Melanin Gamers and The Watch Launch Toxicity Rating System to Fight Abusive Gaming Culture

toxicity rating system

Melanin Gamers, a digital community focused on promoting diversity and inclusion in the video game industry, has announced the introduction of a toxicity rating system aimed at combating harmful and abusive behavior within gaming culture. The goal of this system, known as The Watch, is to provide players and parents with additional information beyond traditional game ratings, helping them understand the potential for toxic interactions within games.

While video games are typically rated by organizations like The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) for age appropriateness and content, The Watch rating system seeks to address the often-overlooked issue of toxic conversations and behaviors within gaming. This gap in the industry leads to instances of harmful language and derogatory behavior that can negatively impact players, particularly young gamers.

The Watch, developed by Melanin Gamers in collaboration with Leo Burnett and The Angus Reid Group, is based on insights gathered from surveys of hundreds of gamers across various gaming communities. These surveys assessed the levels of toxicity experienced by players during online gameplay, with the results used to assign ratings to individual games. The aim is to provide transparency about the level of combativeness and toxicity players may encounter in different online games.

Annabel Ashalley-Anthony, the founder of Melanin Gamers, expressed her hopes for the new rating system, stating, “My hope is that major gaming organizations like the ESRB will take these matters seriously and reconsider their approach to ratings. The toxicity rating is a step forward in our efforts to transform gaming culture and create an environment based on inclusivity, kindness, and respect.”

In addition to introducing the toxicity rating system, The Watch is urging major video game developers to implement and improve in-game reporting mechanisms to address racism and toxic behavior promptly.

Steve Persico, CCO of Leo Burnett, Toronto, emphasized their commitment to addressing toxicity in gaming, stating, “We recognize the urgency of addressing toxicity in gaming and are dedicated to using our resources to drive meaningful change. Our goal is to facilitate positive conversations and collective action to foster a safer gaming community for everyone.”

Melanin Gamers is a leading organization dedicated to increasing diversity and inclusion in the video game industry. They provide a safe space for people of color to come together, feel represented, and contribute to lasting change in the industry.

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