Many of us have experienced toxicity when playing a video game over the years. You put the headset on, hop into a Modern Warfare 2 multi-player match, and wait for the insults to start flying. It won't take long. It has been a steady in our gaming experiences and the majority of us brush it off as nothing more than an anonymous gamer trying to troll us. Report systems have been in play for a while in hopes of trying to weed out the toxic players, but understanding (and progress to reduce) toxicity in gaming is becoming a priority for many developers. EA is working on combating toxicity in its own games and has new guidelines on the process of reporting these players.
When Should You Report Toxic Behavior?
How do you know if toxic behavior is prevalent in your game? Is it geared towards you or other players? When should you report it? Toxicity is brought about by quite a few factors and EA wants you to report on it if you witness it in-game.
Toxic behavior typically consists of discriminatory or offensive speech, harassment, hateful and degrading remarks. This could be in the form of racism, sexism, etc... It's important to report on these types of behavior to help make the community a more welcoming place for all gamers.
Threatening, intimidating, and harmful remarks should be taken seriously at all times. These can include harm upon certain players for various reasons, death threats, talking about violent actions, etc... With the current climate of violent outbursts, including threats made to Square Enix, death threats and harm upon others (even if they are trying to make an edgy joke) should be taken seriously.
If you suspect a player of cheating (or know they are) it is important to report this behavior as well. This helps make the online gaming experience a more rewarding one and would hope to deter cheating of any kind in the future. Of course, incidents will continue to pop up, but vigilant reporting could possibly help to cut down that number.
How To Report Toxicity
The steps to report toxicity are different for each game. Typically, developers let you report toxic behavior right in their game. This makes it easier for games, and players, to combat toxicity. If possible, this is the most effective way to report such behaviors. Because of it being directly related to the game, some information will be included in your report making it easier for the investigation team.
If the game you are playing doesn't have an in-game way to report players, you can contact EA Help directly to try and take care of the issue. After selecting the right categories you will be sent to a webform that will allow you to expand on the behavior you are reporting.
Sometimes, toxic players carry over onto the console of your choice. They met you in a game and wanted to continue to harass after the fact. This typically comes in the form of messages in a chat. You can report to Playstation and Xbox directly. There will be a link below the next paragraph with details on how to do that.
If you see toxic behavior outside of the game on social media sites such as Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, etc..., you can make reports directly on those platforms.
For a full breakdown on how to report things specifically (including various games) check out this EA Help article.
What Happens Next
After you have submitted your report, there isn't much left for you to do. EA will start an investigation on the report and handle it the way they see fit. Because of privacy reasons you can't receive information about the investigation. Any actions that EA takes toward the toxic player are also protected. This is understandable because player privacy is an important part of the online gaming experience.
Building Healthier Communities
EA claims to be committed to making the online gaming experience better for everyone. One way for them to do this is take toxic behavior seriously and figure out the appropriate actions to take. Earlier this year EA held the Building Healthy Communities Summit during EA PLAY 2019. The steps taken to try and make the online community a safer and more inclusive place to game is getting worked on. EA is set on taking the right steps to make this happen.
Learn more about the Building Healthy Communities Summit, where over 200 Game Changers, EA reps, and experts came together to discuss how we can all combat online toxicity: https://t.co/M01ADlg87K pic.twitter.com/1SioeROxHz— Electronic Arts (@EA) June 14, 2019
Toxicity in video games will probably never be completely gone. Unfortunately, our moms will continue to be indirectly talked about by 12-year-olds in game chat for the rest of human history. As long as there are people in this world, toxic behavior in online gaming will be there in some form, but this shouldn't be a deterrent to take action on witnessed toxic behavior. If you see (or hear) something that goes beyond the typical "trolling" behavior in a game, you should report it. This could help cultivate a gaming culture that is overall more enjoyable to all gamers.