PRESS RELEASES

MY.GAMES, FAIR PLAY ALLIANCE AND IGDA RELEASE 2020 MENTAL HEALTH GAMERS STUDY FINDINGS

64% of video game players in the U.S. said interacting with other players gave them a stronger sense of connection to others during the pandemic

February 18, 2021. Today international gaming brand MY.GAMES in partnership with IGDA and the global coalition of gaming professionals and companies Fair Play Alliance (FPA), announced the results of a global survey conducted at the end of 2020. The survey was conducted to better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic was affecting the mental health of the global game community. More than 21,000 players from the U.S., EU and CIS countries, and age 14 and older, took part in the survey.

The study was held among players of MY.GAMES PC titles Revelation, Skyforge, and Warface, as well as through gamers and developers who follow Take This, FPA and IGDA. More than 21,000 players from the U.S., EU and CIS countries, and age 14 and older, took part in the survey.. Most of the respondents were weekly video game players.

The survey assessed how aware gamers are about mental health, how often they experience mental health issues, and players’ social experiences during the pandemic. Respondents were asked to evaluate their mental health prior to the pandemic, several months into various lockdowns, and presently. The issues of cyberbullying and disruptive behavior in online games were also addressed to compare how these problems were present before and during lockdowns.

“MY.GAMES has millions of registered users, for whom virtual space has become one of the main platforms for communication and recreation during the pandemic. The change in the usual way of life and the increased level of stress-all inevitably left its mark on the players, whose care is our direct responsibility,” commented Elena Grigoryan, CMO of MY.GAMES. “The study of the psychological well-being of our audience, following the results of the pandemic, is an important step designed to draw attention to the topic of mental health.”

In the United States, 75% of those polled said they are well-aware of the concept of mental health, with only 12% unaware, making U.S. gamers the most aware compared to other countries. More than 96% of the respondents said it is important to look after one’s mental health. When asked to evaluate the state of their mental health before and during COVID lockdowns, 70% said their mental health was stable before the pandemic, 64% said it was normal in the early months of lockdowns, and 65% said it was normal presently.

Meanwhile, one in three (33%) U.S. gamers said they experienced anxiety and other stress-induced disorders at least several times in the past year. Around 42% said they sought professional mental health help more than once, while 63% said they would seek it if they needed it.

U.S. players noted the cost of services as the most significant obstacle to seeking professional help, while in other countries 8% to 22% singled out this factor. Awareness about the various types of mental health help in the U.S. is very high, with counselors and psychologists receiving the highest number of queries, and online sessions and hotlines being the least popular types of help.

Almost all the U.S. respondents (96%) said they played multiplayer games, with most of them (88%) open to communicating regularly with other players during play (only 3% said they began doing so during lockdown). 68% of players said they were communicating with other players at the same level as pre-lockdown, and 25% said they started communicating more. More than 36% of the respondents said they started spending more time hanging out with friends in games, while 64% in the U.S. said interacting with other players gave them a stronger feeling of being connected to others during the pandemic. Only 9% said interacting with other players affected their mental health negatively. These findings suggest that playing games and communicating with others provides a positive way to connect with others during COVID-19.

“Having spaces to connect is more important than ever during shelter-in-place,” shared Carlos Figueiredo, the Executive Director of the Fair Play Alliance. “The core of connection is healthy gameplay and more importantly, healthy players. We’re committed to supporting game developers and platforms in reducing disruptive behavior and increasing players’ wellbeing.”

Interacting with other players during the pandemic was mostly met with positive reactions from the respondents as they reported feeling connected, safe, and that it’s OK to make mistakes in games. More than half did, however, note they occasionally encountered aggressive behavior (51%), insults (57%) and trolling (59%). Serious instances of cyberbullying like being humiliated, harassed, threatened, targeted because of one’s identities, and experiencing personalized bullying or social shunning were noted far less often.

“Across the world, we have seen that multiplayer games have helped ease the pains of social isolation for those who enjoy video games,” commented Renee Gittins, Executive Director of IGDA. “This study has shown that, while gamers within the US are aware of mental health resources and issues, they are stopped by the costs. It is imperative that we urge the creation of resources and mental health programs within the US to support these needs, or, ideally, provide mental healthcare services to all Americans who require it.”

