According to a research conducted by British research firm Bryter, one in three female gamers face gender discrimination while playing online. The research firm questioned close to 1200 (1,151) female gamers between the age of 16 and above.
More than half of the female gamers faced verbal abuse, 40% receive obscene messages while 32% deal with sexual harassment. Out of 1151 female gamers, 10% were threatened with rape while playing online. In order to avoid insults, 23% of these female gamers choose not to reveal themselves as women online. Meanwhile, 11% choose to not to play on the network again at all.
The data also showed that 27% of women play 16 to 20 hours a week while 25% play more than 20 hours a week. Women being oversexualized in video games is an ongoing debate and female point of view was reflected here, 71% of respondents felt video games do oversexualize female characters.
While characters like Lara Croft, Tracer, Phrah, Nina Williams, Anna Williams, Chloe and Nadine Ross from Uncharted, many more are prime examples of strong female representation in video games, 60% of women felt there aren’t enough strong female characters in games. 55% felt women are underrepresented in video games.
Even with how Battlefield V is handling females in World War 2 and an overall shift in the gaming industry to be more inclusive of females, it seems women are still skeptical about the changes being made.
As far as careers go, over half of these women think that the industry isn’t very welcoming but 41% thought it is. 62% of women felt women aren’t represented well in the gaming industry right now.
The information provided by Bryter shows how hard it often is for female gamers. But online abuse is not limited to female gamers. Men face similar issues so the main problem here is the toxic environment in some online games. League of Legends, DOTA 2, Counter-Strike probably host the most toxic communities.
While actions are being taken to ensure a positive space for everyone, they aren’t enough. Online video games communities need to be moderated to provide a better experience to the player regardless of his/her gender.
What do you think we can do to improve the toxic behavior in online video game communities?