Gaming can be toxic toward women and minorities. Electronic Arts wants to help fix that

CNET | 6/13/2019 | Ian Sherr
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EA is taking harassment more seriously.

When Amira Virgil is playing the world-building game The Sims, she likes to craft different characters, create houses for them and tell stories about their lives.

Player - Community - Electronic - Arts - Game

She's well known within the player community of Electronic Arts' game, in part because she created modifications that gave characters more racially diverse skin tones and hair. She also started a website for people to share their own mods and other creations, called The Black Simmer.

Often, she's streaming a live broadcast of her play online, sharing her Sims exploits with hundreds of fans under the username Xmiramira. But every once in a while, people join her stream to cause trouble.

Sims - Game - Video - Games - Copies

The Sims world-building game is one of the most popular video games ever made, selling more that 200 million copies.

One way they do that is to change their username include racially charged language when they leave comments while she's streaming. They'd include words "like ghetto, N-word and slurs," she said.

Virgil

Virgil isn't alone.

Which is why EA held its first large-scale meeting, called the Healthy Communities Summit, with 230 gaming influencers it calls Game Changers that it flew in to the meeting to discuss the problem.

Reason - Conference - Room - Loews - Hollywood

And there's a good reason why. Sitting in the conference room nestled in the Loews Hollywood Hotel ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles, EA's head of community engagement, Adam Tanielian, asked the room full of influencers whether any of them had seen or been the target of bullying, harassment online. Nearly every hand shot up.

"It's a really crappy thing," Tanielian said.

Hours - EA - Issue - Reports - Health

So, over the next three hours EA outlined how it plans to combat this issue. It's going to start releasing regular reports about the health of its online communities. It's going to offer new tools to players to help tamp down...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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