Online gaming community is toxic and it needs to change

Popular YouTuber, Pewdiepie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, is arguably the most popular gaming YouTuber. Kjellberg, known for his Let’s Plays in games such as Five Nights at Freddie’s and Amnesia, has a subscriber count of 57 million and has earned $12 million as of 2015, according to, a leading college news and lifestyle website based in New York.

But recently, Pewdiepie landed in hot water.

Kjellberg was streaming Player Unknowns Battlegrounds, an online battle royale-type shooter game, when he called an opposing player a “f***ing N***er.”

The comment breaks YouTube’s hate speech rule. The rule clearly states any comments that incite hatred toward individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin violates the website’s policy.

This is just one example of how toxic the online gaming community can be. This type of bigotry should not be tolerated. It is up to gamers to change the culture and make their community more inclusive.

Even though the creators of Player Unknowns Battlegrounds have remained silent on the Pewdiepie issue but another game developer was very vocal about the incident on Twitter.

“He’s worse than a closeted racist: he’s a propagator of despicable garbage,” tweeted Sean Vanaman, Co-Founder of Campo Santo, the developer of popular indie game Firewatch.


Vanaman has issued a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to take down on all Kjellberg’s videos, involving Firewatch or any other projects made by Campo Santo.

“I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make,” said Vanaman on Twitter.


Kjellberg posted a video apologizing for what he said during the stream. However, the damage is done.

Many use similar language as Kjellberg while playing online games and hide behind the defence that it is all a joke, but they’re forgetting one thing.

It’s not funny, it never was and it never will be.

This sort of behaviour is the reason online gaming and video games, in general, are given such a bad reputation. It is killing the industry.

In 2014, Phil Fish, creator the indie game Fez, quit the industry due to constant harassment from ‘fans.’

“I am done,” Fish wrote on his company Polytron’s website. “I take the money and I run. This is as much as I can stomach.”

This isn’t the only time someone who has been involved in the process behind the creation and maintenance of these online communities has been attacked. Eric Pope, the Community Manager behind the Ubisoft game For Honor, has also had his fair share of harassment from gamers.

“Been called a c***, a liar, and compared to a murderer today, how are you?” Pope tweeted in July.


For Honor was released back in February and has seen mixed reviews from fans. The main issue many players have had with the game is connectivity to online servers, where players have been dropped from matches. This can be frustrating, but in no way warrants the amount of hate that Pope has received.

Perhaps the most dangerous joke of all is swatting; players who have found the location of another player call in a fake hostage situation to local police. Often done to streamers, swatting presents a real danger as swat teams raid the home of the victim. There have been incidents where swatting victims have been injured because of a false 911 call.

Any joke that results in others being hurt is not a joke at all.

Sometimes this isn’t meant to be a joke. E-sports have become increasingly popular and competition can be fierce. The League of Legends world championships gained more viewers than the NBA finals and the prize pool reached over 4 million. It is in the nature of competition to trash talk and attempt to get inside your opponent’s head. But that isn’t an excuse for the casual player: the person who doesn’t play competitively.

There is no prize when playing a standard match of League of Legends or Call of Duty, so hurling insults and depravities at each other only adds to the toxicity that is the online gaming community.

The insults are especially tough on female gamers. A website was created by gamers to document the misogynistic messages women receive from male gamers. The website, called, shows the messages ranging from misogynistic comments to blatant sexual harassment.

This all needs to change.

Calling others offensive names, telling people to go kill themselves and sending in swat teams to peoples’ house as jokes aren’t funny. They’re wrongful acts of hate. As gamers, we should learn to check our egos and not let the competition get the better of us. After all, it is just a game and games are meant to be fun.