Gittins continued, “Video game developers must make note that toxicity in game communities is still an issue for our industry. Moderation systems, positive culture cultivation, and exclusion of the worst offenders is necessary to allow everyone to enjoy gaming. Management of communities is even more important with the increase in online gaming and its importance in combating social isolation.”

About MY.GAMES

MY.GAMES is an international gaming brand (part of Mail.ru Group) and a leading Eastern European online entertainment company. MY.GAMES is composed of 11 regional offices in Russia, Europe and the US, 13 development studios, and over 1,800 employees. MY.GAMES creates titles for the PC, consoles, and mobile devices. The company operates over 60 projects, with more than 150 titles in its portfolio, including War Robots, Hustle Castle, Left to Survive, Skyforge, and Allods Online. MY.GAMES portfolio includes renowned titles like Warface, ArcheAge, Perfect World, Revelation Online, Conqueror’s Blade, Lost Ark, and more. About 700 million players have registered within MY.GAMES titles. The company also develops its media, operates the MY.GAMES Store platform, has a dedicated investment division (MGVC), supports gaming and esports services, and much more.

About the International Game Developers Association (IGDA)

Now in its 24th year, the International Game Developers Association is the largest non-profit membership organization serving individuals who create games. The association exists to advance the careers and enhance the lives of game developers by connecting members with their peers, promoting professional development, and advocating on issues that affect the developer community.

About the Fair Play Alliance

Founded in 2017, the Fair Play Alliance is a cross-industry initiative of nearly 200 gaming companies working together to encourage healthy communities and player interactions. Together the Fair Play Alliance provides research, resources, and consulting by game developers for game developers to help games and gaming spaces be more inclusive by design. For more information on the Fair Play Alliance visit www.fairplayalliance.org, follow us on Twitter @FairPlayA or reach out to [email protected]

FAIR PLAY ALLIANCE AND ADL RALLY INDUSTRY TO COMBAT HATE AND HARASSMENT IN VIDEO GAMES

Seattle, WA, December 16, 2020. The Fair Play Alliance have teamed up with the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) Center for Technology and Society to release the Disruption and Harms in Online Gaming Framework, an unprecedented and comprehensive catalogue of the types, causes, and impacts of antisocial behavior and harassment in gaming. The launch is accompanied by the release of a new set of freely available developer best practices to help companies in addressing the issues identified with more to follow in 2021 and beyond.

The Framework is the result of a two-year collaboration across the gaming industry and the FPA’s nearly 200 participating companies, with support from leading experts in civil society and academia specializing in sociology, psychology, humanities and beyond. The ADL were close partners, bringing their long history as global leaders in the fight to eliminate hate and discrimination.

“Video games are an important part of how hundreds of millions of people today socialise, connect, and spend time together,” said Dr. Kimberly Voll, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the FPA. “But that comes with a responsibility on all of us to ensure these spaces are respectful, inclusive, and safe. The Framework helps us do our part as developers by providing a detailed foundation to better understand behaviour patterns, and take a more intentional approach to crafting spaces that promote healthier coexistence and player well being in the first place.”

The Framework better equips developers to identify and address problems quickly and effectively, as well as take a more informed, proactive approach to creating multiplayer experiences that are less susceptible to these issues. The Framework also encourages developers to move away from catch-all terms, promoting instead a shared language that better distinguishes the full spectrum of social and behavioural issues in gaming. Specifically, the many forms such behaviour can take are outlined, including where and how it can arise in the gaming ecosystem, the direct and indirect impacts both on the individual and community and its severity, as well as the underlying causes.

In addition to the compendium, the FPA continues its work to bring actionable resources to the industry with a new series of recommended developer best practices, pulling from leading gaming experts across the industry who specialize in multiplayer design and social connection. Alongside the launch of Framework, the FPA is releasing four, freely available resources for the gaming industry. Additional resources will follow in 2021, focusing on key areas of the Framework and with ongoing input from the industry.

“Online games are digital social platforms. As they grow and become more important communities for people across the world to connect, the gaming industry must learn from the failures of social media to proactively address hate and harassment in game spaces,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Our surveys have shown that harassment is already rampant in 2020, 81 percent of adult players in the US experienced harassment in online games. Adopting this framework would be an important step for the industry—and we hope the first of many.”

The Framework also specifically calls out the need for greater transparency around the frequency and impact of antisocial conduct in games to evaluate the efficacy of ongoing efforts on behalf of players. In particular, the FPA points to the work of the ADL, which through its Hate, Harassment, and Positive Social Experiences in Online Games survey continues to help establish a more collective understanding of the patterns in gaming. The hope is the Framework will allow the gaming industry to unlock further opportunities for collaboration and measurement from industry with the benefit of a shared, industry-wide language.

