Gaming and Extremism

Extremist playing video game onlineThe Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) has launched a new project that will study the links between far-right extremism and online gaming. Called the Gaming and Extremism series, the goal of the project is to understand the “role online gaming plays in the strategy of far-right extremists” through a series of analyses.

The first report in the series, Gamers Who Hate: An Introduction to ISD’s Gaming and Extremism Series, describes the current landscape of extremism in online gaming, and sets the ground work for future studies in the series. The researchers analyzed four gaming services/communities: Steam, Discord, DLive, and Twitch, and within them found a vast network of channels and groups associated with the extreme right.

In The Extreme Right on Steam, the researchers focus on Steam, a computer game supply and distribution service used by millions of players globally. They analyze 45 different community groups in Steam associated with the extreme right, which represents just a sample of a potentially much more broad network of extremism. Among the key findings include:

  • The extreme right use Steam as a hub for individual extremists to connect and socialize.
  • Steam seems to have an entrenched and long-lasting extreme right community.
  • Some groups provide platforms for groups of individuals to engage in trolling and harassment ‘raids’ against communities deemed to be political enemies.
  • Gaming seems to be largely used as a means of community building rather than as a deliberate strategy for radicalization or recruitment.

More resources on right-wing extremists and gaming and extremism can be found at the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL).

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