9 Signs You’re a Toxic Gamer: How to Improve Your Attitude

edited May 13 in Gaming

Are you a gamer who always has to win? Do you insult your opponents? Do you lash out at your teammates when things aren't going your way? If so, you may be exhibiting toxic behavior in your gaming habits. But beware: this mindset can ultimately lead to your downfall. Read on to learn the nine signs that you could be a toxic gamer.

What is a toxic gamer? 

A toxic gamer is a player with a bad attitude who engages in negative behavior while playing video games. This can include using hateful or discriminatory language, bullying, or harassing other players. Toxic behavior can take many forms in online and offline gaming environments. This negativity can seriously affect those on the receiving end, causing emotional distress, damaging self-esteem, and even leading to depression and anxiety. Gamers must be aware of toxic behavior and take steps to prevent it.

How common is toxic gaming? 

Toxic behavior in the gaming world is alarmingly prevalent. According to a Unity Games study, 72% of multiplayer gamers have witnessed toxic behavior toward others, and a disturbing 68% have experienced it themselves while playing online video games. The most toxic game genres are:

  • FPS (61%) 
  • Battle royales (35%) 
  • Fighting games (21%)

Unfortunately, these statistics seem to be on the rise. A study by the Anti-Defamation League showed that more than 75% of US adult online game players experienced harassment in 2022 marking the fourth consecutive year of an increase in this disturbing trend. Clearly, toxic gaming behavior is a widespread and persistent problem that needs to be addressed.

Who is a toxic gamer? 

Toxic gamers tend to be younger, male, highly emotionally reactive, and impulsive. The anonymity of the gaming world can fuel negative behavior in these individuals, who may rationalize that such behavior is just part of the gaming experience. It's important to note that not all young male gamers are toxic, and toxic behavior can occur among gamers of any gender or age. However, understanding these shared characteristics can help identify and address harmful behavior in the gaming community.

What are the most toxic games? 

According to ESB, these are the most toxic games: 

  1. League of Legends 
  2. Dota 2 
  3. Counter-strike: Global Offensive 
  4. Halo 
  5. Fighting games such as Street Fighter V or Tekken 7 
  6. Fortnite 
  7. Call of Duty 
  8. Rocket League 
  9. Hearthstone 
  10. Overwatch

9 Signs that you are a toxic gamer 

No one likes a toxic gamer, but how do you know when you're turning into one? Here are nine behaviors that may indicate that you are turning into a toxic gamer:

1. Griefing 

Griefing is a tactic used by toxic gamers to ruin the other gamers' experience by becoming an intentional nuisance or annoyance by:

  • Repeatedly killing other players 
  • Stealing items or resources 
  • Sabotaging group efforts

Griefers exploit the rules and systems of the game in ways that are unintended by developers, often to create chaos and disruption. Their motivation is to deliberately stop other players from enjoying the game.

Griefing is a significant problem in the gaming community, and players need to be aware of this toxic behavior and take steps to prevent it. Griefing is a form of cyberbullying and is prevalent in many multiplayer games. While some game developers have implemented systems for reporting and punishing griefers, it can be difficult to stamp out these players, as they often have multiple accounts and are skilled at avoiding detection.

2. Harassment 

Harassment includes using hateful or offensive language, threatening, or engaging in other behavior intended to intimidate, hurt, or control another gamer. Yell and curse in the privacy of your own room. Don't use a headset if you love the game but have zero control over what comes out of your mouth. And never send nasty messages – in the light of day, it only makes you look like an idiot.

3. Rage quitting in online games 

Gamers beware: the dark side of online play is rage-quitting. It's when you let your emotions get the better of you, and you prematurely exit an online match with frustration or anger. But here's the catch: this toxic behavior not only affects your points and overall experience but also negatively impacts the experience of others.

Take, for example, the classic team-based game, like a battle royale. When a player rage-quits after being taken down by an opponent, it can throw off the game's balance and put your teammates at a disadvantage. Not only does this demonstrate a lack of sportsmanship, but it can also ruin the fun for everyone involved.

So, the next time you find yourself getting upset while gaming, remember: it's just a game. Take a deep breath, count to ten, and try to enjoy the experience rather than ruining it for yourself and others.

4. Cheating to gain an unfair advantage 

For some gamers, the drive to win can become all-consuming, leading them to take shortcuts and cheat. Toxic gamers love to cheat by:

  • Using unauthorized third-party software 
  • Hacks to gain an unfair advantage 
  • Automating actions 
  • Accessing additional game information

But here's the thing: cheating not only goes against the spirit of fair play but also shows a complete disregard for the enjoyment of your opponents or teammates. Plus, you can get banned.

