Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

MA Public Relations


Communication and the Arts


Ruth Tsuria, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Renee Robinson, Ph.D.


online video games, public relations, reputation management, reputation crisis, online toxicity, toxic behavior


Online video games are plagued with toxic behavior, which has a strong potential to cause a reputation crisis for online video game developers. A grounded theory study was conducted to determine what online video game players consider to be toxic. An analysis of online forums for Overwatch and League of Legends was conducted alongside the observation of player behavior in Apex: Legends. Behaviors that were found to be toxic include flaming, poor teamwork, trolling, cyberbullying, and hate speech. The results were used to create a series of recommendations for online video game developers in their attempts to address toxicity. Recommendations included emphasizing transparency with a game's player base, overhauling the in-game report function, and introducing a system for reinforcing positive behaviors.