“Toxicity against video game creators remains a problem”, developers harassed by some players!

Game News “Toxicity against video game creators remains a problem”, developers harassed by some players!

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Working in a development studio is not easy. If we already knew this, the recent report from GDC reminds us of this and specifically addresses questions of harassment from disgruntled players.

2300 developers talk about the state of the video game industry

In anticipation of the next GDC (from March 20 to 24 in San Francisco), the organizers decided to contact the developers. It must be said that the industry has changed a lot in recent years, especially with the pandemic, the arrival of new consoles and the emergence of new obsessions such as the famous metaverse. Add to that the many scandals that have erupted within the giants of the video game world and you understand the desire of the organizers of the GDC (literally game developers’ conference) to examine the state of the industry. And because, at least 2,300 developers answered questions about their work and the world of video games in general. And the least we can say is that this initiative has proven to be particularly instructive.

For example, PC gamers will be happy to know that the PC is still the machine on which most of those asked want to develop their game. Then we will see the PS5, the Nintendo Switch and only then the Xbox Series. Minor notable anomalies: interest in the Nintendo Switch doesn’t come from games in development or coming soon. If 35% of respondents said that the Nintendo Switch is the platform they are most interested in, only 18% are currently working on an upcoming game on the hybrid console. From a technological point of view, we feel a certain skepticism about the metaverse. “The people trying to sell it don’t know what it is, and neither do the consumers” promoted one of the developers interviewed. Same observation for NFTs. 75% of respondents say they are not interested in it and 56% are even against it. But in the current context, it is mainly the working conditions that provoke reactions. And the least we can say is that the situation is far from rosy.

If there is better integration and equity, working at a video game studio is still not easy. 63% of respondents said they worked more than 46 hours a week throughout the year. Among them, there are still more than a hundred people who claim to have worked more than 80 hours a week. In general, we feel that the developers interviewed are more sensitive to their working conditions than before. When they think about changing companies, the salary and working conditions within the company come before the potential projects they can work on. More than half of those polled also say they’re in favor of developer unionization, though they admit they don’t talk about it much with their colleagues. It must be said that the biggest source of stress seems to come from somewhere else…

Developers and Gamers, I Don’t Love You

If you follow even a little bit of video game news, you know that developers are regularly harassed on social networks. Recently, the developer of AetherSX2, a PS2 emulator for Android, succumbed to numerous death threats and decided to stop developing its program. Not surprisingly, we found this problem in the GDC report: “Toxicity remains an issue against video game creators” he tells us. 78% of respondents said that player poisoning and harassment is a problem or at least a very serious problem. Note all the same that only 40% say they were victims or direct witnesses. Among them, most are women or people from the LGBTQIA+ community. When we see that they are in the minority among the interviewees, it raises questions.

To return to the question of harassment of players, everyone has their own little solution. For some, it’s important to set boundaries in public and then rely on your community to point fingers and calm the most toxic elements. Others advocate repression (with the possibility of suspending the account of a player who is too harsh), training (including CMs) and awareness. It’s hard to find a perfect answer, but the fact remains that developers are not alone in the face of this scourge. Two-thirds of respondents said their company is taking the situation seriously.

If you want to know about the many other topics covered in the report (accessibility, inclusivity, sustainable development…), you can access it here.

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