EA says it can ‘no longer be a bystander’ to toxicity in online gaming


Electronic Arts is continuing to promise to clean up its communities. In addition to changes to its EA Sports moderation policies and the release of a Positive Play charter, an interview with EA’s chief marketing officer Chris Bruzzo offers several words on how the company is reevaluating its influence, spurred by the greater formation of online communities during the coronavirus outbreak and protests for equality around the world:

“It’s become very clear that multiplayer games, big online communities, are now central to the majority of gaming experiences. This is no-longer an ancillary area. Which means, okay, we can no-longer be a bystander.”

On the subject of toxicity, Bryter, a mixed methodology market research agency, has shared the results of a sample of 2,006 gamers from the US and the UK completed in February 2020 that asked about their experiences with toxicity.

The survey found that 1 in 4 male and female gamers reported experiencing toxic behavior regularly, though the types of abuse differs between genders: 77% of males experience verbal abuse such as trash talk, messages that encourage suicide, rape threats against female family members, and racist and homophobic remarks, while 48% of female gamers are subject to sexually inappropriate abuse, including misogyny, accusations of getting help from partners, and being sent explicit content and rape threats that sometimes manifest in offline activity such as being contacted on their mobile phones.

Furthermore, Bryter’s findings reveal that 31% of males take the abuse in stride, while 1 in 4 females don’t reveal their gender while playing online, 28% avoid speaking in online multiplayer games for fear of negative reactions from male gamers, and 14% avoid online multiplayer games completely. Which is really not entirely news if anyone has been paying attention, but at least now there are data to back it up.

sources: GamesIndustry.biz, press release
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