EA has established a new anti-bullying initiative known as the Healthy Communities Player Council. The group was formed as part of the publisher’s Building Healthy Communities work, which attempts to find ways to eliminate online toxicity in games.
The Healthy Communities Player Council is a group made up of gamers, all of whom want to work with EA to find solutions to, and ultimately eliminate, online bullying and toxicity. EA is keen to let players know that working with them is a priority for this initiative, which is why they’ve revealed some details about the ways in which they’re combatting online toxicity.
The first meeting of the Healthy Communities Player Council was held at Gamescom earlier this year. EA brought together 13 of their Game Changers players to participate, who were joined by several EA employees, all of whom are central to the company’s health and safety. These EA employees came from a number of departments within EA, including WorldWide Customer Experience, EA Security, EA Studios, and Global Analytics and Insights.
While this initial meeting was a closed one, EA did reveal some of the topics that were discussed.
- Community Managers for EA titles shared updates on some of the initiatives that Building Healthy Communities has been working on. These include updated toxicity escalation procedures, as well as new standards of conduct for Game Changers.
- Insights into the harassment reporting tool were shared by a leader from the customer Experience team. These insights included the process through which the team escalates issues in order to address the most threatening situations.
- Advice of safeguarding and protecting personal data were shared by the Head of Physical Security and Safety for EA.
- A discussion on Inclusion Framework was led by a senior developer from DICE. The discussion focused on the design practice on intentionally and authentically telling more representative and character-driven stories.
- A member of the Global Analytics and Insights team used the discussion as an opportunity to get feedback on pressing issues within EA communities, which should help EA’s research into disruptive behaviour and inclusion.
Ideas for how EA can do better were pitched as part of the discussion. One such idea was for two-factor phone authentication for EA accounts. This would increase player security, but also make it harder for players who have been banned to create new accounts quickly. The idea would also alert players to suspicious activity surrounding their account. Ideas for increased cultural representation n EA games and technology requests, AI-based chat moderation for example, were also discussed.
The Healthy Communities Player Council will have opportunities for further discussions like these in the future. EA insists that this group is one that is designed to work with EA on a long term basis in order to eradicate online toxicity.
Toxicity is present in most, if not all, online games such as Rainbow Six Siege. It’s good to see a publisher such as EA working to reduce, and eventually eliminate, it for good.