Gaming Toxicity: Where Does it Come From and How Do We Fix It?

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Every online community contains some level of toxicity—and no, I’m not just talking about mean tweets or rude behavior. I’m talking about very-real threats of violence, public pile-ons, mob mentality and the like. 

From my point of view as a lifelong gamer, it feels like the toxicity in the industry has been increasing over the past couple years. 

This week, Ubisoft Annecy’s Joe Hobbs tweeted a thread about harassment of game developers, which went viral. Riot Games tweeted some clarity around how to obtain virtual items from its employees, who’ve been harassed non-stop for them by VALORANT players. And lawyers for T1 mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok filed a police report seeking consequences against anonymous online harassers. Another team, kt Rolster, received a deadly weapon in the mail at its practice facility.

Is this a natural consequence of gaming’s explosive growth as a form of entertainment? Or do you feel like there’s some other reason behind it? Would love to hear your thoughts below.