A new report from Unity reveals a concerning trend in the world of multiplayer gaming, with 53% of game developers noting an increase in toxic player behavior over the past year. The 2023 Toxicity in Multiplayer Games Report, which also incorporates insights from 2,522 consumers, sheds light on the severity of this issue within the gaming community.
The study’s definition of toxic behavior encompasses various problematic actions, such as disruptive play, harassment, extremism, cheating, and the sharing of inappropriate content. These behaviors not only disrupt the gaming experience but can also have broader consequences, affecting players’ mental well-being.
Disturbingly, players reported encountering these harmful activities across a wide spectrum of game genres over the last year. The top three genres where players experienced toxic encounters were first-person shooters (51%), sports/racing titles (49%), and battle royale games (44%). On the flip side, the genres with the least toxicity included card/deck building (23%), puzzle games (29%), and adventure/platformers (30%).
The report also highlights that nearly all surveyed consumers have modified their gaming behavior in response to toxic players. This adjustment involves actions like reporting offenses, muting or blocking other players, or actively avoiding games where such behavior is prevalent. In some cases, the negative impact of toxic behavior has caused players to step away from online gaming communities entirely.
Unity provides recommendations for developers to combat online toxicity, promote positive behavior, create robust reporting systems, and foster a welcoming community. Collaboration across the industry is also crucial to minimize toxicity’s impact. Developers and platforms must work together to enforce stricter penalties for disruptive behavior, ensuring that gamers can enjoy their favorite pastime in a safe and inclusive environment.
Addressing this issue is crucial to ensure a healthier and more enjoyable multiplayer gaming environment. Unity’s report underscores the importance of taking concrete actions to curb the rising tide of toxic behavior, ultimately fostering a more positive and welcoming gaming ecosystem for players worldwide.
Developers have been grappling with distressing online challenges related to their gaming projects too. A survey, which encompassed insights from 150 developers and 500 gamers in the United States, unveils rather disquieting findings. Regrettably, almost half of these developers have encountered situations where they felt threatened or subjected to online bullying. What’s even more alarming is that 20% of them expressed genuine concerns about their physical well-being as a direct consequence of these distressing online encounters. The report sheds light on a distressing issue within the gaming community, underscoring the need for greater support and online safety measures for developers who often grapple with such adversities.