Over 90 Percent Of Game Developers Report Harassment From Players Is A Major Problem

hero angry male gamer
A new report from the Game Development Conference (GDC) details that player harassment toward developers and those who work in the industry is a major issue. Out of those surveyed, 91% said that harassment and toxicity toward developers and game studios is a real problem.

"For years, developers have spoken at the Game Developers Conference about the cost of not responding to toxic behavior from select players, including harassment and threats. This year, we asked developers how much of an issue it has become—and what could be done about it."

Game developers can spend years bringing a game from a creative idea to reality. Long hours are spent attempting to perfect every aspect of a game title, in order to make the gamer's first experience an enjoyable one. However, expedited timelines and simple human error can still lead to a game launching with at least a few bugs. As players come across those bugs, they can be quite unforgiving and in turn, lash out at those who brought the game to life. This has led to a problematic relationship between the devs who create, and the gamers who play.

player harrassment poll

The GDC committee not only wanted to know how much of a problem developers felt player toxicity was in the industry, but also wanted more context on who among them was actually undergoing the issue. While the vast majority felt harassment and player toxicity were a problem, only 40% of those surveyed stated it directly affected them or those they work with.

toxicity harrassment directed at developer

However, game studio staff members who work in community management, marketing, or public relations reported experiencing harassment more than developers or software engineers themselves. Further, men who were surveyed were less likely to be harassed or witness harassment than women or non-binary people, along with those who identified as being part of the LGBTQ+ community.

A bit of good news from the GDC report, however, was that 68% of those surveyed said the company they work for has addressed the harassment internally (30%), externally (4%), or both (34%). This seems to line up with more studios taking a stance and condemning such behavior from players in the last year.

When asked how video game companies should address harassment from the player community, those surveyed gave a variety of solutions. One stated, "ban, isolate, and de-platform." While another took a more proactive approach by suggesting game studios have accessible hotlines available and other resources for employees facing community harassment. Another gave dev simply stated, "Accept it, let it go, move on. The loud minority is part of human nature."