person sitting on gaming chair while playing video game

Since the 2000s, online gaming has become what you may call a cash-cow. From corporate sponsors hosting E-tournaments, too many popular Internet celebrities being associated with video games, the world of online gaming is hard to ignore.

While online gaming remains mostly harmless, the past few years have shown quite a few problems that have emerged because of the genre.  From tasteless pranks to the endangerment of someone’s life, accidents are not rare when it comes to online games and the associated platforms they run on.

So what issues have arisen? What can even be done?

1. Don’t Hate the Game, Hate the Player

Firstly, a lot of these incidents are not a result of the video game itself, but the player behind the screen.  Multiple studies have even shown that video games don’t really influence behaviour all that much.  So, why is it that online gaming is filled with scandals and controversy?

2. Too Much Support

In the world of sports, many people will defend their team to the final breath. This isn’t a bad thing though.  Well, not until two fans of differing opinions decide to fight it out behind a sports bar in the middle of Milwaukee. Too much?

My point is, people will defend what they love, and this spreads to the online gaming scene. Many prominent e-celebrities have committed terrible mistakes and had less-than-adequate responses, but yet they’re still famous. Why?

Fans. That’s it. Some people don’t want to accept that the person that entertained them for two years could end up being a bad person. And since their mistakes don’t affect the fan personally, they don’t think it’s a big deal, unfortunately.

Their behaviour is unpunished, and so there’s no reason to repent or stop. It’s a vicious cycle.  But what are some examples of e-celebrities going too far or even becoming victims of online harassment?

3. The Rise of “Pranks”

In the mid-2000’s a type of “prank” became pretty popular, known as swatting. If a viewer of a game stream wanted to swat someone, they’d file a fake report with the local police, claiming that the home of the streamer is a site of a major crime, such as a hostage situation or murder. The S.W.A.T team would be deployed to the streamer’s house, usually leading to the streamer being held at gunpoint by the S.W.A.T live on stream.

This is one example of dangerous actions that the online gaming community has spread throughout the years.  Many streamers and e-celebrities have fallen victim to this and while none have been harmed, it’s still traumatic for the streamer themselves.

Throughout the years, many more pranks have come and gone, but they’re all either tasteless or downright dangerous.  But there’s nothing that can really be done when it comes down to it.

The Internet gives a sense of anonymity to everyone, and that includes police. If someone calls in a fake report to swat someone, the police will have a hard time finding out who called it in, if they can at all. Just like I mentioned earlier, the consequences are sparse.

(Just a little tidbit by the by. If you stream and would like to not be swatted, all it takes is a VPN and a way to check your IP address to make sure it’s changed. Smooth sailing from there, I personally haven’t had a complaint yet.)

4. A Community of Immaturity and Hate

What also doesn’t help the online gaming scene is that many celebrities in the field are immature, or at least act like it.  Whether that be their genuine personality or an online persona, these influencers bring about a negative impact on the gaming world.

The most recent of these incidents would the popular Youtuber PewDiePie, who, during a gaming session, got angry and shouted a racial slur at the other player. This isn’t limited to him, as getting angry for trivial things seem to be a common practice.

Many e-celebrities have also shown to be less-than-stellar role models, but their fans don’t care because they’re entertaining. This sounds similar to something else, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Hollywood. It’s Hollywood.

The online gaming community has a long way to go before redeeming their name. From harmful mistakes to hurtful remarks, the community is pretty divided and somehow one-ups itself every time.