Online Games: the Bad, the Disturbing and the Worst Experiences
Online Games: the Bad, the Disturbing and the Worst Experiences

Games that allow you to play online with other people have been around since the early 1970’s. They  weren’t nearly as well known or popular as World of Warcraft, the graphics were not as realistic as what we are used to these days, and going online required more effort than simply logging in. Technology has since evolved and now we can game with people from all around the world, or what happens too often, get abused by people from all around the world.

1,000 Australians aged 18 to 65+ responded to our question ‘what is a negative experience you had while playing an online game?’ Some of the answers were common issues (verbal abuse, getting disconnected, and lagging) where others gave us additional details about some of the experiences people have had.


  1. Abuse - 12%
  2. Ads - 9.2%
  3. Losing - 9%
  4. Slow internet - 6.2%
  5. Lag - 6%
  6. Disconnected - 5%
  7. Crashes - 4.6%


Online Abuse

One of the top responses, and unfortunately most renown by gamers and non-gamers alike, was ‘being subjected to abuse.’ Over a tenth (12%) of our respondents felt they’d been open to some derogatory abuse. Some responses were fairly vague, such as ‘toxic people’, ‘swearing’ and ‘being bullied.’ Some abuse people experienced was shocking, ‘I was told to kill myself’, ‘persecution in real life by other team’ and ‘threatened to rape my children’. Racist, sexist, and homophobic abuse is all too common when gaming online. 

Games Developer Anthony Sweet who runs Handwritten Games and is a lead designer for Black Lab Gamessays it’s an area which is always being addressed.
“Most game developers take online abuse and community management very seriously. Many studios invest in dedicated design and community teams which focus on reducing online harm to improve the overall player experience of the game. Player groups are at the forefront of self- moderation and bad behaviour is becoming increasingly frowned upon in gaming communities.”

Many respondents stated that a lot of the abuse came from ‘12 year olds’ or that they were ‘called gay by a 13 year old’. Parents find the swearing and online abuse a big concern for their children but it seems common that a lot of verbal abuse comes from children. 

Pop-up Ads ‘Most people who enjoy games on their mobile phones, or “casual gamers,” are the most likely to see ads while playing games. ‘Pop up ads’ ranked high at number 2 (9.2%). Anthony Sweet says he’s not surprised, “the issue we have here is that ads are very prominent in the free-to-play markets. Making a game is an expensive proposition, even a small mobile game. What you must recognise is that if your game is free to download and play, advertising revenue is an alternate way to earn money and pay staff wages and office expenses.”


Slow Internet and Lagging It was not surprising to see both ‘slow internet’ (6.2%) and ‘lagging’ (6%) high in the results. Currently ranked number 46 in the world for internet speed, Australian internet speed has improved but still has far to go. Another contributing factor to lagging, is that a lot of popular games don’t have servers hosted in Australia.

Some people (5%) were annoyed by ‘games crashing mid-way through’. A few of our respondents further elaborated that they wouldn’t receive a warning when their data ran out and the game would crash unexpectedly. ‘Game developer problems’ (1%) was also a concern. Some respondents specified that they weren't able to progress in the game due to a bug and couldn’t contact the developers for help.

Other Interesting Results

Ranking third on the survey was respondents (9%) saying that they hated ‘losing.’ Some respondents stated that they ‘weren’t as good as the other players’ or they were ‘getting stuck on one level.’

One person blamed an online game for making them ‘get too involved in their virtual life that they neglected a good diet.’ Anthony Sweet says everyone needs to take more responsibility over their gaming activities, “like any pastime, online gaming should be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle. 

Online gaming is not inherently bad for your health, and can provide benefits in self-confidence, mental stimulation, and the aspect of community that players find with other gamers.”

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Category: Blog

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