2021: The year of Safety and Fair Play

A look back at what’s been said by gaming industry leaders & GamerSafer as we venture into the new year.

Welcoming 2021

2020 was a critical year for safety tech and fair play. More than ever, topics such as safety, respect, diversity & inclusion, and well-being have been discussed all over the world while people spent more time online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today we can expand those relevant discussions to include fair play, integrity, and positive environments within gaming.

With a growth of 9.3% in annual revenue in 2020, the gaming industry is now worth $159 billion, and game publishers and the community can sense the heightened urgency to improve our current state of affairs.

Understanding this, GamerSafer continues to work to fulfill its mission of helping games prevent online crimes, fraud, and disruptive behaviors.

While there is still room for more discussion, the following highlights demonstrate that gaming and Esports companies are more committed than ever to promote fair, safe, and inclusive spaces to play. For the first time, prevention and responsibility are present in almost every initiative.

Highlights of 2020:

Fair Play Alliance announced the “Disruption and harms in gaming framework”–  A unique, comprehensive catalogue of the types, causes & impacts of hate & harassment in gaming. We were part of a collaborative group that contributed with insights and expertise.

UNICEF’s recommendations for the online gaming industry on assessing impact on children – A guide highlighting key aspects and considerations around inclusion and representation, toxic environments, age-limits and verification, combating grooming and sexual abuse, and managing commercial influence. The material serves online gaming companies of all kinds, from game developers, publishers, distributors, platforms, esports companies, and streaming services. 

The interim code of practice on online child sexual exploitation and abuse –  This code provides detailed guidance for companies to help them understand and respond to the breadth of child sexual exploitation and abuse threats.

Free to Play Report 2020 Edition – A survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League in collaboration with Newzoo exploring the social interactions, experiences, attitudes and behaviors of online multiplayer games across America.

XR Child Safety InitiativeThe Child Safety Initiative brings together thought leaders, subject matter experts, and visionaries to help build safe and inclusive experiences for children using Extended Reality (XR). GamerSafer team members worked as part of this team to develop new content strategies and resources for parents, teachers, and children to experience XR games and apps with safety, privacy, and security in mind.

Bryter 2020 Female Gamers Study – The survey explored the presence of females and gaming behaviors, streaming & Esports, abuse & discrimination, attitudes towards the industry and mobile gaming in 2020.

Shared commitment to Safer Gaming from Nintendo, Xbox and PlayStation – Announcement about the guiding principles these companies will follow to protect the safety of players, especially those most vulnerable. Pay particular attention to the first principle listed: Prevention! Something we at GamerSafer are excited to see.

Raising Good Gamers Report – This report synthesizes outputs, learnings, and recommendations that emerged from an in-depth exploration of the forces shaping the culture and climate of online gaming communities and the impact of antisocial and toxic interactions on players ages 8-13.

Immersive Technology Standards – Ethics and Awareness, special session for Child Safety covering the changes and effects emerging technologies have on our minds and bodies

Talk at GDCThe Business of Fair Play – A talk about tools, models, and approaches from a UX Design perspective that can help game companies to design games considering fair play and Player Dynamics.

Safety Tech Report – Highlights significant growth within the Safety Tech sector, with the number of dedicated online safety firms doubling in the last five years and investment increasing more than eight-fold in 2019, making it a record year.

Age-appropriate design code (AADC) – This statutory Code of Practice presents a set of design guidelines for websites, apps, connected devices, or other digital services that are likely to have UK users under the age of 18.  Companies that are not compliant with the code could be considered in breach of the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, and be exposed to fines of up to €20 million or 4% of your annual worldwide turnover, whichever is higher.

New community guidelines and practices announced:

In the final weeks of 2020, Twitch launched a hateful conduct harassment policy. They also announced a Safety Advisory Council.

Riot released the “Community Competition Guidelines” for Valorant, looking to differentiate it from League of Legends.

EA – Positive Play Charter – A guideline to make sure EA’s games and services are an enjoyable experience for all players and a healthy community is being built. It also states best practices to protect players against harmful behaviors, cheating, harmful content, and illegal activities.

A final word from GamerSafer about 2020:

Throughout 2020, the GamerSafer team showed their dedication to the mission of informing, inspiring, and connecting with more customers and gamers by taking part in 12 panels, live streams, and events focused on these topics. We have built close relationships with leaders in the industry and will continue to work directly with them to see safety in gaming awaken in the heart of all gaming-related conversations.

It is important that we elevate leaders in this industry who passionately care about fair play, safety, security, privacy, and inclusivity in gaming. In 2020 we did this by embedding ourselves with a wide variety of groups and individuals who share a similar goal to us, and we found new opportunities to put our plans into action with Esports organizations, live streamers, non-profits, Minecraft server teams, game developers, and others in the field.

2021 promises to be a transformative year for gaming as these leaders rise to the occasion, and we are thrilled to work alongside them and forge a path towards our goals. Stay tuned on our social media channels for news, product launches, and talks about online gaming, safety, and community enrichment as we celebrate the accomplishments of those inside and outside of the GamerSafer team.

Join us in our endeavor to push the gaming industry forward by staying up to date with the latest industry news, launches, talks, and our own product releases at the social media channels linked below. Let’s continue to work together to take gaming to the next level of safety and fair play in 2021 and beyond!


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