It’s not easy to be a game developer in today’s market, with hundreds to thousands of workers recently being laid off from companies like Microsoft, Riot Games, and more. What’s always been a more present concern is the vitriol that companies and individual developers receive from gamers online, however. A recent poll from Axios seems to confirm how big of a problem developers think this is.
According to the State of the Game Industry survey that was reported on by Axios, more than 75 percent of the game creators polled said that harassment and toxic behavior were a “serious” or “very serious” problem. With the poll getting data from 2,300 game developers, that means that at least 1,725 of those people said they believe that this behavior from players is a big problem.
Around 40 percent of those responders said that they had experienced harassment directly and, what’s even more worrying is this was prevalent among LGBTQ+ and non-male developers. Further in the report, it’s said that those most underrepresented groups are the ones who get targeted for everything from delaying a game to focusing on narrative instead of combat.
Over half of the polled devs say their respective companies have done something about it, but it hasn’t curbed the rhetoric that becomes prevalent online. Social media has only added fuel to this fire, allowing players unprecedented access to developers. This has only led to angry players spitting hate at these creators on unrelated posts or through their DMs.
Some companies have already taken strong action against those threatening their employees, with some following up with legal action. This strong action will send a message to fans, showing them there are real-world consequences to the threats they spit at developers.
On the other hand, some companies have stated that this is just a problem that comes with being a developer. it’s worth noting that these gaming companies don’t want to alienate their audience while trying to protect their employees, so change is hard to see at the moment. Until something is done, however, good developers and creators will continue to be pushed from this field.