In case you missed the short clip that we discussed yesterday, today the BBC published the complete audio documentary on harassment in video games. While it does an excellent job of focusing on sexual harassment toward women in video games, it fails to address the larger issue of why harassment of all kinds is so prevalent in online gaming.
I completely understand that sexism and misogynistic behavior is rampant on Xbox Live, but ultimately we are only discussing levels of severity. Long ago, I found that the best way to enjoy any Call of Duty is without a mic or in a party with friends. The documentary does quote Grace, one of the founders of FatUglyorSlutty.com, which focuses primarily on harassing messages women receive while playing online. She said, “If we start all tearing down the people who are trying to tear others down in these sexual or threatening ways, then they will learn that they don’t have anybody on their side.” I think this sentiment should definitely be carried beyond sexism and into general behavior online, but confronting bullies verbally online only goes so far.
Grace also discussed the inadequacy of Microsoft’s ability to lower the banhammer on those who harass others online. The documentary even mentions discussions the folks behind Extra Credits had with Microsoft to discuss the issue of harassment. They said after a meeting with Microsoft they felt very positive about the reception their ideas received. While I was sad to hear Microsoft declined to comment on the issue, I understood. Trying to get Microsoft to comment on things has always been an exercise in typing how Microsoft refused to comment on the subject.
I was extremely pleased with the attention the BBC is giving this issue, but I think the gaming community needs to address the larger issue of harassment and general douchbaggery that is so prevalent in online gaming, especially Call of Duty. Which from personal experience, deserves the perception that it is populated with profanity spewing insecure males who have no idea how to convey frustration, or any other emotion, without excessive vile language. It is almost shocking when I switch over to Assassin’s Creed, where fellow gamers will have entire conversations with one-another while taking turns stabbing and being stabbed.