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The Dark Side of Video Gaming Disputes

The Dark Side of Video Gaming Disputes

Video gaming has become a global phenomenon, providing entertainment and a sense of community to millions. The gaming industry has evolved into a highly competitive global industry, with sponsorships, tournaments, and monetization becoming the norm. However, beneath the fun and opportunities lies a darker side where competitive disputes can easily escalate and have real-world consequences beyond the screen.

In this article, we’ll review a few scenarios when video game beef can become a real-world problem.

Spy Apps

Video game conflicts usually arise from competitive gaming, in-game taunting, and disagreements during gameplay. More serious issues like disputes over copyrighted game content can escalate quickly. When video game conflicts arise, they can turn into real-world issues when upset gamers take real physical actions, like installing spyware apps on gaming opponents’ devices. When used maliciously, these apps can monitor activities online without the owner of the affected device ever knowing. This can be harmful, as personal details may be exploited.

However, spyware apps are not always used maliciously. Radek Zielinski from explains that spy apps are designed to give parents and guardians peace of mind, prioritizing their dependent’s safety and monitoring their online activity. When used correctly, spy apps can be useful tools, but they should not be used to retaliate and fuel online gaming disputes.


Doxxing is the malicious practice of publicly revealing someone’s personal and identifying information online without their consent. The goal is to often harass, retaliate, or intimidate players. Doxxing is a massive problem in online communities, especially for streamers, gamers, and public figures.

Professional Fortnite player Turner “Tfue” Tenney was the victim of doxxing in 2019. Hackers publicly released his personal information, including where he lived, and his phone number. This led to Tfue receiving several harassing phone calls and threats to his safety. The doxxing incident was condemned by the gaming community.


Swatting is an illegal and dangerous practice where someone makes a false emergency call to law enforcement in an attempt to provoke a heavily armed police response to a victim’s location. Swatting comes from the term Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams that are often dispatched to the scene.

Streamers and gamers have been targeted due to their online presence. Popular Twitch streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins fell victim to swatting in 2018. A large police response raided Ninja’s home while his viewers watched the drama unfold on his livestream. To prevent swatting, many police departments have protocols in place to verify the legitimacy of emergency calls before deploying a full SWAT response.

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Cyberbullying and Harassment

Cyberbullying and harassment are major issues in online gaming communities that can have severe psychological impacts on victims.

The majority of players visiting video gaming forums and gaming sites are well-intentioned, but when conflict arises, cyberbullying and harassment can follow. The anonymity provided by gaming, social media, and online gambling platforms is a key reason for emboldening trolls and harassers to target and bully people. When players can hide behind anonymous usernames and avatars, they face little real-world consequences for their abusive behavior.

In the case of popular World of Warcraft streamer Zack “Asmongold” Rawrr, the streamer was an ongoing target for harassment and doxxing attempts. He opened up about the psychological impact the harassment has had on his life and spoke about creating platforms that better protect creators. Game developers, video streaming, and gaming platforms all have a responsibility to combat cyberbullying through better moderation and education.  Zack spoke at length on his YouTube channel about the harassment, and threats, and called for better-reporting systems on streaming platforms to curb these issues.