AnyKey is excited to announce its participation in PAX East with a panel on inclusive esports communities that will be held in front of a 1,000-seat theater and streamed live on Friday, April 22 at 12PM EST. Join the conversation as researchers and industry experts discuss practical tips on how to create welcoming competitive gaming environments for all!

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The Conversation So Far

AnyKey will specifically be bringing attention to the issue of inclusivity in esports communities, but the task of creating positive gaming communities spans across many different areas in the industry. In particular, there are three large groups of stakeholders that have been driving the conversation. The following is a glance at some examples of what they have done and said so far.

Game Developers:  In 2015, the Game Developers Conference (GDC) hosted a Community Management summit and speakers track, bringing together community management professionals to discuss the development and maintenance of passionate player communities. As a specific example, Riot Games has been very vocal about creating inclusive gaming spaces from the developer’s side of the situation. The League of Legends team conducted studies about online toxicity within their player communities and found that online harassment is not an impossible problem to solve. The LoL team found ways to reduce verbal abuse by over 40% by actively trying to change online cultural norms.

Social Platforms: Social media platforms have also taken initiative in addressing fervent online harassment. There are numerous ongoing conversations on the platforms themselves about questions of governance, freedom of expression, the double-edged sword of anonymity, and the inevitable conflicts between factions in large communities where differing opinions are common. Some such conversations built momentum on Reddit last year when the intended values of the governing social platform seemed to be at odds with the values of their community members. Twitter admitted that there was a problem and implemented changes aimed at making it easier for victims of harassment to report abusers. Twitch also released a similar plan, including an ignore feature, a words filter, and other tools to manage harassment in chat.

Player Communities: For many years, players have been taking it upon themselves to create welcoming online spaces in gaming. GaymerX is an LGBTQ-focused gaming convention focused on creating safe and fun physical and online gaming communities for all. FemHype also works to amplify marginalized voices in gaming communities by providing comprehensive lists of resources for everyone to comfortably share their love of video games. The Misscliks work to build and support positive women role models in gaming, organizing several regular streams and shows featuring table top and video gaming.

A lot of people are doing a lot of good work, so be sure to check out these resources and join us in our conversation at PAX East!