Toxicity is rooted in a lot of gaming communities, in special any game with a bit of competitivity will already spark up some heated conversations that can become toxic in a blink. Considering relatively new games, which would be the ones with a big reputation for being toxic?
I'm sure you already have some titles in your mind, it's not hard to notice some hateful messages being sent on game chats or even on voice, be it due to the nature of the game, someone having a bad day or straight-up hate speech.
Some games address the issue and attempt to make their community better by enforcing punishments on those rule-breakers or rewarding players for not being an awful person, it is very relative if it works or not, as games with voice chat rarely raise punishments on what was spoken, text messages are easier and cheaper to log, so voice chats stay as a place without rules.
Five most toxic gaming communities
League of Legends
You cannot list toxic gaming communities without League of Legends, its community is known as toxic by players who even just heard about the game, and it's not without a reason, every other League of Legends match will have some sort of negativity coming from other players.
The community isn't just filled with heated conversations during some moments, but also with racist and homophobic slurs being throw around now and then, League of Legends can make 15 minutes become an eternity.
Riot Games has put up some effort on making the community feel less like some edgy high school, they added occasional rewards for staying cool during games, but it doesn't seem to work, the community is still recognized as toxic as it was before.
The game also censors certain words, a feature that may look good at a glance, but doesn't work in practice when putting a space between letters will already bypass this NASA-level technology.
Fortnite, mainly due to its main audience, is a very "toxic" game, being popular among teenagers, the game has this fame about being filled with cringe-worthy hate sent around, talking about an audience who repeats what it hears around.
A vast part of the community is possibly heavily influenced by trending YouTubers, which although most being adults, still will appear to their audience in this rageful persona, a lot of "big influencers" are notorious for being toxic and hateful towards other players, and the community shares this behavior.
A less mature audience is also more likely to not worry about using cheats or think about how it ruins the game for everyone, cheating is a big problem in online games as not only it is completely frustrating for the ones playing the game legitimately, but it also creates doubts about the integrity of the game, making good players get doubted at and discredited.
Many games can mitigate cheating in a great percentage and actively ban lots of players who don't follow the rules, based on what players often talk about, but this doesn't seem to work well for Fortnite, as the game has a big amount of hackers and even professional players have been exposed as cheaters.
Being recognized as toxic due to its streamers, cheaters, or age range of its target audience doesn't put Fortnite out of this list, the environment cultivated is at a minimum annoying and can ruin the whole experience in the game.
According to multiple tilted players, GTA: Online is the most terrific online community, that can be an overstatement, but the game shares the same flaws as the Fortnite community but with more salt to it, cheaters with the only intention to ruin your experience, cheaters again because there is many, broken in-game vehicles and more!
The online game is more like a deserted warzone when it comes to how it is handled, it is not unexpected that a game like GTA could become a deathmatch in its multiplayer servers, but it is disappointing, GTA: Online lost its opportunity to make a player to player interacting gameplay and it is instead a singleplayer-multiplayer game where it is you against the world, basically throwing everyone in the same map and calling it online.
GTA: Online is still awesome when playing with a good crew and can make you and your friends share great moments, but a good part of the community is the way it is and the game sadly suffers from a whole lot of cheaters.
Overwatch games can suddenly turn into a place with a lot of abusive text and voice chat, with the voice chat offenses being less take into consideration according to players, hateful individuals use it to harass their team members and avoid punishment, which is increased in servers with players from different cultural backgrounds. Overwatch and League of Legends share something peculiar in common, both games make you rely on your team to be able to win, this creates an intensely high amount of toxicity that game developers struggle to contain. Both games can trigger an unnecessary amount of hate upon the first mistake made by one of someone's team members, witch-hunting the person who made the game be lost or missed an opportunity to win a fight or get some objective done. The game did do a lot of steps to reduce toxic behavior, some that were introduced by Ex-Overwatch lead Jeff Kaplan, those indeed were of great benefit, but as a team game that Overwatch is and its competitive aspect, toxicity still is around and is uncertain how the topic will be handled after Jeff left the company.
The last game on the list is Rust, the game has very unique and interesting gameplay, and different than most games on this list, it creates toxicity towards enemies rather than your team members, in Rust, you must acquire your friends in the game or from somewhere else, so as they are not given for free, people value them.
It can take a lot of time to get "big" in a Rust server, but in only a few minutes you can lose everything, the game also has proximity chat, a progression that creates a high power difference, and PVP oriented gameplay which will as a side-effect fuel hatred between players.
The amount of time spent in the game makes players be emotionally affected when they see it all coming down, even if it is the nature of the game, and of course, the process is made with a lot of verbal offenses between players.
A lot of inevitable factors on the Rust community made the game get this toxic fame, and this got worse once the game got into a trend which made a lot of new players try the game... and get welcomed with toxicity and hatred.
Are games to blame for having toxic communities?
How a game is seen by others is something really difficult to control, and a whole lot of things that happen can be difficult to handle or analyze, even for big studios, toxicity has been around on every online competitive game in one way or another, but still, some games have more popularity as being toxic than others.
We can only expect developers to filter out and remove players who are doing things against the game rules, but it is hard to attribute player behavior to a game, the game doesn't tell people what to type or what to speak.
When it comes to cheating, some games are indeed slow in handling that, if it is handled at all, this is a factor that may fall almost all under the publisher's shoulders.
Most games these days allow the player to mute voice and text chat and let them control the interaction in the way they want, this can help in a lot of cases, but still, toxicity is recurrent when playing online and its something we have to deal with, there is no magic spell to get rid of it.