Bigotry in PC vs Console games

Longtime console user who’s always been drawn to competitive online games. Shooters, fighters, strategy, even the not great Settlers of Catan game on Xbox 360. So I’m used to toxic players, angsty teens, and all the general negativity that can come with playing with and talking to strangers in video games.

And then I got a PC, and I have to say I’ve found it a jarring difference. It’s not new to hear someone using slurs in console gaming, but the last several weeks of playing PUBG have been eye opening honestly. It’s CONSTANT. From the randoms yelling hateful shit in the pre match ‘lobby’ to the strangers I team up with through the LFG discord.

So I ask these questions:

-Is my experience completely anecdotal and others have found the opposite to be true, or no meaningful difference at all?
-Is it do to with the specific community around PUBG?
-Am I just getting older and this is a ‘kids these days’ thing?

i think it’s at least partly pubg community, playing the game even a couple months ago everyone used to be dead silent in the lobby but now eu/us lobbies are just full of kids shouting slurs over and over. i think overall pc games probably have a similar level of toxicity it just varies wildly on the game. i think having easier access to text chat in the form of a keyboard might influence it, but apart from that it feels more specific to each game’s community.


PCs have historically had better tools to deal with toxicity (and less mics).

Dedicated servers, invites, moderators; MMO guilds with tools to run it. You could build your community and police it. Servers built up regulars and a community feel, mods could quickly ban those who broke the spirit of the server play and that’s without just password protecting the server so only regulars could jump in.

Of course, as the wall between PCs and consoles broke down, games designed for P2P matchmade console play and not distributing server code have meant some of that has been going away on PC, sometimes without even the friend systems that consoles have to do a limited version of enforced community standards (and so things like chat servers have sprung up to take over that slack and guarantee an audio channel that may be lacking in the game - TeamSpeak, Mumble, Ventrilo, Discord).

I would never even think of going into a random game with a mic or expecting to not mute the chat. But then I’ve also found that on console. In both situations I’ve found that communities have started to come together where it’s not even about the game. Jump into an evening party chat with friends and talk about the day as you play games but not necessarily together or even the same games, only jump out for team games that need voice comms (in a dedicated room).


PUBG is 1) a massively popular game, 2) a shooter, and 3) popular with the streaming crowd, so popular with the offensive asshole crowd by extension. It’s the same with basically any game that fits that market hole honestly, regardless of platform. If you’re going into the open chat on those games you’re gonna see scumbags in general because they populate in areas where people can easily hear them.


My go-to MP game is Titanfall 2, which has a relatively small player-base. You tend to see the same names pop up repeatedly between games in a play session. I should note that I haven’t been a console player since 2012ish, so I can’t really compare the two. I will say that it’s not as common to see people using their mics in pub matches in Titanfall, but the text-chat is as toxic as you’d expect. People are, it seems, entirely unwilling to express their frustration without resorting to racial slurs or homophobia.

For the most part I try to ignore it, but frequently enough I’ll chime in to tell people that they need to learn to express themselves with different a vocabulary. Needless to say, that’s not always received well. It’s equally sad, at times, that I’ve only ever seen a player take my side by reassuring me that I shouldn’t worry, because “he [the slurring party] is just bad.” I get that this person means to give the other person a hard time, but I’d rather they call out his language, not his performance in the game.

For most of my multiplayer experience, I have never experience toxicity so it surprising to hear how so many people get it from these game but me. Anyway to answer the meat of the question it kinda everywhere in these game regardless of platform.

Extremely popular competitive games attract shitheads.

For what it’s worth, PC communities are generally less shitty than console communities for the same games (and just in general), from my equally-anecdotal experience. You just happen to be playing the absolute most popular PC shooter in the fuckin world right now. Trust that, when this game hits consoles, you’ll see there’s really no difference.

I think the audience is mostly the same but the narrative is that console gamers are much more toxic. Though, honestly, in PC-centric games such as MOBAs or PUBG, it’s as worse as it gets. Also, I think in PUBG you get absolutely no sanction since they don’t moderate that kind of stuff.

I’m currently playing Rainbow Six Siege on PC and the amount of people going into meltdowns is through the roof.

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First thing I do with any online multiplayer is turn off voice chat. Aside from being full of wankers, I find it distracting- can hardly get better at a game if all I can hear is shit flinging. Maybe it’s because I’ve preferred single player in the past more, I don’t know. What I’d like to know is do some players actually get anything out of having public chat enabled? I’ve never really seen it.

My experience back in the day is that it is usually less toxic because we have more control over muting/kicking/banning players in dedicated servers.

Now since the shift away from dedicated servers, I think it’s easier for people to abuse the system. Also, now making an alternate account is so easy and cheap that if you get banned you just drop money on a sale and get three alternate accounts you can throw away.

Also, I think part of it is the kind of audience the game attracts. There are lots of people coming from YouTuber’s audiences and twitch streamers which aren’t always the best gaming demographic. I use both, but my goodness do I have to ignore comments/chat when I do use them. Waypoint has written about some of the problematic voices in the YouTube space so it’s not surprising when they showcase games like this, people who act like them end up showing up in the game.

To answer the main questions:

  • Bigotry is unfortunately not uncommon in all games that have a chat function. It’s no better or worse on consoles or PC’s but it is usually worse in high stakes competitive games that require team synergy to win.
  • PUBG has it a bit worse because instead of having only 10 people in a match with the potential of saying bigoted things, it’s 100.
  • I can only guess the people saying bigoted things in games are mostly adults. It’s an “adults these days” thing.

the steam forums for almost every game have been fucking terrible in my experience and i have no idea whether they’re policed at all.

I hear this debate a lot, even within PC, etc. just the “which is more toxic, LoL, CSGO, or Overwatch?” It always serves as a solid reminder that… there’s people being shitty everywhere. I think a lot of it comes down to how aware of it you are, and/or how well the games/systems enable you to avoid it, or default to avoiding it.

Are comms on or off by default? How easy is it to mute people? How much punishment is handed out based on reports? How easy is it to report people?

On PC, it was frequently that you had to seek out channels of communication. On oldschool battlenet, chat was flooded with trade offers, bot spam, item selling spam. Anything heinous was going on in private channels for the most part. You joined a game knowing most people. Chat filters picked up a lot. There wasn’t a ton of VOIP back then.

I remember first sets of console games, on Xbox live, where everybody who had it, had a headset, I heard more absurdly racist, homophobic, terrible shit in a month, then in the entirety of my time in PC games. Join a game? You’re in voice chat with everyone. Enjoy. If I took that at face value, I’d probably lean towards console being worse. But… I think it’s also just a matter of being poorly policed, and high exposure. I had to leave the game sometimes to avoid it. (I imagine this has improved drastically by now, this was like… gen 1 Mech Assault era.)

All communities have a lot of really bad elements. I think, very broadly, and without data to back it up, perception is masked by insulation. The more involved in specific communities people become, the less they interact with random players, or the less they’re affected by it.

If I play 100 hours of Overwatch solo, I know how miserable and angry that community can be/look. If I play 100 hours of Overwatch on a team with five friends, I’ll giggle a bit about, and report, the one to three super angry people on the other teams we play against. I think loose communities, and larger friends lists tend to be more common on PC? Maybe not? On PS4, I have a decent friends list, but it’s always super loose, weird mixture of six degrees of Kevin Bacon, so I have a perception of it being a looser, less personal network. Which I can already tell is painting my perception of the “PC vs. Console games” in the title.

So I should probably circle back around to… there’s bigotry everywhere. Just a question of how exposed to it you are, how curated the spaces you occupy are, how surrounded by people you know you are.