Toxic play: examining the issue of hate within gaming

This article examines the problem of hate and toxic behavior in gaming. Videogames have risen to become a dominant cultural form, seeing significant increases in players, playtime, and revenue. More people are playing games than ever before, broadening “gamers” into a highly diverse demographic. Yet this rise has been accompanied by a growing recognition of the racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other forms of harassment taking place on these platforms. Hate within gaming creates toxic communities and takes a toll particularly on marginalized groups, raising both ethical and financial issues for the industry, who seek to address this problem in multiple ways. This paper surveys and synthesizes recent research on the topic from both inside and outside academia, laying out the problem, its manifestations, key drivers, and current responses. It concludes with a research agenda that offers a foundation for researchers, policy-makers, and companies to build from.

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