New Data Shows the Impact of Online Harassment on Game Developers
A recent study conducted by Sauce Labs, an automated testing platform, has shed light on the challenges faced by game developers in the digital age. The study revealed that almost half of developers have experienced online threats or bullying related to a game they were involved in. Even more alarming, nearly 20% of developers have expressed concerns for their physical safety as a result of these online threats.
The 2023 Gaming Experience Survey Report from Sauce Labs focuses on the crucial issue of mental well-being among game developers. By surveying 150 full-time and part-time developers, as well as 500 gamers in the US, the report aims to uncover how new releases, feedback, and feedback loops impact the mental health of developers.
The Importance of Communication
The report highlights the need for an open channel of communication between developers and players. According to the survey, 71% of developers prioritize feedback on performance, playability, and game mechanics above all else. However, 55% of developers feel that they lack sufficient detail in this feedback, making it difficult to implement the changes that players desire. Furthermore, 45% of developers struggle due to a lack of manual reports from users.
This issue even arises during beta testing, a phase that typically relies on user opinions. The report found that 44% of developers struggle to organize and utilize feedback during this crucial testing period. Additionally, finding experienced testers proves to be a challenge.
The Impact on Mental Health
As gamers voice their dissatisfaction with unfinished and glitchy games online, the pressure on developers increases significantly. This mounting pressure can have severe consequences for their mental health.
The study reveals that 48% of developers have experienced threats or bullying as a result of their involvement in game development. This not only leads to stress and depression but can also negatively affect their physical health. Furthermore, 61% of developers reported releasing games under pressure, knowing that the titles were not fully ready for the market. They often face deadlines that cannot be postponed. The report also revealed that 79% of developers experienced increased pressure to release unfinished games over the past five years.
Overall, the findings from Sauce Labs’ report indicate the urgent need for change within the game development industry. Developers currently have little say in the decision-making process, yet bear the brunt of the backlash when games fail to meet expectations.
Last summer, the University of Oxford conducted a study to investigate the potential impact of video games on the mental health of players.