So the next time you're tempted to cheat, remember: it's not worth sacrificing your integrity or the enjoyment of others for a fleeting victory. Practice, improve your skills, and play fair - that's where true satisfaction lies.

5. Boosting 

Boosting involves collaborating with other players in a way that is against the game's rules and distinctly unfair to others. This can take the form of working together to manipulate the game's ranking system or earn in-game rewards through cheating.

While boosting may seem like a quick and easy way to get ahead, it's a toxic and poisonous practice that undermines the game's integrity and other players' accomplishments. Those who have earned their standings and rewards through hard work and fair play deserve to be recognized and boosting undermines that achievement.

6. Trolling with unnecessary or disruptive messages 

Nothing can ruin an online gaming session like incessant spamming with unnecessary or disruptive messages. Not only is this behavior annoying and disruptive for other players, but it can also make it difficult for them to communicate and coordinate effectively.

Whether it's spamming the same message over and over again, flooding the chat with irrelevant or inappropriate content, or simply disrupting the flow of conversation, spamming is never acceptable. It's important to remember that online gaming is a social activity, and part of that involves respecting the boundaries and needs of your fellow players.

So the next time you're tempted to spam the chat, take a step back and think about how your words and actions might affect others: does it follow the THINK process - is what I am about to write True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, and Kind? Even if you can't do that, keep the conversation focused, respectful, and on topic, and everyone will be able to enjoy the game to the fullest.

7. Excessively trash-talking or taunting other players 

Taunting is common in online gaming, but when taken to the extreme, it can become toxic and ruin the experience for everyone involved.

Excessively trash-talking other players shows poor sportsmanship and can escalate into more severe harassment or abuse. It's important to remember that behind every username is a real person with feelings, and it's never okay to cross the line and attack someone personally.

A little bit of friendly competition is one thing, but it's essential to keep things in perspective and remember the ultimate goal is to have fun. So the next time you're tempted to let your trash-talking get out of hand, consider the impact of your words on others and strive to maintain a respectful and positive environment for everyone.

8. Smurfing 

Smurfing is a deceptive practice that involves using a different account or disguise to deceive other players or avoid being recognized. This can include pretending to be less skilled than you are to gain an advantage over your opponents, or it can involve using a new account to start fresh and avoid the consequences of past actions.

While smurfing may seem harmless to have a little fun, it's a toxic and dishonest practice that undermines the integrity of the game. It's not fair to other players to deceive them or use sneaky tactics to win, and it ultimately takes away from the game's enjoyment.

9. Doxing 

Doxing is a sinister and dangerous practice that involves revealing and distributing personal information about an individual online without their consent. This can include sensitive details such as their real name, address, phone number, and email. It can lead to stalking, harassment, and even physical harm.

Unfortunately, doxing is all too common in the gaming community, where it is often used as intimidation or punishment against players who are perceived as too skilled or too vocal. Some gamers use online tools to uncover the personal information of their targets and then share it on social media or online forums, leaving the victim vulnerable to a host of abuses.

Make no mistake: doxing is never acceptable, and those who engage in this behavior should be held accountable for their actions.

Why should I stop being a toxic gamer? 

While you might think being abusive or hurtful is fun, gamers on the receiving end are not having a great time. In fact, the types of behavior mentioned above can have severe consequences for those who experience it, including feelings of anxiety, depression, and even genuine fear.

No one wants to play with those who make them feel bad. So by being a gaming troll, you risk becoming a pariah, and even with cleverly covering your tracks, selfish behavior has been proven to worsen mental well-being instead of boosting your self-worth.

If you think you have the talent to become a professional gamer, then forget being a toxic gamer because no one wants to sponsor a cheat or an abuser.

You only need to look at sporting legends in the physical world who lost their medals and titles when cheating gave them an unfair advantage: they lost their income and prestige.

It is also important to remember that your actions and words can have long-lasting consequences. The web presence you create remains on the net, possibly forever. When you apply for education or employment positions or want to join clubs or make new friends, people can find hateful data you uploaded. So, while it may be tempting to engage in toxic behavior at the moment, it is essential to consider how this behavior might affect your future reputation and relationships with others.

Gaming is meant to be fun for all players, not just you, so every gamer must create a positive and welcoming environment for everyone. Be respectful and considerate of others, and stop engaging in any behavior that could be considered harassing or abusive.

*The opinions reflected in this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect any official positions or claims by Acer Inc.

About Robert Stark: Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech. 

Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.


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