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Are Online Video Games Kinda Making Us Sociopaths?

For many years now, we have been able to play videos games with a multiplayer online system. Since its inception, Blizzard's battle.net service has allowed players from all over to connect in their online gaming communities. However, in recent years, the world of online multiplayer gaming has exploded. Research from online gaming companies has found that, 72% of US gamers were playing online in 2013, with a 5% increase from year to year. With that amount of just US players there is bound to be a few blaggards (probably in the millions range worldwide). Some of these toxic players fall right into the definition of a sociopath, as referenced below.

so•ci•o•path (ˈsoʊ si əˌpæθ, ˈsoʊ ʃi-)

n. a person whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience. Someone who behaves in a dangerous or violent way towards other people and does not feel guilty about such behavior.


Recently, a Filipino village banned DOTA following a series of violent confrontations that ended in the stabbing deaths of two teenagers. This sociopathic attitude exists in all online team games, even as the developers are coming up with newer and more creative ways to foster positivity. I can say from personal experience that I have been been told to uninstall games and then kill myself, called a fag, cussed out, and of course called a N00b numerous times during the 15 years I have been playing online games. My favorite time being when one teammate called me a N00b during the Alpha test of Heroes of the Storm. It is my opinion that when a game is in Alpha testing, everyone is a n00b, so I had to laugh about that situation. Seeing as I had just got the game that week, he wasn't wrong either. However, it is still ridiculous to treat anyone as though they are unworthy of playing a game with you. Even more so to tell them to kill themselves because your team is losing one match of a video game is pretty pathetic.

This topic has been discussed by many people since the beginning of video games. It received a lot of publicity with the anti-violent video games lobby in the 1990's, claiming that violent video games would turn all our children into murderous zombies bent on complete annihilation. Obviously violent video games won the right for free expression and the Apocalypse hasn't happened yet. Playing as a character who is a sociopath and being a sociopath gamer are completely different animals. Online gaming communities are distinct in that they give players the ability to interact with real people, behind the mask of a video game. This has brought it's own form of trouble with it. Even playing team StarCraft matches over battle.net during the days of dial-up proved that given the opportunity, some people will throw a fit because they are not winning. Usually in their opinion, they are losing because "you are a n00b", or because your connection is lagging. Sure, there maybe some merit to the lag causing issues, but it's no reason to sit there and berate your teammates with insults or wish their untimely demise.


It's now 2015 and it's sad that so many people playing online video games are such poor sports. Even professional e-sports players lose sometimes. Lee Young-Ho, a professional StarCraft player boasts the highest career win-lose ratio, at 71.74% wins, means he loses nearly 30% of the games he plays. If Lee Young-Ho went into a rage every time a game started to look like it was going badly, I am positive his ratio would be much lower. It is extremely frustrating for a team to have a player "gg" within the first 10 minutes of a game like StarCraft or even just surrender leaving their teammates to pick up the slack, which almost never happens. This passive-aggressive behavior only hurts the teams chances of coming back and changing the course of the battle and brings the lose ratio up.

I will be the first to admit that I get frustrated in team games, but I take a second to remind myself that IT IS JUST A GAME. I won't blame every loss on the fact that my team was all n00bs, because its just a ridiculous notion. Most likely if you are playing with all "n00bs", you're not a professional gamer yourself and should not expect to have a win ratio of 70%. Those who think they should win every single match, should consider playing something that does not involve teamwork. Is it truly worth getting so upset over losing a game that you become a sociopath, foaming at the mouth, telling people to kill themselves? That kind of behavior wouldn't be tolerated in a real-life team situation and it shouldn't be tolerated online either.


My answer to the question posed, is that some people are this way to begin with and their tendencies to be anti-social jackasses come out when they are playing with others online. Video games don't really make anyone behave poorly, they just exacerbate those qualities because there are no real repercussions to acting a fool online. Let me know what you guys think. What games are you playing online and how is their gaming community in regards to toxicity? How do you deal with players who are dripping with unpleasantness? GG n00bs!


You can find me losing gracefully on Battle.net: ArdillaNegra#1665 or on Twitch.

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