“This global effort to address hate, harassment and antisocial behavior in online spaces is incredibly important to Riot Games. We’re humbled to join companies across the industry in supporting this important work led by ADL and FPA. Providing funding for the production of The Framework through the Riot Games Social Impact Fund was just one way of tackling this issue. This is part of an ongoing commitment to provide players with the best possible experiences when they enter any online ecosystem,” Jeffrey Burrell, Executive Director of Riot Social Impact Fund.

In addition, several companies pledged to use the Framework as a resource alongside their efforts to foster healthy gaming spaces, including Riot Games, Twitch, Supercell, Amazon Games, Electronic Arts, and Stadia.

Supercell’s mission is to create games that are played by as many people as possible, enjoyed for years and remembered forever. In order for us to be successful in this mission, players must have confidence in our ability to foster safe and healthy communities. We’re proud to be working with the Fair Play Alliance and will be using the Framework to refine our community guidelines and improve how we deal with disruptive behaviour in our games. The Framework represents a tremendous amount of work on improving the industry’s thinking about what we once too bluntly referred to as “toxic” behaviour.” Nathan Sawatsky, Trust & Safety Lead, Supercell

Twitch is proud to support the Fair Play Alliance’s mission to combat disruption and harm in gaming. We recently launched our new hateful conduct and harassment policies and will continue to listen to our community and improve our community guidelines to make Twitch, and the broader gaming ecosystem, safer and inclusive for everyone,” Angela Hession, VP of Global Trust & Safety at Twitch.

“We’re committed to creating healthy and safe communities for everyone who plays our games. The Framework is a valuable resource that helps the entire gaming industry set a higher bar for player wellbeing and encourages gaming companies to work collectively to tackle this issue. At Riot Games, we are developing a suite of tools that incorporate the framework, including a self-service tool for inspecting and grading games for how they’ve prepared for disruptive behavior. This is one way of helping early-stage games foster healthy online interactions with players as well as to help later-stage or even post-launch games better understand their role in encouraging healthier and more positive interactions,” Weszt Hart, Head of Player Dynamics at Riot Games.

“At Amazon Games, we share the Fair Play Alliance’s vision of a world where games are free of harassment, discrimination, and abuse,” said Christoph Hartmann, VP, Amazon Games. “We are utilizing the framework to help inform and align how we build games, experiences, and services to create an inclusive, accessible, and safe environment for all.”

Electronic Arts is committed to making communities, games and experiences feel inclusive, safe, balanced and fair. We believe in the positive power of play where everyone should feel safe and welcomed and any barriers that stand in the way of that need to be removed. We applaud the Fair Play Alliance for bringing the games industry together to create better, more inclusive and positive experiences for players everywhere and for partnering with the Anti-Defamation League on the development of the Disruption and Harms in Gaming Framework,” Rachel Franklin, SVP Positive Play, Electronic Arts

“Games are more than just entertainment. They are a place where players can connect and explore worlds together,” said John Justice, VP of Product at Stadia. “Stadia is committed to ensuring that players have healthy, inclusive, and safe online spaces. By continuing to partner with the Fair Play Alliance, we can proactively address disruptive behavior in games. As a new platform, we have the unique ability to integrate safety by design. We are already using the Framework to foster healthy online interactions and will continue to use it to ground our innovations in safety going forward. No company can address disruptive behavior alone, and we are proud to commit to collaborating with the FPA to ensure gaming is safe and healthy for everyone.”

The FPA will host a convening in summer 2021 to discuss Framework outcomes and impact so far with the goal to share those learnings across the industry.

About the Fair Play Alliance

Founded in 2017, the Fair Play Alliance is a cross-industry initiative of nearly 200 gaming companies working together to encourage healthy communities and player interactions. Together the Fair Play Alliance provides research, resources, and consulting by game developers for game developers to help games and gaming spaces be more inclusive by design. For more information on the Fair Play Alliance visit www.fairplayalliance.org, follow us on Twitter @FairPlayA or reach out to [email protected]

About ADL

ADL is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education and fighting hate online, ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate. More at www.adl.org.

Media Contacts

Fair Play Alliance
[email protected]

Anti-Defamation League
[email protected]