Trash talking has been around since the dawn of competition making it natural to have seeped into the world of online video games, but there’s a fine line between teasing the enemy team and being a part of what is dubbed ‘toxicity’. Now, major video game companies are fighting back by banding together, forming the Fair Play Alliance to create a set standard of online conduct.
Previously, developers would build an online video game and only begin to think about its own rules and punishment systems once it started to face behavioural problems within its player base. While many have successfully been reactive to the situation, the aim of the Fair Play Alliance is to be proactive, giving direction to new studios and platforms on what should and shouldn’t be accepted, and how it should be handled.
Blizzard, Riot, Twitch, Discord, Epic Games, Xbox and many other major companies comprise the new organisation, which now houses over 30 members. The body doesn’t just want to govern how behaviour should be online, but gain an understanding of why toxicity happens in the first place. The shared knowledge and experience gives the Fair Play Alliance a good chance at achieving this.
“A lot of these challenges today are super intimidating,” Riot senior technical designer Kimberly Voll explained to Kotaku. “These are big cultural shifts. As an industry and as a society online, we’re trying to find our way. Having to be a company that steps out and says ‘We’re gonna be the ones to do this’ is kinda scary. This is an opportunity for all of us to say ‘What if we walked together as an industry?’”
Things are already well under way, with the Fair Play Alliance having hosted a day-long summit at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this week. Companies shared their methods and success rates with one another, and is currently discussing plans on how it will efficiently share resources in the future.
The current end-game for the organisation is to develop as set standard of rules when dealing with toxic behaviour, as well as a fair way of handling it across the multiple games from different companies. Eventually, this is hopefully to become a deterrent and allow companies to shift resources towards more productive things.
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KitGuru Says: It is surprising to see multiple competitors attempting to work together and see eye to eye, but it’s quite possible that there’s a long road ahead to achieve the goal they have in mind. Do you think this will benefit the longevity of online games? How do you feel about the current state of toxicity?