On September 1, 2022, gamers from around Australia took part in the world’s first positive gaming tournament Kind Royale, where players are rewarded for being kind. In a traditional multi-player gaming environment, the in-game commentary is where cyberbullying is rife, so instead of changing what games people play, Kind Royale targets the way people interact with each other during the game.
With an estimated 81 per cent of young Australians participating in digital gaming, Australia’s youth driven movement against (cyber)bullying, PROJECT ROCKIT, and gaming management company, Click Management, teamed up to launch Kind Royale, in a bid to raise awareness around the issue of cyberbullying in gaming.
Hosted by Australian streamer Nova, people around the world were able to tune in to watch the Kind Royale tournament. Set in Fortnite, the tournament rewards players for kind gaming commentary and the positive comments their community share while watching the tournament livestream.
Nova, a professional gamer with 160,000 followers, is taking part in Kind Royale after experiencing cyberbullying firsthand and said the initiative is an important step towards creating a more positive gaming culture.
“It’s a sad reality that majority of people I know in the gaming community have either experienced or witnessed in-game cyberbullying. We spend on average six hours a day gaming, so the effects can quickly become toxic.
“Kind Royale is an opportunity for us to lead by example and show the next generation of gamers how positive the gaming community can be,” Nova said.
QUT cyberbullying expert Professor Marilyn Campbell said the effects of bullying in the online gaming environment can create ongoing mental health issues for Australian youth.
“Youth who are cyberbullied have an increased risk of anxiety – which then leads them to be hyper vigilant in real life, even when the threat isn’t there. As a result, they have lower academic progress, lower self-esteem, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.
“When it comes to cyberbullying, moderation is also an issue. When kids are bullied online, they don’t have a teacher, parent, or HR person, to escalate the issue to. Therefore, it’s our responsibility to change the culture of gaming and collectively create a kinder, more positive environment for our youth to engage with,” Professor Campbell said.
Viewers were invited to submit donations via links hosted on gamers’ streams to PROJECT ROCKIT, to support their work with young people across Australia. PROJECT ROCKIT runs workshops in schools to empower students to lead a positive change at school, online, and beyond.
2022 Kind Royale will be a pilot, in the hope of becoming an annual game.
The game was streamed via Nova’s Facebook page.