In the last year, Take This has been conducting research with game developers from studios of all sizes to better understand the progress that has been made to address hate, harassment, and extremism, as well as the tools needed to continue to improve the safety of our online spaces. This new whitepaper outlines results from the focus groups, including barrier to progress and recommended next steps.
- While the games industry has made progress in recent years, it continues to lack widespread knowledge and readily available tools to combat hate, harassment, and extremism in digital gaming communities.
- These behaviors have real-world impacts for players, such as psychological distress, and studios, such as a reduction in player base and revenue.
- When asked, players agree that studios and their moderators are responsible for creating and maintaining safe spaces.
- In an effort to advance discussions around addressing hate, harassment, and extremism as an industry, Take This held a series of focus groups in 2023 with professionals across the video games industry.
- Industry professionals reported they had little confidence that the industry has the tools needed to address these concerns.
- Aside from the efforts of a few collaborative groups, progress in this space remains siloed within individual studios or behind third-party paywalls, restricting innovation as an industry.
- Gaming communities are interconnected across studios, and, as such, the most effective solutions will likely be cross-studio collaborations.
- Community-based, proactive efforts are of particular interest as they are designed to reduce the prevalence of disruptive actions rather than simply reacting once harm has been caused.
These conversations were designed to prepare Take This to develop new interactive workshops focused on building community resilience. The authors have used this opportunity to collect information on industry knowledge and needs, which has been and will be further collated, magnified, and reflected back to the industry and beyond through research and interactive workshops. To learn more about the workshops, including how to bring one to your studio, reach out to Dr. Elizabeth Kilmer.
For more information about hate, harassment, and extremist exploitation in games, see the following resources:
- Extremism in Games: A Primer
- Resilience in the Face of Hate: Standing Up to Extremism in Gaming
- Disruption and Harms in Online Gaming Framework
- Being ‘Targeted’ about Content Moderation: Strategies for consistent, scalable and effective response to Disruption & Harm
- Caught in a Vicious Cycle: Obstacles and Opportunities for Trust and Safety Teams in the Games Industry
- From Avoidance to Action: A Call for Open Dialogue on Hate, Harassment, and Extremism in the Gaming Industry
- Building Game Communities Resilient to Hate and Extremism: Solutions from the Industry (Coming soon!)
This work is made possible by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS # EMW-2022-GR-00036).