problem too, things such as the Twitch Safety Council, which although did fall a little flat given some more conflict and drama around particular members, had been built with the aim of addressing toxicity on the streaming platform as a whole.
Some games have created efforts to ensure as little toxicity as possible – this is most common in online gaming where there are fewer options to communicate, through the big gaming services like casinos and betting sites at Max for example there isn’t as much option to communicate and in a stressful competitive game where winning and losing can be a little more important if there is a big bet, and there have been similar calls towards other online games to do the same as there are suggestions that by removing voice or text chat that toxicity could go down. That’s an unlikely resolution given how important it is for many of the bigger competitive titles, and it’s almost an inevitability that as player numbers grow the problem in some instances may only get worse and not better, but it may indicate a way forward for some.
The next step will be for the big game developers to introduce better methods to handle the growing conflict and toxicity problem – it has been proven time and time again that the report features often only delay the problem, and whilst there are platforms to address the player behaviour and option it can often be much easier to avoid the ban and continue on without much stopping the behaviour. It’s certainly a changing landscape, and there will be big differences moving forward, but for now there’s little change expected to address toxicity and conflict through online gaming.