A recent study has found that 74% of those who play online multiplayer titles have been on the receiving end of some form of harassment in-game. The Anti-Defamation League’s findings, which indicate that players have experienced things like physical threats, stalking, and other forms of harassment when gaming, break this down by game – and it looks like Dota 2 players seem to have experienced the most.
In one section of the study the ADL charts harassment experienced by game, looking “specifically at players’ experiences of harassment in several prominent online games in the US.” The 15 games selected are ranked in order of how many of their players reported having experienced in-game harassment.
Top of the list, with 79% of its players reporting having been harassed in-game, is MOBA Dota 2. Four games follow up in joint second – Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, PUBG, and League of Legends – down to Minecraft at the bottom of the list, with 51% of players reporting harassment.
The study provides some ideas of the factors behind harassment players have been experiencing in games. In terms of identity-based harassment, 38% of female players believed they’d experienced harassment because of their gender, and 35% of LGBTQ+ players because of their sexual orientation. 31% of African American and 24% of Latinx players reported harassment based on their ethnicities respectively, and 19% of both Jewish and Muslim players because of their religion.
According to Kotaku, as well as the study, the ADL has also considered studios’ moderation of their titles. The associate director of the organisation’s centre for Technology and Society, Daniel Kelley, told the site “Large-scale commercial games have these aspects of their platform that are totally unmoderated spaces. We know from places like 4chan or 8chan that unmoderated spaces become toxic.”
According to Kelley, levels of harassment didn’t differ much between voice and text-chat – they were more or less equal for both.
In one section the ADL says it found that over 80% of those playing multiplayer games online had experienced positive social moments and interactions in their games. World of Warcraft, Minecraft, and NBA 2K were the highest in this list, all having over 51% of their players reporting positive experiences.